This is the stunning future of 3d printing

Imagine the not-so-distant future:

In your garage sits a machine, something the size of a workbench, and it can make almost anything you could dream of. So one day, you decide you want to have some fun and tell it to print a Ford straight-six engine. Complete with rods, pistons and gears. In about 36 hours the entire engine is done, and all you had to do was make sure the machine had enough powdered steel to complete the project.

Welcome to the future – Hybrid printing

Unlike “Traditional” 3d printing, this one doesn’t use flimsy plastic, it uses any high-strength material you can imagine – Steel, aluminum, titanium and even exotic metals like inconel 718 which is light weight while being nearly as strong as steel, and it won’t rust. You pay next to nothing for the powdered metals – Inconel runs about $8 per pound, high-carbon steels run around $2 per pound and aluminum is even less.




Here's a close up of the welding laser firing at the transmission. Powdered steel is being included in the stream and welded to the transmission which is in production.

Here’s a close up of the welding laser firing at the transmission. Powdered steel is being included in the stream and welded to the transmission which is in production.

Unlike DMLS, which produces usable items, but requires significant machining, hybrid printing uses an automatic-finishing process that produces workable items that are ready for use. In fact, they’re so high quality once they’ve been ‘printed’ there’s almost nothing left other than to use them.

The quality is absolutely stunning. Nearly impossible to believe, except here’s video proof. In this 5 minute video the hybrid printer is making a car transmission. The total cost of the product is absolutely mind boggling : About $25 in electric to run the laser along with the high-strength powder steel.








What’s the cost? Well, right now it’s several million dollars from DMG MORI in Japan. What’s important to note about 3d printing is the astronomical decreases in pricing. A makerbot today costs less than $1,000 from many local electronics stores. Just 10 years ago a identical model would have cost several hundred thousand dollars and been only accessible by ,labs large businesses and colleges.

Innovative cattle farmer feeds 4,000+ pounds of beef from a space the size of a closet

Recently I came across the journal of a farmer who made a pretty amazing claim. He said that he could grow more than enough food for his 4 beef cattle in just the size of a large bedroom closet.

At first, I didn’t believe it was physically possible, but then I saw the pictures and was completely blown away. Not only was he growing enough food to support more than 4,000 pounds of cattle, he also was producing surplus food for other livestock. His unique method has cut his food cost to raise cattle by a staggering 60% to 90% once all costs are accounted. He might not say it, but what he’s doing could be nothing short of revolutionary.

The whole system he’s built to feed his cattle is much more simple than you think. So shockingly simple that most people might be able to get most of it up and running after a trip to the hardware store.

Vertical farming for beef production




The secret is in something called “Vertical farming”. Recently, Japan has made headlines stating that they could feed a city of millions of people by vertical farming in a retrofitted skyscraper. Vertical farming is somewhat similar to aqua-phonic farming, however it is much more dense. Literally thousands of plants can be contained in a small room simply because you’re stacking multiple layers of plants on top of each other.

Each tray may not look like much, but they contain vitamin-rich, extremely calorie dense barley sprouts. Barley sprouts contain an amazing amount of energy and calories that not only help cattle gain weight, but is also said to produce the best tasting beef in the world (At least according to Canada).

The beef is then cut, and fed to cattle like grain or grass normally would be.

The beef is then cut, and fed to cattle like grain or grass normally would be.

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This is what the Earth looks like from Mars

With recent NASA revelations that Mars was once covered at least partially by a ocean, the possibility of life, at least in past is looking great.

One question though would be – What would the Earth look like from the surface of Mars? Would it look empty, or would it look *like* something that might harbor life.

Well, thanks to several probes including Curiosity as well as Mars surveyor, we don’t have to wonder.

 

Here’s what we look like from the surface, to the un-aided eye.

mars-rover-curiosity-earth-photo-unannotated

 

Now, if you have a hard time seeing it, here’s captions. (Zoom for larger photo)

The earth from Mars

 

earth-and-mars2

Now, here’s what the Earth would look like through a low powered telescope. In this case, it’s from the Mars global surveyor.

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Kind of awesome, isn’t it?

Pluto is still a planet, and the reason why is kind of awesome

One of the first facebook groups I joined when I got on was “When I was your age, Pluto was still a planet”.

