10 Ways the Secret Service can Defend Against Drones

With the accidental (and apparently innocent) crash of a DJI Phantom quadcopter on the White House lawn, there’s an urgency to the question of how the Secret Service can defend against a small drone that’s been launched with malicious intent.  The key is malicious — people who are actively hoping to evade detection (otherwise, rule and regulations will suffice, no?).  There’s two problems to solve, really.  The first is detection, and the second is stopping a drone.

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What Oliver North could have taught Sony Executives about Email

In late 1986, the White House was on the cusp of a huge scandal involving Iran-Contra, a complicated and illegal program to sell arms to Iran and route the proceeds to the Contras, a guerrilla organization dedicated to the overthrow of Nicaragua’s leftist, Sandinista regime. To try to destroy incriminating evidence, National Security Advisor John Poindexter and his assistant, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North shredded the paper trail and methodically set out to delete all of their emails related to the program.  When done, they felt confident that they had erased anything that could have tied them and the White House to the illegal program. But that was a false confidence.

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Creating a 3D Printed Heart Charm in Blender

I am working on a project to make earrings, and I wanted to add a heart in the middle of of each earring where it’s connected via a jump ring to the element above and below it.  This meant adding a ring at the top and bottom of the heart.

I’m using Blender to model the earrings, and it turned out to be surprisingly hard to get it so the heart would print right.  Even though it looked fine in Blender, viewed properly in Slic3r, it still ended up printing wrong from the generated g-code.  The ring, even though it was unioned with the heart in Blender would end up looking like it had been intersected, resulting in a gap in the heart, or it would end up filling the interior of the ring, which was not what I wanted either:

2014-01-05_18-01-12

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Fixing the Mac Messages Program When it Can’t Login

A while back, I noticed something strange — I couldn’t log into the Messages program on my Mac Mini.  The Messages program interacts with iMessage, which means you can use it to send (essentially) text messages to any iPhone or iPad.  It’s great when communicating with people who are using iPhones because you have the full computer keyboard and display to use instead of an iDevice’s more limited capabilities.

But all of a sudden a while back, when I tried to log into Messages, it just spun and spun and spun but never got anywhere — just on the Mac Mini.  On my MacBook Air, it still worked perfectly fine.  I tried all the various solutions I found on the net — deleting various files and directories, logging in and out of accounts, etc.  But nothing worked … until … well, a story first.

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Creating Mid-century Modern “Googie” Earrings with 3D Printing

One of the most iconic styles of the 1950s and early 1960s is “Googie“.  You’ve seen it, even if you didn’t know it’s name. The Jetsons used Googie design in the cartoon. Having grown up in Southern California (which is the heart of Googie style), I’ve always been fond of it.

So I thought it would be interesting to create some jewelry in Googie style using 3D printing. Working with my wife, I found design inspiration in a rounded rectangle which was in wide use in design in that era.  Using the 3D modeling program Blender, I drew my version of the rectangle, then manipulated it into a fancier design (and added a ring to it for the french wires I would attach later):

in-blender

 

When that was done, I did some test prints in plastic on my home 3D printer.  After making a few modifications to get the design right, I uploaded the design to Shapeways, a company that does 3D printing in various materials, including metal.

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