If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to unite global warming “denialists” on both sides of the aisle, it’s geoengineering – the intentional planet-wide manipulation of the environment. At least, you might be left with that impression after reading the comments following a thoughtful piece in Monday’s Wall Street Journal by Jamais Cascio.
Cascio describes himself as [...]
See original: Geoengineering: Are we grown up enough to handle it?
According to a new public opinion survey from the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, the great British public is cautiously enthusiastic about the emerging field of synthetic biology.
Last summer, the Washington DC-based Synthetic Biology Project published a survey of US awareness and attitudes towards synbio. The new study builds on that work by taking a [...]
This month’s issue of the magazine Science & Technology takes a closer look at some of the controversies, dilemmas and decisions that will impact on the future development of the science and technology of working at the nanoscale. Amongst the commentaries is a short piece I wrote about the importance of safety in underpinning successful [...]
See original: Nanotechnology: Ensuring success through safety
Back in April I posted data on three indicators of “influence” for ~400 science-focused Twitter users – based on David Bradley’s list of “Scientific Twitter Friends.” Intrigued to see how these Tweeps’ influence evolves over time, I will be updating these data periodically.
In this first update (aided and abetted by @ruthseeley – thanks Ruth!), the [...]
See original: Science influence on Twitter – June update
Poll closed 26 June – see the results below. I’ll be writing on this in a week or so
Would you – or do you – use drugs like Ritalin, donepezil or modafinil to improve your mental ability?
I’m interested in getting a sense of current use and attitudes, and would love as many people as possible [...]
Part 7 of a series on rethinking science and technology for the 21st century
Yesterday, I listened to respected economists discussing geoengineering; gave a Skype interview on nanotechnology from the comfort of my own home; and watched as reactions to Michael Jackson’s death spread through virtual web-based communities. Twenty years ago, when Jackson was at the [...]
It’s been a few weeks now since the men’s style magazine GQ launched the “Rock Stars of Science” campaign. I’m a staunch advocate of raising science’s profile, but the whole campaign has had me on edge, and I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on why. Was it the exclusive use of white [...]
See original: Celebrity scientists – it takes more than stardust
A couple of days ago, @michael_nielsen posted a thoughtful article on his blog tackling rapid and disruptive changes in the scientific publishing business – especially the challenge of overcoming organizational immune systems that actively obstruct change and adaptation. Reading through the piece, I was particularly struck by his conceptualization of the barriers to change faced [...]
Just a quick post (at least, as far as the text goes). Last week, I had the pleasure of appearing on Twit TV’s Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour with Kristen Sanford and Leo Laporte. The conversation covered nanotechnology from every conceivable angle. I should have known with Leo’s opening question – asking what [...]
See original: Nanotechnology on Twit TV’s Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) – a US-based non-profit organization committed to using public information to protect public health and the environment – has just released what is probably the most comprehensive evaluation to date of the safety and effectiveness of using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens. And their conclusion?
On balance, EWG [...]
Following up on my last post – Geoengineering the planet with nanotechnology ice-cream? – here’s a short video Zoe Papadopoulou and colleagues put together on The Cloud Project from my visit in June:
Although this was filmed before the finishing touches had been applied to the ice cream van, it give a flavor for how the [...]
See original: Engaging the public on nanotechnology
Scientists and engineers have their moments. But it they are hard pressed to beat art students when it comes to sheer audacious creativity.
Earlier this year I received an email so intriguing I couldn’t help but follow up on it. The email was from Zoe Papadopoulou, an MA student at the Royal College of [...]
See original: Geoengineering the planet with nanotechnology ice-cream?
I’m often intrigued by the evolution of an article from its early drafts to the final version. To complement today’s commentary on nanotechnology regulation in the journal Nature, written jointly with David Rejeski, I thought it would be interesting to post an early draft of the same paper here. This is what the piece looked [...]
See original: Nanotechnology: Weighing the risks of regulation
When I was a kid, I was told by my physics teacher that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Clearly, he hadn’t been to enough scientific meetings!
Actually, it’s a philosophy I’ve adhered to pretty closely over the past thirty years. If someone wants to expand their knowledge or understanding, the fewer barriers that [...]
See original: Questions
Tim Jones has just posted a video of a new science engagement technique he’s working on over at his blog Zoonomian. I was so impressed with the result that I asked his permission to post it here also.
Before explaining what this is, take a look at the video – it’s ten minutes long, but well [...]