Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Choreographing Outrage

How many so-called hate crimes are faked? Hard to say. As far as I can tell, nobody is keeping statistics on the fake ones, but the FBI uses our tax money to keep track of the real ones and since passage of the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, it has authority to investigate them as well. However, even the so-called hate crime this act was named for is questionable.

A recent book by Stephen Jimenez called “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard” asserts that the two men convicted and serving life for the murder were not “homophobes.” One, Jimenez claims, was Shepard’s lover strung out on meth. This twist came out fifteen years ago when the murder was first committed, but was swept under the rug
by homosexual activists who made lots of political hay calling it a “hate crime” with the willing cooperation of our Mainstream Media. Jimenez was asked why, as a homosexual himself, he would write such a book. “As a gay man,” he said, “I felt it was a moral thing to do.” He makes the case that Shepard was killed while trading methamphetamine for sex. The mainstream media has largely ignored Jimenez’s book. Homosexual activists have pressured bookstores to cancel Jimenez’s appearances.

So, if this signature “hate crime” is a fake, how many others are too? It makes me wonder. I began keeping a file of fake hate crimes a few years ago and there are far too many examples to possibly list in an 800-word, op-ed piece like this. According to FBI statistics, there were 5796 hate crimes committed in 2012. Of these, slightly more than half were racial, almost a fifth involved sexual orientation, and most of the rest were religious - the vast majority of those against Jews. I assume the FBI counts only convictions because otherwise there’s no crime, right?

The Allegedly Reverend Al Sharpton and Brawley

The Mainstream Media has been faked out numerous times going back to the allegedly Reverend Al Sharpton’s charges in the Tawana Brawley rape charge and more recently in the Duke Lacrosse team rape allegation. Later, both of those were widely reported as scams, but when more recent cases are found to be faked, the media has been giving the falsification scant attention compared to the original allegations.
Just the past few months produced these:

A fellow in Paris, Tennessee claimed he’d been robbed, beaten, and had a homosexual slur written on his forehead last month. Last week, he was arrested for withholding information on the crime. He’d done it all to himself.

Two students at Vassar College were posting hateful messages against black and transgendered people on students’ doors last month. One was transgendered himself? herself? and belonged to the college’s “Bias Incident Response Team.”
Waitress Dayna Morales fired, could face criminal charges

A lesbian waitress in New Jersey claimed last month a customer wrote on her check that she wouldn’t be tipped because of her lifestyle. She got lots of attention on television and in newspapers and received donations from around the world. She was exposed after the customers produced the actual receipt with no slur and showing a generous tip. She was fired.
Last August two students were caught distributing anti-Muslim, anti-homosexual, anti-Jewish, and racist literature at Oberlin College. They were Democrat Obama activists and said they were only kidding. The faculty had gotten all riled up for months. Mainstream Media gave it lots of attention, but virtually ignored it when discovered to be faked.
After a majority of Americana twice elected a black president, it looked like racial discrimination had disappeared from America but for a lunatic fringe. After cities, states, colleges and virtually every other public institution outlawed of discrimination against homosexuals, and state after state has legalized gay “marriage,” it became harder to choreograph victimhood. Are the hustlers and thugs who made a living out of racial and sexual discrimination trying to keep their faux outrage going? Are they manufacturing hate crimes now?
Most recently has been the attempt by GLAAD to make Phil Robertson’s expression of traditional, Judeo-Christian teachings on homosexuality into hate speech. That’s what the thugs at GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) and the so-called Human Rights Campaign (HRC - largest homosexual lobbying group in America) do to anyone who expresses disapproval of sexual behavior they strive to normalize. They pushed the A&amE Network and Cracker Barrel into dropping Robertson and Duck Dynasty products respectively, but there was a  huge public backlash - again.
Remember Chick-Fil-A in 2012? When that company dared oppose gay “marriage,” the thugs at GLAAD and the so-called Human Rights Campaign organized a boycott of their restaurants and pressured cities to refuse it permits to build new ones. Instead, there were lines outside Chic-Fil-A restaurants.
Evidence is mounting that Americans have had enough of knee-jerk racial and homosexual goon squads.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Standing By, Watching

All of us Americans alive today inherited the greatest country the world has ever known. For that we can be grateful. But our inheritance is being squandered before our eyes and we’re allowing it. For that we should be ashamed. We’re losing sight of what made America great: a constitutionally-limited government that protects our God-given rights, our traditional values, and our hard work.