Even now, alot of people still get furious at Neil Degrasse Tyson for making Pluto no longer a planet. Even Sheldon on the Big Bang theory kind of hates him because of his involvement with making it no longer a planet.

But with all this hate against the IAU, Mr Tyson, and all sorts of people over the supposed theft of our precious 9th planet justified?

Absolutely not.

The real reason for the hate is much more interesting, amazing and kind of depressing all at the same time.

So, what’s the truth? Well, the truth is Pluto is still a planet, along with a bunch more things that weren’t planets but now are.

What? You mean to tell us that Pluto is still a planet?

Sure, it still is a planet, even if some schools, poster companies, and other groups have decided to stop including it in fancy lists or images of our solar system. Maybe it’s because they’re lazy, stupid or something else, but the fact remains that Pluto being a so-called dwarf planet doesn’t change the fact it’s still a planet.

See, mankind’s understanding of planets is growing by leaps and bounds every single year. In fact, some say that we may have up to two hundred planets in our solar system. Because of this, it has become VERY important that we start to classify things, otherwise it will all start to get confusing.

There's nothing "Dwarf" about these planets. While smaller than the earth, these planets could still harbor life and each are significant in their own way.

There’s nothing “Dwarf” about these planets. While smaller than the earth, these planets could still harbor life and each are significant in their own way.

In the mean time, do you know who else had advanced classifications for planets? Star Trek. They didn’t just call things planets, they had classes, groups and other definitions for other planets and planet-like entities in space. The reason in the show is the exact same reason we need differentiation between terrestrial, gas, dwarf, and other planet types. Our understanding of planets is growing at such a rate, if changes aren’t made to how we teach them in school there will be problems.

However, in of itself the classifications cause problems, especially when people say stuff like “When NASA launched the Dawn satellite, Pluto was a planet, now it ain’t!” – Well, the real problem is that some people decided to remove it from the standard list of planets, when in fact they should have just expanded the list of planets.

It isn’t just Mercury-Venus-Earth-Mars-Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune anymore.

The real fact is that it’s Mercury-Venus-Earth-Mars-Ceres-Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune-Pluto-Eris-Makemake-OR10-Haumea-Quaoar-Sedna-Orcus-MS4-Salacia-Varuna-FY27-AZ84-UX25-GV9-AW197-RN43-UQ513-Varda-Ixion-JJ43-UK126-Chaos and up to 255 other planets (list here)

A list of SOME of the dwarf planets in our solar system beyond Pluto.

A list of SOME of the dwarf planets in our solar system beyond Pluto.

Now I don’t know about you, but that list is gonna be pretty dang hard to remember. Granted, I’d love to learn about a planet named Chaos, or Orcus, or Ixion, those kind of sound cool to me.

To add to this, as time goes on, the IAU is actually looking at revising how we define planets again. They’re actually considering changing the definition of Pluto to make it a binary planet. This is because alot of astronomers don’t consider Pluto a planet, they actually consider it two planets – Pluto-Charon and want the IAU to add a new definition because it’s quite possible we have more multi-planet groups in our own solar system, and a virtual certainty that they exist outside of our own system.

 Will Pluto ever be a planet again?

If you have to ask that question, then you need to re-read things, it already is a planet!

Granted, it’s hard to say where this whole re-naming convention of planets will go. Our understanding of planets and solar systems is still in the infant stages. Just like the explorers on Star Trek were constantly finding new planets they had never seen before, we too are finding groundbreaking things just about every day.

Here’s a pretty AMAZING animation showing just how far our planet-finding capabilities have come. This should give you hope and understanding that our knowledge of planets is growing at a truly  fantastic rate.

The first exoplanets were not discovered in the 1700s. Those dark blue dots are actually solar system planets that have been placed there for comparison. Here is a color cipher to help differentiate between the marks.

The horitzontal axis (x-axis) measures the orbital period of a planet, which is how long it takes for the planet to orbit around its star. The vertical axis (y-axis) is simply the mass of the exoplanet in Earth masses.

  • Dark blue: Solar system planets.

  • Light blue: RV planets.

  • Maroon: Direct Imaging planets.

  • Orange: Microlensing discoveries.

  • Green: Planets found via the transit method.

In the end, it would be much better if everyone understood the totality of Pluto and other dwarf planets, rather than just regarding them as semi-important, minor bodies in our totally amazing solar system.

A 19 year study on the effects of GMOs has a SHOCKING result

In a landmark study, the effects of GMOs has been chronicled over a 19 year period.

