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Comment Re:Why you should care about 3D printed handguns (Score 1) 276

I meant "expensive" in a relative sense. Other items that would need similar precision to function, like a clock or socket wrench, do not have as many moving parts and therefore can be obtained with what someone might consider pocket change. It is a tool that requires a relatively high level of precision to function as intended but since it is made in such high quantity the price is quite low.

A $100,000 machine that can print out a $30 socket set or wall clock is not very impressive. If that same machine can print out a Model 1911 pistol that can fetch easily $1000 on the open market then you will get people's attention. If that device can print out a shiny new M1911 in a week then it will pay for itself in a few years. If it can print one out in a day then it can pay for itself in months.

Comment Re: Militant Slashdot (Score 1) 276

The term "assault rifle" is a military designation for a type of small arm. An assault rifle is a rifle chambered in a cartridge with a range and/or power less than a "battle rifle" but greater than a typical handgun. Such weapons typically have a selector switch that enables semi-auto or three round burst functions. Some early weapons of this type were capable of switching between full-auto and semi-auto but this is rare today. Some common cartridges for such weapons are 5.56 NATO, .30 Carbine, and 7.62x39mm.

For clarity a "battle rifle" is a relatively large caliber rifle, typically about .30 caliber, with semi-auto capability. A "machine gun" is both a military designation and a BATFE legal designation with slightly different meanings. In the military a machine gun is a weapon capable of firing battle rifle cartridges in fully automatic mode. Military machine guns may have a burst or semi-auto feature but this is rare. As defined by the BATFE a machine gun is any firearm capable of firing more than one cartridge by a single action of a trigger. To the BATFE a worn out double barrel shotgun that fires both barrels with one trigger pull is a "machine gun", as is any military designated "assault rifle" due to the three round burst feature. To the BATFE the caliber of the weapon is not part of the machine gun definition, any cartridge will do.

The term "assault weapon" (as opposed to assault RIFLE) is a nearly meaningless term. It's definition varies from state to state and from time to time. All it really means is "what we want to ban today". The weapon used at Sandy Hook did not meet the definition of "assault weapon" in Connecticut law even though it may have met that definition if it were in California. Some common features to the definition to an "assault weapon" are some rather silly features like bayonet lugs (because drive by stabbings is a problem I guess) or threaded barrel ends (used to attach safety devices like report suppressors and flash hiders but the powers that be focus on the ability to attach a grenade launcher).

To add further silliness to all of this is the term "personal defense weapon". This is a term that also has several meanings depending on who you ask. In the military a PDW would be something like a P90, a weapon that fires pistol caliber cartridges in three round burst or semi-auto and comes standard with a 50 round magazine. To the Department of Homeland Security a commonly used PDW is the M4 Carbine. To the military the M4 Carbine is an assault rifle. To the BATFE the M4 Carbine is a "machine gun" if capable of three round burst, or a "short barreled rifle" if semi-auto only. Of course most every state in the USA would classify this as an "assault weapon".

Interesting isn't it? The same weapon, in this case the M4 Carbine, gets different designations not based solely on who is holding it at the time. In the hands of a Marine it's an "assault rifle". In the hands of a DHS agent it's a "personal defense weapon". In the hands of the people that pay their salary with taxes it can be a "machine gun", "assault weapon", "short barreled rifle", or (my favorite) an "offensive weapon".

What is an "offensive weapon"? Hell if I know. Best I can tell is that it is something that some politicians decided offended their sensibilities at some point in the past, therefore they banned their possession by anyone not earning a government paycheck. The term "offensive weapon" has just about the same meaning as "assault weapon". I expect that given time the term "assault weapon" will be discredited enough that the term "offensive weapon" will regain popularity with the powers that be that wish to disarm us.

Comment Re:Why you should care about 3D printed handguns (Score 1) 276

That's some fucking retarded reasoning

It's no different then the reasoning on why the President said we should go to the moon. We did it because it was hard. Making a handgun is not hard, many people do it. Making a handgun by 3D printing is hard, and is as suitable of a test of the technology as building any of a number of items.

Perhaps you would like to expand on why you think this reasoning is "fucking retarded"? Perhaps you could also propose a more suitable item to manufacture as a test of 3D printing technology?

