Better living and more animated discussion through 3D
Don't let its tepid-sounding name fool you; Library Link of the Day is a source you might want to add to your RSS feeds.
LLD offers great daily environmental-scanning capability with one thoughtfully selected feature each time. Though its audience is "library knowledge workers", anyone interested in information provision/technology/access would be intrigued. For example, yesterday's link starred Jay Leno. In the video clip, he's delightedly showing off his prototyping 3-D printer. Jay uses it to recreate rare or impossible-to-locate parts for his extensive vintage car collection.
Just try watching this (and I'll understand if you get temporarily sidetracked by the "vehicles" tab) without either replaying what you just saw to prove that it really worked or muttering "No way!", or both. You'll probably also catch the posting date: June 29, 2011, nearly a year ago.
That's because 3D printing technology isn't brand-new. The concept required a bit of exposure before library folks could envision its feasibility in their realm. As taxpayer-funded entities, libraries are compelled to assess cost vs. benefit and that sort of thing. Those factors continually throw cold water on our predilection for trying to be all things to all people.
Still, we remain on the lookout for new ways to facilitate empowerment and access. These days, the "maker space" scenario now exemplified by the Fayetteville, NY public library receives considerable press. Fayetteville Free Library's acquisition of 3D equipment for public use resulted from a generous donation. That gift didn't merely bestow technology on one library; it's also promoting field testing of assumptions about the viability of their model. Dreams of further maker spaces will encounter hard realities like logistics, staffing, and price tag. But so did visions of public access computers once upon a time.
Despite Mr. Leno's step-by-step exposition of how his prototyper works, I suspect he still finds the process a bit magical. Any tool that eradicates limitations and enables us to accomplish exactly what's required must be. Perhaps that's why Leno likened the 3D technology to The Jetsons.
I have to disagree, though his meaning is clear: futuristic. And who doesn't love the Jetsons? But that amiable family enjoyed a houseful of labor-saving devices and still felt put upon by any remaining responsibilities; pioneering spirits they were not. And as for their Eisenhower-era stereotypical family roles, those were tired even when the show first aired.
Library Link of the Day readers may prefer another campy animated role model: the kind of guy who invents at the drop of a hat whatever the situation requires; who lends his talents to extract others from their difficulties; and who even remains pleasant throughout it all. I refer, naturally, to Professor Pat Pending. Of course, if he'd contrived a 3D printer back in the day, we'd have found the notion cartoonish.