Nanotechnology in Perspective

Nanotechnology, lauded by enthusiasts in its 1990s heyday, has proved to be a mixed success. However, what has come with its inception is the finding that nano-particles are more toxic than considered previously.

These nanoparticles are all chemicals that range in particle size: 10 Angstroms to 250 Angstroms in diameter.

Many nanoparticles have been identified as toxic— with the following passage taken as representative from the article.

Toxicity of Nanoparticles in the journal (2014)  Current Medicinal Chemistry

with Maria Antonietta Zoroddu as the lead author—

“Several adverse properties have been unveiled for nanomaterials that were previously regarded as safe in their bulk form. A few for all, silver that is known for its antibacterial activity, has cytotoxic effect higher than that of asbestos when in the nano form and it is now reported to be toxic to animal cells as well as to humans [160,161]; TiO2, that is quite inert as a bulk material, becomes extremely dangerous when designed in a long wire shape and as a fiber that is longer than a lung macrophage is capable of sequestering. In addition, it is noteworthy that low doses (10 mg/m3 ) of 20 nm diameter sized of inhaled TiO2 nanoparticles resulted in a greater lung tumor incidence than exposure to higher doses (250 mg/m3 ) of 300 nm diameter sized particles. TiO2 nanoparticles with diameter larger than 100 nm are considered inert material both in humans and animals.”

The two cited references in passage come from the following:

[160] Gatti, A. M. Biocompatibility of micro- and nano-particles in the colon. Part II. Biomaterials, 2004, 25(3), 385-392.

[161] Soto, K.F.; Carrasco, A.; Powell, T.G.; Garza, K.M.; Murr, L.E. Comparative in vitro cytotoxicity assessment of some manufactured nanoparticulate materials characterized by transmission electron microscopy. J. Nanopart. Res., 2005, 7(2-3), 145-169.

Nanoparticles are particles of the following size— 10 Angstroms to 250 Angstroms where the sizes of individual chemical bonds are approximately 2-3 Angstroms. (One Angstrom is 0.0000001 meters)  The width of one human hair is approximately 0.00005 meters.

Part of the Nano-toxicology realization is the rush to market has proved to be the Achilles heel to the chemical sciences. Herbicides, insecticides, and many other chemical products have been rushed to market without proper toxicological analyses in the past.

 

carbon-nanotube

Interior of a carbon nanotube. Carbon nanotechnology is one of the foundations of Nanotechnology. Single walled carbon nanotubes are far stronger than spider silk and surpass the tensile strength of steel. Image by John A. Jaksich

Other representative references follow:

From the prestigious journal: Angewandte Chemie International English Edition devoted a  single 2016 issue to the problem of Nanotoxicology.

A partial list of contents follows:

Physical Effects ENPs in Aquatic Toxicity Tests

The Influence of the Dissolved Fraction on the Aquatic Toxicity of ENPs

Uptake, Internalization, and Translocation of Engineered Nanoparticles in Aquatic Organisms

Known Mechanisms of  ENP Ecotoxicity — The Question of Particle Properties

Implications of ENP Behavior in Guideline Tests for Assessment of Chemical Safety

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Extending High School to Five Years: A Grown-up’s Opinion

While many 17-18 year old young adults look forward to leaving their parent’s nest, it is precisely that flight from home that needs inspection.

Too many young adults find themselves in situations that they would not have ever dreamt of. From drunk driving to other forms of mischief, this crowd finds itself making decisions that are dicey. The reasons for miscreant behavior can, in part, be found in their lack of maturity.

As I recall my foray into adult-hood, what sticks out the most is the dewey-eyed idealistic notions of what it meant to be an adult. I thought I was impervious to any bad decisions. I did not understand how any poor decisions  were to impact my future outlook and behavior for the next several years.

Other pertinent reasons– mental health issues manifest themselves in the early years of adulthood. The on-set of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are two illnesses that (if unchecked) can be deadly.

 

Early Adult Behavior

Early adult-hood is fraught with mistakes that can scar the human soul. Why not give these 17-18 year olds time to understand their actions do have implications. Image by John A. Jaksich

Some fairly heavy stuff can happen when you are 17-18 years old — so I am making the following suggestion:

 

Let’s make our 17-18 year children spend one extra year in High School, as volunteers in service to either their country, their state, their community, or their religious faith.

