Sam Cervantes is a quiet-seeming guy who speaks earnestly about his line of work. When I visited his Brooklyn 3D printer factory in 2013, workers in an assembly line were busy putting together Solidoodle printers. An army of assembled printers whirred as they lay down layers of melted plastic to make parts for the next set of machines. At the time, the promise of desktop manufacturing had just entered the general public’s consciousness. The media reported breathlessly on the potential of local manufacturing and bio-printing. Governments raised fears about undetectable 3D-printed guns. Early adopters wondered whether they, too, needed a 3D printer or CNC machine in their homes. Cervantes was hopeful. Solidoodle was months away from shipping its next-generation printer. Today, Solidoodle is dead. The company ran out of funding in late 2015 after attempting to move operations to China, which led to a drop in product quality, unexpected shipping problems and a loss in … [Read more...] about Whatever happened to 3D printing?
"These exhaust fumes make you feel like you're inhaling drugs," says Johannes, a journalist in Benin's capital, Cotonou. He suffers from asthma. "For me, it's enough to just stand at a traffic light for five minutes and inhale some exhaust fumes and I'm already having an asthma attack," he says. Life in Cotonou is difficult — especially for those who suffer from respiratory or chronic illnesses. Peter Knippertz from the Karlsruhe Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK) confirms this. Together with other scientists from 16 institutions across Africa and Europe, he's been looking for answers to the question: How bad is the air over southern West Africa? And why? The concentration of dirt particles is definitely above the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), says Knippertz. For the study, the team set up measuring stations in Cotonou and Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast. There, too, the population suffers from poor air quality. … [Read more...] about West Africa struggles with rise in pollution
GAITHERSBURG, Md. - Abdul Mannan was perched on a stool, scrolling through his phone, on a recent afternoon at Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He was two hours into his shift at a jewelry kiosk and had yet to exchange words with a single customer. There was a time, he says, when business was brisk, and the shopping center teemed with shoppers. But that was before the J.C. Penney at the end of the corridor closed this summer. The Lord & Taylor went dark a few weeks later, and soon Sears will be gone, too. "Some days, we don't sell anything," Mannan, 28, said. "Not one penny. You see the mall? It's empty." Lakeforest's slow decline mirrors the all-too familiar narrative of the American mall, particularly the mid-tier cookie cutters that proliferated in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. In their heyday, they were monuments to consumerism that doubled as cultural touchstone, inspiring films like "Mallrats" and board games like Mall Madness. But in the past decade, as shopping … [Read more...] about Malls are dying. Thriving ones are spending millions to reinvent themselves.