Friday, May 4, 2007

The N-word

In yesterday's New York times (p. C3), reporter John Markoff wrote about an advance announced by IBM (Almaden lab) to make faster and more energy efficient chips. I found it curious that, despite the article's reference to "atomic scale holes," "ultrathin wires," and the use of a "self-assembly" technique, the word nanotechnology never appeared.

Coincidence? Has the use of nano in electronics become so ubiquitous that it hardly bears mentioning? Or have companies like IBM ceded the n-word to the debaters about EHS issues while they continue to make advances in their nano products? Are they placing less value of labeling their technology as nano? Or was this simply a term Markoff decided not to use? What's going on?

Note: a follow up piece about the IBM announcement posted today by AP does make use of the magic n-word.

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