Before I lapse into yet another rant about what's yanking my chain this week, check out this article, Make-it-all Machine for Do-it-yourself Homeowners. If you're a fan of Transmetropolitan (by the venerable Mr Warren Ellis, who helpfully today has a link to a site that tells you exactly how to have sex with a dolphin. Seriously. You can't make thus stuff up. Best quote: "Q6) Where can I find a dolphin to mate with? A6) Aquariums are a bad choice, for many reasons ...") .... anyway, if you're a fan of aforesaid Transmetropolitan you'll be familiar with the Maker - a machine which you shove a bunch of raw materials into and which cheerfully spits out whatever item you need.
This is the future.
You don't buy products. You buy raw materials and designs, which both should, quite frankly, be dirt cheap. Hand in hand with your Maker is a Deconstitutor - where all your rubbish goes to be recycled into new raw materials for your Maker. Entire layers of the supply chain are wiped out - no more retail drones; no more couriers playing football with your $4000.00 LCD holo-TV; no more 4 year olds making Nikes in 3rd World sweat shops.
Nope, now the little bastards can work downt' mine.
But seriously folks, the internet has managed to bring about the efficiency of distribution - products go directly to the consumer and don't waste time sitting on shop shelves, possibly in entirely the wrong area relative to your customer. But we are still faced with the tyranny of distance and the uncertainty of demand. The Maker eliminates both those problems by taking manufacturing out of the retail equation (in so far as finished product is concerned - raw materials still have to travel, until such time as we develop our atom-strippers)
You still have the problem of design impetus (what the hell do the people want?), a problem that is greater or lesser depending of the cost of design. A design has to tell your Maker how to make the product, which could be no mean feat. The cost of programming this design could be what sinks the Maker as a product in it's early stages (that, and the overpricing of designs). Oh, but think of the possibilities: you go to bed at night. Your Maker connects with it's manufacturer and receives the latest firmware upgrade. Quietly the Maker builds the latest version of itself, plugs it in and then as a final act builds itself some legs and walks over to the Deconsitutor for recycling.
For the true believers: Self Replicating Systems and Molecular Manufacturing, by Ralph C Merkle.
In fact, while you're on LiveScience you should probably check out this story. One word: Plasmons. Now why the hell weren't they a monster in Doctor Who?
You always wanted to know, but were afraid to ask:
Is it true what they say about gerbils? ... yep, that dolphin thing is going to be theme tonight...
You always wanted to know, and now you're going to have nightmares about it:
Why do we have wax in our ears? Do roaches ever crawl in there?
A Snopes a Day; or, Shit You Should Stop Believing:
We use only ten percent of our brains.
A number of amazing coincidences can be found between the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.