This study revolved around the effects of GMOs (Also called GEs) on farm animals who are fed a near exclusive diet of GMO foods. What’s most interesting about this study is that farm animals have shorter lifecycles. This it’s easier to test for long-term genetic defects, as over this 19 year period many generations of animals have been produced, while in the same time period 1 human generation has not passed.



Unlike humans, farm animals are fed a diet that can consist of 80% to 90% GMO foods. Additionally SOME farmers are known to spray roundup directly on soybeans and wheat pre-harvest (Many times making it into animals food cycle in higher concentrations as compared to earlier in the planting cycle), thus heightening the potential effects of not only GMOs but also herbicides that are often touted for their positive impact on the environment as well as farmer’s bottom lines.

Here’s one of the more important  charts in the debate. The rate of cancer cells found in cattle over a 20+ year time period along with the rate of milk production per cattle.

gmocancer

So , what does the chart show us?

Well , it shows that in the past 19 years, the cancer rate in cattle has actually gone down, not up. One of the primary concerns with individuals and GMOs is that it increases the rate of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. This chart not only shows that it’s wrong, but it’s wrong in a major fashion.

Here’s another important chart

Animals condemned due to sickness or deformities. Line denotes introduction of GMOs.

Animals condemned due to sickness or deformities. Line denotes introduction of GMOs.




One thing to note is just how strenuous the USDA inspection process is on animals.

Many people believe that the USDA does random spot checks on animals being brought in for slaughter. This is not the case, the actual process is significantly more involved, and is one of the key costs in beef.

First when the live cow is brought in, the animal is inspected for health. If the animal is obviously deformed or sick, the animal is not allowed to be slaughtered.

Second, after the animal is slaughtered, a full inspection is given of the meat, making sure that the meat shows no obvious signs of problems. Additionally samples are taken of the meat to check for cancer, and other sicknesses in the cow. This is what is used to compile the  somatic cell counts as shown in our first chart.




One other interesting thing to note is that from 2003 onward, cattle finished on feedlots has gone up. More than 82% of cattle are finished on feedlots as opposed to being entirely free-range. This is done primarily to increase the weight of the animal, thus producing more income for a farmer.

So, in the end, the charts are pretty telling that much of the data brought so far relating to GMOs causing cancers may be withholding facts as compared to this broad study involving millions of tested animals, versus studies like recent French study that involved less than 500 animals over the course of a year. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer the test over 19 years involving 3 to 4 million animals might be more reliable than the one with 500 animals over a year. But YMMV.

How guns are made : Inside a Filipino gun factory

Ever want to see what it’s like inside a Filipino gun facotry? Well, thanks to Reddit user /u/baconpatrol you don’t have to wonder too hard. Here’s a two-page pictoral on how guns are made in a small-ish Filipino shop. SAM factory


The factory seems to be in two parts. Across the lane from this picture is the “conventional” machine shop which initially receives the steel for the slides and the rough casted receivers. The main part of the factory is two floors with the offices and milling machines on the ground floor and the assembly and finishing (as well as cartridge making) done on a second floor.

It seems like there are armed police everywhere in Cebu (the malls, movie theatres, and banks have armed guards) and the factory is no exception, as security at the factory have sidearms and shotguns. However, it was pretty easy for us to basically just walk in off the street and get an extensive tour. I didn’t get to see the engraving section or the firing range where they test the pistols (apparently every pistol will be fired about 10 times in total before it leaves the factory). As far as I could tell, the factory doesn’t make anything else except for 1911 pistols at the moment.

They make every part of the pistols, except the magazines, which come from Italy. I’m not sure if they actually make the grips in the factory I was at, but they said that they do make the grips themselves. I was told that SAM starting making guns in 1993. At one point they had 600 employees working in two shifts, but after the recession in 2008 or thereabouts they have reduced to about 100 employees working one shift only.

The USA is their main market and they also sell to the Philippines and other countries like Canada. Wolverine and Seraphim are the two Canadian companies for which SAM makes pistols now. The factory buildings are dark, hot, crowded, and dirty. The workers seemed to be friendly enough. Some of them appeared to be in their teens, probably late teens (or even twenties). Most of them looked like they were in their thirties. A couple of older ones worked towards the end of the process.