Twice we elected a president who thinks America isn’t exceptional at all. He mocked those of us who believe that when he said in 2009: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” He was twice elected by a majority who don’t think America is anything special either, who seem ashamed that, although their country has done more good than any other, it hasn’t done so perfectly. My fellow baby boomers who run America’s institutions seem to believe human perfection is attainable this side of the grave. They’re utopians. They don’t understand the tragic vision - that the world will always be less than perfect, but people have the liberty to pursue happiness - and whether they succeed or fail is up to them.

They’re perpetual adolescents too. We humans fortunate enough to have been raised in a nuclear family - with a mother and father who loved each other - tended to worship our parents at least until we were teenagers. Then we noticed they weren’t perfect. For a while, their flaws magnified until they were all we could see. During this period we thought we were much smarter than they were, and when we grew up we would do everything much better than they did. That’s the nature of adolescence. But we’re supposed to grow out of it by 25 or so after we’ve been humbled by our own mistakes, the ones we make all by ourselves - the ones we cannot blame on anyone else.
Ideally, we’d emerge then as young adults who retain adolescent idealism and energy that is tempered by gratitude and humility. Only then would we be ready do the work necessary to - not just preserve our inheritance, but build upon it - add to it - make America even more secure for our posterity. If we never progress beyond adolescence, however, we won’t be equipped to do that, nor will be inclined. Instead, we’ll spend our lives finding fault with our ancestors, endlessly pointing out where they fell short of perfection, and whining about it.
Look at slavery!” Boomers shout, seemingly unaware that every other civilization in history, including Africans, practiced slavery until European and American Christians led the movement to outlaw it. “Look at what America did to Indians!” they shout, as if the way European Americans fought Indians was any worse than how Indians fought each other before Europeans got here. We didn’t eat them, torture them, or sacrifice them to our gods the way many Indians did each other. Yet, perpetually-adolescent Americans twice elected a guy who went overseas apologizing for his country, saying: “The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history. … Our country still struggles with the legacies of slavery and segregation, the past treatment of Native Americans.”
Then adolescent American baby boomers had children of their own - fewer than our parents did though - about half as many. We didn’t do a good job raising them either because adolescents don’t make good parents - especially when their own children reach adolescence. Even while they act like they disdain grown-ups, teenagers crave adult role models, especially the male variety, but couldn’t find many. In high school and college, baby-boomer offspring were taught ridiculous notions like: there were no differences between males and females - that it was all a social construct foisted upon society by the white male patriarchy for its own purposes. They were taught that the nuclear family is a scheme to perpetuate white male privilege and oppress others.
They were taught the notion that no consensual sexual practice should ever be called wrong. They codified that notion on campuses, in some cities, in some states, and are proposing it nationally. They want outlaw expression of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs regarding sexuality. When Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson dared utter them last week, they were called “vile” and “lies.” Baby boomers and their offspring are doing this.

The president who epitomizes adolescent narcissism has nearly doubled our national debt, encourages the Federal Reserve to print trillions more dollars with nothing to back them up, violates constitutional limits on presidential power almost weekly, and is destroying the best health-care system in the world. What are the rest of us doing about it? Virtually nothing. Most of us stand by meekly and watch him do it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hips From The Favor Bank?

Will the time ever come when we’ll need a political favor for a hip replacement? Will we have to pay a bribe, I mean make a campaign contribution to move up on the waiting list for an MRI, or to get treatment for late-stage cancer? I hope not but, if current trends continue the possibility isn’t far-fetched. Not only has Obamacare has been a catastrophe only two-and-a-half months in, implementation has been riddled with unlawful edicts and political favoritism for Democrat constituents.