Comment Re: Militant Slashdot (Score 4, Insightful) 276

Apparently so since much of the desire to ban these weapons was the result of gang warfare during Prohibition.

Funny that, history repeating itself. Alcohol prohibition resulted in violence not seen before it's implementation. Now today people don't shoot each other over alcohol because it is available at nearly every convenience store with nothing more than proving you are an adult and have the ability to pay for it.

Perhaps we would not have "drug addled scum burning down your cities" if these drugs were not banned. Just a thought. It appears that there are at least some people that agree with me given that a number of states in the USA have legalized marijuana with no real threats to society to show for it.

Also, how does banning possession of a handgun supposed to prevent "drug addled scum" from setting the city on fire? I do know that even drug addled scum have a nearly instinctual fear of getting shot if they threaten to burn down someone's home or business. It would seem to follow that by removing the handguns, and therefore diminish the homeowner's ability to defend their home, would embolden the scum to burn the world down.

Gun control is not crime control. You control crime by controlling the criminals.

Comment Why you should care about 3D printed handguns (Score 2) 276

I've read a lot of posts of people exclaiming 3D printed handguns a waste of time, or an effort to expand one's "manhood" by building weapons. I've read an article on 3D printed handguns before where the creator was asked why they chose to print a handgun of all things. In this case it was a 3D printed Model 1911, printed using a number of direct printing metal techniques but the answer to this question stuck with me and I believe answers the question quite well.

The creator of this 3D printed handgun explained the choice of printing a handgun this way. People understand what a handgun does and what it is used for. People understand that a handgun is a device with many intricate parts placed under considerable wear, pressures, and so forth. Whatever a handgun is made from must be durable. A handgun built with poor tolerances is not likely to function. A handgun is an expensive machine, not something one can typically purchase on a whim. It is also something that can be manufactured within the size limits of their machines.

Someone could 3D print a clock, for example, to show how a useful item can be built with amazing precision with a 3D printer. To show how a 3D printer can make something that is durable could mean printing a carpenter hammer, or anvil. Perhaps building an adjustable wrench, socket set, or any of a number of tools that need to hold up to extreme stresses and tight tolerances would show the capabilities of a 3D printer. Those are also rather mundane and perhaps a number of people that do not use tools regularly will not understand the difficulty in building such a tool with a 3D printer. These are also tools that do not have much value since people can buy these items relatively cheaply most anywhere.

People choose to 3D print a handgun because it is hard to do. Someone successful in this has then demonstrated their ability to build any of a number of more common and mundane items we use every day. It also doesn't hurt that 3D printed handguns makes politicians nervous and gets clicks on the internet.

Go print a clock and see how many clicks you get on your website, then print an anvil and do the same. Now print a handgun and hope that you've got enough bandwidth to handle the load.

Comment Re: Militant Slashdot (Score 4, Insightful) 276

The reason you don't understand this is because you are ignorant (perhaps willingly so) of how the people that want to ban weapons have thought out their plan. These people know that banning handguns, or most any weapon really, is the goal but they also know that banning handguns is difficult politically.

To understand this best we must go back in time by nearly a century. The National Firearms Act of 1934 placed a prohibitively high tax on a number of weapons, among them were machine guns, firearm report suppressors ("silencers"), "destructive devices" (grenades, landmines, large bore ammunition, etc.), the curious catch-all "any other weapon", and the also curious "short barreled" rifles and shotguns.

Let's talk about that "short barrel" category. The 1934 NFA originally had the intent to ban handguns and to prevent people from making handgun analogs from the not banned rifles and shotguns they made sure that people would not be allowed to shorten the barrels on these "long guns". Because of resistance from a number of powerful groups the ban on handguns went away but the "short barrel" designation remained. This law created the distinction among "handguns", "long guns", and "short barrel" arms where none existed before.

Forty years later the group Handgun Control Incorporated was created, with the (obvious) intent to ban handguns. Again this was met with resistance politically, few people in politics wanted to be associated with a group of that name. In 1981 James Brady was seriously injured in the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. HCI found themselves a new "mascot" and renamed themselves to the Brady Campaign. James Brady was shot with a .22 caliber revolver, which seems like a perfect mascot for an organization that wanted to ban handguns.

At about 1989 HCI renamed themselves Brady Campaign but still kept their original intent on banning handguns. The difference now is that they didn't wear this intent on their sleeves. It was now more politically acceptable to be an advocate for those injured by "gun violence" in general, leaving out that the ultimate goal is still banning handguns if not all firearms.

