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Protestors picketed the Chicago Eddie Bauer store in early May for selling stain resistant nanopants. As is the norm these days, the protest involved nudity.

EDDIE-BAUER-HAZARD_f.jpgI'm not sure how effective these nude protests are when the protestor is attractive. Is this woman really going to scare customers away from Eddie Bauer? "You mean I can pick up a pair of stain resistant pants AND see a free show? I'm sooo there dude!"

Perhaps if some of us middle-aged male bloggers participated - now THAT would clear the street.

These protestors complain that the long-term effects of this simple form of nanotech is unknown. This is true. It is impossible to know with absolute 100% certainty that any technology will always be 100% safe 100% of the time. The manufacturer responded that:

Nano-Tex's products are independently tested for safety and meet all environmental, health and safety standards mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

I'm sure this is true too. Of course this won't satisfy the protestors at all. This is "nanotech," and nanotech is scary.

What the manufacturer can't readily admit is that these nanopants are "fake" nanotech - nanotech as a marketing gimmick. Some of these "nanotech" products are only "nano" in the sense that any chemistry is nano. I ate a drumstick at lunch chock fulla nano goodness! Everything in the universe is made of nanoscale atoms and molecules.

We have new materials tech and product chemistry introduced all the time. There is a small level of risk associated with all of this new technology, but there aren't protests because these products aren't labeled "nano."

Protesting a marketing gimmick is just silly. Not that I'm complaining.

UPDATE: Howard Lovy took this protest a little more seriously.

In any revolution, it's almost always the intellectuals who are first to be carted away.

This may seem a bit overwrought, but he has a point. These protestors are wacky and entertaining, but so were the GM food protestors at first. Those guys set back the GM food industry decades - starving the developing world in the process.

It's crucial for scientists to talk about the real risks and the real benefits of all new technologies. If people who understand these things are silent, then only those who don't understand will be heard.


You may be on to something. We need to think of how we can use our powerful street-clearing potential for the forces of good.

Not to be tacky, but I'm still stuck hoping she'll turn around...


If you go to the original article there's other pics. Alas, no other pictures feature this girl. The rest are your typical dope-smoking hippie types.

Those other protestor would clear the street as effectively as a nude blogger convention.

"My eyes!"

Oo. Yeah, bad thought...

What bugs me here is that these protestors seem to be protesting for the sake of form. If you're wasting your time protesting... pants, then maybe there isn't an urgent problem out there, right? This just like the argument for increased security and surveillance of the public. If the public doesn't see airport security people frisking elderly grandmothers (ie, being proactive), then they don't take terrorism seriously.

Maybe they were really protesting in favor of "true" nano... maybe they're merely making a statement to the effect that the pants were "barely" nano.

-- Jack Krupansky

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