Davos 2010 – first impressions

January 27, 2010

Having just got back to the hotel at some unseemly hour (at least according to my body clock) from the first full day of meetings at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, I’m trying my best to be disciplined and write some of my impressions up.  As it’s late, ...

Davos 2010 – Got the mittens, where’s the snow?

January 26, 2010

I‘m sitting here at Dulles Airport waiting for my flight to Zurich and the annual World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, so I thought I’d dash off a quick blog.  If you’re on the ball, you will realize that by arriving tomorrow, I will be missing most of the first ...

From Davos with love

January 24, 2010

This week I’m heading out to the World Economic Forum jamboree in Davos, Switzerland.  I’d like to play this cool – as if rubbing shoulders with politicians, business leaders and celebs is something I do all the time.  But the reality is that this is my first time to what ...

No Small Matter – a taste of the nanoscale

January 18, 2010

To accompany the review just posted of Felice Frankel and George Whitesides’ book “No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale” the authors kindly allowed me to post this series of excerpts.  What I wanted to capture here was the synergy between the images and the prose – and how together ...

No Small Matter – A connoisseur’s guide to delicate work

January 18, 2010

How do you write a book about something few people have heard off, and less seem interested in?  The answer, it seems, is to write about something else. Felice Frankel and George Whitesides have clearly taken this lesson to heart. Judged by the cover alone, their new book “No Small Matter:  ...

Daily Mail Science Reporting – Deconstructed

January 8, 2010

Hype, scare mongering, obfuscation and just plain misinformation – the scientific community are reasonably clear about what they think of Tabloid science reporting much of the time.  So I wasn’t too surprised to see the headline “‘Grey goo’ food laced with nanoparticles could swamp Britain” in today’s Daily Mail, following ...

UK House of Lords scrutinizes nanotechnology and food

January 7, 2010

Back in February of 2009, the UK House of Lords Science and Technology Committee launched an inquiry into the use of nanotechnology in food products and the food industry.  Chaired by Lord Krebs (the son of Hans Adolf Krebs – best known for describing the mechanisms of energy uptake and ...

Scientists and social media – This is not a case study

January 4, 2010

By Ruth Seeley, No Spin PR. A little over a year ago, Ruth Seeley – a freelance communications consultant – rather bravely approached me with a proposition:  She would help me develop a social media strategy for 2020 Science, if I would let her write the experience up as a ...

Ten emerging technology trends to watch over the next decade

December 25, 2009

Ten years ago at the close of the 20th century, people the world over were obsessing about the millennium bug – an unanticipated glitch arising from an earlier technology.  I wonder how clear it was then that, despite this storm in what turned out to be a rather small teacup, ...

Scientist just wants to have fun – a compendium of mindless games for the holiday season!

December 22, 2009

Brain-candy for the intellectually incapacitated. To help the brain cells recuperate from over-exertion (and quite possibly over-indulgence) this Holiday season, here’s a short compendium of mindless games – the sort of things scientists and others indulge in when they think no-one’s looking! The selection rules here were simple: Anything that didn’t hold ...

21st Century Tech Governance? What would Ned Ludd do?

December 18, 2009

By Jim Thomas, ETC Group A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series For a fresh perspective on how to do technology governance consider starting somewhere else. I suggest York Castle in Northern England – a stark stone tower from the thirteenth century. It was here in 1812 that the ...

Innovation in the dock

December 18, 2009

By Tim Jackson, University of Surrey, UK A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series Are we a clever species or a stupid one?  It’s not a trivial question. Put our society in the dock with a jury of our future peers and the verdict would be far from ...

Reversing the Technological Dilemma

December 17, 2009

By George Kimbrell, International Center for Technology Assessment, and the Center for Food Safety A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series Andrew asked us to write about “how technological innovation should contribute to life in the 21st century.”  Technological innovation is often blindly referred to as “progress.”  The ...

Ecology and Nanotechnology

December 17, 2009

By Richard Worthington, Loka Institute A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series My first scholarly engagement with environmental politics was an honor’s thesis written while I was an undergraduate at Berkeley in the early 1970s.  Back then, the term “environmentalist” was frequently deployed to profile someone held to ...

A new era of responsible innovation

December 16, 2009

By Richard Owen, University of Westminster, UK A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series This article was first published in Planet Earth, an award-winning magazine funded and published by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).  It is reproduced here with permission from Planet Earth and Richard Owen. ...

Stop and Think: A Luddite Perspective

December 16, 2009

By Jennifer Sass Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series We need make sure that harmful or untested nano-scale chemicals are not manufactured or commercialized in ways that may lead to human exposures or environmental releases. I know, I know, I ...

Innovation for a well-fed world – what role for technology?

December 15, 2009

By Geoff Tansey A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series Andrew posed the question, “How should technology innovation contribute to life in the 21st century?” For me, working on creating a well-fed world, the short answer is: in a way that supports a diverse, fair and sustainable food system ...

Beyond safety: some bigger questions about new technologies

December 15, 2009

By Georgia Miller, Friends of the Earth Australia A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series The promise that a given new technology will deliver environmentally benign electricity too cheap to meter, end hunger and poverty, or cure disease is very seductive. That is why the claims are made ...

Innovation for whom? Innovation for what? The Impact of Ableism

December 14, 2009

By Gregor Wolbring A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series First let me thank Andrew for inviting me to write a piece for his blog. Andrew states that his blog is about “how technology innovation should contribute to living in the 21st century” and about “providing a clear ...

Biopolitics for the 21st Century

December 14, 2009

By Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, Associate Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series Much appreciation is due to Andrew for his courage in soliciting “alternative perspectives” on technology innovation and life in the 21st century.  I can’t help but observe ...