This is not as stupid as it may sound to some. Let’s give them the latitude to make their mistakes but with fewer scars. Who would not want to turn back and reverse the mistakes made as a 17-18 year old? Mistakes made as an early adult can and do affect you. I am just arguing in favor of letting our new-adults learn about life without the scars that can adversely affect them.

 

Peace in the coming New Year-

John

Human Rights January

A new year is upon us. As the old year is set to expire, planning and execution of what is important for the coming 12 months should be considered. For me, January is a “Human Rights” month.

Each month, I will pick an individual that I believe epitomizes the best of the human condition (dead or alive). In January of 2018, my pick is Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. is one of my heroes. His views on civil rights and non-violence are an inspiration. His struggles to achieve his goals are well documented. From facing down water cannons and klansmen to dealing with uncooperative individuals from the government, his life is one of a profile of courage and hope (to borrow the phrase from JFK).

While his Dream speech at the foot of the Lincoln memorial is one that many will remember, there are aspects of his inspiration that few heard of nor knew of. He realized that the dream he shared with so many was part of a long nightmare– (the following is taken from a Christmas sermon broadcast by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation):

… If there is to be peace on earth and good will toward men, we must finally believe in the ultimate morality of the universe, and believe that all reality hinges on moral foundations. Something must remind us of this as we once again stand in the Christmas season and think of the Easter season simultaneously, for the two somehow go together. Christ came to show us the way. Men love darkness rather than the light, and they crucified him, and there on Good Friday on the cross it was still dark, but then Easter came, and Easter is an eternal reminder of the fact that the truth-crushed earth will rise again. Easter justifies Carlyle in saying, “No lie can live forever.” And so this is our faith, as we continue to hope for peace on earth and good will toward men: let us know that in the process we have cosmic companionship.

In 1963, on a sweltering August afternoon, we stood in Washington, D.C., and talked to the nation about many things. Toward the end of that afternoon, I tried to talk to the nation about a dream that I had had, and I must confess to you today that not long after talking about that dream I started seeing it turn into a nightmare. I remember the first time I saw that dream turn into a nightmare, just a few weeks after I had talked about it. It was when four beautiful, unoffending, innocent Negro girls were murdered in a church in Birmingham, Alabama. I watched that dream turn into a nightmare as I moved through the ghettos of the nation and saw my black brothers and sisters perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity, and saw the nation doing nothing to grapple with the Negroes’ problem of poverty. I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched my black brothers and sisters in the midst of anger and understandable outrage, in the midst of their hurt, in the midst of their disappointment, turn to misguided riots to try to solve that problem. I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched the war in Vietnam escalating, and as I saw so-called military advisors, sixteen thousand strong, turn into fighting soldiers until today over five hundred thousand American boys are fighting on Asian soil. Yes, I am personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hopes, but in spite of that I close today by saying I still have a dream, because, you know, you can’t give up in life. If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream. …

(Excerpt taken from

http://www.ecoflourish.com/Primers/education/Christmas_Sermon.html

The sermon was  broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Christmas Eve 1967)

 

As can be inferred by my quotation (below) and passage choices, Martin Luther King Jr. never ever gave up. He understood that to persist in times of trouble, there had to be an overarching sense of purpose in the face of overwhelming odds.

For some of us, individuals like MLK Jr. hold inspiration – although we may not have the same trials— but their life of example is one to imitate. A better version of ourselves.

Lincoln Memorial

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” –MLK Jr.

 

Are we truly free –or do we submit to the paean of the many? Traveling a road less traveled is normally far harder than would appear. Can we sacrifice selfish desires?

A Day in the Anthropocene

While the images like the Aurora borealis (seen below) are common to many of us. A lot of us recognize it as a scientific phenomena – It is one where the magnetic field of the Earth is excited by solar particles of our Sun.

The phenomenon is viewed as beautiful, and feelings of warmth and love are attributed to its viewing.

In many ways, there is a dichotomy to understanding our world. One of feeling and sentiment and one of analytical understanding based upon rationalism.

The dichotomy of the views present a problem– one can be said to think of the world in one of two ways. However, we can rectify the dichotomy. Rectifying the views requires wisdom.

This wisdom we need utilizing both rationalization and emotional/feeling — bringing together both to an understanding.

The present solutions to our problems are based upon concepts of Sustainability. Will we be wise enough to use the Paradigm of Sustainability to ensure that our progeny can thrive?

