Our elected representatives are busy at work coming up with misguided laws. Leading the charge once again is Lamar Smith, this time proposing to replace peer review of NSF grants with congressional criteria (Congress of course is not exactly known for its scientists). Now that is not to say that we shouldn’t look into how NSF funding works and propose changes to it. For instance, with crowdfunding platforms for science like Mircoryza emerging, it would be interesting to see if these can be used to make the NSF process more transparent and even route some NSF money through these types of platforms.
Another misguided effort comes from a state senator in California who is proposing to require registration of 3D printers because they could be used to print guns. This comes on the heels of the US government requiring a website to remove the files for a 3D printable gun. Why is this misguided even though I have been calling in general for more regulation of gun ownership? Because regulation should be about making it harder on the margin to obtain high performance weapons for the average person, not a one off weapon for the determined. It is the same reason why locking your front door makes sense even though you have a large glass window next to it.
I am somewhat hopeful that neither one of these will go anywhere. Still the rate at which legislation like this gets suggested or actually introduced is a good argument for having shorter sessions or otherwise limiting how many bills lawmakers can propose!
When we announced the USV investment in Shapeways a little over a year ago, I pointed out the potential to make New York City a global center for 3D printing. Since then the Shapeways team has done a lot to make that happen. Here are just a few of the highlights. First, the founders relocated themselves and their families from Eindhoven in the Netherlands to New York City. Then they proceeded to assemble an amazing team here that is building incredible stuff and fostering a great community.
Team Shapeways also started a research collaboration with NYU that’s pushing the frontiers of analyzing 3D models for printability. With over 300,000 different 3D printable parts and thousand of new parts being uploaded, Shapeways has reams of data for analysis.
Now I am super excited that we are moving another step closer to making New York City a global center for modern manufacturing: in collaboration with NYCIF which is providing a loan, Shapeways will be opening a production facility right here in New York City. Oh and while they were at it, they launched a redesigned site with an awesome new tag line - the future of stuff! - and an awesome tool that lets you create a beautiful completely customized vase (sake size) in minutes.