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Monday, March 10, 2014



Rules are simple:

Name one thing where science advances mankind, and one where technology will go too far and set us back. They can be the same thing or different.

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In a world where butterflies taste with their feet, anything is possible.

My One Thing that both helps and hurts:

Nanotechnology --

In the growing field of nanotechnology,

engineers are creating countless new microscopic materials.

They're used in thousands of consumer goods, from cell phones to cosmetics and sunscreen. But how safe are they?

Nanotechnology is an area of science and engineering that involves the study and manipulation of particles 1-100 nanometers in size.

A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, with a meter being about 39 inches.

Particles in this size range often have unusual properties,

and it is hoped that these can be exploited to bring huge benefits in fields such as science, engineering, medicine, and computing.

Any assessment of the dangers of nanotechnology is complicated by the fact that the size and shape of nanoparticles may affect their bioactivity and toxicity.

Sometimes, the physical, as opposed to chemical, properties of particles may alone make them hazardous in unexpected ways. Asbestos is one example.

Since it is chemically quite inert, it was initially thought to be harmless and was widely used,

but when it is cut or broken, this material produces tiny, airborne fibers that can be inhaled and can cause cancer when they lodge in the lungs.

One scientific study found that some types of carbon nanotubes closely resemble asbestos fibers in their dimensions and shape,

 and tests on animals showed that the nanotubes cause inflammation and lesions in tissue exposed to them.

Even as far back as 1997, scientists at Oxford discovered nanoparticles used in sunscreen created free radicals that damaged DNA.


  1. Nanotechnology is a field that probably does need monitoring, since it can affect us at the most basic level. Interesting entry, Roland.

    I'll have my post up later, just after midnight on the Pacific Coast.

  2. Ouch.
    I suspect rather a lot of things need careful consideration before we launch into using them - just because we can. Medicine is one area which leaps to mind. Some discoveries have been tremendous - and in other cases life has been prolonged long after quality is left the building. When my maternal grandfather was dying of a particularly nasty cancer he developed the old person's friend - pneumonia. And the hospital cured him, so he could continue to die a painful and undignified death. Sorry. Long comment.

  3. Interesting, and quite techincal. I think I missed the boat on this wormfest as I didn't go very scientific.

  4. Gosh - this sounds quite frightening! LOL!! And poor animals tested on to prove the bad side effects..! Yikes!!

    But ever so interesting too though. The possibilities are endless as they say - let's hope good positive ones only! Take care

  5. Sunscreen could do that? Scary.
    When we make particles smaller, they have access to areas that might not be good.
    Thanks for participating in the blogfest!

  6. Hi Roland - I'm aware some things hurt my skin, so I use as little as possible. Science has given us so much - yet each generation seems to find another blunder or two ..

    Asbestos being one as you mention; Concrete being the 2nd; E-colours to foods; preservatives; so much that could be dangerous to a human ..

    Great bringing me down to earth thoughts here though .. cheers Hilary

  7. D.G.:
    Things we take for granted could end up poisoning the sea! Ouch. Shivers.

    Elephant's Child:
    Don't apologize for any comment. You're a friend here. :-)

    My best friend was prescribed a hormone replacement. Later it was discovered it was a carcenogin. Too late. She had already developed breast cancer -- and it will be the death of her. Sigh.

    I am a detail man. :-) It is a scary subject, isn't it?

    Government Labs are doing Weaponize Testing on Nanotechnology. And you know how slip-shod the government is. That is scary!

    Glad to participate in the blogfest. I brought to yours a Miley Cyrus Tongue Sandwich. No one wanted to sample. Go figure. :-)

  8. Hilary:
    Nanotechnology is scary. That's why I enjoyed your colorful and merry trip through London on your post. :-)

  9. A very learned post. It is always good to know what we are up against and this technology is just a bit scary. One of those things where, years later we go, "oophs," didn't mean for that to happen.

  10. Its like we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. WHo knows what's in the products we buy. I'm heading back over to Alex's. There's bound to be safe and normal food there.

  11. Stephen:
    It is scary. Just sit back and listen to the TV ads for new medications: why the list of side-effects make you ill even if you are well!! :-)