2020 SCIENCE

Personal notes and articles on emerging technologies, responsible innovation, science communication and the University of Michigan Risk Science Center, from Center Director Andrew Maynard.

LATEST ARTICLES

Hacking health, maker movement and public health
Hacking the world, public health style

What has the Maker Movement got to do with public health? Quite a lot as it turns out, as I ...

Brian Zikmund-Fisher talk's to NPRs Robert Siegel about risk and feelings
When risk gets personal

When you’re facing a life or death situation, what do the odds mean – to you personally?  As Brian Zikmund-Fisher ...

Laboratory safety
The gathering storm of lab safety

Pathogen safety in federal labs Over the past few weeks, revelations of potentially dangerous errors in US federal labs handling pathogens have placed ...

Vantablack Feature
How safe is the world’s darkest material?

Vantablack - the new black? Over the past few days, the interweb’s been awash with virtual “oohs” and “ahs” over Surrey ...


Nanoparticles in dunkin' donuts - are they a problem?
Nanoparticles in Dunkin’ Donuts? Do the math!

Nanoparticles in food products Over the past couple of years a number of articles have been posted claiming that we’re eating more ...

Drinkable nanojuice potentially allows unprecedented real-time imaging of the small intestine
Nanojuice for GI tract imaging – is it safe?

Nanojuice: drinkable nanoparticles for studying the gut Over the past few days, my news and social media streams have been ...

Do we need a better definition for synthetic biology?
Do we need a better definition for synthetic biology?

Jim Thomas of the ETC Group has just posted a well reasoned article on the Guardian website  on the challenges of defining the ...

Can sunscreen increase your risk of dying?
Can using sunscreen increase your risk of dying?

Sunscreen (non)sense A recent comment on the Risk Science Center Facebook page asked whether we could help make sense of ...




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NOTES AND THOUGHTS …


Creative and collaborative health solutions – We Make Health Fest

August 1, 2014

Just a reminder that I will be speaking at the first We Make Health Fest in Ann Arbor, on August 16.  This is an event for for anyone passionate about health, technology, and participatory design. And its for the whole family – kids are as just as much a part of the collective “maker” ...

The unspoken but vitally important issue of open defecation

July 28, 2014

In preparing for the next Risk Bites video (out this week), I came across the website opendefecation.org, and was so struck by both the importance of the message and the effectiveness with which it’s communicated, that I felt compelled to share it here. Open defection is when people have no option but to ...

Q&A on Nanotech regulation in Europe

July 25, 2014

Chemistry World posted a good article yesterday on nanotech regulation in Europe (Europe mulls best way to handle nanotech by Andrew Williams).  I have a couple of quotes in the piece, along with Risk Science Center colleague Diana Bowman).  These are taken from a longer set of responses to questions from Williams, which ...

Six years of nanoparticle sunscreen safety scribblings

July 24, 2014

I was going through the 2020 Science archives the other day looking for pieces on nanoparticles and sunscreens, and was rather shocked to see that the earliest article dates back to 2008! Here they are in chronological order – surprising how little things change with time!  The 2010 exchange with Friends of ...

The antibiotics challenge

July 23, 2014

Neil Hawkins at Dow Chemical tweeted me a link to this piece in the New York Times this morning: A Dearth in Innovation for Key Drugs (Eduardo Porter) There is clearly something wrong with pharmaceutical innovation. Antibiotic-resistant infections sicken more than two million Americans every year and kill at least 23,000. The ...

Risk and feelings

July 22, 2014

Last year, I made a short series of videos on health risks  with risk communication expert Brian Zikmund Fisher, exploring such concepts as feelings, the unknown and “dread”.  These are now available in an eight and a half minute YouTube playlist – just in time to coincide with Brian’s NPR interview ...

Who’s afraid of carbon nanotubes?

July 18, 2014

I’ve been fascinated by the coverage of Surrey nanosystems’ carbon nanotube-based Vantablack material this week. The material’s had widespread coverage – just Google “vantablack” to see what I mean.  But in amongst all the geeked-out media excitement over the world’s darkest material, there’s been nary a word on the possible health risks ...

New York Times does nanoparticles in sunscreens

July 17, 2014

What are the risks of nanoparticles in sunscreens? The New York Times has just posted an “Ask Well” article today by Deborah Blum answering the questions What are the risks from nanoparticles of titanium in sunscreens? and I am curious about the dangers of nanoparticles in sunblocks Risk Bites As I uploaded a YouTube video recently ...

Nanotubes create the blackest black – Douglas Adams would be proud

July 14, 2014

If your nanotechnology stream is anything like mine today, it will have been swamped by accounts like this one of “Vantablack” fabric – supposedly the world-s blackest-ever material! The material relies on a carbon nanotube forest that absorbs 99.965% of visible light that lands on it.  Putting aside the questions of safety, ...

Nanoparticle donut math – crunching the numbers

July 14, 2014

Having written yesterday about nanoparticle titanium dioxide (TiO2) concentrations in donuts, Raphaël Lévy asked for some clarification on where I got my figures from.  I thought it easiest to post the analysis in full – it goes a little deep into particle analysis, but on the other hand it’s also a ...

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