Cool Toys Pic of the day – Nano & Me

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Nano & Me (Nanotechnology in our lives):
http://www.nanoandme.org/home/

Nano & Me is an educational site from the United Kingdom about
nanotechnology. The front page takes basically a toy or game approach,
providing little snippets of information, education & engagement as
you mouse over parts of the page. Of course, that flashy content is
not accessible to people with disabilities, near as I can figure out,
but it is still fun. All the main content for the site is accessible.
The site is very engaging, with clearly defined affiliations. It
provides community discussion / forum space, ways to ask questions,
and gives what appears to be a real person’s contact information
(Hilary Sutcliffe). They are trying to find out what questions and
confusions most people have about nanotech, show people how and where
it is being used, and encourage people to consider what would be
ethical or responsible use of nanotechnology — when it is safe, and
when it isn’t. Right now the content seems to be a little on the light
side, but they state they are trying to provide easy to understand
content and are hoping people will talk with them about what makes the
site useful or not, what people want to know, and if they receive
permanent funding what sort of content should be developed to enrich
the site. My two cents (as someone who doesn’t know much of anything
about nanotech) is that the site seems to have a good concept, but
they don’t take it far enough for me to tell if they are or will be
any good at it.

In their words:
“The content areas of this site has been created in response to the
interests and concerns of the public which were expressed in a number
of nanotechnology ‘dialogue’ initiatives over the last few years.
Participants had expressed interest in easy to understand information
on the benefits and safety of nanotechnologies, social and ethical
questions and concerns about the appropriate regulation.”

Things I would like to see the site do.
1. Allow people to use standard blog-commenting systems, rather than
forcing people to create a unique id & password for their site.
2. Include a clear language glossary of most important nanotech lingo.
3. Include a much richer set of examples of places people can find
nano being used in daily life (healthcare, foods, corporate,
marketing, IT, entertainment, etc).
4. More examplars of best practices in nano by professional field or
discipline.
5. Information on safety and risk that doesn’t sound so terribly slanted.
6. Games for kids.
7. Teaching activities for schools from grade school through high school.
8. Educational content not just about the nanotech itself, but the
science behind it & from which it springs.
9. What does someone need to know or study to work in nanotech?
10. Who are some of the leading voices, people, historical discoveries
that shaped the field. Why are they important? What are their stories?
11. How is nano changing & saving lives?
12. Examples of risks/safety problems, how we learned about them, what
we are doing to prevent similar problems in the future.

Related sites:
Responsible Nano Forum:
http://www.responsiblenanoforum.org
http://www.matterforall.org/

UK Nanotechnologies Strategy:
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/interactive.bis.gov.uk/nano//

2020Science (Andrew Maynard): UK Nanotechnologies Strategy – disappointing:
http://2020science.org/2010/03/18/the-uk-nanotechnologies-strategy-disappoint…

USA National Nanotechnology Initiative:
http://www.nano.gov/

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