Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nano in CBS program

Those of you who are interested in nanotechnology and popular culture/risk perception might want to check out the most recent episode of the CBS program Eleventh Hour (title: "Electro"). The show features a scientist who works with the FBI to solve emerging health crises using scientific logic to find the source every week (think McGuyver meets CSI meets X-Files).

This past week's episode featured a slew of Massachusetts residents who were getting hit by lightening well above what we'd expect by chance alone. The source of the problem was traced to a fictional company working on "nanofilaments" that were found to be growing throughout people's skin and therefore making them more conductive. This is the most pronounced discussion I've seen on prime time thus far.

You can view the full episode here at the CBS web site.



Thursday, February 19, 2009

Risk Perception Write-Up

Here's a nice writeup of CNS director Barbara Harthorn's team's research on nano scale risk perception

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Alternative energy businesses and their financing got completely hammered in the second half of 2008: the Wilderhill New Energy Global Innovation Index fell at almost twice the rate of the Dow (down nearly 34% for 2008). But there's some good news:

New Energy Finance's Newsletter for Dec 9-15, 2008 reports that thin-film PV module manufacturing costs are approaching the $1 / watt mark. This puts price pressure on crystalline silicon-based PV, which is bad for the industry right now. But it's good for research.

The nutty green jet guy isn't a nut after all. Air New Zealand just test-drove a 747 running on a mix of jet fuel and the jatropha plant.

A zero-carbon city is due to arise in 2009, not in the US or EU but in the UAE - with major funding from the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company.

Lots of bad 2008 trends will continue, but 2009 will be an interesting year for energy research. At it looks like this research will be more globally distributed and multi-polar than every before.