In Manifesto, Mexican Eco-Terrorists Declare War on Nanotechnology


From Danger Room:

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.

“We have said it before, we act without any compassion in the feral defense of Wild Nature,” the manifesto states. “Did those who modify and destroy the Earth think their actions wouldn’t have repercussions? That they wouldn’t pay a price? If they thought so, they are mistaken.” The group threatens more bombings against Mexican scientists because “they must pay for what they are doing to the Earth.”

A violent fringe group with anarcho-primitivist views — its name roughly translates to “Individuals Tending to Savagery,” although “Tending to the Wild” might be more exact — ITS sees technology and civilization as essentially doomed and leading humanity to an ecological catastrophe. Technology should be destroyed; humans should revert to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle; and all of this, ITS says, is for our own good. Nanotechnology is a particular scourge: Self-replicating nanobots will one day escape from laboratories to consume the Earth; and weaponization of nanotech is inevitable.

Full Story: Wired Danger Room: In Manifesto, Mexican Eco-Terrorists Declare War on Nanotechnology

See also: Terror tactics: Science in the anarchists’ cross hairs

Photo: cosmopolita / CC

Nano Breakthrough Paves Way For Super Cheap Solar Panels

New from me at Wired, a graphene inspired photovoltaics breakthrough:

Two things hold back the mass adoption of solar energy as a source of sustainable energy. One is the need to store and transmit excess power, a problem people like Danielle Fong are working on solving by developing innovative new ways to store power. The other is the high cost of solar panels. One of the reasons solar panels are so expensive is that it’s tricky to extract electric currents from semiconductors, the materials used to convert solar radiation into electrical energy.

Up til now, this could only be done with a few materials — usually silicon. But a new breakthrough will enable manufacturers to make efficient photovoltaics using almost any semiconductor, including cheap and abundant materials like metal oxides, sulfides, and phosphides.

A typical photovoltaic cell is built with silicon and treated with chemicals. This treatment is called “doping,” and it creates the driving force needed to extract power from the cell. Photovoltaics can also be built with cheaper materials but many of these can’t be doped chemically. But a method developed by Professor Alex Zettl’s research group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley makes it possible to dope nearly any semiconductor by applying an electric field instead of chemicals. The method is described in a paper published in the journal Nano Letters.

Wired Enterprise: Nano Breakthrough Paves Way For Super Cheap Solar Panels

See also: Real-Life Steampunk Wants to Hack the Power Grid

Photo courtesy of Paul Takizawa, the Zettl Research Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley.

Using Swarm Intelligence to Build Targeted Anti-Cancer Nano-Drugs

Nanoparticles and insect swarms

The results of Geoffrey von Maltzahn et al. in their Nature Materials publication reveal that nanoparticles that communicate with each other can deliver more than 40-fold higher doses of chemotherapeutics (anti-cancer drugs) to tumors than nanoparticles that do not communicate can deliver. These results show the potential for nanoparticle communication to amplify drug delivery over that achievable by nanoparticles that work alone, similar to how insect swarms perform better as a group than the individual insects do on their own.

Scientific American: Learning from Insect Swarms: Smart Cancer Targeting

(via Social Physicist)

The Nanotech Breakthrough of the Decade?

roll out the nano

Bold claim from Jamais Cascio:

This is likely the biggest technological breakthrough of the year, arguably even of the decade.

A team of researcher from the University of Texas, Dallas, and Australia’s CSIRO has come up with a way to make strong, stable macroscale sheets and ribbons of multiwall nanotubes at a rate of seven meters per minute. These ribbons and sheets, moreover, already display — without optimization of the process — important electronic and physical properties, making them suitable for use in an enormous variety of settings, including artificial muscles, transparent antennas, video displays and solar cells — and many, many more. The breakthrough was announced in the latest edition of Science.

WorldChanging: Ribbons, Sheets and the Nanofuture

(via Chris Arkenberg)

Researchers Use Tensegrity to Create Self-Assembling, Transforming Nanodevices Made out of DNA

Diagram of nanodevice built out of DNA using tensegrity

By emulating nature’s design principles, a team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has created nanodevices made of DNA that self-assemble and can be programmed to move and change shape on demand. In contrast to existing nanotechnologies, these programmable nanodevices are highly suitable for medical applications because DNA is both biocompatible and biodegradable.

