Surf Report: Dragon bones and 4D printing

I thought that it might be nice to share a few of the things that I find around the Internet while I’m being distracted from running and writing in the morning – things that I like, things that I feel like I should share with my readers and that I don’t really know if I could do justice for in just one post. Hence we have the Surf Report: a roundup of things I have to share with all of my wonderful readers.

1: Huge dragon skull found on a beach in England

Their words, not mine! Boy, I’d love to get my hands on one of these – I thought my mom was weird when she started collecting skulls and bones from possums and muskrats, and displaying them like they’re curios or something; but this would be different, right?


2: If You Think 3D Printing is Disruptive, Wait for 4D


Now that 3D printing is busting out all over the place and both Staples and the UPS store are beginning to offer 3D printing services to consumers, we can rest easy and wait out the next ten years while the world changes around us, bringing us the next big thing, right?

Wrong. They’re already planning what’s next. The big idea guys in science are in such a rush to make sure the future is now that they’re devising the advent of 4D printing, which still sounds like a bit of a misnomer to me; they’re talking about printing self-assembling materials, materials that respond to their environment, materials that work automagically. Want to cut down your water bill? Let’s print you some water pipes that pump the water themselves, the same way intestines move waste. Okay, that’s a neat idea. Self-assembling housing structures for colonizing outer space? Great.

Then they start talking about hacking nature to print things for us – not with plastic or what not, but with regular molecules. I kind of get where that could be called 4D printing, but now I need a disambiguation check, Wikipedia-style because smarter materials and hacking nature are two different things – or maybe one is the end and the other is the means.

The images in this post were each sourced from their respective articles.

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