The fact that I could design my body part and exceed what I could achieve before and even exceed what nature intended was very inspiring. I realized that technology has the power to heal, to rehabilitate, and to even extend human experience and human capability.
A 6-part series by Wired and Derek Muller where technology and biology collide. [x]
We don’t just need more women in videogames — we need more women who don’t fit in boxes. Left Behind isn’t remarkable just because it meets a quota. Ellie and Riley aren’t just concepts or good intentions. They’re people: fully-realized, quirky, funny, dangerous girls. Ellie isn’t there for anyone – to inspire, titillate or motivate them. Ellie there because she’s herself, and for once, that’s reason enough.
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.”
“Even as Kubrick and his team—including cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth and art director John Hoesli—were creating a fictive future set in space, NASA was racing to put a man on the moon. The set and props in 2001: A Space Odyssey had to dramatically outpace the emerging technology, lest NASA succeed while they were filming and make Kubrick’s vision appear outdated, or, worse, flat-out wrong.
This forced Kubrick’s team to do deep, meticulous research, which Bizony says helps explain why much of the set design accurately forecasted how we live with technology today. ‘The executive briefcase with its phone handset and dial? Look closely, and all the elements of the laptop or smartphone are there, half a century ahead of time,’ Bizony tells WIRED. You could also, for example, see HAL 9000 as a proto-Siri.”