Stop Dithering Over Nanotech Regulation

Reading reports of government plans for the regulation of nanotechnology sometimes feels like being on death row. The outcome is inevitable, and all you can do is hope that it will be short and painless. The European Commission has been debating regulations for the best part of a decade,and now apparently has been given a deadline of 2011 by the …

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MEPs Call For Multiwalled Nanotube Ban

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are an odd and under worked bunch. In order to fill their time they built a second parliament building in Brussels and spend every fourth week shuttling between Brussels and Strasbourg while submitting expense claims. The Devil makes work for idle hands, and according to Chemistry World the latest scheme from Brussels is to …

Canadian Organic Associations Ban Nanotechnology (Maybe)

Canada has become the latest country following the UK and Australia to ban nanotechnology in organic food. Dag Falck, organic program manager at Nature’s Path Foods explains: “Genetic engineering is a definable science: splicing genes into crops. With nanotechnology there are at least 1000 different applications, all unregulated with unknown risks.” As the Canadian organic folks don’t seem to have got …

How Long Does It Take For Science To Reverse A PR Setback?

As an adjunct to my previous post, Science today reports on a new report from the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies (The Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States) which seems to conclude that biotech crops are good for farmers and the environment, with the usual caveats and uncertainties of course. So fourteen …

The Eyjafjallajokull Nanoparticle Plume

An interesting piece of work from Þröstur Þorsteinsson at the Nordic Volcanological centre looks at the particle size distribution from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption. Thorvaldur Thordarson quoted in The Economist explains Ash particles are normally in the 50-100 micron (0.05 to 0.1 millimetre) range. But at a site 50km east of the eruption, 24% of the ash falling to the ground …

Geoengineering – Engineering an All Purpose Political Smokescreen?

There’s nothing like the mention of Geoengineering to get environmental groups even madder than putting a wasps nest down their trousers and beating them with a cricket bat, and for good reason. The idea that we could do something about climate change that didn’t involve re-engineering the political system would mean that we don’t have to live in caves, grow …