Monthly Archives: January 2015

World’s tallest 3D-printed building showcased in China

A Chinese engineering and design firm has unveiled the world’s tallest 3D-printed building – a five-storey residential apartment block made from recycled construction materials.

The building was made by the Shanghai-based company called WinSun Decoration Design Engineering. The company’s epic custom-built 3D printer cost roughly US$2.3 million and took the company 12 years to manufacture. It measures 6.6 metres tall, 10 metres wide and about 150 metres long – and something just like it may very well print your future home.

The machine works by printing, layer by layer, large sections of buildings (such as wall panels) using an “ink” made from a mixture of fibreglass, steel, cement, hardening agents and recycled construction materials. These sections are then assembled on site, much like prefabricated concrete, to create the final structure. (You can watch it in action in the Associated Press news report below).

According to the company’s website, their 3D-printed walls are about 50 percent lighter than concrete walls, but have “much higher strength and toughness”. It also says they

Your credit card record is not so anonymous, new study reveals

I don’t want to alarm you, but your metadata is showing, and can lead people straight to your credit card details. Scientists have found that 90 percent of the time, they need just four pieces of outside information on you – for example, what store you shopped at on a given day, what you bought, how much an item cost – to match an anonymised credit card record to your identity.

The team, led by computer scientist Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, analysed three months of credit card records belonging to 1.1 million people. The records had been stripped of any personal information, including names and account numbers, which is what companies routinely do when they

Six celestial phenomena are captured in this incredible image

This incredible long-exposure image was taken by the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) photo ambassador, Petr Horálek, throughout January 2015, and it’s almost too good to be true.

Captured in the cloudless skies over the ESO’s La Silla Observatory, which sits 2,400 metres above the Chilean Atacama Desert, the photo is a composite of images taken across different nights.

But the end result contains six incredibly phenomena.

Starting from the centre, we have…

  • Comet Lovejoy, glowing green in the centre of the image.
  • The star cluster known as the Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters, a little above Comet Lovejoy to the right.
  • The California Nebula, the red arc of gas directly to the right of Lovejoy.
  • A meteor, streaking along the left of the sky.
  • A haze of glowing green light collecting along the horizon, as a result of oxygen in the upper atmosphere.
  • A pretty shroud of low altitude clouds on the plain below the observatory.
  • Oh and that streak of light on the plain? That’s the Pan-American Highway.

As the ESO explains: “Comet Lovejoy’s long tail is being pushed away from the comet by the solar wind. Carbon compounds that