Reading even just the headlines to these new stories in The Onion should put a smile on your face:
Snooze Button Time Traveler Sets Coordinates for Five Minutes into the Future
Nation’s Amateur Skateboarders Haven’t Landed Trick in 12 Years
17-Year Cicadas Horrified to Learn about 9/11
Man Creates Functional Gun on 3-D Printer
Seedless Watermelon Coming to Grips with Fact It’ll Never Be Able to Have Kids
Syrian Electronic Army: We Were Going to Take over ‘The Onion’ Website, but It’s a Real Mess with All Those Ads
National Pork Council: Many Americans Suffer from Pork Deficiency
For the full stories go to http://www.theonion.com
At least one of these items is actually true: a fully functional gun can now be created with a three-dimensional printer. The gun does start to fall apart with any repeated use, but I am sure that there are an uncountable (and unaccountable) number of people working on solutions to those issues.
The main worry, expressed ironically most loudly by gun advocates, is that such guns will not set off metal detectors.
But given that we now have more guns that people in the United States (101.5 guns per 100 people), this concern seems, at least to me, to be somewhat comparable to the Titanic’s captain being concerned whether there was enough ice in the galley to keep the food refrigerated and to chill the passengers’ mixed drinks.
Indeed, call me cynical if you like, but I can’t help but suspect that the central concern of the gun lobby may be what these guns are made from and how they are used, but the fact that gun manufacturers and gun sellers are no longer in the transaction loop.
Consider how electronic technologies have radically transformed other industries: print and television media, book publishing, musical recordings, film and television entertainment programming, retail sales–just to name a few of the most conspicuously affected.
More broadly—and largely positively–the continued development of three-dimensional printers and the inevitable decline in the costs involved may mean that many of the inexpensive goods that are now manufactured overseas will soon be able to be made as needed and just as inexpensively in the home. For example, if one gets distracted and leaves the plastic spatula too long in a hot pan and it starts to melt, one can simply go to pc (or pick up the cellphone) and find the blueprint to manufacture another one on the 3D printer.
If there is any justice and irony in this world, this development will have the most immediate impact on those big-box retailers who have most exploited cheap overseas labor.