Friday, January 30, 2009

Canada's nano climate getting colder

I have a new blog post over at Small Times. Here's an excerpt.

New nano rules may leave Canada out in the cold

If you ask Canadian entrepreneur Neil Gordon about new rules coming next month requiring companies to detail their use of engineered nanomaterials, he'll tell you it's just another example of his government placing artificial constraints on nanotech commercialization.

That's why Gordon is now the ex-president of the now-defunct Canadian NanoBusiness Alliance.

"If Canada is becoming the first government in the world to require companies to provide information about their use of 'potentially' harmful nanomaterials in products, then there is another reason for entrepreneurs to avoid commercializing nanotechnology products in Canada," said Gordon. More here.

Nano knowledge going south? Blame Canada!
Vive le nanotechnology libre
My 'respectable' blog launches at Small Times

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Self-replicating nano-ethics

Think tank that studies the ethics of nanotechnology urges Congress to fund more studies on ethics of nanotechnology.

False claims inform consumers as they 'talk nano'
Wilson Center's nano numbers racket
Indigestible nanotech claim

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More Detroit Auto Show Blogging

DENSO’s big bright green diversionary machine

DENSO warned of its first operating loss since 1950. The main company it supplies, Toyota, says it will see its first losing quarter in 71 years.

So, what else could DENSO Veep Hiromi Tokuda do at the auto show except talk about algae?

Yes, algae. More here

More assault on batteries at Michigan Messenger
Blogging for Center for Independent Media
My 'respectable' blog launches at Small Times

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

'Restore science to its rightful place'

"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age."

-- President Barack Obama's inaugural address

Monday, January 19, 2009

More assault on batteries at Michigan Messenger

Michigan Messenger

The Michigan Messenger has the latest in my coverage of the Detroit Auto Show.

The Messenger is part of a growing family of news sites ready to take over where major metro dailies are sadly lacking these days. It was launched by the nonprofit Center for Independent Media.

If you're not in Michigan, no problem. You can check out the center's publications in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico and Washington.

In today's Messenger, I continue my obsession with battery technology, which -- as I have written before -- is directly related to nanotechnology.

Will batteries recharge Michigan’s economy?

They will if Congress -- and Detroit's critics -- come to understand that the auto industry is infrastructure.

DETROIT — A year ago, a confident Chrysler opened the North American International Auto Show with Dodge trucks herding cattle down Jefferson Avenue.

This year, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm came to Cobo on a mule.

A mule, of course, is Detroit-speak for a prototype automobile, and while Granholm’s ride boasted significantly less horsepower than last year’s methane-emitting stampede, the governor seemed at last on the right road after years of a visionless policy for Auto Industry 2.0. More here

Blogging for Center for Independent Media
My 'respectable' blog launches at Small Times

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Energetics: Nanotechnology Job of the Day

Freelancing is fine, but I am in perpetual search of a full-time job, with benefits. Yeah, I know. Me and a few million others.

But I come across nanotech-related work in my job search that I am quite underqualified for and that use pretty big scientific words in their descriptions, so I figured maybe NanoBot readers might get a few job leads.

I'll post these from time to time ... whenever I have the time.

The job below, in green energy, seems like a growing field -- although I hope the "energetics" in the company name does not refer to "nanoenergetics," which involves the nasty business of blowing up stuff ... and people.

Nanotechnology/Materials Scientist, Energetics Inc.

Energetics seeks a Nanotechnology/Materials Scientist to be located in our Washington, D.C. office.

The selected candidate will assist clients in DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program with a variety of activities required to run an effective technology research and development program. Specifically, the candidate will assist EERE’s Industrial Technologies Program with its R&D programs in nanomanufacturing, materials, and other areas. Responsibilities may include:

  • Evaluating energy, technology, and market trends.
  • Evaluating technical and economic feasibility, identifying and assessing applications and markets, and projecting future impacts of new technologies.
  • Characterizing technical and market barriers to commercialization and deployment, and evaluating strategies to overcome these barriers. More here
  • Friday, January 16, 2009

    My 'respectable' blog launches at Small Times

    Small Times launched my new blog today. Here's where I behave myself a little more and stick to the subject of nanotech, MEMS and microsystems.

    Crazy rants will, of course, remain here on NanoBot.

    The RSS feed for Small Tech Talk is here. Sample below:

    U.S., at last, begins assault on batteries

    Today, the race is still for second place, behind Asia. And, as I covered the North American International Auto Show again this year, it looks like nanotechnology has come in second, too. GM chose Compact Power, a subsidiary of the Asian LG Chem, to provide the lithium-ion batteries for the Volt.

    A close second was A123 Systems, whose nanophosphate formula is an important ingredient in its li-ion batteries. The reason, according to GM, was the the formula seemed too experimental, the company too inexperienced and, most importantly, the battery manufacturing infrastructure just does not yet exist in the United States. More here

    Blogging for Center for Independent Media
    Where technology meets humanity
    U.S. battery makers finally find the 'on' switch

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Blogging for Center for Independent Media

    I took this picture of NBC weatherman Al Roker taking a "test drive" of a Ford Shelby Mustang at the Detroit Auto Show because, well, why not take a picture of Al Roker? That's all that needs to be said there.

    I'm blogging from the North American International Auto Show this year for a publication called the Michigan Messenger. It's online only, and part of a growing family of progressive news sites launched by the nonprofit Center for Independent Media. I first came into contact with them at a conference I attended in Lansing, Mich., more than a year ago.

