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A one thousand-year-old history lesson awaits those who would deem the cutting edge wicked

Damascus steel was forged using a process of carbon doping iron in a smelting and quenching process.  This steel became famous almost a thousand years ago; it was said a Damascus sword would cut through falling silk, a rock, and then another piece of silk while still keeping its razor sharp edge. 

The ability to make the Damascus steel was lost with the ages.   Blademasters would often take the secret of the forging process to the grave rather than reveal its mysteries. Many were persecuted as heretics, others heralded as deities.

A study by a University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed that more than 70% of 1,015 surveyed Americans deem nanotechnology morally repulsive.  Professor Dietram Scheufele attributes this repugnance for technology to American reliance on religion. 

It's easy to say that perhaps the 1,000 Americans surveyed are just not that bright.  Scheufele disagrees, stating, "They are rejecting it based on religious beliefs. The issue isn't about informing these people. They are informed."

Scheufele believes that Americans who disprove of nanotechnology do not want humans "playing God."  That is, man manipulating structures of one nanometer, one billionth of a meter, is akin to God manipulating the forces of the universe.

In 2006 German researcher Peter Paufler discovered (with the aid of a sub-nanotechnology, the electron microscope) that a four hundred-year-old Damascus steel sword gained its incredible properties from carbon nanotube structures within the blade's edge.  Fifteen years earlier NEC created the world's first synthetic nanotube. One year later it was awarded the patent for one of the sharpest materials on earth, a plasma polished carbon nanotube blade.

Science has always bordered on the fence of terrifying and mysterious.  Civilization lost the secrets of Damascus steel making when then modern thinkers deemed it a practice of deus ex hominis.

Attempting to describe the morality of natural phenomena leads to an exercise in natural fallacy. Not once, in the history of mankind, has science ever been proven immoral -- and conversely -- nor has it ever been proven moral either. 

Will society deitize nano-researchers as modern day Damascus blademasters, or will it learn to look beyond the meta-ethics of natural phenomena for a change?

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RE: Whatever
By borowki on 2/24/2008 8:24:11 PM , Rating: 2
1) Since discrimination is allowed except under specific conditions, (race, sex, etc) which of the disallowed types means you are deficient in geography?

You are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of education level--unless you can justify it--since education can be (and had been) used as proxy for race. The most common example is requiring a janitor or store clerk to have a high-school diploma. See Griggs v Duke Power Co.

RE: Whatever
By masher2 on 2/24/2008 9:29:44 PM , Rating: 2
Memorizing airport codes is not a function of education level. As for Griggs v. Duke Power, numerous subsequent court cases have upheld the right of employers to set minimum standards for employees, provides those standards actually relate to on-the-job functions.

For instance, Lanning v. SEPTA, which required police officers to be able to run a certain distance at a certain speed, or Smith v. City of Jackson, where the court allowed younger workers to receive higher raises, according to the business necessity of attracting more applicants

RE: Whatever
By 91TTZ on 2/25/2008 8:20:37 AM , Rating: 2
You are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of education level--unless you can justify it--since education can be (and had been) used as proxy for race.

In this day and age with free public schools and integrated classrooms, there is no excuse why a black student wouldn't be able to excel like anyone else. If they perform poorly it's not anyone else's fault and laws shouldn't be made to protect people who never bothered listening in geography class. The information was made available to those who wanted to learn, and some people just don't care to learn.

RE: Whatever
By KristopherKubicki on 2/25/2008 11:50:33 AM , Rating: 3
I'd highly encourage you to check out Chicago's inner city public school system. My girlfriend is a high school math teacher. She spends more of her time babysitting than actually teaching unfortunately.

HBO's season 4 of The Wire illustrates this painfully beautiful.

But, if we make it so jobs do not require anyone to gain any knowledge from academic institutions, I don't see how the public school system would improve.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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