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Memo to Self: Time for Another Nanotech Check-in

The last Nanotech check-in:

The Future, Now Available in Stores - New York Times: By BARNABY J. FEDER: One way to grasp all the fuss about nanotechnology -- the billions of dollars invested; the talk of potential breakthrough products in energy, computing and health care; the fears of novel hazards unleashed on an unsuspecting populace -- is to plunge into the underlying science. Another way is to forgo the intellectual heavy lifting and look at what products are available. What is nanotech, anyway? The answer: skis, face creams, paint, toothpaste and consumer electronics, according to a list compiled by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.... [T]he 212 items have little to do with the society-changing breakthroughs nanotechnology champions anticipate.... Andrew Maynard, chief science adviser to the project, said that what constitutes nanotechnology is still an open question, beyond the basic concept that whatever it is must be very small (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter). "When we got people together last summer to study public attitudes toward nanotechnology, we found they were most interested in-- they come into contact with," he said.

Actual nanoscale devices %u2014 molecular machines, perhaps -- are still largely in the dream stage. So instead there is the evolutionary progress of stain-resistant Brooks Brothers ties and Eddie Bauer khakis. And there are the modest environmental and safety benefits of windows and windshields that, thanks to embedded nanoscale structures, are resistant to streaking and dirt. "Nanotechnology is here and now," Mr. Maynard said. "But there is nothing fundamentally different yet."