Given the recent surge in 2020science readers (thanks to Lon S. Cohen at Mashable), I thought it about time I did a short retrospective—a taster for the type of stuff you can expect to read here. So here are five pieces from the past year that cover everything from nanotechnology to synthetic biology, and ethics to the trials of being on the scientific meeting circuit—all from the perspective of emerging technologies. Enjoy! Asbestos-like nanomaterials – should we be concerned? It seems that when the possible downsides of nanotechnology are broached, it doesn’t take long for the “A” word to surface. But what is the truth—if any—behind comparisons between nanomaterials and asbestos? From January 2009. . Nanotechnology—In bed with Madonna? How do you squeeze Madonna, John Kerry, nanotechnology and Elle magazine into the same blog? With difficulty is the correct answer I think, but somehow they all managed to appear together in this piece from April 2008. . . Synthetic biology, ethics and the hacker culture. What the heck is synthetic biology, is “biopunk” a real word, and are the 21st century equivalents of computer hackers going to reconfigure life as we know it? I can’t promise any easy answers, but hopefully this post from June 2008 helps set the scene. . Geoengineering: Does it need a dose of geoethics? We’ve all heard of bioethics, but if the earth can be treated like one massive complex organism, do we need the planetary equivalent of bioethics—“geoethics” perhaps? From January 2009. . . Enough meetings already! Ever get jealous of the scientific jet-set, swanning between “prestigious” speaking engagements in exotic places? Don’t bother—the reality is far from glamorous, as this post from May last year tries to capture. Fortunately, there are occasional compensations, albeit in unlikely forms! .
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