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Thursday, February 13, 2003

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  • Jerry Katz
    Issue #1349 - Thursday, February 13, 2003 - Editor: Jerry This issue features a few things I like a lot, like beaches and apple crisp, and other things I take
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 14, 2003
      Issue #1349 - Thursday, February 13, 2003 - Editor: Jerry
      This issue features a few things I like a lot, like beaches and apple crisp, and other things I take an interest in. Interesting lengthy article on nanotechnology and ethics. Science writers take an article like that and write stories for popular newspapers, magazines and other media. How would a hard core nondualist science writer turn out such a story using the article? I don't know exactly, but themes of technology, ethics, what it means to be human, are also important in the genre of Japanese animation, of which Ghost in the Shell is an excellent example. I feel that people of all ages and throughout the world are familiar with these themes and while they may never be resolved once and for all, they come together to point to the ultimate question which resolves itself by being addressed. I am ... who?

      also see http://nonduality.com/anime.htm

      In the year 2029, the world is made borderless by the net; augmented humans live in virtual environments, watched over by law enforcement that is able to download themselves into super-powered, crime busting mecha.

      The ultimate secret agent of the future is not human, has no physical body and can freely travel the information highways of the world, hacking and manipulating whatever and whenever required.

      The agent, created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is designated code name Project 2501 and distanced from them under the pseudonym "The Puppet Master." 2501 seems to be the perfect solution to their international espionage requirements. Everything runs smoothly until this prototype virtual agent concludes it is a life form in its own right "born in a sea of information" and requests political asylum and true physical existence in defiance of its creator.

      The race is on to recapture the Top Secret Project 2501 before it succeeds in finding a host body and escapes for good. What the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hasn't counted on is the Puppet Master's cunning and reserve. It has threatened to expose their illegal creation (itself) to the Internal Bureau of Investigations who are unaware of its source, and regard the Puppet Master as a Grade A priority security threat. The two agencies maneuver discreetly against one another in a violent, high-tech race to capture the ever changing omnipresent Puppet Master.

      The Internal Bureau is unaware of the Puppet Master's persuasive ability to offer seductive hints at true freedom to their semi-cybernetic human agents, who are forced to question their own validity as human beings. One of these agents, Major Motoko Kusanagi, is a highly trained female agent sent to counter the Puppet Master's threat, will have to make the ultimate decision when the Puppet Master suggests a merger with her.

      While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are engaged in direct explosive confrontation, Kusanagi must decide if she will fulfill the Puppet Master's ultimate objective to become truly human and exist outside of the Electronic Net.

      Life at the Beach

      by Carol Horne

      What kind of beach goer are you?

      Blissed Out at the Beach

      This beach goer may be seen most often on white
      sand beaches, of which there are miles. Often
      in a prone, semi-conscious state, the
      blissed-out beach goer hears only the surf and
      the cries of the seagulls. Usually accompanied
      by sunscreen and paperback novel. 

      Gregarious Beach Goer

      This gregarious species enjoys social contact
      with other members of his flock and will
      gravitate to locations where friends and
      families may be found. Other possible landmarks
      for this group: ice cream stand, volleyball
      net, kites.

      The Beach Lover

      We have reason to believe that many of those
      people who successfully found companions in the
      personal ads take their "long walks on the
      beach" in Prince Edward Island. For this
      category, weather is not a factor, and pairs of
      beach lovers may be spotted hand in hand in all
      kinds of atmospheric conditions. Preferred
      shorelines often located near cottages and inns
      equipped with fireplace.

      The Multi-generational Beach Goer

      This clan loves the red and pink sands of the
      Island's southshore where all shapes and sizes
      are found playing in tidal pools, wading in the
      quiet, shallow water that is warm as bath
      water. Many members of this group are treasure
      seekers, finding snails, starfish, minnows and
      shells of all kinds.

      The Clam Digger

      Equipped with a bucket and shovel, the clam
      digger is looking for a delicious snack of
      steamed soft-shell bar clams or quahaugs. This
      group chases squirting holes all over the
      low-tide shore, capturing the delicious Island

      The Beach Hugger

      This beach goer is hungry for knowledge and
      wants to absorb all the fascinating facts of
      beach ecology, geology and archaeology. May be
      identified by his notebook, camera and

      The Beach Bird Watcher

      May be hard to spot, as members of this group
      are very still, attempting to blend into the
      landscape. Equipped with scope, binoculars,
      field guide and camera.

