Last year, the French Commission of Public Debates launched a series of public debates about nanotechnology, with the purpose of presenting all aspects of nanotechnology and nanoindustry to the general public and to use the views expressed by all sides in shaping future government policies in the nanotech area.

However, according to a recent report on Science magazine’s blogsite, the debates have not quite gone according to Robert’s Rules of Order. A faction of French environmentalists have appeared at three of the debates using tactics similar to those of the "Tea Partiers" during last summers town hall meetings about the health care reform bills. Two of the debates had to be canceled while a third saw the audience sent away while the debate was conducted as a webcast.

Five more debates are scheduled to be held this month and February. One hopes that the remaining debates, where stakeholders and the general public can exchange views and concerns, can be held as scheduled.