In the United States, the 1911 series of compact and standard sizes are manufactured under the Titan name. SAM’s full product line can be found at Sam’s Website

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The long steel rods which are cut to length and milled into the slides.

 

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Here are a couple of pictures of what are eventually turned into the slides.

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Work areas on the “conventional” side.

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I may have misunderstood this part but i think this factory receives the forged receivers from a different factory. The rough receivers are dealt with briefly on the “conventional” side before being sent over to the CNC side.




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The barrels are made of a different material but i understood that they too are forged somewhere else before arriving at the Cebu factory.

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Once the initial machining is done, the receivers, slides, and barrels are taken across the road and go through several CNC machining processes. The receivers go through about 8 or 9 separate processes. A couple of views of the factory floor.

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Receivers being processed and reviewed in the CNC.

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A similar process is used to do the slides.

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The mind blowing artwork of Syd Mead

Maybe you’ve never heard of him before, but you’ve seen his artwork before – Blade Runner, Tron and Aliens just to name a few of the big movies he’s supplied artwork for.

Something else you may not realize is that he literally has hundreds of retro-futuristic drawings that captivate the mind and are extraordinarily awesome in many aspects.

So, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best pieces of artwork, all attributable to Syd Mead.

Click to view full size!

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Prom - 1961

Prom – 1961 collecton

 

Arriving Guests

Arriving Guests

Hovering Red

Hovering Red

Highway Construct

Highway Construct

Quite possibly one of the first looks at something that would be like a segway

Quite possibly one of the first looks at something that would be like a segway

A space colony concept. What's amazing about this is that it not only shows a colony designed for gravity, but also a highly detailed aqua-phonics lab.

A space colony concept. What’s amazing about this is that it not only shows a colony designed for gravity, but also a highly detailed aqua-phonics lab.

 

US Steel 1961

US Steel 1961

US Steel 1961 - Looks kind of like a mid-90s Cadillac, don't you think?

US Steel 1961 – Looks kind of like a mid-90s Cadillac, don’t you think?

Walkers in the snow

Forestry walkers in the snow

USSteel Futuristic pit crew

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College Football Playoffs: Poll Results & Analysis – Page 1

 Page 1 of 3

 

 

A few weeks ago, I asked College Football fans about the first inaugural playoffs in the FBS division of college football. A lot of answers were given, and quite a few people requested that the results are posted, so I thought some data and analysis would be useful. So without further ado:

 

Total Number of Users Submitting Answers: 3,133 as of February 20th, 2015

Total Number of False/Errant Votes: 443

Total Number of Legitimate Votes: 2,690

Link to the original poll with un-filtered results

Unfortunately, one user, a fan who felt Baylor was robbed of their rightful place in the playoffs decided to vote 460 times for their team, which heavily skewed the results, as they took a contrarian viewpoint on most issues surrounding the playoffs. Therefore, their votes (sans the original one) were removed.

 

Question 1: How much did you enjoy the College Football Playoffs? (Scale of 1-5 with 5 being Most Enjoyable)

  • 1, – 65 (2.4%)
  • 2. – 52 (1.9%)
  • 3. – 137 (5.1%)
  • 4. – 809 (30.1%)
  • 5. – 1627 (60.5%)

CFP #1

 

As you can see, the data was overwhelmingly in agreement that the CFP was incredibly good, with an average score of 4.49 among all respondents. Only a scant 117 users thought it was bad, or terrible.

But who felt it was bad? Mostly TCU and Baylor fans, as expected. Approximately 61.1% of those that scored the CFP as a 1 or 2 on enjoyment felt that a team got robbed (Question #4), whereas just 19.3% of all respondents felt that someone was robbed overall.

 

 

 

Question 2: Overall, is the College Football Playoffs (CFP) superior to the Bowl Championship Series (BCS)?

  • Yes: 2,557 (95.1%)
  • No: 113 (4.9%)

CFP #2

An overwhelming number of people felt that the CFP was superior to the BCS system. Of those that did not enjoy the CFP, we find a heavy bias against it due to them feeling a team got robbed (question 4), as approximately 52% of “No” votes were from those that felt TCU/Baylor were robbed.

