Tag Archives: Victor Castano

Mexico, nano, and bombs

Violence in pursuit of a cause is not unusual. With a goal in sight, often it’s freedom of one kind or another, people will revert to violence to achieve their ends, especially when they feel there are no alternatives and/or are under attack. However, violence in pursuit of some vague worldview is more difficult to understand (at least, it is for me).

An anarchist group (ITS, aka, Individuals Tending to Savagery) has again claimed ‘credit’ for violence against scientists in Mexico. From Robert Beckhusen’s Mar. 12, 2013 article about the ITS and the violence for Wired magazine (Note: A link has been removed),

Over the past two years, Mexican scientists involved in bio- and nanotechnology have become targets. They’re not threatened by the nation’s drug cartels. They’re marked for death by a group of bomb-building eco-terrorists with the professed goal of destroying human civilization.

The group, which goes by the name Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje (ITS), posted its manifesto to anarchist blog Liberacion Total last month. The manifesto takes credit for a failed bombing attempt that month against a researcher at the Biotechnology Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. And the group promises more.

ITS posted on Feb. 18, 2013 on the War On Society blog something called the Seventh communique from Individualists Tending toward the Wild (ITS)  (Gabriella Segata Antolini is named as the poster)

The aim of this text is to make our stance clear, continuing the work of spreading our ideas, clearing up some apparent doubts and misinterpretations, as well as accepting mistakes and/or errors. In no way do we want to start an endless discussion that only takes up time and energy, nor do we want this text to turn into something other than what it is. Anyone who reads it will be able to interpret correctly (or incorrectly) what they are aiming to read; the intelligent reader will know to reflect and consequently do what seems right to them.

ITS is not going to cover every person or group’s forms of thought, but the ones we respect, that we tolerate, is something else; the ideas, doctrines, stances (etc) that deserve critiques (because we are in disagreement with them [being that they cover discourses that are leftist, progressivist, irrational, religious, etc]) will be mentioned in this way; the ones that don’t, we will let pass or agree with.

All the texts that ITS has made public are not for society to “wake up and decide to attack the system,” they are not to forcibly change what the others think, nothing like this is intended; the lines we write are for the intelligent, strong individuals who decide to see reality in all its rawness, for those few who form, think and carry out the sensible critique of the highest expression of domination–the Techno-industrial System (a).

And so that our words, critiques, clarifications and statements are made known as they have been spread up to now, we have decided (until now) to take the next step, which has been to attack and try to kill the key persons who make the system improve itself. [emphasis mine]

This is the only viable way for radical critiques to emerge in the public light, making pressure so this discourse comes to the surface. We are extremists and we act as such, without compassion, without remorse, taking any means to reach our objectives.

It’s a lengthy, rambling communiqué that provides little insight into what would motivate anyone to “attack and kill.”

Beckhusen attempts to make some sense of the situation in Mexico with references to the Unabomber (a US citizen who developed a radical critique of technology and bombed various facilities) and trends within Latin American societies.

In a couple of 2012 articles for Nature (May 28, 2012 and Aug. 29, 2012), Leigh Phillips discussed and tried to make some sense of the ITS attacks in Mexico and the attacks in Europe, which were carried out by different extremist groups who do not appear to be connected, by giving it a global perspective.

Meanwhile, nanotechnology continues to be practiced and discussed in Mexico. A Mar. 13, 2012 news item on Azonano notes a recent meeting,

Nano Labs Corp. is pleased to report on the Fifteenth Meeting of the ISO/TC 229 Nanotechnologies Conference held last week [Mar. 4 - 8, 2013?] in Queretaro City, Mexico.

Nano Labs was proud to sponsor two important events in the field of international regulations of nanotechnology, in the colonial City of Queretaro, in Central Mexico. The first was a joint Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/ International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Expert Meeting on Physical-Chemical Properties of Manufactured Nanomaterials and Test Guidelines, and the second the 15th Meeting of ISO/TC 229 Nanotechnologies by the ISO Secretariat.

“… One of the major issues of the ISO conference is to establish a global ISO standard and regulate the safety issues related to the production and uses of nano particles in the manufacturing process on a global scale,” stated Dr. Victor Castano, Chief Innovations Officer of Nano Labs, who attended the conference.

Mexico also recently hosted a conference for the European Commission’s NanoForArt project, which I mentioned in a Mar. 1, 2013 posting,

The Feb. 2013 conferences in Mexico as per a Feb. 27, 2013 Agencia EFE news item on the Global Post website featured (Note: Links have been removed),

Baglioni [Piero Baglioni, a researcher and professor at the University of Florence] and Dr. Rodorico Giorgi, also of the University of Florence, traveled to Mexico earlier this month to preside over a conference on Nanotechnology applied to cultural heritage: wall paintings/cellulose, INAH [Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia] said.

