Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Farewell, NanoBot

What a small, strange trip it's been.

I have been covering nanotechnology in some form since 2001, and I believe I have taken it as far as I care to.

I am proud of the way this blog became a voice for those who believed government and business were taking nanotech in the wrong direction.

I did my duty as a journalist. I comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable -- even at the cost of my own employment in some cases. Now, it is time to move on.

The various twists and turns in my personal and professional life have led me to study, and write about, the future of the auto industry and the corrupt U.S. criminal justice system. Expect to see more of my work in those areas.

Meanwhile, I leave this six-year NanoBot archive to the ages. And I will exit with the same words that I have often repeated.

What is nanotechnology? Well, what do you want it to be?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Before the Internet, I was a better journalist

You know, my farewell to social media has lifted such a burden from me that I am considering taking it a step further.

When I began my journalism career, I covered some pretty interesting, complicated stories -- from health effects of trash incinerators in neighborhoods, to controversies surrounding methadone clinics to cultural implications of bilingual education. I covered these issues and more back in the 1980s and early '90s -- before the Internet existed.

I got out more, I talked to more people, I made more phone calls, I read more books, I went to more libraries, and I think I was actually a better writer and reporter back then.

Since then, I have seen how the Internet echo chamber can take one wrong piece of information and, via that lazy reporting tool, Google, fling it around the world and back a hundred times until bad information becomes conventional wisdom.

I have seen how the availability of tiny fragments of half-information, mostly out of context, can turn lazy reporters into "instant experts" because all it takes to write a successful "news story" is the ability to package information well so that it makes sense within certain closed-loop assumptions.

I've seen how addictive personalities and egomaniacs can obtain instant gratification from "connections" with others hunched behind screens, yet still not know the first thing about real communication.

I have already rejected Web 2.0. I am almost ready to tell Web 1.0 to get lost, as well.

Maybe an hour a day to answer e-mail, read some news and look up a few things. Then, back to gaining knowledge the old-fashioned way -- by communicating in a real way with real people.

Just a nice thought for now. I might follow through.

Next phase of my planned obsolescence

My daughter Sonya (center, adjusting her cap), who educated me about nanotech coolness six years ago, graduated high school yesterday, and I could not be more proud.