      Adventurer at Sea

      This shoreline species is more often spotted in
      or on the water. May be carrying a paddle,
      sailing on a board or found on the deck of an
      excursion boat. Sometimes equipped with a mask
      and snorkel. May be attired in colourful or
      rubberized clothing.

      The Beach Walker

      Miles of sand are the only requirement of this
      beach type, and they may be found at any of the
      province's miles of beaches. Beach walkers are
      comfortable in any type of clothing, but
      usually prefer bare feet. Many have fallen into
      a meditative state, and may be observed staring
      off toward the horizon, or down into the
      hypnotic patterns of the waves.

      The Beach Camper

      A species that likes to fall asleep lulled by
      the sound of the surf, and wake to the cry of
      seabirds. The beach camper does not mind sand
      in his hot dogs, lumpy sleeping bags or even
      the odd evening mosquito. The beach camper may
      be identified by his massive collection of
      gear; coolers and lawn chairs, toys and
      umbrellas are the usual accoutrements of every
      good and happy beach camper.

      Maple Apple Crisp (Stirling Fruit Farms)

      (250ml = 1 cup)

      1500 ml (6 c). sliced, peeled Nova Scotia apples
      150ml Nova Scotia maple syrup
      125 ml all purpose flour
      125ml rolled oats
      125ml brown sugar
      1ml salt
      125ml butter

      Arrange apples in greased 2.5L baking dish
      (20cm square). Pour maple syrup over apples.
      Combine flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and
      salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles
      coarse bread crumbs. Sprinkle topping over
      apples. Bake at 375F until apples are tender
      and topping is lightly browned about 35 min.
      Makes 6 servings.

      Hello, my name is Sarah Linville. I would like
      to introduce you to Brian Qara.

      Brian is a student of Gangaji and I am so
      excited and blessed to support his offering.
      His sharing has had a profound effect on my
      life since the transmission of his stillness
      began to reach me about 8 months ago. Since
      then he has pointed me to the truth of who I
      am, the truth of who everyone is. Brian's
      teaching is confronting to the ego yet pure in
      love and stillness. He invites all to stop...
      stop movement in every direction and see the
      truth of who you are. Brian had a series of
      awakenings and taught ³bliss² for several years
      however, he ended all public sharing when he
      met Gangaji and truly called off the search. In
      December of 2002, Gangaji confirmed the purity
      of his transmission and the commandment to then

      Brian is offering his sharing as a possibility
      of reaching the many people who are ready to
      fall into themselves. I have set two dates for
      his first Satsang Meetings: February 16th and
      March 16th at the Living Light House in Santa
      Monica. It is located at:

      1457 12th. Street

      (N.E. corner at Broadway)

      Santa Monica, California 90401

      I appreciate your consideration and the
      possibility of listing Brian's message on your
      www.qara.org is under construction and
      will be up soon. Please contact me for any
      other information you may need.

      In blessed service,

      Sarah Linville

      ‘Mind the gap’: science and ethics in nanotechnology

      Anisa Mnyusiwalla

      2,3, Abdallah S Daar1,2,3 and Peter A Singer1,2,3


      University of Toronto Joint Center for Bioethics, Canada


      Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada


      Program in Applied Ethics and Biotechnology, University of Toronto

      Joint Center for Bioethics, Canada


      Departments of Public Health Sciences and Surgery, University of Toronto, Canada


      Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada

      Received 2 December 2002

      Published 17 February 2003

      Nanotechnology (NT) is a rapidly
      progressing field. Advances will have a
      tremendous impact on fields such as materials,
      electronics, and medicine. A thorough review of
      the current literature, governmental funding,
      and policy documents was undertaken. Despite
      the potential impact of NT, and the abundance
      of funds, our research revealed that there is a
      paucity of serious, published research into the
      ethical, legal, and social implications of NT.
      As the science leaps ahead, the ethics lags
      behind. There is danger of derailing NT if the
      study of ethical, legal, and social
      implications does not catch up with the speed
      of scientific development.