Taking the most recent example first: On November 25th Obama exempted his union buddies from paying their share of the $12 billion “reinsurance tax” for 2014. Five weeks earlier, the liberal magazine Slate wrote: “Labor essentially asked the Obama administration to exempt their existing insurance plans from the fee. Since [their request] . . .  had no particular merits to it the administration declined.” That was then. This is now. Slate doesn’t even question whether a president has the constitutional authority to pick and choose what parts of legislation he’ll enforce and which he won’t.
Well he doesn’t have that authority. Article II requires him to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” He can’t change them anytime he feels like it, but that’s what he does. Earlier this year, he unconstitutionally put off Obamacare’s employer mandate for a year because he knew it would hurt Democrats in the 2014 election. He exempts Congressmen and their staffs who wrote the legislation. He doesn’t enforce immigration laws he doesn’t like either. When Congress didn’t pass an amnesty bill he wanted called the “Dream Act,” he issued an executive fiat instead. There are other examples too numerous to mention.
The bottom line is: when our president can decide for himself which laws he’ll enforce and which ones he won’t, we’re not a nation of laws anymore are we? Not when the president places himself above the law. When he took over General Motors and Chrysler, he stiffed bondholders, fired dealers, ordered GM to produce Chevy Volts nobody wants, bailed out the unions, and “stepp[ed] over the bright line between the rule of law and the arbitrary behavior . . .” according to an analysis by George Mason University’s Todd Zywicki called “The Auto Bailout and the Rule of Law.”
So far, Obama get away with wielding unconstitutional power for political gain. Can he do that? Well, there’s can’t and there’s “ain’t supposta.” He’s isn’t supposed to do all this, but clearly he can because he’s doing it. Who’s going to stop him? Congress is supposed to check and balance the president, and the House of Representatives issues subpoenas for documents, information and witnesses, but when Obama stonewalls them, then what? Well, there’s impeachment.
The House has sole power of impeachment, but impeachment means “bring charges against.” The Senate has to decide guilt, and how likely is that while it’s under the control of Senator Harry Reid? And even if Obama were found guilty, the only remedy is to remove him from office. Who would take over then? Vice President Joe Biden, who more and more resembles a cast member from “Dumb and Dumber.” Politically speaking, impeachment isn’t a likely scenario - at this point at least. Unfortunately, that’s the only remedy Congress has to stop the president’s unconstitutional power-grabbing.
 So now back to the original question. Will access to health care become completely politicized? Those signing up for Obamacare are overwhelmingly getting Medicaid - 1.46 million of the 1.6 million signed up so far. More and more doctors are refusing to take on Medicaid patients, so millions will be all dressed up in their new Obamacare policies with no place to go. Unless Obamacare is repealed, some expect the federal government to draft doctors. Kevin Williamson at National Review Online considers it almost inevitable.
Millions of others whose health insurance policies were cancelled will have spent weeks on healthcare.gov trying to sign up, think they have, and find out after January 1st that they’re not because of still more healthcare.gov “glitches.” Nearly 100 million others who like their policies and whom Obama promised could keep them will get cancellation notices in 2014. Obamacare will collapse. Then what?

Never one to “let a crisis go to waste,” will Obama take it all over like he did with General Motors? He’s wanted a government, single-payer system all along. Will he appoint Kathleen Sebelius as Healthcare Czar? She who shakes down companies for cash? Can we trust the 16,000 new agents in Obama’s IRS not to harass conservatives as they “implement” Obama’s new health care policies? You may trust them. I do not. If Obamacare isn’t repealed early next year, kissing up to a congressman for a new knee or to get Grammy into a nursing home could be in our future.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

No Neutral Ground

St. Peter's on Federal Street in Portland
The men were singing, and there were a lot of them. That’s unusual in my experience attending mass at various Catholic Churches in Maine. Most men come to church because their wives pressure them to, I think. If they pray aloud in the pews it’s usually just a murmur. Several men there at St. Peter’s, however, spoke it like they meant it.

Nearby Cathedral
My wife and I have been checking out different parishes around the Portland/South Portland area when we find ourselves down there Sunday mornings and each has its own feel. St. Peter’s is a small church only a couple of blocks from Portland’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the flagship of the Portland Diocese near the bottom of Munjoy Hill. I wondered how it competed - being in the same neighborhood and almost in the shadow of the cathedral.

Churches of many kinds are closing up and being sold in Maine and many other parts of the country. St. John the Evangelist in South Portland closed a few months ago and it’s rumored the building will soon be replaced by a Dunkin Donuts shop. More than a dozen Maine Catholic churches have closed since 2007. In ten years, Maine’s Catholic population has declined from 234,000 to 187,000. So St. Peter’s is an anomaly. It’s self-supporting and the congregation seems to know that if it were not, it would soon follow the fate of the others.
St. Peter's annual Italian street festival

St. Peter’s is a survivor with an enthusiastic choir. It’s filled to capacity on Sunday morning with lots of families - moms, dads, and kids. Many of the singing men had short, military-style haircuts and I wondered if they were off-duty firemen or police. The congregation nearly drowned out the choir. I was one of very few who weren’t singing, having gotten out of the habit long ago. I would be a good singer if it wasn’t for my voice.

