3D Systems

How Did I Miss That? 3D Dog; Army Follies

Steve Russell
1/2/15

3D printing last hit the news when somebody got the bright idea of printing firearms. It took a while to develop a printable weapon that would not blow up in the user’s face, but that problem was whipped…sort of. A printable AR-15 can now fire 650 rounds before it blows up in the user’s face. This week, we report a more benign use of 3D printing technology.

Derby is a lively puppy with two strikes against him. He was born with deformed front legs and he quickly became homeless. His luck began to turn when a shelter took him in.

Derby also had the good fortune to make friends with Tara Anderson, a project manager with 3D Systems. Ms. Anderson put her employer up to printing prosthetic legs for the pup, since they have some experience doing the same for people. The effort was such a success that Derby now stars in a viral video linked from a press release on the 3D Systems home page.

The semi-famous pooch has found a permanent home with Sherry and Dom Portanova. My cousin Ray Sixkiller volunteered right after he dried his eyes, but the Portanovas had already stepped up.

Moving from animal to vegetable, California has a nutty problem in the news. Many fruits and vegetables that have caused generations of Americans to grow up without the idea of “in season” ship from railheads in the Central Valley of California, supported by some of the most robust corporate welfare in the nation. Government money has allowed farming to spread away from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers by irrigating the desert.

Nuts are a particularly thirsty crop. Pistachios and almonds have been expanding acreage for years, so that now 90 percent of the world’s supply of almonds comes from California. Government subsidies for farmers now collide with the interests of salmon that require some water to remain in the rivers. My gourmand Cousin Ray called it “a clash between the main course and side dishes.”

Moving from eatable nuts to nuts that make you upchuck, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) is the Majority Whip, the third most powerful Republican in the House. Scalise has admitted that back in 2002 he spoke to a white supremacist and Neo-Nazi organization founded by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. After the KKK, Duke formed the National Association for the Advancement of White People. Scalise denied any knowledge of the organization he was addressing, the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO).

I had to be informed that “Grand” denotes boss of a “realm” rather than an “empire,” a lesser office than Imperial Wizard. Then I went to razz my Republican Cousin Ray about Scalise, but Ray was too fascinated by KKK ranks to worry about House ranks. “Did you know,” he asked, “that a Grand Wizard has eight Hydras working for him but the Imperial Wizard has 10 Genii? Then there are Dominions bossed by a Great Titan, who employs six Furies, and Provinces run by a Grand Giant with four Goblins?”

“This whole organization chart was created before J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books!”

The Washington Post quoted Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on why he stands behind Scalise, “Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners.”

DuffleBlog, the military news “S Blog,” reported that the Army has developed new cold weather gear with PolarTec:

“The PolarTec gloves feature a state of the art ThinSkin technology which provides the same protection as half-inch thick fleece gloves, but at a thickness of only two millimeters. The pants and jacket come with inboard body temperature monitors, powered solely by body heat and motion, which silently alert the user when he or she is in danger of hypothermia or low blood sugar. And the PolarTec watch cap not only covers the ears, but has a pull-down wraparound chin and mouth guard.”

In spite of a 40 percent improvement in time soldiers were able to function in cold environments, and in spite of the Army already having paid for development and enough copies for all cold weather-assigned troops, the product was banned for uniform wear because it does not look like current uniforms and the higher comfort level would make PolarTec gear “the refuge of the slovenly slacker.”

The New York Times reported that the plague of loan sharks that commonly infects reservation border towns is spreading to take advantage of more poor people with what the Times called “the biggest boom in subprime lending since the mortgage crisis.”

Loan sharking is the practice of lending money to people who can’t afford to pay it back. It has been part of so-called civilization since lending for profit has existed. The latest iteration is “title loans” or “title pawns” or, more formally, “motor vehicle equity loans.”

Replacing the payday loans being chased away by new laws, title pawns are based not on ability to pay, but rather on the value of the car. Interest ranges from 80 percent to 500 percent annually, and one in six cars used to secure the loans are repossessed.

Hasbro has been asked, allegedly by hordes of embarrassed parents, to repossess a Play-Doh dispenser that looks like a miniature but erect penis. Toyland blog reported that Hasbro has produced a bright yellow and more curved version for parents who thought their kids would be harmed by the sight of a dildo the size of an adult little finger. When Cousin Ray got up from his roll on the floor laughing, he commented that the offended parents “are missing a golden opportunity to acquire a visual aid for answering when kids ask about commercials for E.D. treatment.”

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