 

Additionally, when we asked users about what fanbase they would consider themselves a part of, we find a heavy bias of “No” votes among Baylor fans (37% did not like the play0ffs), as well as Florida State Seminole fans (16%). This is in stark contrast to fans that were not a fan of a CFP playoff team, or team within the “Bubble”, as they voted “No” just 4.3% of the time. As expected, Ohio State fans loved the playoffs, with a scant 1.7% stating they did not like the playoffs. Oregon fans, too, were quite happy with the playoffs, with just 2.8% disliking the format.

 

Question 3: How many games did you watch of the College Football Playoffs?

  • 1 Game – 1.9%
  • 2 Games – 12.0%
  • All 3 Games – 85.7%
  • Did not watch any games – 0.5%

CFP #3

I am unfamiliar with the likelihood of cross-pollination of bowl games, but I am of the opinion that nearly 86% of respondents watching all 3 games is exceedingly good. Given that all three games are now cemented as the most-watched cable TV shows of all time, ESPN must be happy with the results. Of those that were one-and-done with games, the results are somewhat expected, as Florida State fans were twice as likely to watch only one game as opposed to two or more. Alternatively, TCU fans were the least likely to watch all three games, as only 32 out of 44 voters said they watched all three (72.7%).

 

 Question 4: Do you feel like the 4 teams selected were appropriate for the playoffs?

  • Yes, the College Football Playoff Committee made the right choice(s) – 2,161 (80.3%)
  • No, someone got robbed (19.7%)

CFP #4

A sizable majority of voters felt that the committee made the right choice. However, as expected, a decent number of voters felt that a team got robbed by the committee. Of course, the BCS era was not without its number of controversies, most notably the 2011 championship which may have helped lead to the playoffs finally being adopted for college football. In the follow-up question, we asked who got robbed. We would note that there is a strong affinity towards voters that felt TCU got robbed, and their likelihood of stating that someone was robbed in the playoffs, as nearly 80% of people that voted for someone being robbed answered the next question with the belief that TCU was the team short-changed.

 

Question 5: If you voted no, who should have been included in the 4th slot instead of The Ohio State University?

  • Baylor University – 143 (16.9%)
  • Other Team – 63 (7.4%)
  • Texas Christian University 641 (75.7%)

CFP #5

As expected, a huge majority of voters felt that TCU was short-changed in the playoffs, with 75.7% (or about 23.8% of all voters) feeling that way. There were a few comments about the nature of this question, assuming that Ohio State should have been the team that was to be replaced. The reason that Ohio State was selected was that they only made the official CFB Playoff committee rankings for one week – the final week that selected teams for the playoffs. Therefore, we went with the team that generated the most argument against them being included in the playoffs.

 

 

Question #6:  Based on this one year of the CFP, do you believe the playoffs should expand?

  • No, 4 teams is fine for now – 998 (37.1%)
  • Yes, expand to 12+ teams (2.8%)
  • Yes, expand to 6 teams (24.1%)
  • Yes, expand to 8 teams (36.0%)

CFP #6

The response from this question closely mirrors an EPSN poll conducted in November among college coaches. In the poll, only 29% felt that 4 teams was appropriate, with the majority wishing for a 8 team playoff. Unfortunately for those wishing for expansion, the 4-team playoff has a 10-year contract in place, so the earliest we will see an expanded field is 2024, assuming the date does not change via extension or aggravation with the format.

Digging into the numbers behind this question, we found that voters that felt like a team was robbed were 150% more likely to believe that expansion needed to occur, as per this chart, as a staggering 90% of users voted against keeping the playoffs at 4 teams if they felt someone was robbed. However, some would argue that this is to be expected – everyone wants their team to get into the playoffs.

CFP 6A

 

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Amazing Mars facts and image gallery

It was one thought that Mars harbored a diverse environment capable of supporting life. “Canals” as viewed from earth through telescopes were assumed to be giant rivers spanning the planet.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that our understanding changed dramatically and we realized that it was a mostly barren wasteland.

Now, years later after the Viking probes paved the way to increase our understanding, we’ve come to the relaization that the plannet isn’t nearly as barren as we would have originally thought.

In-orbit photos (Be sure to check out the sunrise!)

 

Mars Surface photos

 

Amazing Venus Facts & Photo Gallery

Venus is a very amazing planet that is located in relatively close proximity to the Earth.

Once thought to harbor life, Venus is now considered the most hellish, inhospitable planet in our solar system. Named for the goddess of beauty, the conditions on the surface of the planet are anything but beautiful.

 

 

 

 

Surface photos of Venus