A few weeks ago I found myself in conversation with a young man who had been raised in a family that didn’t practice religion at all. He wasn’t atheist, but was suspicious of organized religion, especially the one I belonged to - Roman Catholic - the oldest, continuously-functioning institution on earth. He was especially skeptical after the homosexual-priest scandal of the late 20th century. That had knocked me for loop too, and I’ve only recently begun putting it into perspective as another way the Catholic Church has been corrupted in its long history - and from which it must purge itself.
American Catholic Church influence seems to have peaked in the late 1950s or early 60s and it’s been in decline since. I don’t know if we’ve reached bottom yet, but I hope so. My home church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s in Fryeburg, has had several different priests assigned to it in recent years. At least once, none was available for Sunday mass and a communion service had to suffice. It’s part of a “cluster” of parishes because there just aren’t enough priests for each parish to have its own any more. Last summer two missionary priests from Nigeria were assigned to our Fryeburg-Bridgton-Norway cluster.
Ironic, no? A hundred years ago, the American church sent missionaries to Africa. Now they’re sending them to us. What’s up with that? Why is there such a shortage here and not there? They have more applicants than their seminaries can accommodate. A Dallas Morning News article put it this way: “‘The African church is in touch with the raw elements of humanity: birth, marriage, death, hunger, thirst,’ said Christopher Malloy, an assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas. ‘For me, in a comfortable house, it's easy to think life is not dramatic. [African priests] bring the message to us with excitement.’”
How did Americans get so bored? All drama, whether in a novel, a movie, or in real life, is a struggle between good and evil. As C. S. Lewis put it: “There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” Drama plays out everywhere and always, but Americans are increasingly blind to it. It’s unfashionable to acknowledge evil exists. Some of us are afraid even to say “Merry Christmas.” In Africa, though, evil is anything but subtle. Christians are routinely slaughtered by Muslim terrorists in Nigeria, Sudan and lately Egypt and Syria (nearby in Asia). Tribal massacres in the hundreds of thousands are still fresh in Rwandan minds. Evil is difficult to deny in Africa. When a young man joins the seminary there, it’s like volunteering for frontline combat.
Speaking of men strong in their faith, click on the video above (taped last week) and watch them defend a cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina from assault. They locked arms and prayed as crazed, topless feminists spit at them, spray-painted their crotches and faces with swastikas, performed sex acts in front of them, and burned an effigy of Pope Francis I while dancing and shrieking in a bacchanalian “National Women’s Encounter.” It’s an annual event sponsored by the Argentine Department of Culture.
A still from the video above

It’s inspiring to see strong men doing what’s right. There are good signs out there if we look for them.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Honeymoon Over

Something’s going on. Still ubiquitous only a month ago, Obama stickers are disappearing from the Volvos and Priuses around the very blue Portland, Maine metropolitan area. As I wrote last August, they seemed to be everywhere. People were still proud to identify themselves with President Obama and his policies. Now I have to look for them. Driving around my usual routes down there last week, I saw fewer than a dozen. What does it mean?
Yeah, the president’s poll numbers are tanking. Yeah, making fun of him on Saturday Night Live is getting to be a habit. Yeah, 53% of Americans don’t trust him now - but think of what it takes for all those bumper stickers to disappear. People who loved what Obama represented now want to sever their public identification with him. After listening to his 1000th speech, they walked to their vehicle, saw the stickers, and made a decision to peel them off. Some had been on since 2007 or 2008 and it’s not as easy to take those old ones off as it was to put them on. The adhesive hardens. The vinyl breaks up and your fingernails wear down trying to get purchase on remaining fragments. Then you need to rub off dirty old adhesive with a solvent.
These are actions akin to taking off a wedding ring and throwing it away. Or, in an age in which people tend to just live together without getting married, it’s more than just choosing to sleep on the couch. It’s like putting his clothes out on the sidewalk - or even throwing them out a second-story window if you’re’ really mad that your health insurance policy was cancelled after hearing him promise you thirty times that if you like your policy, you can keep it - period.
But, unless he’s impeached, Obama will still be your president for more than three more years. Considering that, it seems more like you bought a house with him and you both have to live in it together until the divorce is final and you can sell it. Then you can split up the the proceeds and move on, but that can take a long time. Meanwhile you treat him with silent contempt and try not to brush up against him when walking by.
But what if he keeps on talking? Should you tell him to just shut up because you don’t believe him any more? Why does he keep thinking he can make everything all right by giving another speech? For three more years you’ll think to yourself: “What did I ever see in him?” and “How could I ever have fallen in love with him?” and “Why didn’t I pay attention to those early warning signs?” and “He’s been lying about a lot of things. How could I have been so stupid?”

