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The most important post about Aurora doesn’t mention Aurora

[ by Charles Cameron — futurism, making, printing, printable guns, time of your life, intersecting timelines ]


We only have one mouth, so we’re linear speakers, confined to speaking one thought at a time. And we only have one body, so we tend to think of our lives along a single timeline — although other people with their own uncontolled timelines are constantly crisscrossing our paths and making things better (hey, thanks!) or worse (damn it!) or just plain interesting (okaaay) or boring (unhh)… but the world itself includes the crisscrossing of all those paths in its own timeline, and what this means in practice is that linear thinking doesn’t catch the drift.

Which is why it’s interesting that the most important blog-piece on the Aurora tragedy today doesn’t mention Aurora once.

It’s by John Robb, and it’s about printing these:

And it’s important because the world-line it talks about will cross the path of the Columbine > Virginia Tech > Utøya > Aurora timeline at some point.


It begins like this:

Printing Weapons at Home for Fun and Mayhem

It’s now possible to print functional weapons at home. This is going to progress rapidly now.

Think: global file sharing of designs for servicable weapons, from pistols on up to ?, that can be printed at home. What you can print — from the materials to the size/quality of the object to the completeness (snap together construction) — is already moving forward quickly. The weapons effort will just be along for the ride.

But read the whole thing. And read Duncan Kinder and the other comments there, too.


That’s John Robb’s message for the day — and apart from the fact that it talks about reliable home-printed weaponry, a line of development which will I suggest will cross that Columbine > Virginia Tech > Utøya > Aurora line some time in the not too distant, there’s one unremarkable little remark in there that’s well worth remarking on. John says:

The weapons effort will just be along for the ride.


Along for the ride. Side effects. Adverse reactions. Serendipity. Unintended consequences. Unknown unknowns. Black swans.

We have a variety of terms we use for the things that blindside us, for better or worse. Our future is full of them, our past is littered with the results…

So it’s interesting that if a bunch of us are thinking along the broad line of maker-printables, a few will be thinking printable guns. A bunch of us will be making films, a bunch more will be going to the movies to see them. And some will have far darker thoughts in mind.


Crisscross your thinking. Weave your world with care for the future, please.

12 Responses to “The most important post about Aurora doesn’t mention Aurora”

  1. Charles Cameron Says:

    John now has a more detailed post up at Popular Science

    While there are still some details to sort out, it’s pretty clear that making weapons at home using 3-D printers from commonly available materials is going to become much more commonplace in the near future. In fact, as 3-D printing technology matures, materials feedstock improves, and designs for weapons proliferate, we might soon see the day when nearly everyone will be able to print the weapons of their choice in the numbers they desire, all within the privacy of their own homes.

  2. Madhu Says:

    Well, then, I am going to home-manufacture –or 3D print– a fabulous “dragon skin”-like full body and face armor in shimmering pastel colors mixed in with “Spanx” material so that we all will look, well, FABULOUS.
    In fact, that is the story line to my multi-part science fiction novel about a late 21st century digital makeup and protective fashion clothing empresaria. Is empresaria a word? It will be in my storyline….

  3. Madhu Says:

    “The Powder & the Glory, a 90-minute documentary narrated by Jane Alexander, tells the story of two of the first highly successful women entrepreneurs — Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein. One hundred years ago these women immigrated to America and, starting with next to nothing, created what is today the $150 billion global health and beauty industry.”
    All hail the creators of beauty, mascara, eyeliner, powder, rouge, and all the good things….

  4. Madhu Says:

    Digital makeup moves itself on your face to match the weather and the moods, it cries when you cry, it is steamy and romantic looking when you are in love.
    Protective fashions cleanses your skin and gently exfoliates as it protects the skin and body from any sort of projectile or solar injury.
    They are not sold in boutiques but in unique gatherings–sort of like drum circles plus coffee clatches plus tupperware parties. The happen like flash mobs and you sense them in your sleep because the digital diamonds you wear as a third eye on your forehead is always in communication with other similar digital diamonds – like Facebook for your face.
    What? Imagine goodness. That matters, too. All beautiful things.

  5. Madhu Says:

    I don’t mean to trivialize the topic or the tragedy. I don’t wish to discuss some things online, that’s all….

  6. Madhu Says:

    Again, not to trivialize anything, but the young and vulnerable deserve every help, every thought, from those whose first instinct is to protect. Imagine being a young thing now, the way the media amplifies everything for ratings. How deeply irresponsible:

  7. Charles Cameron Says:

    Wow, Madhu, you’re on a roll!
    The image that accompanies the article you linked to on bullet-proof t-shirts plays nicely with the Superman image — switching super-heroes for a moment:

    Of course, being me, I’m also interested in ghost dance shirts:

    One legend of the Ghost Shirt was born during one of these skirmishes. The Ghost Shirt was part of the special clothing worn while dancing the Ghost Dance. The Sioux were the only Indians to give the Ghost Shirt bullet proof qualities. During one of the skirmishes with the soldiers, a lone Indian rode his pony within easy rifle range of soldiers, line and allowed them to fire on him. Whether true to the qualities of the Ghost Shirt he was wearing, or due to the poor shooting of the soldiers he escaped unscathed.

    —  and other forms of bullet-proofing by ritual means!
    My approach may be a bit oblique at times — but what I’m getting at, every time I post, is the same point you’re making:

    the young and vulnerable deserve every help, every thought, from those whose first instinct is to protect.

    The question is how to go about the business of protecting and nourishing — in this ultra-complex and intricately interwoven world where undertows, backlashes and feedback loops consistently make a mess of our best intentions.

  8. Derek Robinson Says:

    I sometimes wonder if I’m alone in wanting to invest my speculations trying to imagine a world where there’s no need or use for soldiers or police, hence very little call for weapons or for armor, however produced ..

  9. Charles Cameron Says:

    No, you’re far from alone, Derek.  Isaiah for one envisioned it — the problem being that the lion of his vision would need to be vegetarian for the lamb to feel comfortable lying down with it, and quite how that comes about has yet to be determined.  But this may be a direction we’re moving in (I’m not sure about that) or would do well to move in (more confident here), and figuring out ways to go in that direction — how to handle divergent views as counterpoint rather than in attack mode, for instance — seems to be a growing concern.


  10. Madhu Says:

    The anti-drone hoodie.
    You know what? The creativity part has never been an issue for me, it’s the discipline part. Maybe I’m ADD and I don’t know it….

  11. Madhu Says:

    Have a comment in moderation; a link on the “anti-drone hoodie”. See, protective clothing is so the next thing.

  12. Madhu Says:

    Again, I am not trying to trivialize the post. I remain horrified by violence and wish the Derek Robinson’s of the world all the best in envisioning such a peaceful world.

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