Stray Thoughts: Snowden & 3D Printing

Stray Thoughts

  • Have you heard about or seen, or do you plan to see Snowden? It tells the true-life story of Edward Snowden, who became disillusioned with a practice he helped make possible, through his computer-engineering prowess (according to the movie he single-handedly invented it, but I’m not sure this is true): the U.S. government’s program of spying on its own citizens by monitoring their contacts, Facebook, phone, and gmail activity, and even watching them through the camera in their computers. Something that interested me about the movie is that he claims, during a speech, to be a “robot,” but he is clearly motivated by his profound beliefs about what communication is and should be in our society.


  • I thought this article in the New York Times was really interesting, about how American fashion designers are using 3-D printing to make products that either couldn’t previously be made, or were prohibitively expensive for most designers and consumers. “The beauty of instant, customized fashion, experts say, is that goods can be made at a lower cost and more quickly — yet in a personalized style.”


  • While I was reading that article, I saw a link for another article in the Times, about 3-D printed houses. This article appeared in an innovation-centric special section that the Times did last summer called “Cities for Tomorrow.” Some of the technological and engineering issues in this article (and the whole special section) are particularly relevant to us Clevelanders. For example, one “urban futurist” focuses on re-engineering cities with decreasing populations. Two of the freaky, fascinating innovative businesses mentioned in this article are Food Ink., a restaurant that makes 3-D printed food, and Contour Crafting, a 3-D house building company with an eye toward constructing on other planets.

3 thoughts on “Stray Thoughts: Snowden & 3D Printing”

  1. Hi Lucy! Cool-looking blog–very aesthetically pleasing. Instead of seeing “Snowden,” I’d recommend seeing “CitizenFour” the documentary made by the reporter who was Snowden’s first media contact. The documentary goes into great depths detailing the severity of the government’s abuse of power and intrusion into citizens’ privacy. I haven’t seen the dramatized “Snowden” and don’t plan to, but judging from the trailer and reviews by critics, I’d be cautious to extract any facts of the events from it. The movie appears to be trite Hollywood fodder: confining the protagonist to the hero archetype–making Snowden out to be a patriot– and having him face off the one-dimensional antagonist, the US government.


  2. Hey Lucy. I liked the article about the 3D printed clothing. Although I did my case study on 3D printing I didn’t find(but also didn’t specifically search for) anything about 3D printing for clothing purposes. I stuck mainly to industries tied to engineering such as medical, aerospace, and construction but it’s cool to read about how its used for fashion, especially considering how people want to have unique clothes and how 3D printing, by helping establish economies of one, stands to bring about that level of customization.


  3. Jacob, I have seen CitizenFour. I agree with you that Oliver Stone is definitely a filmmaker to be taken at arm’s length–but an important one, nonetheless (His films include a trilogy about and against the Vietnam war, including Platoon, and several docs about U.S. and Latin American history). And like it or not, this will be the first many people hear of Snowden!
    Marshaun, I agree. Those 3D printed shoes looked really cool. It’s fascinating to see how quickly it’s becoming part of economies that touch our everyday lives.


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