By Soulskill from Slashdot's finally-something-we-can-exploit-for-cheap-labor-again department
For years, the U.S. has been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs to China because of the vastly cheaper labor pool. But now, several different technologies have ripened to the point where U.S. companies are bringing some operations back home
. 3D printing, robotics, AI, and nanotechnology are all expected to dramatically change the manufacturing landscape over the next several years. From the article:"The factory assembly that the Chinese are performing is child’s play for the next generation of robots—which will soon become cheaper than human labor. Indeed, one of China’s largest manufacturers, Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group, announced last August that it plans to install one million robots within three years to do the work that its workers in China presently do. It found Chinese labor to be too expensive and demanding. The world’s most advanced car, the Tesla Roadster, is also being manufactured in Silicon Valley, which is one of the most expensive places in the country. Tesla can afford this because it is using robots to do the assembly. ... 3D printers can already create physical mechanical devices, medical implants, jewelry, and even clothing. The cheapest 3D printers, which print rudimentary objects, currently sell for between $500 and $1000. Soon, we will have printers for this price that can print toys and household goods. By the end of this decade, we will see 3D printers doing the small-scale production of previously labor-intensive crafts and goods. It is entirely conceivable that in the next decade we start 3D-printing buildings and electronics."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's except-for-the-few-I-take-home-to-experiment department
Diggester writes "While Americans worry every year about getting a flu shot or preventing HIV/AIDS, the deadlier silent killer is actually Hepatitis C, killing over 15,000 people yearly in the U.S. since 2007 — and the numbers continue to increase as the carriers increase in age. While there is no vaccine, there is hope in nanoparticle technology. The breakthrough came from a group of researchers at the University of Florida, creating a 'nanozyme' that eliminates the Hep C 100% of the time; before now, the six-month treatment would only work about half the time. The particles are coated with two biological agents, the identifier and the destroyer; the identifier recognizes the virus and sends the destroyer off to eliminate the mRNA which allows Hep C to replicate."
Reader Joiseybill adds a link to coverage in the IEEE Spectrum
, and points out that the 100 percent success rate, while encouraging, is so far only in the lab.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's also-must-have-infinite-battery-life-and-candy department
An anonymous reader writes "I am choosing a smartphone for work, moving up from a long history of just-a-phone phones. This coincides with moving into an environment where I will have a desktop machine in my office, rather using my laptop — so I'll VPN in from home, and am looking forward to not trucking my laptop around everywhere. BUT ... this means I now won't have my laptop all the time. I have gotten used to scripting various little things that make my life easier, and would like to carry that over to the phone. For example, periodically check that a certain machine is online and backing things up the way it is supposed to; if the lab monitoring system sends me an email that the -80 freezer is up to -50, play a sound and run the vibrate system in a specific, arbitrarily chosen pattern; when I press this button, record an MP3, when I release it prep an email with it attached, that sort of thing. Does such a beast exist? Has anyone used one and if so what do you think? Bonus points if you know if I can use it with Rogers (Canadian wireless provider used by my workplace)."
I've heard good things about (but never used) the payware Android app called Tasker
; what other recommendations do you have for running the world from a smartphone?Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's grain-of-salt-reads-like-an-editorial department
A widely carried Associated Press article (here, as run by the Wall Street Journal) reports that some of the convincingly scientific-sounding claims of opponents of fracking don't seem to hold up to scrutiny
. That's not to say that all is peaches: the article notes, for instance, that much of the naturally radioactive deep water called flowback forced up along with fracking-extracted gas "was once being discharged into municipal sewage treatment plants and then rivers in Pennsylvania," leading to concern about pollution of public water supplies. Public scrutiny and regulation mean that's no longer true. But specific claims about cancer rates, and broader ones about air pollution or other ills, are not as objective as they might appear to be, according to Duke professor Avner Vengosh
and others. An excerpt: "One expert said there's an actual psychological process at work that sometimes blinds people to science, on the fracking debate and many others. 'You can literally put facts in front of people, and they will just ignore them,' said Mark Lubell, the director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior at the University of California, Davis. Lubell said the situation, which happens on both sides of a debate, is called 'motivated reasoning.' Rational people insist on believing things that aren't true, in part because of feedback from other people who share their views, he said."Read Replies (0)