1:25 PM, May 9, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Just this week, news broke that the "world’s first entirely 3D-printed gun" was successfully built and test-fired by an engineer in Texas. The technology involves a special printer that uses melted polymers to generate plastic components for a variety of uses, now including working firearms. Today, in a press release announcing a $200 million program for a "Competition for Three New Manufacturing Innovation Institutes," the White House also touted a $30 million award in a similar competition in August 2012 for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
President Obama mentioned the new institute in his February State of the Union speech. The purpose of the institute is to help develop the very 3D technology used to produce the newly revealed 3D gun:
In August 2012, the Administration announced the winner of an initial $30 million Federal award to create a pilot institute, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). Headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio, NAMII consists of a consortium of manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations primarily from the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia ‘Tech Belt’. NAMII was selected from amongst twelve teams from around the country that applied for the award. The members of NAMII will co-invest $40 million against the initial Federal award.
Additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing, is a new way of making products and components from a digital model, and will have implications in a wide range of industries including defense, aerospace, automotive, and metals manufacturing. Like an office printer that puts 2D digital files on a piece of paper, a 3D printer creates components by depositing thin layers of material one after another using a digital blueprint until the exact component required has been created. The Department of Defense envisions customizing parts on site for operational systems that would otherwise be expensive to make or ship. The Department of Energy anticipates that additive processes would be able to save more than 50% energy use compared to today’s ‘subtractive’ manufacturing processes.
This announcement comes in the midst of the ongoing gun control debate led by the White House and spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden. Some lawmakers, including New York senator Chuck Schumer, have already called for legislation to ban the plastic guns and regulate the technology involved. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., renewed a call to pass his recently introduced “Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act,” which renews the current ban on undetectable weapons that expires this year.
1:02 PM, Apr 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama thanked the the National Academy of Sciences and said if it weren't for them, "I would not be here." He was referring to the work they did to help the Union in the Civil War.
Via the pool reports:
We must deal "responsibly with the clear and present danger of climate change."2:29 PM, Apr 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a statement marking Earth Day, Secretary of State John Kerry pledges to deal "responsibly with the clear and present danger of climate change." The former presidential candidate also notes the "fragile planet we share with the rest of humanity and which we must protect for future generations."
11:05 AM, Apr 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a speech this morning at the White House to outline a new science initiative, President Barack Obama named himself "Scientist-in-Chief."
"I’m glad I’ve been promoted Scientist-in-Chief," Obama said to laughter at the White House. "Given my grades in physics, I’m not sure it’s deserving. But I hold science in proper esteem, so maybe that gives me a little credit."
This is what happens when dogma distorts science. Mar 18, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 26 • By MICHAEL ROSEN
A meta-study that appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine last September found no “strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods.” A dozen Stanford researchers combed some 237 studies that analyzed food consumption and health outcomes among thousands of people, only to conclude (in the words of the study’s senior author) that “there isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your heal
9:17 PM, Feb 12, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In his State of the Union Address this evening, President Barack Obama will encourage Congress to adapt a cap and trade plan to deal with climate change. Energy, climate, and taxes are a sizable portion of Obama's speech.
9:02 AM, Dec 18, 2012 • By ARI SCHULMAN
In December 1972, Eugene Cernan took a long climb up a short ladder on the lunar surface and became the last human being to set foot on another world. It was forty years ago this week that Apollo 17 completed its quarter million mile journey home, marking the last time to date humans have traveled more than a few hundred miles from earth.
The evolution of the Harvard guinea pigs.Nov 19, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 10 • By CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL
In the 1930s, a group of psychologists and physical anthropologists at Harvard chose 268 students whose medical, amatory, and career experiences they wished to document over the remaining decades of their lives. Department-store mogul W. T.
One-third of a lifetime in a twilight of the mind. Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By TEMMA EHRENFELD
David K. Randall begins this glide through dreamland with a quote from Aldous Huxley: “That we are not much sicker and much madder than we are is due exclusively to that most blessed and blessing of all natural graces, sleep.”
The case for the peaceful coexistence of science and religion. Oct 1, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 03 • By JOSEPH BOTTUM
Pleonasm and pomposity, those twins of purple prose, define a certain kind of religious writing. A certain kind of holiday writing, for that matter—read a typical newspaper column about Thanksgiving, if you need another example—and any number of political orations. Historians, scientists, social workers—even poets, when called upon for public occasions: They all seem incapable of not turning, say, a graduation speech into a gooey mess of unction and uplift.