Tag Archives: Catherine McCarthy

May 2010 issue of The Nano Bite, the NISE Net newsletter

It’s National Children’s Book Week in the US this week which I know because of the NISE Net (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network) May 2010 newsletter. From the newsletter,

What’s Smaller than a Pygmy Shrew? by Robert E. Wells An examination of the very small, down to molecules, atoms, electrons, and quarks.  In addition, the University of Wisconsin-Madison MRSEC developed a lesson plan for middle schoolers based on the book.
Is that Robot Real? by Rae Ostman, Catherine McCarthy, Emily Maletz and Stephen Hale. Learn what makes a robot a robot, then step down in size and find out which robots are real and which are science fiction.  You can download Is that Robot Real for free from the nisenet.org catalog here or purchase it from lulu.com or amazon.com.   In other robot- and children’s book-related news: Kim Duncan adapted the NISE Net’s Shrinking Robots! program for Story Time Science at the Madison Children’s Museum.  The adaptation includes a reading of Hello, Robots by Bob Staacke.  You can find the full adaptation in the comments section of the Shrinking Robots! program on nisenet.org.
→ How Small is Nano: Measuring Different Things by Catherine McCarthy, Rae Ostman, Emily Maletz and Stephen Hale. This book can also be downloaded for free from the nisenet.org catalog or purchased at lulu.com or amazon.com.

For interested parties, NISE Net offers a program complete with lesson plan and images called Shrinking Robots, from the Shrinking Robots program,

Stickybot, photo and video: Mark Cutkosky, Stanford University

They have added something new to their catalog,

We recently posted a new program to the nisenet.org catalog: Nanosilver: Breakthrough or Biohazard? The presentation guides visitors through the questions What is nanosilver? Why is it used in consumer products such as teddy bears and food containers? and How safe is nanosilver, and how might it affect the environment?

This month’s Nano Haiku seems more like a NISE Net haiku,

Nano Haiku

Network friends, hello.
Are you social? Tell us where!
In your profile, please.
By Karen Pollard of the Science Museum of Minnesota.

One last item, Clark Miller has posted about human enhancement on the NISE Net blog. Miller is the Associate Director of the Arizona State University (ASU), Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. From his April 27, 2010 post,

The pursuit of science to enhance human performance raises profound questions for society. Yet, according to a recent study we conducted at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU, knowledge about nanotechnology and human enhancement is extremely low. This suggests the topic might be a good one for science museums to tackle. The full results of our survey will be published soon, but if any of you would like to find out more about the findings or are thinking about developing an exhibit or program around human enhancement, I’d be glad to talk further.

Perhaps the most important finding from the study is that the US public is, overall, quite skeptical regarding the prospect of human enhancement. This might be expected of sports, given the negative press that steroid use has gotten in recent years, but survey respondents also strongly objected to the use of enhancement technologies that would help in getting a job, taking a college entrance exam, or running for public office.

I have posted on this topic most recently here and in a four part series July 22, 2009, July 23, 2009, July 24, 2009 and  July 27, 2009. Gregor Wolbring at the University of Calgary writes on this issue extensively (from his blog called: Nano and Nano- Bio, Info, Cogno, Neuro, Synbio, Geo, Chem…),

Hi everybody, My name is Gregor Wolbring. I am an Ableism ethics and governance scholar, a biochemist, ethicist, governance of science and technology scholar , ability studies and governance scholar, disability studies,health research, implications of Nanotechnology, Converging Technologies, Synthetic Biology scholar. Beside that I am interested in social entrepreneurship, working with youth, social implications, human rights. My webpage is here; My biweekly column at innovationwatch.com is here ; My new blog on Ableism Ethics and Governance; A blog to which I also contribute called What Sorts of People

Andy Miah from the University of the West of Scotland also writes extensively on the topic of human enhancement here. From his About page,

“Andy Miah is the Renaissance man of the enhancement enlightenment”
Kristi Scott, H+ Magazine, 2009

My research is informed by an interest in applied ethics and policy related to emerging technology. I have spent considerable time researching the Internet along with human enhancement technologies. This includes the implications of pervasive wireless connectivity and the convergence of technological systems and the modification of biological matter through nanotechnology and gene transfer. Many of these studies are increasingly transdisciplinary and being characterised as NBIC (nano-bio-info-cognitive) inquiries. Recent work has particularly examined the role of art and design in an era of biotechnology, often described as bioart or transgenic art.

I have published over 100, solo-authored academic articles in refereed journals, books, e-zines, and national media press, recently including Bioethics and Film, Medical Enhancement and Posthumanity, and Politics and Leisure. I also write for leading newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Guardian, Le Monde, the Times Higher Education Supplement. …

Both Gregor and Andy offer some thought-provoking perspectives for anyone interested in the area of human enhancement.