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Weekly Grind: Worrisome 3D Drone Hack and a Solar Freeway


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3D Sabotage: Hacking a Manufacturer to Print  Self-Destructing Components

Researchers studying the vulnerability of the 3D printing environment were able to experimentally hack the production cycle of a military drone. The hackers tampered with the design of critical propellors in order to cause structural failure two minutes into the drone's flight. And the hack worked. Read more.

102' Scale Model Suspension Bridge Sets World Record

It took a bridge engineer, a design team, and 10 professional Lego masons to build the thing, but this working suspension bridge sets a new world record. Weighing in at 3/4 of a ton and 102' long, the Lego model isn't child's play, but is part of an ongoing effort to demonstrate the wonders of structural engineering to the public. Read more.

MIT Time Capsule Found 1000 Years Too Early by Construction Workers

A time capsule interred by MIT students in 1957 has been inadvertently unearthed during the construction of MIT's new nanotech lab. The large glass tube contains objects and documents which were intended to tell future mankind what the world was like in the late 50s. Filled with an argon gas preservative and sealed with a blowtorch, the capsule contains, among other things, a precursor to the microchip, which in the intervening years was obsoleted, but whose technology may yet come into use for quantum computing. Read more.

Titan Straps and a Home 3D Printer: Popular Mechanics' 20 Best Tools

From noise-cancelling ear plugs to a fancy new non-contact voltage tester, this selection of cutting-edge tools has a little something for every handyman on your gift list. A particular favorite is the knife-point mechanical pencil that never needs sharpening. Read more.

Industry Groups Sue NY over New Crane Regulations

A February crane accident in lower Manhattan prompted the New York City Department of Buildings to come up with stringent new regulations regarding crane operation in the city. Now a coalition of concerned construction interests are suing the city for its "arbitrary" decision, claiming the decision was put in place without consulting builders and operators themselves. Read more.

California's Net-Zero 2020  Mandate Scares Builders and Buyers Alike

Beginning in 2020 California will mandate that all new residential buildings have a net-zero energy consumption. The state is placing a nervous bet on the growth of the renewable energy sector, and on as-yet unforeseen improvements in energy-saving structures. Barring those hopeful developments, though, the mandate will likely mean a rise in construction costs to make the new homes compliant, which will in turn price many people out of the market; a lose-lose for home buyers and home builders. Read more.

Dutch Print Bio-Degradable Plastic House

DUS Architects, in the Netherlands, have 3D-printed a small cabin made entirely of a bio-degradable plastic based on linseed oil. The Dutch firm points out that 3D printing technology reduces build time by 50% to 70%, labor cost by 80% , and reduces construction waste by 60% compared to traditional construction. Read more.

Crawlspace-Loving Bot Slinks Under Floorboards to Deliver Insulation

Robots get all the glamor jobs; oil-platform barnacle scraping, sewer pipe clearing, and now this. The Q-Bot will obediently crawl under your floorboards, scan the spooky little area, and deliver insulation where there are gaps in the coverage. Of course the bot can also inspect infrastructure, look for leaks in household pipes, and so on. And without the human fear of small spaces—and things that live in small spaces. As the bot-making CEO chillingly puts it, "If you come across a hazard down there, you've got no space to get out of the way, even if there's room enough to get a person down there." Read more.

Benjamin Moore Paint Unveils 2017 Color of the Year. With Fanfare

Benjamin Moore paints has unveiled its selected Color of the Year for 2017. In the annual ceremony at the Stephan A. Schwarman Building of the New York Public Library, the paint manufacture rolled out 2017's "Shadow," reportedly a deep amethyst color which "calls to mind a ‘past,’ yet it can also make a contemporary, color-confident statement,” according to Benjamin Moore’s creative director. Last year's Benjamin Moore Color of the Year? "Simply White." Read more.

French Inaugurate First Kilometer of Solar Roadway

The long-held dream of a solar freeway system may be nearing fruition. The French Minister of Energy was on hand for the ceremonial groundbreaking of a project the French are calling the Wattway; a highway with a photovoltaic (pv) surface. The road was developed by a French company called Colas, and is basically a long solar panel durable and weatherproof enough to function as a driving surface for cars. This first section of the Wattway will be 1km long and 2 meters wide on completion, which is slated for December 2016. The road's 2800 square meters of solar collection is expected to have a daily energy output sufficient to light a small town of 5,000 inhabitants. Read more.

China's Newest Bridge is Knot What You Expect

Dutch architecture firm NEXT has completed a new bridge in Changsha, China, along the Dragon King Harbour River. At 607 feet long, the bridge dominates the landscape in the area, and its woven steel design speaks to a beloved and time-worn theme of Chinese traditional folk art—where knots are symbols of good fortune and prosperity. Read more.

Frank Gehry's Big Sunset Strip Idea Inspires Heated Debate

Famed architect Frank Gehry, of L.A.'s  burnished aluminum Disney Concert Hall, Minneapolis' Weisman Art Museum, and the mind-bending Dancing House in Prague, has a new project, and per the norm it is stirring conversation, this time along the Sunset Strip. Gehry's glassy and angular complex of buildings  would stand at the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards. Locals are worried about its sheer bulk, and area councilman David Ryu is expected to ask for a substantial reduction in size at an upcoming council meeting.  Read more.

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