Harvard Medical School: Researchers create self-assembling nanodevices that move and change shape on demand

(via Edge of Tomorrow)

Artificial photosynthesis achieved with nanotechnology and a virus

Angela Belcher

A team of MIT researchers has found a novel way to mimic the process by which plants use the power of sunlight to split water and make chemical fuel to power their growth. In this case, the team used a modified virus as a kind of biological scaffold that can assemble the nanoscale components needed to split the hydrogen and oxygen atoms of a water molecule.

Splitting water is one way to solve the basic problem of solar energy: It’s only available when the sun shines. By using sunlight to make hydrogen from water, the hydrogen can then be stored and used at any time to generate electricity using a fuel cell, or to make liquid fuels (or be used directly) for cars and trucks.

MIT News: Viruses harnessed to split water

(via Edge of Tomorrow)

Computer-Controlled Swarm of Bacteria Builds Tiny Pyramid

bacteria build pyramid

Who needs nanobots when you can control a swarm of bacteria to do your bidding?

Researchers at the NanoRobotics Laboratory of the École Polytechnique de Montréal, in Canada, are putting swarms of bacteria to work, using them to perform micro-manipulations and even propel microrobots.

Led by Professor Sylvain Martel, the researchers want to use flagellated bacteria to carry drugs into tumors, act as sensing agents for detecting pathogens, and operate micro-factories that could perform pharmacological and genetic tests.

They also want to use the bacteria as micro-workers for building things. Things like a tiny step pyramid. […]

The bacteria, of a type known as magnetotactic, contain structures called magnetosomes, which function as a compass. In the presence of a magnetic field, the magnetosomes induce a torque on the bacteria, making them swim according to the direction of the field. Place a magnetic field pointing right and the bacteria will move right. Switch the field to point left and the bacteria will follow suit.

IEEE: Computer-Controlled Swarm of Bacteria Builds Tiny Pyramid

(via Popular Science via Edge of Tomorrow)

See also:

Researchers rapidly turn E. coli into biotech factories

Acidic Droplet Solves Maze

Acidic Droplet Solves Maze

A team led by Northwestern University chemistry professor Bartosz A. Grzybowski has shown that an acidic droplet can successfully navigate a complex maze.

“I personally find most exciting that such a simple system can exhibit apparently ‘intelligent’ behavior,” Louisiana State University chemistry professor John A. Pojman comments. “This approach may be useful as a pumping method for microfluidics or a way to convert chemical energy to mechanical motion in small devices. I am eager to see if they can generalize it to other types of gradients,” he says.

Chemical and Engineering News: Acidic Droplet Solves Maze

(via Fadereu)

Nanodrugs to target specific parts of the body

dr mario

The day when patients can “swallow their doctor” has come a step closer with the development of a submicroscopic nanoparticle that acts as an intelligent pill to deliver drugs when and where they are needed in the body.

Each nanoparticle is built to target a specific part of the body and to release their drugs in a controlled manner over a given period of time. They are so small that millions of them could be injected into the bloodstream without harming healthy tissues.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge have designed the first nanoparticles designed to target the walls of the arteries around the heart. They bind specifically to the proteins that only stick out from the inner lining of the these blood vessels when they are damaged.

Once the nanoparticles take up position in the diseased arteries they are programmed to release small quantities of drugs over several weeks or months to help cardiovascular patients to recover without exposing other parts of the body to much higher doses of potentially toxic drugs.

Under the weather? Just swallow a doctor

(via Disinfo)

Nanotechnology: Self-assembly Of Building Blocks Of DNA Can Now Be Easily Controlled

Nature has long perfected the construction of nanomachines, but David González and his fellow researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology and Utrecht University under the leadership of Spinoza Award winner Bert Meijer, have brought the construction of artificial supramolecular structures a step closer. The researchers managed to carefully control the self-assembly of guanosine, one of the building blocks of DNA.

The natural world is a shining example when it comes to the self-assembly of molecules. However, it has not disclosed all of its secrets yet. Controlling the shape and structure of self-assembled systems continues to be a stumbling block for scientists. Yet such structures, in which the different molecules cooperate with each other, can have unrivaled characteristics. Self-assembly could provide the way forward for the future mass production of nanomaterials, nanodrugs and nanoelectronics.

Science Daily: Nanotechnology: Self-assembly Of Building Blocks Of DNA Can Now Be Easily Controlled

(Via Chris Arkenberg)

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