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Comment Re:The really exciting thing about this... (Score 1) 182

If you can print a gun, you can print many other kinds of machinery. The day may not be very far off when you can start with half a ton of aluminum and stainless steel powder, and print yourself a Ferrari with a V-12 engine.


Totally practical, you could do most of it now, (large parts are difficult) The trouble is it would cost a lot more than just going to a dealer and buying one.

I've been using various plastic part additive manufacturing methods (mainly SLS / SLA) for a few years now. It works great when you want one of something or ten of something: A gun sized object may cost you a couple of hundred dollars a part, so Its much cheaper than spending $10-20,000 on the tooling, but when you have that tooling the cost falls to pennies.

People (including some of my customers!) tend to look at a mass produced item and think that a comparable specialised piece of equipment should cost about the same. Its not so. Even a Ferrari is 'mass produced' from the manufacturing method point of view.

Comment Re:Ironically, the first Highway Robbery committed (Score 1) 182

I You could start off with something that's the same density as gold (a cheaper metal alloy of the correct density), and then just coat it in a thin layer of actual gold. Sure there is going to be some real gold there, so it's not completely fake, but it has to be cheaper than making an entire gold brick. Sure they would find out if they every cut the brick in half, or melted it down, but you could be way out of town by the time that happened.

Density is easy to measure, nothing is the same density as gold, and the metals that are heavier are really tough to alloy (or even more expensive). so you end up with a sandwich structure - that again is pretty easy to detect, I've worked with ultrasound on this, but there are a number of material properties you can easily measure so most fakes are really easy to detect.

Most people who buy gold are well aware of the various tests - if not they would run out of money quick. They also tend not to buy from people who just walk in.

Comment Technology Implications (Score 2) 280

To make this more relevant to Slashdot. Consider this:

No one competent in an IT department which handles anything sensitive will be comfortable specifying US produced closed source software ever again.

The issue is not just spying on politicians. It seems the NSA has been involved in 'economic' espionage as well. The company i work for has US competitors, so do most others..It seems that pretty much everything has 'backdoors' - looks like the paranoid were right after all.

Comment Re:they are paying taxes (Score 1) 327

In the EU sales tax is applied in the source country. Companies like Amazon are often based in countries like Luxembourg because of low sales tax rates. The UK government gets no sales tax from Amazon sales (even though the goods are ordered from a co.uk website and shipped from UK warehouses).

This makes no sense. In fact, it makes so little sense, that I don't believe it. I just did a Google search on European sales tax (VAT) policy, and several sites, including this one, contradict what you claim. If sales are below a threshold they are based on the shipping country, and if over the threshold they are based on the destination country. At no point are they based on where the company is incorporated, as you claimed.

I've got dozens of Amazon invoices that say different, although to be fair I think they have now stopped this, it was the case for many years.

The other scam that has now been clamped down on was using the minimum value allowance on taxes for incoming parcels. Used to be if you bought a DVD or CD from Amazon, they would be shipped individually from Jersey in the channel islands. This is nearby (so post is the same) but not in the EU. so no VAT was charged - so that's roughly £2 a package less tax paid. Now this allowance no longer exists - major pain if you want to buy something small from overseas.

To make this an argument that taxes are too high in the US or UK is nonsense - You want to live in a country with infrastructure it costs money. The problem is that a small country like Luxembourg or Ireland can act as a parasite on a larger economy. taking a small percentage of a large amount.

Comment Fasteners are all that matters! (Score 1) 909

Anyone with a few functioning brain cells can cope with different units of measurement.

You can buy inch size Allan keys or spammers pretty much anywhere in the world, and metric one in the USA without to much trouble.

But try finding a particular 6-32 replacement screw anywhere outside the us - pretty near impossible !

Comment Re:I'm all for it ... HOWEVER we need... (Score 1) 285

And getting back to the main point:

I've still got files on eight-inch floppies.

I still miss stuff I list some years ago when I had a laptop stolen and my backup disk crashed a few days later.

I recently lost a bunch of stuff on a brand new 32GB USB 3.0 highest quality memory stick. I Hope I had copies of most of it but its hard to be sure.

Electronic media are just too damn fragile for a lot of things

Comment Re:I'm all for it ... HOWEVER we need... (Score 0) 285

Being pedantic

Standardize is American
Standardize is British (correct)

Standardise is British (wrong). But also seems to be what most uk version spell checkers written by Americans insist on so it's become more and more dominant over the last thirty years. If you used -ise when I was at school forty years ago you were regarded as illiterate.

Comment Re:American companies do this shit all the time... (Score 1) 151

the reality of a normal job is that you're only entitled to a paycheck for as long as you work and you're only entitled to work for as long as you're needed.

No, that's the reality of a job in America, Most civilized parts of the world you have a lot more protection. "You're not needed" has to mean that the work isn't happening here anymore, not we found someone else to do it cheaper. If long-term work is going to be brought in house or transferred to another company you will often have to employ the guys who were doing it.

Americans often seem to think that because everything is so wonderful in America it must be the same or worse anywhere else.

Comment American companies do this shit all the time... (Score 1) 151

...Work with a local partner, get them to do the hard work, then decide to keep the benefits for themselves, drop the local guy..

Then act surprised when its not considered acceptable (or even legal) in other parts of the world.

The American legal system is so completely skewed in favour of the big guys that even people who decry this in other areas accept it as 'just the way things are'.

The google guys obviously totally believe their own bullshit about what good people they are, and probably don't realise how much this sucks to people who devoted a big chunk of their lives to building up something. Legally they obviously owned nothing, and I'm sure the American reaction would be that they should have negotiated a better deal, Americans expect to be shafted and act accordingly. most of us (even the Chinese) are more trusting.

Comment Re:Good for us Sellers (Score 1) 171

Just looked up the EU rules for distance selling.

Below a certain threshold you charge the VAT rate of your home country. If you are selling above that threshol, which varies from country to country, ( http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/taxation/vat/traders/vat_community/vat_in_ec_annexi.pdf - again its typically of the order of $100k) then you need to register in the destination country.

Seems like something similar would work well in the US, smaller business just pay tax to their home state, Big ones get the paperwork.

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