What A Deal For The US Taxpayer!

I just read today that the US State Department had signed a letter of intent to buy real estate in Nigeria. In the memorandum they were willing to pay the full asking price of $1250 per square meter.

Just out of curiosity I looked up some ocean view property in Malibu, CA. I can, without any negotiation, own a 2.19 acre ready to build  lot for a mere $6,900,000 (the asking price). For my money, I also get the plans to build a sweet Mediterranean style mansion with a view of Catalina Island.

To save you from busting out the calculators, my $7 million buckaroo purchase works out to $778 per square meter.

Wowzer! I would have never guessed that land in Nigeria is 60% more expensive than ocean view property in Malibu, CA!!!

Oh, one little extra special  tidbit. The land that the US State Department was looking to purchase is owned by a close friend of Billybob and Hillybob Clinton. Their good friend had generously given the Clinton Organized Crime Syndicate $5,000,000 big ones.

Of course the godfather and godmother will claim there was no influence or conflict of interest as the letter of intent was issued 23 day after the godmother left the office of Secretary of State.  Yeah, right.


Imagine it. Build it!

I’ll continue my thoughts on technology that is readily available to almost anyone,  I’d like to show what can created in very little time without much training, by describing something I built today.

I needed a method to hold a sensor to my wrist for an experiment that I’m conducting.  In my head I imagined something like a wristwatch case with a Velcro band to make adjustments simple.

Using Autodesk Fusion 360 which is a FREE cloud based Computer Aided Design (CAD) program, I quickly sketched the design that I had in my head.  I made some fillets and chamfers along the edges to make it look pleasing to the eye.Sensor_Holder_Wrist_2016-Aug-16_12-19-26AM-000_CustomizedView8540235427This is the part that I sketched and then rendered (turned into a pretty picture) using Fusion 360.

Fusion 360 can convert the sketch into a Stereolithograpy (.STL) file.  This file type is used almost universally in the 3D printing field.  Creating this file is just one mouse click in Fusion 360.

Using an Open Source (FREE) program called “Cura”, I converted the .STL file into “G-code”, which are the  instructions that tell my 3D printer how to create the part.  To make this file it’s just a matter of opening the .STL file in Cura’s “file menu”.  Cura automatically creates the G-code file, no other action is required.  The G-code file is saved onto an SD card with one click of the mouse.

The SD card was inserted into my 3D printer and the “Print” button was pushed to start the print.  After about an hour the part was completed.

3D print wrist holder 2

This is the part with the Velcro band inserted into the slots of the part.

After making this first part, I thought of several changes that I’m going to implement to make it better.  When you hold a part in your hand, it’s easier to think about how to make the next one better.  The material cost of this part is just a few pennies. No big deal to toss it into the recycle bin (the material is completely recyclable and bio-degradable) and make a “better” version.  Iterating versions quickly is called “Rapid Prototyping”.

Any kid in grade school has the ability to make this part.  The child would only need a couple of hours of lessons to learn the basics of Fusion 360.  It would only take about 30 minutes to teach a kid how to use a 3D printer.  With less than 3 hours of classroom time, any child can start making almost anything that he can conceive of in his head into a real physical part.

Imagine it.  Build it!!!

Young Person, Seizing the Day

In my earlier post “Young People, Seize the Day!”, I wrote in part that now young folks can collaborate via the Internet.  I mentioned this to a friend of mine and he brought up what I consider to be an excellent example of a young person taking advantage of this global knowledge.

My friend’s 20-something daughter bought a condo last year and the dishwasher stopped working the other day. The dishwasher displayed an error code on the front panel. She was going to call and pay someone to come and repair it, but decided to search online to see what the error code was indicating.  She found that the code meant that the drain valve was not closing.  She also found an online video that showed the most common cause of the valve malfunction was caked up soap around the drain valve.  The video showed how to remove some parts to get to the drain and how to clean it.

Now this young gal had never repaired anything in her life.  She didn’t even have any tools. So what did she do next?  She emailed her dad and asked him what kind of pliers she should get.  He went online and found a set at the local big box hardware store and sent her the link to the pliers set.  She then went to the hardware store and bought the tools.

This young lady took apart her dishwasher, by herself, with only the knowledge gained from the online video and her new pliers.  Sure enough the valve was caked with soap.  After she cleaned out the valve and reassembled the dishwasher, voilà, fixed!

I find this very impressive.  Very impressive indeed.  The knowledge via the Internet empowered this young lady to take charge of things in her own life.  I imagine that she also gained the sense of accomplishment after fixing the mechanical beast.

To some, this may seem like a small victory but it probably will forever change this young lady’s view of her abilities going forward in life.

One small step…