HOPE and BELIEF in a GREATER GOOD

Can wisdom sustain humanity’s future? Image by John A. Jaksich.

Many problems that require humanity’s wisdom begin with solutions based upon hope. In this present era, it is known as the (era of Man) Anthropocene. It is fraught with pain and anxiety.

This Era of Man is a wake-up call for all.

Whether it is a La Nina driven hurricane slamming into the Yucatan Peninsula or an extreme high tide inundating the Florida Keys, the effects of human-driven climate change will affect more than just local populations.  From journals to popular best-sellers, our planet’s challenges are documented.

Answers for the Anthropocene are based upon Sustainability—

Sustainability is the means of meeting the needs of the present while preserving biodiversity and the natural ecosystems for future generations.

A major issue surrounding the paradigm of sustainability is the lack of a crystal ball that the approach is meant to address. Let’s face it, when addressing the preparedness of humanity to take on disasters of their own making, our own track record is poor. Putting it succinctly: We can not solve today’s problems with yesterday’s technologies.  

I do have hope, however. I will not give in nor surrender.

Ramblings, Statements, and Opinions — Christmas Message!

Ramblings of History

The world has not quite been the same since the multiple jets  hit sites in the US on September 11, 2001 and unfortunately, the terror continues well into 2016.

The jihad  is much like a that of a desperate, cornered beast. Their war on the West can be said to be one of  nomads desperately seeking to turn back time. Let me explain.(1)

When the hordes of Genghis Khan swept from Asia into Europe, their attacks were that of a nomadic tribe seeking to displace the Romans from parts of their Empire. The Romans, for what little credit they are given, were a civilized society. (Yes, the Romans were barbaric but they laid the foundation for modern Western society.)

The hordes of Genghis Khan were a nomadic collection of warriors mounted on horseback. They originated in what is now the Mongolia-China region of the world. Nomads are feudal tribes — they do not farm nor herd cattle nor sheep. They subsist through violence and terror. Much like the jihadists, I believe a fair comparison can be drawn to the hordes of Genghis Khan.

The eventual decay and demise of the Romans had multiple factors, but  the Mongolian horde hastened the Roman demise. The demise of Rome led to a power vacuum where Rome once dominated.

When Christianity filled the power vacuum left by the Romans, it was a natural order of civilization. Christianity (given its merits and faults) helped to stabilize the regions once held by Rome.

Lessons of the Early 21st Century

The military responses of the West against terrorist cells have crippled the abilities of the jihadists — but as the decade wore through the 2000s to 2016– the mood of the public has changed. In Africa, jihadists are still strong; however, much of the world is not concerned with Africa. Presently there a few resources to exploit.

As long as we are incapable to mount a full response in areas that lack economic resources, our actions are mute. It reeks of shallowness

and of greed. In other regions of the world, Nationalism has spurred Nazi sympathies.

And the following question might be appropriate–

Power Vacuums and Political Instability?

Parts of the Mid-East and parts of Africa are still populated with terrorist cells. Much of the Mid-East is unstable, as well.

The Arab Spring coupled with the rise of Nationalistic sympathies seem to have made instabilities though much of the world.

I personally don’t believe that the West will fall. However, what is frightening is the poor humanitarian responses that Nationalistic sympathies seem to have brought. If the jihadists are to be defeated (or at least made to believe differently), they need reasons to do so. And, breast beating hegemony from parts of the US and other parts of the world will hasten further conflict.

We and much of the world are perched for armed conflict–in my humble opinion.

So, what do I believe should be done?

Seek a third path– While much of world seems perched with an unstable attitude and potentially toward war, Nationalistic sympathies need to be assuaged. The fomenting attitudes of Nationalism seemingly are based upon an attitude that says — the former status quo is not good and denying basic human rights to those who are suffering is justified.

Those who are presently fomenting hate need to be thrown out of power….before it is too late.

These patterns were seen prior to WWII– the Axis powers and used them to justify the slaughtering of Jews, gypsies, and many who were deemed unfit… (none-Aryan)

Well, as any student of history will tell you, anyone who does not understand their own mistakes will repeat them.

1. The Ascent of Man, Jacob Bronowski. BBC Publications 1973.

Jacob Bronowski (1908–1974) was a mathematician, biologist, science historian, and author. His well-known works include The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination and The Ascent of Man.