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About this blog

It's almost nine in the morning on a dismally gray day and I'm sitting in the upstairs lobby of the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. I'm here for the First Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology, sponsored by the Foresight Institute. And this blog is my attempt to describe what's going on here for the outside world.

See, I'm the managing editor of The New Atlantis, a journal about the political, social, ethical, and philosophical implications of advances in science and technology, published by the Ethics and Public Policy Center. I'm interested in nanotechnology and have written about it for the journal (see, for instance, "The Nanotechnology Revolution," from our Summer 2003 issue), and I'm going to be speaking at this conference on Sunday. I'm hoping this conference will be a good opportunity to meet some people doing cutting-edge work in nanotech theory and policy, and maybe something useful for the journal -- perhaps a short article -- will come out of it.

But over the last few weeks, I've also come to think that this conference could be an opportunity to publicize some of the thinking in the nano field and to explain it to those who, like me, are interested laymen. And there's a lot of explaining that needs to be done. Nanotech is an emerging technology that holds great promise but carries great risks. Even though much of the work on nanotechnology has barely begun, the past couple of years have seen the rise of critics who (on the one hand) downplay or discredit the entire field, and (on the other hand) hype the disasters that nano could bring.

So I've created this blog as a project chiefly to improve the public understanding of nanotechnology, and to help ground the discussion -- about both the promise and perils -- in facts and honest discussion.

There is a secondary goal here, too: I'm going to try to test the limits and usefulness of liveblogging, or newsblogging, or conferenceblogging (an unwieldy neologism). Professor Glenn Reynolds, the InstaPundit, among others, has pushed the concept of bloggers as news collectors, and I hope to put that idea to the test. So this is a sort of media experiment, too.

I'll have more to say in a few minutes -- including pictures and video -- but I've got to go downstairs to register and grab some breakfast.

October 22, 2004 in Commentary | Permalink


Hey Adam,

Given the intensity of the conference, maybe for the next one (provided you attend and blog again), perhaps tag-teaming the presentations, and using several individuals for commentary would make it easier?

I cannot imagine how hard it must be to a) take notes, b) shoot video (or stills), c) distill the presentations into short bites, and d) not suffer some brain damage.

Best of luck with the remainder of the conference. I look forward to reading your insights and commentary.

Posted by: Rocky Rawstern | Oct 22, 2004 6:22:50 PM

Good Lord! Can you write a sentence without a comma? Just once? Please? I know you can do it because your sentences often require no commas at all!

Posted by: Anga2010 | Oct 24, 2004 10:24:17 AM

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