      In August 2002, at the World Summit on
      Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, an
      organization called ETC held several workshops
      calling for a moratorium on the deployment of
      nanomaterials [1]. Meanwhile, over the past few
      years expenditure on research and development
      in nanotechnology (NT) has increased
      dramatically [2]. These two trends seem to be
      on a collision course towards a showdown of the
      type that we saw with GM crops (indeed, ETC,
      previously known asRAFI, coined the phrase
      ‘terminator seed’). As the science of NT leaps
      ahead, the ethics lags behind. Activist groups
      have appropriately identified this gap, and
      begun to exploit it. We believe that there is
      danger of derailing NT if serious study of NT’s
      ethical, environmental, economic, legal, and
      social implications (we call this NE3LS
      research) does not reach the speed of progress
      in the science.

      As the science leaps ahead . . .

      NT is a rapidly expanding field, focused on the
      creation of functional materials, devices, and
      systems through the control of matter on the
      nanometre scale, and the exploitation of novel
      phenomena and properties at that length scale
      [3]. Several observations indicate that all of
      society, not just scientists, needs to take NT
      seriously. First, there have been major
      scientific and technological advances in
      microscopy, material science, molecular-level
      manipulation, and scientific understanding at
      the borderline between classical and quantum
      physics. A biomolecular motor, made of
      inorganic nickel propellers and powered by an
      ATPase enzyme, was created over two years ago
      [4]. In a major step toward downsizing
      electronic components, single-molecule
      transistors have been created [5]. Nanoparticle
      research has generated products including a
      nanoparticle carrier able to cross the
      blood–brain barrier to deliver a
      chemotherapeutic for the treatment of brain
      tumours [6] and gold nanoparticle probes that
      detect DNA from biological warfare agents such as
      anthrax [7].

      Second, evaluation of the field by prominent
      scientists leaves little doubt that NT is going
      to lead to a major revolution that is going to
      have a significant impact on society. Dr
      Richard Smalley, Nobel laureate in chemistry,
      believes that ‘the impact of NT on health,
      wealth, and the standard of living for people
      will be at least the equivalent of the combined
      influences of microelectronics, medical
      imaging, computer-aided engineering, and
      man-made polymers in this century’ [8].

      Third, major industrial countries are
      incorporating NT in their innovation systems:
      they see this as an engine for wealth creation
      in the near future. As a result they have begun
      to invest heavily in research and development
      (table 1).

      Fourth, there are applications that are about
      to be introduced into the market. Nanomix, for
      example, intends to begin selling by the end of
      2002 nanotube-based sensors for detecting
      gasoline vapours that will help protect
      refineries, chemical plants, and pipeline
      stations from leaks—these will be 10 times less
      expensive than current sensors, and can operate
      for a year on a watch battery [9].

      . . . the ethics lags behind

      What is worrying, though, is that the serious study of NE3LS
      research lags far behind the science. Despite availability
      of research funds, NE3LS research has not yet been taken
      seriously and pursued on a large enough scale.

      Some commentators on NT have examined the
      implications of NT but have often focused on distant,
      controversial applications. For example, Bill Joy wrote an
      influential and widely discussed paper inWiredmagazine [10],
      about ‘gray goo’. Steven Block, Stanford biophysicist,
      suggests that much of this hype is an illogical extrapolation
      of current research. ‘Nobody has a clue how to build a
      nanoassembler, much less get one to reproduce’ [11].

      Others have tended to hype the potential applications of
      NT.GaryStix,who edited a special issue of ScientificAmerican
      on NT [12], has observed that ‘there has emerged a cult now
      of futurists who foresee NT as a pathway to a technological
      utopia: unparalleled prosperity, pollution-free industry, even
      something resembling eternal life’ [13].

      The first guidelines on molecular NT [14] have been
      produced by the Foresight Institute, led by K Eric Drexler, an
      early thinker on NT and the person largely responsible for first
      introducing NT to the public in his book Engines of Creation.
      While the guidelines focus on the prevention of uncontrolled
      self-replication, they also touch on broader issues of global
      wealth distribution, environmental protection, and regulation
      to prevent the misuse of NT. Authors of the guidelines suggest
      that further research into the implications and regulation of NT
      by the global community of nations and NGOs is required.