The media fell in love with him too and avoided looking into his relationships with friends like Bill Ayers - the left-wing terrorist, or Reverend Jeremiah Wright - the racist pastor, or Frank Marshal Davis - the communist pornographer who was his mentor. They never looked into his college transcripts either or whether he and his wife got into those prestigious universities through Affirmative Action, and not because they were smart, hard-working students in high school. He belonged to the “Choom Gang” in high school for cripe sakes. He was a stoner. But he made all of you feel good when he spoke. He gave you tingles up your leg. When he said he would bring Hope and Change, you thought he meant your hopes, the changes you wanted. He knew that. He kept it vague and you all swooned because he said it so well.
Yeah, the man sure could talk. But now you’re realizing, along with everyone else, that that’s all he knows how to do. And it isn’t enough anymore. Talk is cheap, but it’s all he’s got. You know he’s going to keep on talking, and you’re not sure you’ll be able to stand it for three whole years.

And you only have yourself to blame.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Brave New World Arriving

Jack London’s short story “The Law of Life” is about dying. A blind, old Indian man was near death, but the nomadic band he had lived with couldn’t wait for his end. They needed to hunt if they would survive, so, with his consent, they left him behind to die alone in the frigid Arctic north country. His son patted him on the head before leaving on his dogsled. He expected the cold would take him - a relatively peaceful death, if lonely. But, just as he ran out of firewood, a pack of wolves surrounded him.
We all have to die of something. Like most, I’d prefer to go in my sleep next to a beautiful woman after enjoying a good meal with good wine, and, you know. Truth be told, though, I don’t really want to know the how or when of it. It’s out of my control. And what happens after that? I believe the Catholic version of everlasting life, but that’s not the subject of this column. Death is.

I read a lot of Jack London as a boy. He was an atheist, a socialist, a eugenicist, and an alcoholic, but I didn’t know any of that while I was reading him. I have little doubt that if he were alive today, he’d be an Obama supporter. He’d support Obamacare and its death panels I suspect, but maybe not. In the story, London described the old Indian’s death as a mutual decision of both the clan and the individual. They were kin and would have nurtured him in his final hours or days out of respect, but they all understood that to delay the hunt would weaken the whole band. They cared for him, but their survival was more important. He cared enough for them to accept that. Government death panels, however, would be comprised of strangers, not family, and would not necessarily include input from the dying individual. The decision would be based on a cold, bureaucratic, cost/benefit analysis.
Then again, maybe the eugenicist in London would approve. It’s worth mentioning here that Nazis admired American eugenicists like Jack London and Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood and patron saint of gender feminists. The Nazi Holocaust began with the extermination of the weak and feeble-minded as a drain on German national resources, and then “progressed” to mass murder of “inferior” races.

While a young college student, I worked as an orderly on the 3-11 shift in a state, chronic-care hospital in Massachusetts where people didn’t get better and go home. They died there, and it was my job to put their toe tags on, wrap them up in a shroud, and bring them down to the morgue. Before they died, I fed them dinner, played cribbage with them, cleaned them up if they needed it, and talked to them about dying if they wanted to. Some died with dignity. Others didn’t. How they went wasn’t about external circumstances though. It was about how they were inside. After two-and-a-half years I got my undergrad degree and left that job. It taught me much about the end of life. I was a young man - twenty-four - but unlike others my age who thought themselves indestructible, I came away with a deep understanding that nobody lives forever. That awareness has enriched my life ever since.
Last year this time, my wife’s father lay dying. He was ninety and unless a feeding tube were surgically inserted, he wouldn’t last. The family gathered and conferred with his doctor in a nearby room. The decision was unanimous - make him as comfortable as possible and wait for the end. The doctor complimented everyone and said unanimity in family meetings like that was rare in his experience. The family meeting could have been called a death panel, I suppose, but it was one comprised of people who loved him, not disinterested government bureaucrats. Unless Obamacare is repealed, I don’t think it’s going to be like that for too many of you reading right now. Unless you go suddenly with a heart attack or something, which only 10-20% of us do, your end will be determined by a government death panel decision, not a family one.
Consider that when your health insurance company sends you a cancellation notice. Think about it when you shop on the exchanges and learn that you’re going to be paying much higher premiums for much less coverage under the “Affordable” Care Act. Your increased premiums will pay for abortions and death panels, or, as Obamacare euphemistically calls them: “Independent Payment Advisory Boards” or IPABs. Their job will be to decide if you’re worth spending money on.
Jack London’s old Indian faced a pack of wolves as his end. Tomorrow’s Americans will deal with government bureaucrats on their local IPAB. What will it be like dealing with them? Think how it is at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Take a number and wait. Welcome to the brave new world of Obamacare.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Mindboggling Manufacture

