Tuesday, February 21, 2006

ICON Related announcement

I want everyone to know to prevent misunderstandings. I will not blog anything on ICON for a while.

I have accepted the post of Communications Director for ICON. I will stay at South Carolina for the time being and continue as long as I can to be part of the NanoSTS program here.

I do not feel there is a conflict of interest but will not be offended if folks in the blog world give me a hard time to keep me on my toes.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Reviews and reviews that really...

THANKS for all the nice email about the NATURE review. BTW, I received positive reviews from SMALL TIMES and other publications and from individuals who represent the Texas Nano Initiative and the Jet Propulsion Labs.

I sent the following to NATURE after receiving a review of a book I did not write. I also communicated with Harry Collins and found his response unhelpful. I don't mind criticism but his commentary about the sociology of science was unhelpful.

I will put up my professional writing resume up to his anytime (Author's League of America, Dramatist's Guild, etc.) with over 100 articles in newspapers, dozens of articles in journals, and two books (neither on the sociology of science).


"I was dismayed by the review I received at the hands of H. Collins. It was mean-spirited and arrogant and seemed mostly to discuss some work for his forthcoming book on thinking about medicine.

Simply put, he reviewed a book that was not written much in the way Stanislaw Lem did in A Perfect Vacuum.

The first principle of a book review is: discuss the book and not yourself. (I direct you to a review I wrote in the forthcoming Public Understanding of Science). Collins did not focus on the artifact per se creating a straw man (person) and attacking this specter.

If you want to read a book on the sociology of nanoscience, don't buy NANOHYPE, that’s not what I chose to write. If you want a contemporary chronicle of nanotechnology as policy, then NANOHYPE may fill the bill.

My book covers a broad set of POLICY issues associated with applied nanoscience. However, my book was incidental to the review you published which I read as a primer on the sociology of science.

The review barely discussed the book except for a poke at a small section of chapter 2 where Feynman is discussed briefly and Collins takes one of the possible antecedents in a hypothesis regarding Feynman’s interest in the very small and ridicules the sentence construction asking the readership to do the work for him.

Then he rudely entertains a compositional fallacy calling the entire work disconnected musings. Everything in the remaining 9 chapters is ignored especially the last two chapters that evaluate in great detail the societal and ethical implications research and its interface with the public sphere generating quite a few theories and hypotheses.

This book was published by a commercial press by intention. The decision was made to reach a large audience and for that to happen costs were watched carefully hence the close printing. Book publishers, like Prometheus, must make a profit. A tome on the sociology of applied nanoscience (like his 864 page book on gravitational waves) would not have seen the light of day outside an academic press. Of course, since I am not a sociologist of science, writing that book would have doubly troubling for me to consider.

While I have great respect for your journal and note Collins’ long history of publications though none are in the work of nanotechnology, especially its policy, I felt this review was unmerited, but we all live on and I plan to continue my work in this field.

However reviews like this one makes it more and more difficult for people who are researching the societal and ethnical implications of nanotechnology to find outlets for their work. That’s unfortunate since few of us have secure academic appointments allowing them to speak out willing to keep the process honest."

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Authorship check - Reynolds vs. Sunstein

Sonia Arrison has an article in TechNewsWorld "Nanotechnology Needs Nano-Scale Regulation" 01/13/06.

Ms. Arrison is from Pacific Research.

Under subhead Workable Rules.
References 2002 Harlan Reynolds comment of over-regulation causing under-regulation (see http://www.pacificresearch.org/pub/sab/techno/forward_to_nanotech.pdf). This was originally published by Pacific Research.

Reynolds footnoted Cass Sunstein 1990 essay on this in his article in 2002.

Somehow author Arrison attributes ownership to Reynolds.