    As my hometown Detroit newspapers slowly become shadows of their former selves, it is great to be freelancing for a publication that still asks tough questions. Last year, I blogged the auto show for WDIV-TV in Detroit, which failed to even promote the blog since it was not very ... um ... cheerleading.

    Below are some samples of what I've written about the auto show, but more will be posted in the next few days -- along with longer pieces (yet to be written) about the big focus on lithium ion batteries for the future of the auto industry and the future of many Rust Belt communities. More to come

    RIP internal combustion engine

    Back when I was a copy editor for The Detroit News a decade ago, our ultraconservative editorial page would go on red-faced tirades against then-Vice President Al Gore for his prediction of the end of the internal combustion engine. Today, The Detroit News is on its way out and, well, so is the internal combustion engine. More here

    Who stole the electric car — redux? GM Volt in ‘07 and in ‘09

    When General Motors unveiled its electric hybrid Chevy Volt an economic epoch ago — at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, what it gave us (PDF 219k) seemed almost too good to be true. GM appeared to “get it” when it came to the new environmental consciousness sweeping popular culture. For the first time, a major auto company acknowledged the eventual demise of the internal combustion engine. What it gave us was something of a transitory nature, but it was a start. More here

    Instant Karma’s going to get you? The Karma and the Tesla -- West Coast invades Motown

    At last year’s auto show, I wondered whether Karma could also mean “covering all bases.” A main investor in Fisker Automotive, which makes the all-electric Karma, is Vinod Khosla, an important player in the next phase of the auto industry — whatever form that may take. More here

    EcoXperience tiptoes through the dying tulips

    Here’s Michigan Economic Development Corporations’s EcoXperience track in the basement of COBO Hall. My initial impression? It smells like rotting vegetation down there. In the picture, though, you can see one of the cool little Jetsons’ cars in the background. More here

    U.S. battery makers finally find the 'on' switch
    Innovation in Detroit ... yes, Detroit
    Where technology meets humanity

    Saturday, January 10, 2009



    Monday, January 05, 2009

    Al Franken and the 'Nano-Bees'


    At last, Minnesota has gerrymandered a joke we can all take seriously. Al Franken will be declared the winner in the Senate race.

    What does this have to do with nanotechnology, you may ask? Well, you might know that nanotech is playing an important role in helping some Minnesota communities recover from bad times. So, I searched and searched for anything Franken might have said about the subject. To my disappointment, the only item I could find came from an Air America bulletin board:

    There was a segment where Al and Katherine talked to someone about nanotechnology and Al came out with this idea of having Nano-Robot Bees for military purposes. The discussion then devolves into about 3 or so minutes about the potential use of the Nano-Bees. It was the funniest thing ... More here

    Oh, Al. I'll have to find you a Minnesotan or two who can educate you about all the nanotech economic development going on in your own frigid state.

    Meanwhile, enjoy the picture above. The photo, and the baby being kissed, belongs to Robin Marty, a Minnesota journalist I met more than a year ago at a journalism conference in Lansing, Mich.

    The Great State Of Nanosota

    Friday, January 02, 2009

    Nanoscientist scores 'Tar Heel of the Year'

    Misspellings and grammatical errors aside, this writer to the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer makes a great point about what our culture values from our universities.

    tarheelAthletes are admired and nanoscientists ... not so much.

    But, thanks to N&O newspapers, UNC-Chapel Hill nanotech researcher Joseph DeSimone is being recognized for his work on a new class of nanoparticles that can take any shape, with the goal of making chemotherapy easier for cancer patients.

    The N&O named DeSimone "Tar Heel of the Year". And while I am not entirely certain what exactly a Tar Heel is, I can only suppose that it is a good thing to be named the best one of the year.

    Not sure what his rushing record was for the 2008 season. Nor do I care.

    Nano Carolina
    Not your father's 'shop' class
    Teen Meets The Nano Clumps

    U.S. battery makers finally find the 'on' switch

    U.S. battery manufacturers have, at last, realized that working solely within their own closed, proprietary worlds will not help them catch up with the Asians, who are laps and laps ahead in the race to power next-generation electric and hybrid vehicles.

    Somebody finally had the bright idea to form an industry consortium to move U.S. innovation along.

    Recently, as battery consultant Ralph Brodd declared that the country "who makes the batteries will one day make the cars," 14 U.S. companies, including Altair Nanotechnologies, formed an alliance to speed the development and manufacture of li-ion batteries.

    Hopefully, this group will do for batteries what SEMATECH did for the U.S. semiconductor industry.

    And on the government side, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm proved she understood what was at stake when she said on Meet The Press a couple of weeks ago that lack of government funding would mean "replacing our reliance on foreign oil with the reliance on foreign batteries, because it's the battery that's going to be driving the electric vehicle in the future."

    The Michigan Legislature followed up the governor's words by approving up to $335 million in tax credits to make the state a center of lithium-ion innovation and manufacturing.

    Also recently, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) appeared at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the chairman of nanotech li-ion company Ener1 Inc. at his side, to propose $1.6 billion in federal grants to try to put U.S. battery makers in the passing lane.

    It's still a race for second place, but at least the United States has reached the starting line.

    Innovation in Detroit ... yes, Detroit
    Big Three Are Dead; Long Live The Little
    Nano Powering The Auto Revolution