Print Anything

3D Printed Cells Bowl - Math Art by @Dizingof

3D Printed Cells Bowl – Math Art by @Dizingof (Photo credit: Dizingof)

And I mean anything.  Trust me.

Whatever new technology comes along someone will use it, or combine it with something else, to create something unique.  And this is true of 3D Printing.  The technology has been around for a while, used by designers and engineers to create prototypes and demonstrations for shows, and has now matured to the point where desktop and portable devices are soon to be available although some, like the Kickstarter-funded Formlab Form1 have come up against patent issues that are ongoing.

The idea, of slowly producing three-dimensional solid objects layer by layer by laying down material one layer on the next or selectively laser-fusing or curing liquids to form the layers, at the moment produces solid parts that can be assembled like an Airfix model kit but there has also been an intriguing chocolate 3D printer which could prove popular too. Already there are online archives of things to download and print from models of the Eiffel Tower to AK-47s – as I said, someone will always find a use for such tech.

The hope is that in future the technology could combine multiple materials in a single object, extending the technique beyond plastics and further improving the detail achievable although at the moment the printers can create tiny details, and even using the materials to replace structures like steel beams.  One amazing use is a device called a 3D Bio-Printer that can print out a hybrid natural-synthetic cartilage which once implanted acts as a support for natural tissue to regrow.

Which medical miracles brings us to two Japanese uses for the technology:  firstly a 3D photobooth that can scan your body and create a plastic mini-me, perfect for those who are so into model railways they want to be in their model railways, and secondly Fortean Times this month (FT297 pp10) reports on a clinic in Tokyo that uses a “Bio Texture” process and MRI scans to give parents-to-be a chance to see and hold their baby months before birth.  The “Shape of an Angel” service is £800 plus the cost of the MRI scan.  Imagine the scene, a family get-together, the baby photos are brought up on the wall projection to embarrass the teenager as parents sometimes do…   “This is you when you were five… ah, when you were two… look, you were only a few hours old there…  go get the box…  this was you when you were minus three months”.

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It’s The End of The World As We Know It…

Sandwich Filler of The Apocalypse

Sandwich Filler of The Apocalypse (C)2012 Andy Vickers

That will be the most played song on any radio station today, how long Michael Stipe and Co have to spend the royalties is up for conjecture.  I do feel fine, by the way.  I am however currently sheltering under my desk and posting this just as the new day, the 21st of December 2012 begins over the international date line, if the predictions are true then it may be too late to worry about your to-do lists.

Here in England it’s Thursday the 20th at lunchtime, and I am eating the sandwich filler shown above which as can clearly be seen needs to be eaten before the end of the 21st.  (I actually tried to find a product with a best before date of the 21st December but failed, by one day.  N.B. if the world does end, I assume no responsibility.)

Fortean Times has been running a regular column throughout the last year to record the wide range of theories about just what is supposed to be happening on the other side of the world at the moment.  As the day has approached some of the doomsayers have changed their opinions, under a barrage of arguments along the lines of “and how, exactly, is the world to be destroyed” or perhaps a fear of total destruction to the view that it will be a “spiritual end of the world” which will lead us to be a more enlightened world filled with peace and harmony come tomorrow morning.  I suspect, and I know this is controversial, that after the 21st guns will fall silent, enemies will look at each other across borders…  and then all will continue as before.

I should have, perhaps started this earlier but it might have been a bit long then.  Some highlights of the last year’s theories (culled from Fortean Times’ 2012 Watch) include:  William Roache from Coronation Street believes that the world will move into a “higher vibration” and many of the Earth’s inhabitants will discover the energy and love in the universe and that they are spiritual beings, Daniel Srsa agrees though believes that the cataclysmic end for us all will in fact cleanse the Earth of all the negative karma we’ve built up. Barbara Hand Clow, an Astrologer, firmly believes that only those who embrace the “Nine Realms of Consciousness of the Pleiadians” will be saved for they will be in “ecstatic communion with nature and the creator” – she has courses to help you to embrace.  The Pleiadians say that “harmonic biology” from Earth will be spread across the galaxy on 21st December.

Nancy Leider claims that Planet X or Nibiru which has been orbiting opposite the Earth for many years will approach soon and will cause Earth’s poles to flip – she received this information from the Zeta Reticulans, the idea of a pole reversal is also shared by Patrick Geryl who foresees this leading to “pure, unimaginable horror…  terrible hunger, cold and pain.”  All our electronics will be fried, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes will destroy all buildings, transport systems and books.  As Peter Brookesmith says in his FT article, Geryl’s version of the apocalypse is one of many new New Age visions of a future less based around peace and love but more scorched earth and burned sinners.