As the decades passed the banning of handguns became even less politically viable. People wanted personal defense weapons and a handgun makes a reasonable weapon for this task. The people today that call for "reasonable" gun control can draw a direct lineage to those people that wanted to ban handguns nearly a century ago. Given the age of many of these politicians and public figures I have to wonder if these aren't the same people that signed the 1934 National Firearms Act into law.

These bans on "assault weapons", magazine limitations, and background checks are all part of the boiling the frog, oiling up that slippery slope, or what have you that will lead us to banning handguns. These people have tried for over a century now to ban handguns but the majority of the people won't have it. They are still working on sharpening the point of the wedge between people and their personal defense arms. They think that by creating the idea that limits on some arms should bring us down the path to limits on all arms. That once we create the idea that the government should be able to dictate with what tools we are permitted to defend ourselves that at some future point in time the government would be able to dictate that the people cannot have any tools of self defense.

This has been going on for a long time in the USA, the best that they've been able to do is place some rather trivial limits on the people's ability to arm themselves. What I find interesting about these advancements in 3D printing is that it makes all those laws irrelevant. They can make it illegal to manufacture these weapons but the people that feel the government should not be able to dictate how the people may arm themselves will find these bans exceedingly difficult to enforce.

This is a question I've asked myself many times, is a law really a law if the government lacks the willingness or ability to enforce it? Congress can pass a law dictating the color of the sky but that does not make the sky any color other than blue. Look at the federal marijuana prohibition and the number of states that have openly defied the ban. Marijuana is not prohibited any more because the government lacks the will and/or ability to enforce it. If people can make machine guns in their basement with nothing more than a $1000 printer, melted down Coke bottles and beer cans, and some files they downloaded from the internet then does a ban on machine guns really exist any more?

Remember folks, people in the USA used to be able to mail order a Thompson sub-machine gun from the Sears catalog less than 100 years ago. Civilization didn't end then. If this ability is restored by technology, not legislation, in 2034 then I expect nothing real to come of it other than people regaining a freedom lost 100 years ago.

Comment Re:Old News (Score 1) 51

Considering that these are high dollar custom built cars I suspect that putting in an over sized starter motor would be both a minimal additional cost and a selling point.

Also, I recall my high school physics teacher stating something similar about a car he owned. He said he'd use the starter to move a "dead" car to the side of the road.

Another data point is a former co-worker told me how he built a go-cart that was propelled by a starter motor from an old truck. He use a set of automotive batteries and had to put two solenoids in parallel to handle the current. The problem was not with the motor getting too hot but the contacts on the solenoid would. Using two kept them from getting too hot.

Comment Re:Devil's Advocate (Score 3, Informative) 231

Does it matter to me WHY they chose to tell the feds to jump in a lake? Not really. Because they chose to offer a device that has some level of assurance that the government isn't snooping on me illegally they have gained some trust from me, and that means I am more likely to buy their stuff in the future.

The primary purpose of any entity is to ensure its continued existence. If people lose trust in Apple then people stop buying their stuff. Of course this will make them money. I'm just not sure why you think this is a bad thing.

Comment Re:Government should not pick winners and losers. (Score 1) 298

We can estimate fairly well how much those costs are so that amount should be paid by those companies back to society.

The coal companies pay that back to society by keeping prices low. Think of how many people would die from starvation, freezing, or what not if they did not have cheap and reliable electricity. Conceivably we could compute for that too. If we did so I suspect we'd find out we are not paying the coal burners enough.

Shut up already about the "cost to society" that coal power produces. If it weren't for coal power you'd be cooking a rat on a spit over a charcoal fire instead of being cozy in front of your computer while sipping on overpriced coffee.

Comment Re:Government should not pick winners and losers. (Score 1) 298

The amount of subsidies, on kWh produced basis, is tiny compared to solar. The coal subsidies, assuming they even exist, look huge because they produce 30% or more of our electricity. Same for nuclear and natural gas as they also each produce roughly 30% of our electricity. That last 10% that is not produced by oil, coal, and nuclear is largely from wind. The fraction of a percent of the electricity that solar power produces gets them HUGE subsidies.

