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Why 3D-printable guns are a terrible idea

March 1, 2013 9:45 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Mention the words "3D printed guns" and you’ve got an instant, increasingly heated debate on your hands. When you consider there were 16 mass shootings—defined as a shooting with multiple, random victims—in 2012 with at least 88 people dead including children, it’s definitely a topic worth discussing. My take? No one needs a 3D printed gun or the ability to create one.

Big Brother makes our rational choices less rational

February 28, 2013 3:13 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

While writing my February 2013 column about EDRs (event data recorders, AKA “black boxes”), I came across an article on the same topic (http://bit.ly/12YX4Fe) by one of my colleagues. She commented on the reservations I share with many others about the use of the data derived from the black boxes.

University of Washington EcoCAR 2 Team midpoint update

February 28, 2013 10:40 am | by Communications Manager, UW EcoCAR 2 Team | Blogs | Comments

We’re now at the midpoint of Y2 of the 3 year EcoCAR 2 competition. In the last few months, the 2013 Chevy Malibu was disassembled– almost to the point of body-in-white. Further, much of the rear sub-frame was

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Software patents are evil

February 28, 2013 10:08 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

I was planning to write about software patent trolls and was entering "software patents" in my search engine when it offered the suggestion "are evil" to complete the phrase. I'll buy that. So to encourage more traffic here, that is the title of this post. Yes. I have been blogging for quite some time.

Pass the Marketplace Fairness Act

February 27, 2013 3:35 pm | by Rex Solomon, Houston Chronicle | Blogs | Comments

On July 1, 2012, online retail giant Amazon.com began collecting and remitting state sales taxes in Texas. As a small-business owner and president of Houston Jewelry, I can say from experience that this was cause for celebration in the Texas retail community.

Hydrogen fuel cells get a lift

February 27, 2013 9:16 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

I was reading one of the logistics magazines I regularly get and found out something amazing. By about 2020, roughly 80 percent of the lift trucks in America will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The fuel cell advantage is constant voltage output and longer continuous run time.

The greatest use of (bus stop) technology ever

February 21, 2013 3:13 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Companies often struggle with how to incorporate new technology in a useful way, but Qualcomm knocked it out of the park this week with their new bus stop surprise. Qualcomm, a company that specializes in wireless technology, decided that they could use the combination of smart phones and boredom at bus stops

Do drone pilots deserve higher medal than combat vets?

February 20, 2013 3:32 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

Since when did waggling a joystick become more valorous than pulling a trigger? It hasn’t, you say? The newly-minted Distinguished Warfare Medal — created to honor cyberwarriors and drone pilots — would rank above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and the military community is incensed.

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Re-understanding “integrated” supply chain

February 19, 2013 1:08 pm | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Blogs | Comments

Somewhere along the way, it became the norm to give up control of component supply and call it “business improvement.” Re-think the standard mode of buying stuff from others if you can do it yourself.

Engineering the future: Do we know what we’re doing?

February 19, 2013 12:53 pm | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

I assume many of my readers are either engineers or interested in engineering and its effects on society, so what I am about to say may surprise you. It is simply this: Engineers are playing a role in American society that may end American society as we have known it up to now. Let me explain.

Finding a needle in the solution

February 19, 2013 9:01 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Back in 1968 when I was just starting out as a very junior engineer, I worked for Chromatronix designing sensors for and building High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) equipment. In those days, "High Pressure" was 500 psi going up to 1,000 psi with research on 3,000 psi equipment well underway.

Paint Your Pizza turns MS Paint scribbles into ugly-looking pizzas

February 15, 2013 10:34 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m nauseated by pizza – this after taking a gander at Paint Your Pizza, a crowdsourcing site that allows you to turn amateur artwork into quasi-edible Neapolitan creations. I stress quasi-edible because I don’t think I could stomach any of these custom-designed "pizzas."

Manufacturing’s evolving workforce

February 14, 2013 2:39 pm | by Bob Dean, Executive Director, Business Transformation, Cisco | Blogs | Comments

Pop culture references manufacturing as the factories of the 1800s or modern-day overseas sweatshops — full of mind-numbing, remedial tasks in dark and dingy factories. Today’s manufacturing environments tell a much different story: clean and safe environments with employees managing advanced machinery that drives innovation and productivity.

