RE: [rp-ml] Back from oblivion

From: Marshall Burns (
Date: Sun Aug 07 2005 - 05:36:57 EEST


Hi Greg,


>> We will be having <>
"Illuminations" the 2nd Annual Artist's Way Exhibition next Saturday! To
which you (everyone) are all invited...


            Sorry I won't be in Florida to check out your show.

>> for what seem to be entirely political reasons, nanotechnology has
attracted billions of dollars

>> Would you please explain what you mean by "political reasons"?


            Sure. I'll do the best I can. Brock Hinzmann and some others
here may be able to shine more knowledgeable light on the subject.


            My understanding is that the US National Nanotech Initiative,
which is a roughly $billion/year program, was created by some folks in the
Clinton White House who saw it as a combination of an economic stimulus and
a way to look good through big scheming. I think that's basically what is
usually meant by "pork barrel" programs, except this is on a national scale.
While I am all in favor of supporting research in nanotechnology, I'm not
sure that a reasoned analysis of the current opportunities would have
justified this level of funding for the projects it supports.


            For example, I would think a much greater impact on US
manufacturing productivity and competitiveness could have been achieved -
and in a much shorter term - by allocating a significant portion of the NNI
funding to placing low-cost 3-D CAD and digital fabbers (InVision,
Dimension, Z) in high schools and colleges across the country, together with
effective training in teaching their use in engineering and creative


            Obviously, this is a biased point of view on my part, or for
anyone else on this list. Such a program would create a huge boost for our
industry. In my biased opinion, it's a boost that would have a much greater
positive impact on the economy than the NNI does. I guess the guys in the
Clinton White House either didn't know about fabbers and how important they
are to the future of manufacturing, or they just thought they're not sexy
enough for a major presidential initiative (but I would think they are sexy
enough), or the nanotech lobby was better than fabber lobby. The latter is
the most likely reason, I would think, that the NNI happened, since I don't
think there is a fabber lobby. That's what I mean by "political reasons."


            Would you say I've got that wrong, Brock?


            Hmmm, maybe the lesson here is that we need a lobby???


            Please don't take any of this to be knocking nanotech. I love
nanotech. My project for the X Prize is aimed at advancing nanotech
research. What I am saying is that the NNI is a political move and a more
reasoned investment would have shared NNI's resources with nearer-term
manufacturing technologies, i.e., digital manufacturing.


Best regards,

Marshall Burns <>


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