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Nano Nano

October 15, 2010

Rheanna Sand

 

Is nanotechnology good for anything? Can something tiny enough to be wrapped around a human hair have any relevance to society? The short answer is YES. A longer answer is best delivered in a list. So, here are my personal top five picks for nano in the news:

 

1. Invisible planes

 

What would make a plane ride more relaxing but being able to see right through the fuselage as if you were hurtling through the air at 500 kph? That was one idea from Boeing that didn't get as much support as using nanotechnology to get a plane from Brisbane to New York in 12 minutes.

 

 

2. Instant clean air

Nanotechnology and filters go together like peas and tiny, tiny carrots. With pore sizes one millionth of a millimeter, pesky small pathogens like viruses and bacteria can finally be excluded. Nanofilters also make it possible to drink your own urine without shame. I mean, if you HAD to.

 

3. Capturing the sun


Chemical engineers at Boston's MIT have developed nanotubes that are capable of concentrating solar energy 100 times more than a regular photovoltaic cell. Does this mean that someday "solar power" won't be synonymous with "shitty calculator" or "hippie witchcraft?" I hope so.

 

4. Nano Bible

 

It sounds like an Arcade Fire album, but it’s a real nano-sized Hebrew Bible printed on a silicon surface no bigger than the head of a pin. The words were engraved by the collision of a particle beam with the thin gold surface, digging marks a few hundred atoms wide. The nano Bible was presented to Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, but there are rumours that the real nano Bible was accidentally inhaled by an engineer upon the excitement of completing the technological marvel, and that Pope Benedict actually owns a tiny shard of peppercorn. The statement "there are rumours" meaning, of course, that I am starting them now.

 

 


5. Destroying humanity


Nanotechnology is obviously going to save the world, so why are people fussing about "health risks"? Oh right, because they display toxicity in animals and humans and are nearly impossible to remove from the environment. That, and the fact that common materials like aluminum and titanium dioxide arranged into nano-sized particles gain exciting new properties, like the ability to explode. Go nano!

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