Several comments on this thread pointed out that solar energy gets 1000x the amount of subsidies that coal gets based on kWh produced.

I have no issue with the subsidies that nuclear, oil, gas, and hydroelectric get because those subsidies are miniscule compared to solar. I will agree that all energy subsidies must end, but solar subsidies are on a whole different level than the others.

Stop complaining about how much oil get subsidized, IMHO, it makes you look like a fool.

Comment Re:"The Utah bill would require computer technicia (Score 1) 391

Not only that, define a "computer". Is an iPhone a computer? What about those electronic picture frames? A television? Televisions now have enough features, on board storage, and such that the distinction is getting foggy. A digital camera? Not a computer in common usage but it certainly contains the ability to gather, process, store, and output data.

If people fail to report child porn upon seeing it on a device not typically considered a "computer" could they be prosecuted under this law? What makes seeing child porn on a computer any different than, for example, seeing it on a Polaroid?

This is all ignoring the fact that it would be almost impossible to prove that someone did in fact see child porn on a digital device but failed to report it. If they did not report it then how would law enforcement prove that they even saw it?

Very stupid law, the people that created this law should be ashamed.

Comment Re:Time-of-day metering (Score 3, Insightful) 298

Spot electricity prices are typically higher during the day but that is not always so. Imagine a situation where a large number of people on a local grid had grid tied solar. On a cool sunny day it is conceivable for the spot electricity price to go negative. Would the people with the solar panels be then expected to pay the utility for taking their electricity? Perhaps the utility should have the choice to simply not buy their electricity at that time.

As the laws are typically written for rooftop solar the utility must, *MUST*, purchase the electricity from the homeowner at the retail rate. This is awesome for early adopters, and perhaps even for the utility. The problem arises when the number of rooftop solar customers exceed what the utility can handle. Too much solar power and the electric grid is now "running backwards" along some runs, the grid is not designed for that. An electric utility certainly can make an electric grid to handle rooftop solar but then the people with the rooftop solar are no longer "customers" in the traditional sense, they are producers. As producers they should be no different from other producers. Failing that then the economics start to break down, people with rooftop solar could conceivably be paid for the privilege of getting back-up power from the utility. Too many people doing this and the utility will have to raise prices. The income from the utility to the rooftop solar people goes up and the people that cannot have rooftop solar, apartment dwellers (typically the poorer people) and industry see their rates go up.

Solar subsidies like paying rooftop solar producers retail rates is a wealth redistribution from the poor to the wealthy. It's time for it to stop.

Solar power is now a mature technology, we don't need subsidies to encourage adaption anymore. Solar makes sense on its own, we don't need to prop it up with government mandates and subsidies. Solar subsidies are now just corporate welfare and regressive taxation.

Comment Re:Why a surprise? (Score 1) 464

It's like having the police able to disable your gun is a bad thing. You would love to shoot at the police unhindered, wouldn't you?

I can think of a few times and places where shooting at the police would actually be a good thing. It seems you are quite ignorant of history. Assuming you are located in the USA there are several cases of people finding a need to defend themselves from police even in a "free" nation like ours. What few might dispute as the penultimate example is the American Revolution. Perhaps that is an insufficient example as at the time the people on American soil were not yet citizens of the USA, as it did not exist yet.

I'm drawing a blank on the specifics but there was a case of a sheriff in the USA shortly after World War 2 fixing an election so that he could stay in office. In order to get the election approved the sheriff kidnapped several people, held them in the prison, and forced them to sign off on his "winning" the election. The issue was resolved when several National Guardsmen "borrowed" weapons from the nearby Army armory and forced the sheriff to release those he kept captive. Fortunately no one was killed and the sheriff was removed from office, and the weapons were returned to the Army.

What is to prevent a repeat of this in the USA, with a much less fortunate ending, from being repeated in the USA? I know, by not allowing the government to have a monopoly on lethal force.

Comment Yes, let's have safe firearms (Score 1, Insightful) 464

From the article since it seems many have missed this point in the past:

Gun advocacy groups such as the National Rifle Association and the NSSF have said they do not oppose smart gun technology. They simply do not want the technology to be mandated.

Let's have a safe firearm. After all these people will claim they don't want to take our deer rifles so let's build a "safe" deer rifle.