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Stores are tracking your every move

February 14, 2013 2:11 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

When you walk into a store, you basically expect that you’re going to be recorded on a security video and surreptitiously watched by sales associates lest you decide to steal anything. But did you ever stop to think what information the store is gleaning from your cell?

Iranian clown car flies ... with the help of Photoshop

February 14, 2013 11:06 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Take that, free world! For all you naysayers out there who thought Iran’s clown car, er ... stealth fighter ... smelled a bit fishy, the Islamic Republic has the ultimate retort: a badly-Photoshopped image of the Qaher-313 set against stock photo #3.

Large-scale free WiFi is still a dream worth pursuing

February 13, 2013 3:34 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

Sometimes, it seems our nation no longer aspires to great things. These days our astronauts hitch rides to the International Space Station on Soviet spacecraft, and just recently, the U.S. Postal Service — once the envy of the world — announced its intention to eliminate Saturday mail service.

What Walter Cronkite thought 2001 would look like

February 12, 2013 3:41 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Predictions about future technology are always interesting. Sometimes, the prediction is pretty mainstream, like a mobile phone. Other times they’re a little more ambitious. I’m still waiting for my flying car. But one thing is always guaranteed: Predictions about the future are always fun to watch decades later — particularly if they star Mr. Walter Cronkite.

America's growing minerals deficit

February 11, 2013 5:10 pm | by Daniel McGroarty | Blogs | Comments

After every election, there's a mad scramble in Washington over the must-make-it-happen agenda for the newly inaugurated president and Congress. There are welcome signs from the White House's own Material Genome Initiative that securing America's access to critical metals and minerals will be high on the list.

This device punishes you for skipping a workout

February 11, 2013 2:50 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

We’ve all done it. You come home from a long day at the office. Sit down on the couch to watch a little Walking Dead. You feel a little guilty that you haven’t hit the gym or gone for a run, but you figure no one will know. But then your television set turns itself off, then your phone goes down, then your iPad, and then your reading lamp switches off and leaves you in the dark.

Preserving Holocaust stories through 3D technology

February 8, 2013 1:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

It seems that a few groups consistently struggle with how to incorporate and use new technology in a manner that is both appropriate and effective for their brand. They often fall short and take advantage of the “next big thing” only to find it doesn’t work or hasn’t been adopted by enough of the public to make a difference. 

Power: Less is more for 2013

February 7, 2013 3:10 pm | by Bryon Moyer, Mouser Electronics | Mouser Electronics | Blogs | Comments

Power has come of age as a defining parameter in electronic systems. Whether maximizing battery life, keeping an enclosure cool, or passing large currents more efficiently, projects now start with power in mind. In 2013, we will see the continued migration of power technologies from research to commercial availability.

Automotive electronics in 2013 and beyond: Batteries bear a burden

February 7, 2013 2:58 pm | by David Carey, Mouser Electronics | Mouser Electronics | Blogs | Comments

This year will see automotive electronics designers approach power management (PM) more like their mobile industry counterparts. While it may seem a fringe concern, the burgeoning security, convenience, connectivity, safety, and infotainment features of tomorrow’s vehicles will drive design and component choices that address standby power consumption.

Why your car is a better driver than you

February 7, 2013 2:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

It came to my attention while working on an article about intelligent systems in cars that people might be a tad touchy when it comes to talking about letting cars do the work when driving.  I’m not talking about infotainment systems or fancy doodads, I’m talking about systems that could greatly improve the safety of cars....

Is the atmosphere a giant steam engine?

February 7, 2013 11:40 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

As a former Naval Nuke, I was intrigued by a recent paper on climate. It looks at atmospheric circulation in terms of water vapor condensation. A steam engine if you will. The paper claims that winds are driven by the condensation of water vapor, and the resultant variations in local atmospheric pressure that the condensation causes.

Iranian "stealth fighter" looks like a clown car

February 7, 2013 11:09 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

So it turns out that the new Iranian stealth fighter may be as genuine as the Islamic Republic’s concern for human rights. The regime unveiled the jet, 'Qaher 313', on Saturday, and the blogosphere immediately went to work debunking what could be one of the laziest forgeries of all time.

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