February 5, 2004

I GUESS I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND PUBLIC RELATIONS, but here’s the latest email in response to today’s TechCentralStation column on nanotechnology, from Mark Modzelewski, a self-described “political damage control specialist” for the NanoBusiness Alliance:

The industry is not hiding from any real problems by ignoring your delusional fantasies and rantings, any more than one truly ignores a wino’s claims on skid row that bugs are crawling under his skin. The very really issues of nano-health and environmental issues as explored by “real” research in the Washington Post is a matter entirely unrelated to your nutty diatribes. It’s a matter the industry does take seriously and has been addressing for some time with research, discussion and taskforces. Because matters such of this are so grave and serious, we avoid mixing in the comic relief of the writings of Eric Drexler and yourself the subject.

I must say I pity the tax payers of Tennessee that pay your salary as well as your students who will enter the job market with a head full of rocks (or perhaps molecular manufactured nanorobots) after listening to you.

Keep up the weird fight. Lord knows I do get a laugh from it,


F. Mark Modzelewski, Executive Director
NanoBusiness Alliance
New York, NY

I’m glad he’s not doing damage-control for me. . . . But I find it odd that the NanoBusiness Alliance, or, for that matter, the nanotech industry in general, sees him as an appropriate public face, if its goal is to appear reasonable and trustworthy to the general public.

UPDATE: Aubrey Turner is as surprised by this approach as I am. And I really am. I barely knew Modzelewski before he started sending me these nasty emails (I don’t think we’ve ever met in person), and I’ve never encountered this sort of a reaction from anyone at any trade association before, going all the way back to my days at Dewey Ballantine when I dealt with a lot of them. As Turner suggests, the choice of vinegar over honey is an odd one.

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