Link Roundup: Jun. 16, 2005

(Via BoingBoing) RepRap is a self replicating machine. Not only can it make copies of itself, it can build other machines. It’s pretty simple at this point, but technology like this could have a huge impact on how we build things in the future. Current rapid prototyping machines (machines that can make objects in much the same way a printer can make a picture) cost tens of thousands of dollars — well beyond what most people can afford to play around with. RipRap’s goal is to bring that cost down to just a few hundred dollars. Once this technology gets good enough, the price will rapidly fall to the cost of the materials. This means that the price of a lot of other objects (phones, forks, aquariums, etc…) will also drop to the cost of materials. With good recycling, things could get as cheap as a few cents for electricity. Can you fully imagine what kind of impact that would have on the world? I can’t.

This is such a great idea. On this website, you can pledge to do something with the condition that X number of people will also do it. Getting other people committed not only amplifies your pledge, but gives you an incentive to follow through. I’m thinking of creating a pledge to sign up for at least two more pledges in the next six months. I wonder if anyone would sign up.

Root Beer
I found this recipe for root beer via Make. It looks pretty simple, and it’s something I’d like to try. Now… to find some root beer extract.

Yet another wiki project, this one for online help manuals. It might take a bit of time to get enough content to really take off, but it could be good. They just need to put some effort into building it up, promoting it, and keeping it friendly (not go crazy with ads).

As I just wrote, I’m learning Japanese (studying Japanese might be more accurate). Anyway, I found this great flashcard application for learning Hiragama and Katakana. I’d probably add a few more features if I was writing it, but since I’m not it’s great. I wish I knew about more clean and simple software like this.