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A bunch of Topless Humans Organized for Natural Genetics crashed a reception for the NanoCommerce 2004 conference at McCormick Place last week. The five guys and four gals from THONG lined up in front of the podium facing the assembled scientists and businesspeople, stripped down to their thongs, and turned around to reveal the slogan painted on each of their backs above a downward pointing arrow: Plenty of Room at This Bottom. They were spoofing "Plenty of Room at the Bottom," Richard Feynman's legendary 1959 talk inviting physicists to enter the emerging field of nanotechnology. The science of the smaller than small, nanotechnology has application to industries like cosmetics, genetic modification, and weapons development. THONG ringleader Just Joking Jerry, by day a trial lawyer, says it's so new it's low on regulation. "We want to put the ethics in nanotechnology before it generates something like asbestos insulation for schools," he says. "Nice idea for fire prevention, but awful for the health of the children." The demonstrators threw postcards into the crowd with the message "Test it" superimposed on their bare bottoms. And got the hell out.

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