Sunday, May 24, 2009

Senior quote

help me pick my senior quote!!! and keep in mind that i am EIC so if you STEAL MINE...i will KNOW and you will be very sorry >:D jk. the bold ones are the ones i like

“You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
- E.L. Doctorow 18

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
~ Mark Twain 28

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~ Mark Twain 44

There is no use trying, said Alice; one can't believe impossible things. I dare say you haven't had much practice, said the Queen. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
~ Lewis Carroll 50

I LOVE THIS ONE! but it's too long, so what should i do? :(

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? She asked. Where do you want to go? Was his response. I don't know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nanotechnology regulation and policy worldwide. Book review

Nanotechnology regulation and policy worldwide. Book reviewNanotechnology regulation and policy worldwide by J.H. Matsuura is a book based around an interesting idea: to provide an overview of the framework in which nanotechnology is destined to evolve. This includes intellectual property rights (IPRs), safety regulations and policies (existing or planned) which impact upon businesses active in this novel scientific and technological arena.

The first chapter containing an introduction to the field of nanotechnology is probably one of the least satisfactory to read in the book, as it lacks precision and contains some factual errors. For example the statement that ‘‘different classes of [carbon] nanotubes have different useful properties. Some (. . .) are exceptionally strong while others are exceptional conductors of electricity.’’ (p. 16) is a bit dubious as all carbon nanotubes have excellent mechanical properties. On the same page the description of the synthesis of nanotubes is as approximative mixing the various methods into one. It would probably have been wise to collaborate with a scientist to ensure accuracy in this domain. J.H. Matsuura nonetheless manages to convey the breadth of potential applications that nanotechnology promises. In the second chapter focusing on IPRs, the author presents a clear picture of the origins and drawbacks of the various protection regimes that can be applied to technological processes and products. Even the examples he gives to illustrate his point frustratingly do not add much to the argument. Especially relevant is the discussion around the issue of patents and patents enforcement which budding entrepreneurs should clearly consider before rushing in the ‘‘patent tsunami’’ of these past few years. Matsuura also recommends thinking carefully whether to patent or keep secret a step in the production process. Although keeping trade secrets seems to be a good idea for Coca Cola, in very active research fields such as nanotechnology there is a real risk that somebody else discovers what you are trying to hide.

Despite this, the author clearly presents the advantages and drawbacks of the various protection methods. The next chapter deals with regulation and presents a clear picture of the various levels of legislation which impact on nano-related products. In my view, the author is a bit quick in dismissing the need for new regulation concerning nanotechnology especially when he writes: ‘‘strong arguments can be made that manipulation of known chemicals on the nanoscale does not create new chemical substances’’(p. 78). This statement seems to go against what the supposed nano revolution is about, namely that by controlling size and shape of objects novel properties emerge. This ‘business as usual’ stance will be discussed later in this review. He however rightly points out that it is important to have a relatively stable regulatory framework to provide a good business environment. Chapter four is a list of governmental initiatives on nano. Although of limited interest, it is probably useful in that the reader does not need to compile their own list. The last two chapters aim at discussing more subtle points of regulation’s impact and propose a ‘‘roadmap’’ to regulate this field.

The book is accessible to a fair range of potential readers (scientists, venture capitalists, etc.) and is clearly written. The author is more at ease with the legal aspects than with the scientific or policy parts of the book, as could be expected from his professional background as counsel in a law firm. The book contains several interesting ideas but in some instances can be seen as pro-business. An interesting proposal that the author makes is that governments around the world should promote an open source approach to nanotechnology and other emerging technologies. This would result in a faster circulation of information and a faster rate of innovation. He also calls for an integration of nanotechnology regulation into existing frameworks, rather than the creation of ad hoc institutions, which seems like a sensible option. I tend to disagree with the author on several points: he seems to be seeing people debating the desirability of putting nano-products on the market in a ‘‘deficit model’’ approach (explain better and they will see the light); he is very critical of the precautionary principle applied in the European Union describing it as ‘‘permitting the potential for great harm to eliminate the need for an accurate assessment of likelihood of harm’’ (p. 93). All these arguments, combined with others throughout the book, make clear that J.H. Matsuura is much more concerned by not slowing down business and innovation than making sure we know what we are doing when attempting to regulate this new field, even though ideally we should be able to do both.

Overall this book is a decent attempt at dealing with a very complex issue. It provides quite a bit of information on IPRs and the regulatory framework and attempts to address several of the big challenges we are facing to maximise the benefits from this new field while trying to minimise the negative externalities. Finally, I would have liked to see a more forceful call for governments around the world to be much more pro-active in building the research capacity in the field of nano-toxicity (both to humans and the environment), which is, in my view, the best way to ensure that we make the most of nanotechnology in the coming decades.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Swine Flu Update

Everybody on television is all concerned about swine flu or pig flu or whatever they’re calling it at the moment.

I’m very extremely worried myself. I’ve compiled a list of warning signs that will help you determine if you have the swine flu or if you may be coming down with the swine flu.

1. Itchy Bottom: if your bottom (hiney) itches it may not be hemorrhoids. It may be your skin reacting negatively to the growth of a new, curly tail.

2. New Curly Tail: enough said.

3. Pink: if your skin is suddenly turning pink and it has never been pink, think flu.

4. Pug Nosedness: be careful to examine your nose daily. The transformation of your common human nose to a pig-like nose may be a first warning sign.

5. Affinity for Slop: if you are beginning to have an urge to roll around in mud and eat nasty leftovers from McDonald’s that you find in the floorboard of your vehicle, seek medical help.

6. Insults: if you are a policeman and someone yells, “Hey, pig!” don’t be too alarmed. Otherwise…911.

7. Snorting: many people find that snorting accompanies the pig flu syndrome. Snoring does not count, but if your snoring does sound something like a pig’s rutting seek help anyway.

8. Overeating: don’t make a pig of yourself. The swine flu will do that for you.

9. Dietary Repulsion: if the only type of food that repulses you is pork, you are either Muslim / Jewish or you have the swine flu or both.

I just tried phoned the NHS emergency 'Swine Flu' helpline but all i get is crackling

On your way to work on the bus/train/tube? Pretend you're on the phone and talk about your 4 week tour of mexico. Hang up. Then sneeze

Holiday packages to Mexico can now be had for under 20! - Prices not to be sneezed at

A mate of mine has just found out that he has swine fever but its ok........ his doctor gave him some oinkment for it

think I have that swine, pig flu thingy..... I'm coming out in rashers

I wonder if Swine flue gives you the trots??

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Irish Bagpiper

As a bagpiper, I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man who had no family or friends. The funeral was to be held at a cemetery in the remote countryside and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost and being a typical man, did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the backhoe and the crew who were eating lunch but the hearse was nowhere in sight.

I apologized to the workers for my tardiness and stepped to the side of the open grave where I saw the vault lid already in place.

I assured the workers I would not hold them up for long but this was the proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. I played out my heart and soul.

As I played the workers began to weep. I played and I played like I'd never played before, from Going Home and The Lord is My Shepherd to Flowers of the Forest. I closed the lengthy session with Amazing Grace and walked to my car..

As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another, "Sweet Jeezuz, Mary'n Joseph, I never seen nothin' like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."