      There have been two important conferences recently
      convened to discuss ethical, legal, and social implications of
      NT [15, 16]. At both of these conferences the discourse,
      as can be expected at this stage, has been at the level
      of generalizations and motherhood statements. There are
      calls to study the ethical implications, pointing out that
      NT is a powerful and revolutionary development that is
      likely to have a significant impact on society; comparisons
      to past technological revolutions and the impact that those
      have had on society; important taxonomic distinctions—for
      example, between nanomaterials (nanates) and nanomachines
      (nanites) [17]; eulogies to unforeseen consequences; calls for
      scientists to help the public understand ethical issues; and
      exploration of different methods of public engagement [18].

      While the number of publications on NT per se has
      increased dramatically in recent years, there is very little
      concomitant increase in publications on the subject of ethical
      and social implications to be found in the science, technology,
      and social science literature. A survey of several databases
      (figure 1) from 1985 to 2001 reveals a paucity of citations on
      the ethics or social implications of NT.

      While there are significant research funds available, at
      least in the US, these funds are not being used. In 2001, the US
      National Nanotechnology Initiative allocated $16–28 million
      to societal implications, but spent less than half that amount.
      The NSF, responsible for spending $8 million, did not fund a
      single social science project focused on societal implications
      of NT. One of the main reasons for the lack of awards was
      the lack of meritorious research grant proposals [19]. The
      European Community [20], Canada [21], and Australia [22]
      have all recognized the importance of ethical discussion but so
      far have done little to foster it.

      The lack of dialogue between research institutes, granting
      bodies, and the public on the implications and directions of
      NT may have devastating consequences, including public fear
      and rejection of NT without adequate study of its ethical and
      social implications.

      Why worry?

      Is there anything special about NT that requires a specific
      discussion now, and perhaps specific regulatory mechanisms
      in the future? The ethical issues fall into the areas of equity,
      privacy, security, environment, and metaphysical questions
      concerning human–machine interactions.

      Equity. Who will benefit from advances in NT? Today we
      talk of the digital divide as something that is harmful and that
      we should attempt to correct. We have also talked about the
      emerging ‘genomics divide’ in a similar fashion [23]. This
      is because we have come to understand that technology and
      development are intricately linked [24], and that what at first
      appears to be very ‘high-tech’ and costly and therefore perhaps
      irrelevant for developing countries, in the endmight come to be
      of most value for those same developing countries [25]. Thus
      NT, were it to develop in the way it ought, might ultimately be
      of most value for the poor and sick in the developing world.
      At the Johannesburg summit, the main issues for developing
      countries were poverty reduction, energy, water, health, and
      biodiversity. NT has the potential to make a positive impact
      on all of these if its risks either do not materialize or are
      appropriately managed. The poor could benefit from NT, for
      example, through safer drug delivery, lower needs for energy,
      cleaner energy production, and environmental remediation.
      It is also possible that health could be improved by better
      prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. One of the biggest
      health problems in developing countries is trauma, especially
      from road traffic accidents, and absence of rehabilitation
      facilities [26]: better nanomaterials for making safer tyres,
      or NT-based scaffolds to grow bone [27] may be extremely
      important, especially if the promise of mass production at very
      low cost materializes. Furthermore, if developing countries
      were to see the potential of NT and became early players in the
      field (see China’s increased expenditure on NT R&D; table 1),
      NT might have an impact on their economic development and
      obviate the need quite soon for these countries to become
      net importers of NT. This is similar to what is happening in
      biotechnology, a field in which countries such as India, China,
      Brazil, and Cuba have already begun to invest in [28].
      Privacy and security. NT is capable of dramatically
      improving surveillance devices, and producing new weapons.
      How would individual privacy be protected if near-invisible
      microphones, cameras, and tracking devices become widely
      available? Will these new technologies increase security or
      add to the arsenal of bio- and techno- or even nano-terrorism?
      Who will regulate the direction of research in defensive
      and offensive military NT? How much transparency will be
      necessary in government and private NT initiatives to avoid
      misuses? There are also very interesting legal questions [29]
      involving monitoring, ownership, and control of invisible
      objects [17].

      The next asbestos?

