White House Petition: Build the USS Enterprise!

USS-EnterpriseEarlier this year, an engineer who goes by the alias BTE Dan claimed that a working model of the USS Enterprise could be built with existing technology and completed within 20 years. And this was a full-scale Enterprise, complete with a lower hull, upper saucer section, artificial gravity, ion engines, nuclear power, and a 100 kilowatt laser.

Well it seems that Dan wasn’t finished just yet. To follow up on this move, he stated a White House petition to do a feasibility study and conceptual design of the USS Enterprise interplanetary spaceship. This, he sees as a viable step towards ensuring that a segment of scientists and engineers in the space industry take an active interest and help move the concept forward.
entpriseAs it stands, the concept still has numerous technical flaws, Dan admits, but that is precisely why he is seeking professionals help. As he put it, “There is a lot of waste heat to get rid of, today’s ion propulsions engines need major advances, and perhaps stability problems will be found with the gravity wheel.” And that’s just for starters…

What’s more, his initial visit with NASA space engineers and space contractors did not go so well. As he put it, “I am an outsider poking around in their sandbox, and human nature is that people don’t like that.” However, since the story first broke earlier this year, Dan’s website has crashed because of the massive increase in traffic.

USS-Enterprise-size-comparisons-640Mainly, people are impressed with the depth and detail of his planning, which not only includes conceptual designs and designs specs, but also comes complete with a funding schedule and accounting for just about every detail of the ship’s construction. But mainly, I’m thinking people are intrigued by the possibility that such a project could actually be feasible, and are impressed with Dan’s passion and commitment to seeing it happen by the 2030’s.

As of this evening, the petition has collected 19,804 signatures, and needs only 5,196 more to reach the minimum required for consideration. Personally, I recommend we get on it. It’s just a feasibility study, after all, and I for one am interested to see if it could really be done. To read and/or sign the White House petition, click here. And be sure to check out the video below of some of the proposed star craft’s inner workings:


Source:
Universe Today.com, Build the enterprise.org

Gun Parts Purged from 3D Printing Database

Defense_DistributedBack in December, the 3D printing company MakerBot announced its decision to purge designs for AR15 components and other weapons from its 3D printing wesbsite, known as Thingiverse. Prior to this date, it was perfectly legal to download the components of an AR-15 assault weapon from the internet.

This weapon was not only one of the guns used in the recent Newton, Connecticut shooting, it is also the weapon that Distributed Defense – a Wiki Weapons group – claims to have successfully created using 3D printed parts. In a statement released to the public, Makerbot’s spokesperson cited Terms of Service and legal issues as the reason for the decision:

“Thingiverse’s Terms of Service state that users agree not to use Thingiverse “to collect, upload, transmit, display, or distribute any User Content (ii) that…promotes illegal activities or contributes to the creation of weapons, illegal materials or is otherwise objectionable.” If an item has been removed, it is because it violates the Thingiverse Terms of Service.”

To wit, these Terms of Service have not changed, but Makerbot’s enforcement of them certainly has. By law, the company has the right to pull any items from its file list that they feel could be used in the commission of  crime. And since one of the most heinous crimes imaginable was commissioned using parts that are freely available on their site, this change is hardly surprising.

Personally, the decision seems like a no-brainer. And simply saying they don’t want people using their website to construct guns and go on shootings sprees would have sufficed for me, no need to justify it by citing legal articles! However, said components and other firearm parts still remain available on several other open source internet websites. No telling if and when they will follow Makerbot’s lead, but I think we can expect them to endorse the ban while they can still do it willingly.

Given the pressure that has been placed on the White House to ban the sale of firearms of late, especially assault weapons, and the attention Defense Distributed got with their creation of an AR-15 rifle using certain “printable parts”, it quite likely that a gun control provision will be passed that makes it illegal to print any and all gun components.

Source: news.cnet.com