Tag Archives: nanotechnology

Is Progress Outpacing Precaution? Experts Weigh In

Illustration by An Arres.

No one expects the machinery of progress to roll backwards, but sometimes it seems that no one is watching the speedometer (or manning the brakes, assuming any exist).  Is this a fair assessment? If so, should we be worried — and what can we do about it?

In this feature, experts on technology, risk, science, policy and neuroscience discuss risk, innovation and how our values affect our conceptions of both.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
ASU Experts Weigh the Risks of Innovation

For Pancreatic Cancer, Biomarker Test Offers Chance for Early Detection

When cancer is detected,  the interaction of two nanoparticles creates a bright yellow signal (photo by Fei Lu, Houston Methodist Research Institute).

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States each year, in part because around four-fifths of cases go undetected until they have reached an advanced stage. But a new, biomarker-based test could soon change all that — and offer a way to monitor treatment outcomes.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Biomarker Test Offers Hope For Early Detection Of Pancreatic Cancer

Time-Warp: The Unfolding Story of 4-D Printing

Image of printing press with legs holding a quill
It’s probably something like this.

4-D printing remains in its early stages, It’s certainly too early to tell if  it’s anything more than a buzzword, let alone if its promise will translate into practicality. But the sorts of people who bet on these kinds of things are betting on it.

And why not? Suppose a structure could unfold itself, like origami. Imagine if walls could flex or stiffen in response to shifting loads, or if a buried pipe could change shape to accommodate varying water flows — or to pump water via peristalsis, like your digestive system. Through 4-D printing, nothing is set in stone unless you want it to be.

How 4-D Printing Works

You Shall Not Pass: Making the Most of Your Passport

A British biometric passport.
A British biometric passport.

The idea of a document that extends protections over subjects as they travel is old — as in, Old Testament old. But the standardized booklet that we now use for establishing identity and citizenship when crossing international borders has only been with us for about a century. More to the point, in the post-9/11 world, it’s become a lot more important.

In this article, I cover the ins and outs of how to get one, when you’ll need one, and what to do if you lose one.  Along the way, I’ll pass along some travel tips, discuss passport alternatives and help you protect your children from  abduction across national borders.

How Passports Work 

The James Webb Space Telescope Prepares to Peer Past Hubble

Artist's rendering of JWST
Artist’s rendering. Image courtesy NASA.

For two decades, the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope helped pierce the veil of time, image stellar nurseries and prove that galaxies collide. Now, the James Webb Space Telescope stands poised to take those observations to the next level, making the delicate observations possible only in the cold, dark spaces beyond the moon.

Slated for a 2018 launch date and team-built by 14 countries, 27 states and the District of Columbia, Webb will take astronomers closer to the beginning of time than ever before, granting glimpses of sights long hypothesized but never seen, from the birth of galaxies to light from the very first stars. Join us as we explore…

How the James Webb Space Telescope Will Work