      Environmental issues. NT has already
      generated novel types of matter such as fullerenes and carbon
      nanotubes. Where do these and other nanomaterials go when
      they enter the environment and what are their effects? This
      year, the US environmental protection agency (EPA) has
      added the funding of research projects that explore potential
      environmental dangers of NT to its list of priorities. ‘There are
      always possibilities for environmental or health harms’, said
      Barbara Karn, EPA official [30].

      Human or machine? Some avenues of research in NT include
      the incorporation of artificial materials or machines into human
      systems, as is beginning to happen with implanted computer
      chips [31]. The modification of living systems is met with
      great scepticism by much of society. How acceptable will
      technologies such as implantable cells and sensors be for the
      general population? What are its implications and what are
      our limits?

      Closing the gap between science and ethics. NT can learn
      from earlier efforts to address social implications of genomics
      and biotechnology. Here are some of these lessons:

      • Appropriate funding of NE3LS research. In the Human
      Genome Project, James Watson recommended that 3–5%
      of the budget be devoted for study of ethical, legal, and
      social implications. This massive infusion of research
      funds energized the ethics community. The US seems
      headed down this path for NT, although it has not yet
      made a percentage commitment. Other countries do not
      seem to have allocated portions of their NT budgets for
      ethical and social implications.

      • Large-scale interdisciplinary research platforms. We
      should try to avoid from the beginning the navelgazing
      type of ethical, legal, and social implications
      studies that were done in the early days of the Human
      Genome Project and which have been heavily criticized
      in recent evaluations [32, 33]. An example of a largescale
      interdisciplinary research platform is shown in
      figure 2 [23].

      • Capacity strengthening. The lack of meritorious
      proposals in response to funding announcements mirrors
      the early experience with the ELSI programme of the
      Human Genome Project. The appropriate response is
      to focus on strengthening capacity in NE3LS research at
      all levels from undergraduate summer students, through
      graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, junior faculty,
      and senior investigators. This can be done through
      career awards, training grants, and also emphasizing the
      development of highly qualified personnel in large-scale

      An example of a large-scale interdisciplinary method: the
      Canadian Program on Genomics and Global Health (CPGGH). The
      large-scale interdisciplinary platform has been designed specifically
      to address the deficiencies of current approaches to the study of the
      ethical, environmental, legal, and social implications of scientific
      and technological advances [23].
      Capacity strengthening should
      also include different sectors and developing countries.

      • Intersectoral approach. One of the problems with
      previous ELSI work is that it is conducted in isolation
      from major players. Those studying ethical and social
      implications of NT should have regular opportunities
      to interact with, and represent, scientists, NGOs/activist
      groups/pressure groups, government, and industry.

      • Involvement of developing countries. The great tragedy
      of ELSI research on genomics is how it ignored, until
      recently, the role of genomics and biotechnology in
      developing countries. Voices on NT from developing
      countries must be included now. This could be done
      through the formation of a global geomics initiative
      similar to the one proposed for genomics [34, 35] or
      other forms of global issues networking [36]. We should
      develop, using Internet-based tools for collaborative
      networking, a global opinion-leaders network for ethical
      and social implications of NT.

      • Public engagement. As the UK White Paper on
      Science [37] noted, the most pressing issue in science is
      public involvement. Journalists need to be involved in the
      early stages of NT since they have an important influence
      on public perceptions. Innovative mechanisms such as
      plays, used for example by theWellcome Trust and others
      to engage the public in genomics, need to be fostered.
      Science museums should consider how they might include
      exhibits on the ethical and social implications of NT.
      Modules examining ELSI implications of NT should be
      developed for secondary-school students, so citizens can
      be engaged early in balanced discussion of issues. All
      these approaches [38, 39] are now beginning to be used in
      genomics, and should be rapidly adapted to NT.

      The call by ETC for a moratorium on deployment of
      nanomaterials should be a wake-up call for NT. The only way
      to avoid such a moratorium is to immediately close the gap
      between the science and ethics of NT. The lessons of genomics
      and biotechnology make this feasible. Either the ethics of NT
      will catch up, or the science will slow down.

      full article with diagrams and references: http://www.utoronto.ca/jcb/pdf/nanotechnology_paper.pdf

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