Of course we had the 2012 Olympics which it was predicted would be interrupted by a UFO and was interrupted, by an airship.  However there are still those who believe that the games were riddled with “Zionist conspiracy” symbols not least the logo itself which could be rearranged to spell ZION.  Must be true then.  David Icke still believes that our world leaders are reptilian aliens so hasn’t had much to say to date.

Most of the ideas are pretty much the same as these – a natural event will destroy the world literally or a consciousness shift will destroy the world we know figuratively.  Of course there have been many, many books, courses and DVDs sold either explaining the coming apocalypse or offering advice on how to survive it.

Meanwhile NASA have had to repeat messages that the world isn’t going to end, even resorting to a video explaining why the world didn’t end which they’ve released ten days early.    In Russia there has been panic over the coming end of days.  Microsoft have noticed many signs of the apocalypse on the internet including a lack of food photos on instragram and Internet Explorer 10 being good.  Finally the peaceful French village of Bugarach has been beseiged by hordes of people who believe that the mountain on which it sits houses a “UFO Garage” and tomorrow this will open up and carry all those present away to salvation – shades of Close Encounters of the Third Kind?  The film was, it is said, inspired by a visit to the village by Steven Spielberg.  Once a magnet for walkers and climbers now the tranquility of the Pic de Bugarach is punctuated by esoteric visitors chanting and leaving statues and artifacts on the rocks.  Locals do feel there is something special about the mountain, a kind of feeling about it but not that it’s an alien hideout.  As is often the case a number of “gurus” have moved to the area and charge up to 800 euros for a course to help you commune with the mountain, it’s energy and its aliens.  Understandably the mayor has now closed off access to the mountain altogether and locals have pleaded with visitors not to come on the 21st.

As for me, I’ll just wish my mum a happy birthday for Saturday while I’m here, just in case but I don’t think anything will happen.  Having said that though with how our world is at the moment perhaps we will start to see a change in attitudes away from greed and violence but often such changes happen in cycles anyway and as this article on I09 tells us we could bring about our own destruction.  If I’m wrong then feel free to say “ha ha, I was ri…”

[Fortean Timessee issue 285 for their 2012 Special and from 286 onwards for monthly updates, unless, well, you know.]

The Dream Palais

Palais Idéal, Hauterives, Drôme, France.

Palais Idéal, Hauterives, Drôme, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Built over thirty-five years by one man, The Palais idéal in the French town of Hauterives is an architectural wonder that is at the same time regarded by art critics as merely a folly and an example of so-called naive art.

Joseph-Ferdinand Cheval was born in 1836 and suffered an unsettled early life including the death of both his parents before he was 18, the deaths of two wives and several children, and many poorly paid jobs.  In 1867 he began work as a postman and the story of the Palais began.

As he walked on his rounds in the French countryside he began to construct in his mind what he called “a fairy palace of my dreams” in order to combat the boredom he had begun to feel.  His vision became so vivid as to be almost real in his mind but then he lost confidence in his internal vision and found himself simply wandering through the real world that had none of the wonders of his Palais and had only brought him pain in the past.

His spirit was awakened by tripping over a stone in his path that seemed to him to have been sculpted by nature and he realised that if creativity is inherent in nature then it could be within himself too and at that moment he found what he had been missing.  He realised that he could bring his dream castles into the real world and so he began to collect stones and build his Palais.

Once completed The Palais demonstrated his vision of creative reality, merging styles from across the world and across time.  Cheval said that creativity is life and in finding creativity he began a new life and was enriched by its energy.

The Palais was, from its unveiling, intended to be seen and was open to the public so that they too could be inspired to create and live rather than simply, passively be entertained.  Cheval hoped that his Palais would be part of a wider transformation of the world as people found their own creativity after seeing his work.  The Fortean Times article I read ended by talking about this aspect and its author said it was offered as a pebble for use in building that global palace and as I’d now come into contact with the Palais so I was inspired to discover my own kind of creativity and share it.  Today you don’t need stones and we can build a Palais online if we want, in some ways 21st Century Lunch is part of mine.

Fortean Times #286 p74-76 / Interesting Thing of The Day / Wikipedia