“She’s a show stopper…she’s a jaw dropper…she’s burning hot like fire! She’s my Miss America!”
Tesla is on fire right now! (And I mean that in a good way). If cars had a Miss America pageant, Miss America Electric Vehicle 2013 would definitely be the Tesla Model S. She’s got the personality and the looks. Also, Tesla, the ten-year long shot, made a profit—this is better than the underdog winning the Miss America pageant! Consumer Reports recently gave the Model S a glowing review: “[the Tesla Model S] performed better, or just as well overall, as any other vehicle—of any kind—ever tested by Consumer Reports.” She also received a score of 99/100. Wow. She must have nailed that dance routine. Electric vehicles (EVs) have had some trouble getting out of the gate the past few years—so this review bodes well for the start-up and gives some hope to the EV cause.
The Tesla Model S is still very expensive and does require some more infrastructure planning in order to make it a serious “every-day American driver,” but the sedan is starting to look like the “It girl”–oops, I mean car–of green transportation. So what is different about the Tesla that is making it eclipse other EVs? How did Tesla clinch such a great review and why is she taking the auto world by storm? I’m not an engineer, thus I will not regale you on its potentially superior features that blow its competitors out of the park, but I would like to talk about Tesla’s design.
That is the question sought to be answered by the new book Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman, who discuss the pros and cons of a 3D world where we could possibly have a machine that could make everything. The authors state “[in] the not-so-distant future, people will 3D print living tissue, nutritionally calibrated food, and ready-made, fully assembled electronic components.”
The book looks at the history of 3D printing and how it came about and from there, the chapters discuss everything from what these machines can make to the legal difficulties that will follow from the technology. From the Backcover:
Businesses will be liberated from the tyrannies of economies of scale
Factories and global supply chains will shrink, finding themselves closer to their customers
The law, already reeling from digital media, will once again need to be redefined
Our environment might breathe easier in a 3D printed economy, or it could choke on a rising tide of plastic
3D printed digital and intelligent, adaptive materials will change our relationship with the physical world
What do you think of 3D technology: Is it the next best thing or will we choke on a rising tide of plastic?
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World stands as one of the most creative scripts produced in 2012. Steve Carell and Keira Knightley play an odd couple united on a quest to reconnect with their respective pasts before a meteor destroys all life on Earth. Dramatically deviating from the clichés of the disaster genre, Seeking a Friend presents a doomed humanity that takes the apocalypse fairly well. While including requisite scenes of panic and riot, the film’s characters strive toward some sense of relationship in their final days.
We too seem to be taking the apocalypse pretty well. Our world hurls toward its scheduled end on December 21st according to predictions based on the ancient Mayan calendar. It’s something folks like Art Bell, George Noory, and their overnight talk radio guests have been warning us about for years. It serves as the subject of several books, a keyword of countless websites, the inspiration for a variety of B movies, and the premise behind Roland Emmerich’s consummate disaster film titled simply 2012. After years of hype, the date approaches. Yet there is a conspicuous lack of panic.
The smart money bets on the continued survival of both humanity and our planet. As my friend and PJ Media colleague Sunny Lohmann recently quipped on Twin Cities News Talk, the only thing sure to come beyond the winter solstice is more daylight. Predictions of Armageddon have an impressive failure rate.
Be that as it may, we should not completely dismiss the potential for a kind of apocalypse. No, I don’t mean the fiscal cliff, Obama’s second term, or an imminent economic meltdown. I’m talking about an apocalypse of the kind which has come many times before, a moment in history when a culture unravels under a development so overwhelming that established institutions pass into ruin. Think of the Aztecs and their encounter with Spanish conquistadors. They scurried about, minding their own business, when the white man arrived to unmake their world.
At a moment like that, two things happen. Newly introduced technology bowls over indigenous methods, and a new way of thinking transmits through that technical superiority. That kind of apocalypse, one which reforms our world and thus destroys our way of life, looms not only possible, but anticipated.
Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think is exactly what anyone feeling pessimistic about the world should read. That’s because it’s hard to get down about the future when you read about stunning technological advances on the horizon that will soon change the planet for the better. Here, try it for yourself!
1) 3D Printing: Get ready to geek out because, yes, a rudimentary replicator exists. 3D printers can create everything from lampshades to prosthetic limbs out of steel, titanium, glass, and plastic among other materials. Inventor Behrokh Khoshnevis has even come up with a 3-D printer that uses concrete to build low-income housing for the third world. Granted, this isn’t as powerful or efficient as a Star Trek replicator, but when the technology improves enough to be mass produced and becomes cheap enough for most people to afford, it will be amazing. Picture it now: you’re shopping on Amazon and you see a TV you like. You then walk over to your 3D printer, hit a button, and thirty minutes later, you’re kicking back and watching House reruns. Granted, it won’t make a pork chop or materialize what you want out of thin air like a replicator, but it would represent an amazing leap forward.
What does the future of mankind look like? Is it bright? That’s the impression one gets from reading Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think.
The book argues that advances in technology will solve all of our problems. Food, water, energy, medicine — our capabilities have been rapidly improving on all of these fronts for decades and we’re on pace to advance even faster in coming years. In fact, according to the book, the only reason we don’t see how terrific our future will be is because of our cognitive biases towards pessimism and gloom. It notes,
…Our brain’s filtering architecture is pessimistic by design…(and) good news is drowned out, because it’s in the media’s best interest to overemphasize the bad.
Therefore we tend to ignore the advances in robotics, nanotechnology, computers, genetically engineered crops, vertical farming, cultured meats, smart grids, and innumerable other technological advances that have put us on the cusp of taking a great leap forward as a species.
This isn’t just hot air either. The book goes into detail about the extraordinary breakthroughs that we’re approaching: algae that can produce thirty times more energy than conventional biofuels per acre, computer assisted irrigation that will dramatically reduce the water usage needed for farming, autonomous cars that will reduce commute times and almost eliminate accidents, human body parts that can be grown as replacements for our worn out organs, and diagnostic advances that will allow thousands of dollars’ worth of medical tests to be done for pennies. These are exciting ideas that have the potential to uplift the lives of human beings all across the globe.