Americans want guns without serial numbers. And apparently, they want to make them at home.

On Wednesday, Cody Wilson’s libertarian non-profit Defense Distributed revealed the Ghost Gunner, a $1,200 computer-controlled (CNC) milling machine designed to let anyone make the aluminum body of an AR-15 rifle at home, with no expertise, no regulation, and no serial numbers. Since then, he’s sold more than 200 of the foot-cubed CNC mills—175 in the first 24 hours. That’s well beyond his expectations; Wilson had planned to sell only 110 of the machines total before cutting off orders.

To keep up, Wilson says he’s now raising the price for the next round of Ghost Gunners by $100. He has even hired another employee to add to Defense Distributed’s tiny operation. That makes four staffers on the group’s CNC milling project, an offshoot of its larger mission to foil gun control with digital DIY tools.

“People want this machine,” Wilson tells WIRED. “People want the battle rifle and the comfort of replicability, and the privacy component. They want it, and they’re buying it.”

While the Ghost Gunner is a general-purpose CNC mill, capable of automatically carving polymer, wood, and metal in three dimensions, Defense Distributed has marketed its machine specifically as a tool for milling the so-called lower receiver of an AR-15, which is the regulated body of that semi-automatic rifle. The gun community has already made that task far easier by selling so-called “80-percent lowers,” blocks of aluminum that need only a few holes and cavities milled out to become working lower receivers. Wilson says he’s now in talks with San Diego-based Ares Armor, one of the top sellers of those 80-percent lowers, to enter into some sort of sales partnership.

For now, milling your own AR-15 lower receiver at home is legal. A California bill to outlaw the homemade firearms without serial numbers—what the bill’s creator, state senator Kevin De Leon, calls “ghost guns”—was vetoed by governor Jerry Brown Tuesday.

The last time one of Defense Distributed’s inventions led to such a popular frenzy was the release of blueprints for its “Liberator” 3-D printed pistol, the world’s first fully 3-D printable gun. That free file was downloaded 100,000 times in two days.

The sales numbers for the Ghost Gunner may be far smaller. But at $1,200, every sale helps fund the activities of Defense Distributed. “I’ve never felt more optimistic about the ability of Defense Distributed to become an installed part of the future, and to help create an expansion of the second amendment,” he says. “There’s hope that Defense Distributed can become a significant civil liberties organization…That’s the ambition, the wildest dream of this entity, to have a marked material effect like that.”

Google is working on a trial service that will help connect people with live doctors via video chat if they are researching a specific ailment. This will be part of their Helpouts project, which is a live video advice service.

I remember reading on Dr. cranquis's blog that a doctor's time is sparse and valuable, so if you can read up on your symptoms and help yourself, do that before scheduling an appointment.

(via Wired)

Science Graphic of the Week: NOAA’s Highest-Res Weather Forecast Yet Is Also the Most Beautiful

This colorful map of ground temperature shows the tapestry of American weather on September 30. Undeniably beautiful, it owes its rich color gradient to a powerful new scientific tool for modeling the weather for incredibly small chunks of both time and space.

After five years of work, NOAA unveiled the new model, called High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR), on September 30. Like its predecessor, HRRR will update every hour. But, HRRR fine tunes the forecast every 15 minutes by constantly digesting radar reports, so that the hourly update is as accurate as possible. Each forecast starts with a 3-D radar snapshot of the atmosphere that it modifies with data from NOAA’s vast network of weather stations, balloons, and satellites.”

Find out more from wired.

This is complex, challenging material. I analyzed several chunks of The Ultimate Player’s Guide using the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease scale, and they scored from grade 8 to grade 11. Yet in my neighborhood they’re being devoured by kids in the early phases of elementary school. 

Minecraft Manuals: the solution to all your Nonfiction Common Core needs.


Neon Future Sessions: Ray Kurzweil talks to Steve Aoki (or the other way) about Technology, the Future & Humanity

Gnah… Steve Aoki yells a few buzzwords to gain some gray & undefined expert status, tries to mimic Jason Silva (it’s paltry and pitiable) and failed as a narrator miserably all along the line. No idea what WIRED is thinking, but this is bollocks.

Steve Aoki talks with famed futurist Ray Kurzweil about how technology will shape our future, in terms of creativity, consciousness, and the coming singularity.

Not many people have seen Edward Snowden since he disappeared into the Moscow Airport Complex in June 2013, but journalist James Bamford has.

Bamford traveled to Russia this year to interview the man who leaked hundreds of thousands of National Security Agency documents that revealed the agency’s surveillance.

Hear our interview with Bamford about his interview with Snowden here.

Miya Ando’s artwork brings colour to sheets of aluminium


Half-Japanese, half-Russian/American metalsmith Miya Ando makes art through alchemy. In her studio in New York, she uses chemical techniques such as anodisation and patination to transform industrial metals into radiant artworks. “I love to work with all things luminescent,” she says. “That’s my primary reason for working with steel and aluminium — nothing reflects light like metal does.”

Ando was raised in a Buddhist temple in Okayama, Japan, and is descended from a family of sword makers. “I started working with steel as soon as I was old enough to handle it,” she says. After learning welding and smithing, she returned to the US and began to experiment. “I submerge aluminium in an electrochemical bath and plate it with sapphire crystals to make it really hard and take up dyes easily,” she says. “Once I pull it out of the tank, I wash it out with water and mix 20-30 different colours and chemicals in little buckets to create a palette of custom colours.” Her painting technique involves hand brushing the colours in multiple layers on to the metal. “Then I put it into a vat of boiling liquid which snaps the surface crystals shut and holds the dye permanently.” 

recent set of her wall paintings, which emit a “ghostly halo” through phosphorescent pigments painted under the dyes, will be shown at the Sundaram Tagore gallery in Hong Kong  throughout February. “I love the idea that these paintings are forever — that they will continue to absorb and emit light for eternity.”

Miya Ando will be having a solo exhibition opening October 16, Sundaram Tagore Gallery NYC. Exhibition dates October 16 - November 15.

Miya Ando
美夜 安籐

On Death and iPods: A Requiem via Wired

Las week’s good news of a new Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus came with some bad news as well: the discontinuation of the iPod Classic. Mat Honan of Wired takes us on a trip down memory lane as he describes how everything about music consumption changed when the iPod was born.

But that iPod event—the Apple “music” event—changed everything else that would come after, for Apple and the rest of us, too. Because like Steve Jobs said that day, with his dad jeans on, “you can fit your whole music library in your pocket. Never before possible.”

Warning: You may become bit teary-eyed as you start to hear the iconic click of the iPod menu wheel in the distance.