The compass one? Totally bogus. Putting a static charge on a needle won't magnetize it. Also, needles that will float on beer are few and far between. A cork is called for, which suggests that wine is more appropriate than beer (and you don't have to wait for it to go flat).
So... Jim Sensenbrenner is planning to introduce an NSA-restricting "United and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet Collection, and Online Monitoring Act," or "USA Freedom Act."
Except: the acronym is more "USA Freed Coma." Got that pesky "C" in it.
Sure! Let's 3D print drinking water, food, antibiotics, bandages, tents....
The referenced article does suggest some medical-related items that can be 3D printed... but...
...they're talking about 3D printing casts, splints, crutches, and the like.
Now, those are very large items.
For one thing, it takes an enormous 3D printer to create them, unless you do it in segments and snap/glue them together. And the process would take for-freakin'-ever.
For another, it'll use up vast quantities of really expensive feedstock. (We're not talking Diamond Age fabricators here, let alone Star Trek replicators that can work from just any old matter input.)
On the gripping hand, the technology for making casts, splints, and crutches on-site from locally-available materials is well established, requiring only cheap supplies and moderately-skilled labor. Pre-positioning sticks, plaster, and cloth seems a lot more practical than pre-positioning large, finicky, environment-sensitive machinery and the associated environment-sensitive (and possibly limited-shelf-life) supplies.
There are many good uses for 3D printers, but this seems entirely unlike any of them.
And only $500! Such a deal! How have I ever managed to live without a Do Not Throw Rotten Core Corn Sheller Thicker Heavier Hammer Establish Efficient Electric Household Bucket with Fan for all these years?
There's no description given. I guess the name is supposed to be description enough. And, I suppose, it might be... according as what, exactly, it's supposed to be describing.
"With fan" might, e.g., make sense if it means there's a built-in wind machine to ensure that light fluffy detritus, instead of ending up in the bucket with the kernels, instead gets blown all over your kitchen.
(I spent a goodly chunk of time yesterday evening shelling dry beans, i.e., green beans that I hadn't harvested in time. Got about halfway through the Big Bag o' Beans before deciding that it wasn't a good thing to be attempting while the fuzzballs were awake. There don't seem to be cheap household dry-bean shellers on the market, and it's probably not worth my time to try building one at this point.)
Off to TechShop to strap down sheets of polyester film and inflict intense beams of coherent light upon them with the Mighty 45 Watt Epilog*.
If all goes well, the parts I need for this afternoon's work will be found among the debris.
Must remember the earmuffs this time. The screams are most distracting.
Update: Mr. Mylar was most uncooperative. I spent nearly all of my 2-hour time slot trying to get the parameters dialed in. Then... just at the end of the process... I realized that the solid bits between the little slots were much smaller than they should have been. Turns out that, when I made a batch of the previous iteration of this little part, back in June, I left the final artwork on my thumb drive instead of copying it back onto the laptop and thence to Subversion. So, I was carefully making revisions to faulty artwork that simply couldn't be successfully cut on that machine.
Oh, well. The revised artwork having been found, I've applied the June fix to the latest version, and I should be able to get some cutter time tomorrow.
Update 2: I'm unpleasantly reminded that the process of cutting Mylar film in raster mode on the Epilog, while it works a heck of a lot better than vector mode, is distinctly anisotropic. And here I am trying to produce a pattern involving narrow radial slots that are all supposed to come out exactly the same size.
Grrr. Well, that explains another of the persistent Issues with this project. I've cobbled together another sheet of artwork with various fudge factors applied, and a fairly quick session should product a bunch of things to test. If I can schedule some cutter time today, I should have a handle on the correct fudge factor (as well as several usable parts, hope hope) by closing time.
* A laser cutter, not a giant Epilady used to strip bark from tree trunks.