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Nano Envy

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After three years of panels, meetings, widespread media coverage, visits from Governor Pataki and Senator Clinton, industrial partnerships from IBM, Tokyo Electron, Intel and others and millions in construction and development of a state-of-the-art research facility for students and faculty…a professor professes that he now questions “the development of the School of Nanosciences and Nanoengineering at the university”.

The accompanying video suggest said professor is concerned that resources from other departments may be compromised and things just aren’t “fully understood”…

Another Professor, this one a physicist and a nano advocate says, “What I think has occurred is that there is a great deal of confusion on the part of a limited number of faculty. And I think it’s unfortunate that they’ve taken the bully pulpit.”

Just as I showed last July, as much as nanoscience stands to bring together disparate disciplines, the humanities and those not receiving government funding from the National Nanotech Initiative will stage such divisive laments.

This is nothing new. A vested interest dictates each of our agendas. Some will always be threatened by change and oppose or ignore potential benefits to avoid uprooting the warm routine comfort of the status quo. (read also as: “i want a piece of the pie, but i don’t want to get up to get it. and if i can’t have some, you can’t either…”

The letter below was ALLEGEDLY (although some have strongly suggested it is a HOAX) Martinvan_buren_JoshWolfe.jpg
sent to President Andrew Jackson from New York State Governor Martin Van Buren on January 31, 1829.

True or not, it captures a sentiment that represents a vested interest against a very important change at that time, not unlike our time today.


Dear President Jackson:

The canal system of this country is being threatened by the spread of a new form of transportation known as ‘railroads.’ The federal government must preserve the canals for the following reasons:

One. If canal boats are supplanted by ‘railroads,’ serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, drivers, hostlers, repairmen and lock tenders will be left without means of livelihood, not to mention the numerous farmers now employed in growing hay for the horses. canal_JoshWolfe.jpg

Two. Boat builders would suffer and towline, whip and harness makers would be left destitute.

Three. Canal boats are absolutely essential to the defense of the United States. In the event of the expected trouble with England, the Erie Canal would be the only means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war. As you may well know, Mr. President, ‘railroad’ carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of fifteen miles per hour by ‘engines’ which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children.

The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.

Martin Van Buren
Governor of New York

Women and children! National defense! Invoking religious doctrine! Destruction of jobs!…

Time marches on…

(Josh Wolfe, NYC)

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