Mainstream Metal Printing, Old Nuclear’s Bad News, and Trump’s Mars Madness—The Download, April 25, 2017
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A 3-D Printer to Change Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing hasn’t delivered on its promise. 3-D printers were sold on the notion that they could allow people to prototype and build useable custom objects in hours. But while hobbyists print plastic items at home, high-quality objects remain the preserve of jet engine firms and F1 teams. Our editor, David Rotman, explains that a company called Desktop Metal may have built a machine that gives manufacturers a practical and affordable way to print metal parts.
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Old Nuclear Could Be a Problem for Clean Energy
Eking out the life of old nuclear plants could damage renewables. The nuclear industry is smarting after the meltdown of Toshiba’s reactor business, which likely rules out any new U.S. nuclear plants being built in the near future. In a bid to ensure that emissions remain low, some states are choosing to provide subsidies to creaking nuclear facilities to keep them running. But, as Bloomberg reports, that allocation of funds could hinder the adoption of solar and wind power.
Wikipedia’s Co-founder Wants to Solve Fake News
Professional journalists, edited by volunteers and paid via crowdfunding. That’s the idea behind Wikitribune, a news site launched by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales to battle the current scourge of the Internet, fake news. Funders get a say on what topics are covered, volunteers fact-check and proofread, and journalists publish interviews in the name of transparency. Wales calls it “news by the people and for the people,” but the question is: will the people pay for it?
Ten Fascinating Things
Google’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, is allowing members of the public to ride in its driverless vehicles for the first time as part of a Phoenix, Arizona trial.
A new analysis of climate policies around the world suggests that China and India really do appear to be emerging as the unlikely ambassadors of the planet.
Donald Trump has casually suggested that he’d like NASA to fly humans to Mars during his first term in office. Good luck with that.
A chilled video game is helping model the neural architecture of a mouse’s brain.
How will your robot butler find its way around the home? By studying thousands of 3-D scans of everyday rooms—coffee tables, couches, lamps, and all.
The technology industry has an imposter problem: here's how increasingly sophisticated fake hardware could be building backdoors into critical infrastructure.
Soon, subsidies in the U.S. will tail off for some electric cars. Bloomberg analyzes whether the vehicles will still sell when the discounts disappear.
Wired explains that the race is on to build a new breed of do-it-all AI chips.
Flying cars are increasingly becoming a reality, and now the Larry Page-backed firm Kitty Hawk has unveiled its own (slightly underwhelming) effort.
What's the modern-day equivalent of a stone gargoyle? An emoji cast in concrete.
Quote of the Day
"We have lots of soldiers, veterans. We’ve got take care of them … but you don’t go start a war to give them jobs."
— Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg wheels out a metaphor to support his environmental argument for retraining miners rather than sending them back to the coalface.