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Jul-24-2006 15:24printcomments

Op-Ed: Nanotechnology Heavily Funded as People Suffer

As Oregon struggles to feed and care for its citizens, millions will be invested in companies that build military equipment. The word is nanotechnhology and it has little to do with making life better for people here.

nanotechnology blown up hummer
The shot you're not supposed to see
Photo by: Tami Silicio

(SALEM) - One of the terms the Bush administration has brought forward in recent years is nanotechnology, and now Oregon learns that billions of dollars will come to our state to help develop the various different nanotechnologies that our nation is using to build its military might in a time of war. That sounds good right? What it means in reality, is that all sorts of private companies are going to receive big bucks to do things like lining Freightliner trucks with armor, they get $35 million for that. Too bad they couldn’t have just stuck with the Humvees before all those soldiers and Marines were killed because they didn’t have armor plating. Seemed like a small request at the time, but as the chickenhawks made war in Iraq, they waged a different campaign against the rights of human beings everywhere, including their own countrymen. Then there is the news that $1.3 billion plus will be allotted for cleaning up chemicals at the Umatilla Army Depot. Big money for cleaning up mistakes caused by the government, while they choke the programs that add humanity to our population. I have heard the term more than once, but admit that each time I think I can define the meaning of nanotechnology, the term seems to change. That is fair according to Wikipedia, where it is reported that nanotechnologies is the only correct way to say it, as the subject is indeed, broad. "Nanotechnology is the design, characterization, production and application of structures, devices and systems by controlling shape and size at the nanoscale. Eight to ten atoms span one nanometer (nm). The human hair is approximately 70,000 to 80,000 nm thick. Nanotechnology has been put to practical use for a wide range of applications, including stain resistant pants, enhanced tire reinforcement and improved suntan lotion." Stain resistant pants? Improved suntan lotion? Military use? People, your state is all but shut down in programs that help the poor. Nobody in Oregon gets help with medical bills through the Oregon Health Plan any more except women and kids, and we need to be thankful for the little there is, as companies that make military products in Oregon through "nanotechnology" are given taxpayer money. Movements against the people at large are rampant; a group in Medford will put a measure in front of voters that would allegedly save a family of four a grand or so a year, but make huge cuts in funding for schools, police and social programs. I question what component of a group is truly conservative when they seemingly strive to reduce funding for the things that keep our streets safe and our kids smart. In light of the fact that Oregon already has no sales tax, the greedy can't resist the urge to take more money away from kids. But don't worry, some Oregonians are doing fine; in fact President Bush's nanotechnology money will help Northwest Marine, LLC of Portland by providing $5 million to procure watercraft to be used as barrier tenders to move and service barrier equipment afloat. "Barrier tenders" are tough to explain, beyond what their name implies. The only references to them that I found on the Web appeared to be from WWII. Obviously, they will have something to do with war and naval operations and servicing barriers. I'm sure Northwest Marine LLC of Portland is excited about the news, but they sure don't come up on an Internet search, so I was not able to contact them. To some of us, the term "barrier" says it all. Barriers between people, once friendly nations, growing racial tensions because the administration chose to make immigration a priority at a time of war, and the grandfather of them all; barriers between American ideologies. Safer nanomaterials? This is interesting, really; while most of us try to figure out what this nanotechnology thing is all about, we learn that the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute gets $5 million for the safer nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing program, as well as $2.5 million for the Nanoelectronics and Nanometrology Initiative, and $1.7 million to develop miniature tactical energy systems. Just a bunch of fancy terminology and statistical jargon designed to keep us guessing, and the people Bush is loyal to satiated and driving the latest gas guzzling luxury cars. Millions and billions of dollars? And they're using it to clean the Umatilla Army Depot while people starve and steer clear of medical attention and treatment because the economy fell through the floor. I want to ask if I'm missing something, but I don't think I'm missing a thing. If you make war not love, you're guaranteed to feel at home in Oregon, because the state famous for it's uncared for disabled people, struggling schools and meth problems, is now getting ready to become a military manufacturing zone. For the release on nanotechnology money for Oregon, visit this article: Wyden, Smith Secure Funding for Oregon Projects Through Defense Bill


Comments are Closed on this story.

MJ July 25, 2006 11:53 am (Pacific time)

Reallocating fuding from the DoD to other government agencies does not solve long term social probelms or patch short term problems in your state. Do you know who the largest funding agency is for breast cancer research? It is the Army. A majority of DoD research is not for better ways of killing people, it is for protecting our soldiers, and a good portion of this military technology is translated into civilian technology. Nanotechnology is one of the most important technology revolutions to come in the history of man, and the DoD will be a major part of bringing Nanotechology to civilian life. Check out the DoD's Small Business Innovation Research program ( and look at what areas the DoD is funding in Nanotech research. You will find most of it has social implications. Remember, without the DoD, we wouldn't even be able to have this conversation over this series of tubes we call the Internet.

Tim King July 25, 2006 10:30 am (Pacific time)

Hey MJ, Thanks for pointing out the spelling error. I wish technology had given you the tools to grow in a different way so that you can understand the point of the article. Yes, technology is good, of course, but I am questioning the amounts awarded, the timing and the priorities.

MJ July 25, 2006 9:52 am (Pacific time)

Is the author crazy? Or just ignorant? Maybe my terminology is designed to keep him guessing. I would suggest the author looks up "crazy" and "ignorant" on Wikipedia (not Wickepedia), but then again, if the author can't find the definitions on the Internet, he will probably just give up.

BlackSun July 25, 2006 9:50 am (Pacific time)

This is one of the most short-sighted editorials I've ever read. Nanotechnology is absolutely vital to human survival. To face the problems of climate change, pollution, and renewable energy, nanotech is absolutely essential. If you divert money from such research to what you call more "human" concerns, you will in the long run actually hurt far more people than you help. The military gets everything first. So do the rich. Life is not fair. But in the end, everyone benefits. Stop promoting this paranoid anti-technology nonsense. Nanotech IS humanity. The processes being researched are the same processes that power our cells, and the cells of plants. Everything alive is a complex nanomachine. To be against nanotechnology is to be against the knowledge of life itself.

Tim King July 25, 2006 9:35 am (Pacific time)

Cam, I can name a lot of positive things that were the fallout of war, but good things can be derived from most anything. As long as the war machine is more important than people, we'll go on waiting. Before making medicine better, they should figure out how to get it to the people who need it.

cam July 25, 2006 7:12 am (Pacific time)

nanotech can help almost any aspect of human life from making water cleaner, better medicine, and making the things we use work better. the military always funds new technology before they get to the private sector to make our lives better. the computer your using today is partially a result of military funding. so i do think that you are missing something, a big something

sirisha July 25, 2006 1:45 am (Pacific time)

very nice

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