I don’t know that there is any sense to be made of the situation in Mexico (certainly I can’t do it). The ITS communiqué doesn’t provide much insight. My guess is that this is a small group of people who will seem rather pathetic once they are caught—any power derived from their clandestine, violent activities disappeared.

For my previous postings about the bombings in Mexico:

Nanotechnology terrorism in Mexico? (Aug. 11, 2011)

In depth and one year later—the nanotechnology bombings in Mexico (Aug. 31, 2012)

ETC group replies to Nature’s “Nanotechnology: Armed resistance” article (Oct. 11, 2012)

While this isn’t strictly speaking on topic, I did cover a fascinating study on right wing violence in this posting,

Higher education and political violence (Sept. 23, 2010)

New thinking applied to nail polish

According to a Dec. 15, 2012 news item on Nanowerk, a nanotechnology-enabled nail polish has received a provisional patent,

Nano Labs Corp. announced it has been awarded a provisional patent number61,735,705 for its original nano nail polish and lacquer, the third advanced nanotechnology product the Company has introduced in as many months.

“We’ve brought new thinking to a whole new product,” said Dr. Victor Castano, CEO of Innovation at Nano Labs. “The nano lacquer – or nail polish – is a nanohybrid compound, which is a rather new concept. In the past, bringing different chemical mixtures together could be problematic. … With the nail polish, we’ve taken ceramics – which provide excellent hardness and high scratch and chip resistance – and mixed them with polymer and metallic nano particles. The result is a material that is flexible but strong, non-toxic, and eco-friendly. Not to mention it can hold a great range of colours and sheen.”

Nano Labs promotes the nail polish as twice as durable conventional products. It dries to a very hard state, and resists shock, cracking, scratching, and chipping. It offers superior ease of application, quick drying film formation, and high coverage and adhesion, with bright, vivid colours and high gloss. It also offers the flexibility of a wide spectrum of colour – introduced at the nano level – with pigments including gold, silver, titanium, and other metals and oxides with a wide range of tones. Its elasticity allows for easy and effective application to nail curves without cracking. Nano Labs has also removed toxic solvents from the nail polish equation thanks to material that quickly evaporates, with no toxicity.

Nano Labs noticed that existing products produce a physical adhesion to the natural or plastic nail. The new nano nail polish produces a chemical adhesion which is about a 1,000 times stronger and requires significantly less coverage. Therefore you are getting a better color, coat, and longer-lasting finish.

The removal of the nail polish also required a new way of thinking. How to create a solution to remove the nano nail polish that wasn’t harsh on the nails or the person as traditional cleaners. While conventional nail polish removers will remove the nano nail polish, Dr. Castano and his team created a non-toxic, solvent which removes the nano nail polish without the traditional harsh effects and toxicity of conventional cleaners.

There are no more technical details in the news item or on the company (Nano Labs) website. In fact, the company website  doesn’t yet (as of Dec. 17, 2012 1000 hours PST) have a posted news release about this development. According to the news item on Nanowerk,

At the request of a major American manufacturer and distributor the company has completed its nano-technological lacquer research and filed patent applications (File Number – 61,735,705). Further disclosure will be made upon completion of the pending licensing agreement with the 3rd parties. [emphasis mine]

“The nano nail polish is a very important example of Nano Labs in action and the importance of our patents.” explains Mr. Bernardo Camacho, President of Nano Labs, “Without going into the technical data and formulas, there is a very narrow range of chemical properties, compositions, phase separations, and segregations that need to applied to create these types of products correctly. The only way to put these items together is in this narrow band, which is complicated, and is protected in our patent. [emphasis mine] We look forward to introducing the product to the global marketplace with partners in the cosmetic industry.”

The emphasis on the narrow band within which this nail polish innovation can occur and the company’s soon-to-be patent protection seems at odds with the company philosophy as stated by Dr. Castano,

“Our philosophy of green chemistry and using friendly organics allows us to focus on sustainable products that are less toxic and harmful to customers who are trending more and more toward healthier, environmentally sound consumer options,” Dr. Castano said.

The issue isn’t the patent so much as what appears to be an attempt by the company to ‘own’ all innovation in a niche they have defined in their patent. If the focus is “healthier, environmentally sound consumer options,” then surely, the company wants a patent that allows them to profit from their innovation while spurring more ‘green options’.

One final note, Nano Labs is a very young company having been founded in Oct. 2012.