3-D printers launch small businesses

Andreas, an IT guy in Austria who didn’t want his last name used for this article, started out as a hobbyist. He customizes Lego ”minifigs” — the plastic characters that come with a Lego toy set — to create historically accurate dioramas, or three-dimensional models.

Lego had stopped making a specific hat that made his Napoleonic figures accurate. With no experience in product design and no access to a factory, he designed a new hat and had it 3-D printed.

Fire Ant Swarms Form Living Life Rafts

When a city floods, humans stack sandbags and raise levees. When a fire ant colony floods, the ants link up to form a literal life raft, such as the one pictured. Now, new research shows exactly how the ants manage this feat. Engineering professor David Hu and graduate student Nathan J. Mlot at Georgia Institute … Continue Reading

Five Forerunners of NASA’s Robot Astronaut

These days, plenty of robots have landed on other planets and been put to work. Still, building a machine that can operate in microgravity around humans but without human control was a unique challenge. The mature, responsible R2 owes its shot at glory in space to a host of robotic “ancestors,” earlier androids that never left Earth as well as less human-like machines that are already hard at work on the ISS.

Two New Horned Dinosaurs Found in Utah

Two newly discovered horned dinosaur species from an ancient “lost continent” are some of the most surprising and ornate yet found, paleontologists say. The new dinosaurs are members of the ceratopsids, the group of dinosaurs that includes Triceratops. The animals were generally four-legged herbivores with horns and bony frills rising from the backs of their … Continue Reading

Shanghai’s European Suburbs

A decade ago, as Shanghai’s population approached 18 million and housing prices skyrocketed, the city decided to act. City planners developed an initiative called “One City, Nine Towns”—satellite suburbs would be built on farmland outside Shanghai to house one million people by 2020.

Shack to the Future

Washington City Paper “Is there somewhere around here I can get a quick lunch, like a half-smoke, maybe?” The question catches the man pushing his Fayette Street door open for fresh air off-guard. “Sure, there’s a Five Guys two blocks that way.” Are you kidding me? You live three blocks from the greatest, oldest, stubbornest … Continue Reading