My brain is still buzzing with what I saw at the “Digifab ’13 Expo” put on jointly by the University of Southern Maine together with SME - the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. This old cerebrum was pried open and pushed into a different dimension.
A 3D printer at the conference making something

Only recently have I wrapped my mind around how my digital inkjet printer works. It’s late 20th-century technology and it still amazes me, how it whirs and cranks out two-dimensional images I’ve captured with my digital SLR - that’s “Single Lens Reflex” - mid-20th-century optical technology merged with late-20th-century digital technology. The conference, however, featured “printers” that produced objects in three dimensions. Maybe I’ll stop putting the word in quotes when I get used to 3D printing - when I’m no longer stuck contemplating the process in only two dimensions.
Listening, thinking . . .

First I ever heard of 3D printing was when DHS (Department of Homeland Security) raised a concern that someone might smuggle a non-metallic handgun, produced by a 3D printer, past metal detectors. “What the heck is a 3D printer?” I wondered. Well, I saw some in action at Digifab ’13 Conference. A spray nozzle moved precisely around an object that slowly took shape. It was much like an inkjet printer except the nozzle moved robotically in several directions instead of just back and forth, and sprayed a kind of plastic instead of ink. Displayed around on the tables were objects made by these printers including an adjustable wrench and a bicycle chain. The chain looked just like the one on my bicycle except it was plastic, and the printer hadn’t made each individual link separately. It made the whole thing fully assembled!
My mind was whirring as fast as the nozzles. How could it make attached links? By squirting another, dissolvable material between them, then removing it. How many other materials could be sprayed by those nozzles? About a hundred. Could metals be sprayed like that? Yes. There were no printers with that capability on display, but they did exist I was told.
Talking to vendors in the lobby

It was a typical conference with scheduled workshops in function rooms and vendors in the lobby. Workshops were in two tracks: manufacturing and education. Having taught thirty-six years, one would think I’d be attracted to the education workshops, but I wasn’t. Engineers and entrepreneurs in the manufacturing workshops were vastly more interesting. So were the people attending. So were their questions asked and answered. I had a press pass so I was free to wander around with my camera, but I found myself caught up in the technical discussions. Engineers have their own dialect and unfamiliar acronyms flew around, but I was able to understand the flow of ideas. They were extremely stimulating. People described how 3D printing was changing how they worked, how they planned, and how they imagined the future. It was heady stuff.
Everyone was focused

One presenter pulled up an image of a complicated-looking, jet-engine part made by General Electric on a 3D printer. He described how it couldn’t have been made as quickly, as inexpensively, or even as well, if GE were forced to design and build it with traditional technology. When I asked what it was made of, he said, “titanium.” He saw my eyebrows go up and said that, yes, GE has printers that squirt titanium. Others asked how, but no one was sure. Was it molten? Powdered? The technology was proprietary and GE wasn’t saying.
The GE part

The most incredible thing I learned that day came in the form of a comment by a guy I later learned was a 9th-grade dropout. He was talking about a 3D printer producing a functioning human liver! He sat a few rows behind me and I didn’t think he could be serious. I turned around and said, “What?”
“Yes,” he said, nodding in understanding of my incredulity. Others reacted as I did, but still others were nodding along with him.

Kidneys too,” one of them said.

“Making them out of what?” I asked.


“A 3D printer squirting cells?
The first guy continued nodding. We broke for lunch shortly after and I ate with him while he let me pick his brain. That’s where I learned that he got bored with school at fourteen. Then 3D printing captured his imagination and he went back to bolster his math.
Lassiter at the conference

This technology is being made available to schools all over the world through programs like The Fab Foundation, based at MIT and run by one of Digifab Conference’s keynote speakers, Sherry Lassiter. She encourages the installation of Fablabs in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, Math) schools everywhere.
Hope I’m wrong, but, knowing what a bureaucratic behemoth public education has become, I’m concerned this technology won’t be integrated quickly enough to stimulate brilliant minds like that of my new lunch acquaintance.