It's the speck of dirt on the foot of a flea, and within it may be locked the utopian dreams of a great beginning or the repressed fears of apocalyptic end times.
Nanotechnology - the super science of the modern age - is rocketing under the radar to transform how we live, work and play. It manipulates matter so small the naked eye can't see it and the mind's eye can't comprehend. It is buffing, burnishing and delivering an eye-popping, gee-whiz oomph to more than 800 products around the world, with more rolling off the production line each week.
And the consumer wave is only the beginning.
Look for nanoparticles and they're probably already in your house, your office, your closet and your makeup drawer.
Nanotechnology powers your iPod, your iPhone, your XBox 360, perhaps your laptop. It's in the kitchen, stripping away bacteria in some water purifiers and keeping food fresh longer in containers. It's in tin foil, plastic wrap, cutting boards and non-stick cookware. It's in some diet pills, shakes and supplements.