The first key to thinking about 3-D printers is this: Do not think printer. Think magic box that creates any object you can imagine.
In the box, razor-thin layers of powdered material (acrylic, nylon, silver, whatever) pile one on top of the other, and then, voila — you've got a shoe, or a cup, or a ring, or an iPhone case.
It's miraculous to see. Press a button, make anything you want. But just how important is 3-D printing? Unlike earlier big-deal technologies (like, say, the tractor) 3-D printing won't really replace what came before.
Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 1:12 pm
Calling it a "historic record of who the Democratic women of Congress are," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today defended the move by her office to alter a photo taken Thursday on the steps of the Capitol so that four female lawmakers who were late could be "seen" with their colleagues.
At a clean and sunny community center in Seoul, the South Korean capital, senior citizens make clay models of their own faces in an arts class. Some of the faces are vivid and lifelike. Others are expressionless and indistinct. The project is intended to help the seniors remember what they look like.
This is the Gangseo District Center for Dementia. Since 2006, Seoul has opened a dementia center in each of the city's 25 urban districts.
Update at 1:30 p.m. ET: The counting is done and as expected, President Obama and Vice President Biden collected all 332 Electoral College votes they earned on Election Day. Their Republican opponents, Mitt Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, received 206 votes each.
Since it takes 270 Electoral College votes to be elected, the president and vice president have indeed been returned to office.
Scientists have cooled potassium gas to one billionth of a degree below absolute zero. But in the quantum world, that's actually hotter than the Sun. It's hotter, even, than infinity degrees Kelvin. Vladan Vuletić, a quantum physicist at MIT, talks about this 'Bizarro World' temperature.
Burry Stander, one of the world's elite mountain bikers, was killed Thursday as he rode his bike in his native South Africa. Stander, 25, a two-time Olympian who placed fifth in his event at the London 2012 Olympics, was reportedly struck by a taxi van as he trained near his home in Shelley Beach, on South Africa's southeastern coast.
The close proximity of the accident to his childhood home apparently allowed Stander's family members, reportedly including his wife, mother and father, to arrive at the scene quickly.
My mother is Polish, which meant that during the holidays when I was a kid, we broke out the polka records and kielbasa for special occasion meals from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Certainly, nostalgia for those belch-y festivities of yore led me to A Grain of Truth by Zygmunt Miloszewski, a Polish mystery novel that unexpectedly turns out to be as hard-boiled as the skin around a circlet of that ubiquitous holiday kielbasa.
Following years of moving jobs overseas, some companies are deciding there are benefits to manufacturing products here at home. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses the latest jobs numbers and the new trend called "insourcing." Headlee talks with Wall Street Journal reporter Sudeep Reddy and journalist Charles Fishman.
Soul and gospel singer Fontella Bass, whose 1965 hit "Rescue Me" endures as one of the most recognizable soul records of the '60s, died last week on the day after Christmas. She was 72 years old. Despite the success of "Rescue Me," it was the number one R&B single for four weeks, it took years of litigation before Bass could claim her share of songwriting credit and royalties. In 1993, she sued American Express for using the song in a commercial and received what she said was a significant settlement.
UPDATED: 4:50 p.m. Looking for a little weekend reading? The Food and Drug Administration has just the thing. On Friday, the agency released two proposed rules designed to boost the safety of the nation's food supply, encompassing hundreds of pages.
Cold-water fish, snow-dwelling bugs and some grasses have evolved natural antifreeze proteins to avoid turning to ice cubes. Peter Davies, a biologist at Queen's University in Ontario, discusses how these antifreeze substances work, and their applications for human problems--like keeping the ice out of ice cream.
In Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity, Lester Brown says the world's food supply is tightening, and the reasons are many. People in developing countries are eating more meat, a grain-intensive food; farmers are overpumping, causing water tables to fall; and crop yields have plateaued, despite technological advances.
That's right in line with economists' expectations and is another sign of steady, though modest, growth in employment. In November, employers added an estimated 161,000 jobs. The average monthly gain in 2012 was 153,000 jobs, BLS says. That's the same average as in 2011.
First, people wore suits and ties, dresses or skirts to work. Then came casual Fridays. Then the tech industry destroyed dress codes. Congress is one of the last places people dress up, and we know how that's turned out.
There is plenty in the movie Promised Land that will prompt energy industry insiders to roll their eyes. But the overall issues explored in the film, which is being widely released in theaters Friday, are very real.
A process called hydraulic fracturing has led to drilling booms that are transforming rural communities into industrial zones. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," makes it possible to tap into natural gas reservoirs deep underground. But first, gas companies have to convince landowners to allow them to drill.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. At this point in the program we sometimes tell you about record-breaking feats. Well, this one takes the cake. Sunday is Three Kings Day and in Mexico some bakers are celebrating in a big way. Rosca de Reyes is a sweet bread with a Baby Jesus figurine baked inside.
If you're driving, please take a moment to be sure you're awake. A survey finds one of every 24 adults admits to falling asleep at the wheel. Health officials say they suspect the true number is higher. Some people don't realize when they drop off for a second or...
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Steve. Hey, hey, hey, Steve.
INSKEEP: Anyway, drivers most likely to nod off are men, according to this survey, or people between 25 and 34.
And let's consider the technology behind movie-making. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not made its Oscar nominations yet, but it has already announced some awards in the technical category.
DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: And one of the Oscars goes to Cooke Optics Limited. The Academy says the British company gets an award of merit because it helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century. Its innovations over the years have included zoom lenses for movie cameras and lenses that don't require bright light.