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Today In The World

Dated: 23 Oct 2013
Posted by Thomas McIntyre
Category: International, New Markets, Uncategorized
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Saudi/US Relations: With Saudi Arabia recently turning down a seat at the UN Security Council, Riyadh’s frustration with the Obama Administration and its regional policies, including the decision not to bomb Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons in August and the recent détente with Iran, is beginning to create a rift between the two allies.  Notable, that prior to the planned strikes against Syria, Saudi Arabia asked for US assistance to protect their oil operations in the Eastern Province, which was turned down by US officials.  “Disappointed, the Saudis told the U.S. that they were open to alternatives to their long-standing defense partnership, emphasizing that they would look for good weapons at good prices, whatever the source, the official said.”

Space: A Tucson, Arizona company, Paragon Space Development Corp, wants to develop high-altitude balloons to send travelers to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere. The trips would cost less than other proposed commercial space flights, but passengers wouldn’t experience the same intensity of weightlessness.  The company is planning to build helium filled balloons that are able to transport eight passengers up to 100,000 feet or about 19 miles above the earth’s surface.  With other companies such as Virgin and SpaceX offering similar space voyages, expect more private firms to establish commercial operations above the earth’s atmosphere.

Chinese Smog: Small-particle pollution soared to a record high in China yesterday, as airports and schools closed due to the unprecedented level of smog.  State media said the PM 2.5 reading [which measures the level of harmful particulate matter in the air] ‘exceeded’ 500. A Reuters report put the figure at 1,000, or 40 times higher than what the World Health Organization deems safe.

3D Printing and the Distributed Cloud

Dated: 10 May 2013
Posted by Cameron Mehin
Category: New Markets, Technology, Uncategorized
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3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing is destined to revolutionize the way we transition our digital creations into tangible goods. Though today it looks like it hit a bit of a speed bump with regards to the design files related to the first 3D printed gun, dubbed the Liberator. Defense Distributed, the organization that created and released the designs received a notice to remove the files until they can be further reviewed by the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. This came after the file had already hit over 100,000 downloads. While the file may have been taken down, we all know it’s not that easy to undo the dissemination of information in today’s digital world.

So is it over? Not exactly. It turns out the torrent hosting site Pirate Bay has begun hosting the files. The bigger question now is the outcome of the review and its implications on the future of 3D printed goods, including guns. Will this give rise again to the massive databases of the distributed cloud networks of the world or is this just a blip on the map for what seems like a manufacturing trend that’s just starting to ramp up with no end in sight?