We don't want this rifle going off without the intent of the user, so we have a thumb safety placed conveniently so the user may enable and disable the safety while in a firing position. We want this rifle to be accurate since we don't want the bullet to hit anything other than the game it was sighted upon. In doing so we will have as standard equipment a proven sighting system with a ring rear sight and a post front sight. This sight shall have simple and easy means to adjust for elevation and windage. For better accuracy let's give people the option to mount any other sighting system they choose, perhaps a laser sight if gaming laws allow.

To make sure the rifle can be controlled when firing, so that the sight does not leave the target when the trigger is pulled, let's have an ergonomic grip. As a rifle barrel can get exceedingly hot upon firing even once then let's put a finger guard around the barrel so that people will not inadvertently burn their finders. This guard should be sufficiently insulated and sturdy so that it can be used to grip the rifle for better control upon firing.

Since this is a deer rifle we should choose a caliber that is sufficient to kill with a single shot but not so large that it imposes unnecessary recoil upon the hunter. We should make it out of a mix of modern materials to reduce weight where we can and keep heavy hardened steel where we must for reliability. This should be a rifle that is simple to disassemble with minimal training for cleaning, a dirty rifle is a dangerous rifle. To assist in keeping the internals clean the ejection port should have a cover, and to avoid the dangers of having the cover closed upon firing it should open automatically when the first shot is fired.

To minimize fire hazards the rifle should have a means to minimize muzzle flash. Reducing muzzle flash also minimizes eye strain for the hunter so that any game shot but not yet down can be tracked. The finger guard around the barrel also minimizes this risk as a hot barrel cannot touch dried underbrush. Additionally the flash ports can be positioned in a way to reduce muzzle climb and dangerous sparks hitting the ground before they cool in the air. Having the ports facing up but on either side of the line of sight can reduce muzzle climb, reduce fire hazards, while protecting the hunter's eyesight.

Noise from firing can also be a hazard. This rifle should have at least an option on the means to reduce the report if it is not standard equipment. A barrel that is threaded on the end would allow a user to remove the standard flash hider and attach something that controls the report as well as the flash. If flash and report hazards are not a concern but recoil is then the threaded barrel allows for the attachment of a recoil compensator. These devices are known to reduce recoil significantly at the cost of some weight and increase in report volume.

As a curious side effect the addition of a recoil compensator, report suppressor, and/or flash control device all tend to improve the accuracy of the rifle. A hunter is more likely to kill the deer than wound it. A hunter is also much less likely to miss and do damage to property or leave lead bullets behind.

The hunter should be able to unload the rifle quickly, the ammunition should be in a container that can be separated from the rifle with the single press of a button. The means by which the rifle is loaded should give indication from afar as to whether the rifle is loaded or not, as such the ammunition box should be visible from the front and sides when mated to the rifle. An additional safety feature, though uncommon, is having the cartridge to be fired remain in the ammunition box until the trigger is pulled. This means that removable of the ammunition box removes all cartridges, most rifles will have a cartridge in the rifle chamber which would have to be unloaded separately. As this feature is known to cause forces upon the rifle that can cause it to leave the target when the trigger is pulled this might not be desirable for all hunters.

I think I've covered most of the features one would want in a "safe" rifle. An astute reader is likely to have already come to the "punchline" on this description of a safe rifle. The rifle I just described is the AR-15. If we include the less common feature of firing from an open bolt, where the cartridge remains in the magazine until the trigger is pulled, then we'd be including such rifles as the Thompson Model 1921, better known as the "Tommy Gun".

When the "gun safety" crowd claims they don't want to take away my deer rifle I know that they are lying to me. The AR-15 and it's variants is the most popular deer rifle on the market today, and for good reason. It's popular because it is safe. By banning features common on an "assault rifle" these "gun safety experts" are making rifles less safe.

Oh, but you want to make my pistol or rifle "safer" by adding a fingerprint detector or RFID proximity device? No thanks. My pistol has multiple safeties on it already. There is a thumb safety, grip safety, firing pin lock, and probably others I missed. This pistol was designed a century ago with some moderate modifications since. Additionally it fires subsonic ammunition as its standard specification, a nice feature to reduce noise and recoil. My pistol is a Colt Model 1911. A very safe pistol. It could be made safer with the addition of a report suppression device but the powers that be where I live has deemed them verboten. I guess they like the idea of people going deaf.

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