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iCandy: You 3-D Printed What?

Cars, clothes, guns—and even body parts—at the press of a button

1 min read
iCandy: You 3-D Printed What?
Photo: Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images
For better or worse, it may soon be true that anyone with a computer and a 3-D printer could become a gunsmith. You can put together the Liberator handgun from parts churned out by a 3-D printer using designs available on the Internet. Within 48 hours of downloading the design, software engineer Travis Lerol (video) of Baltimore, Md., used his US $1300 3D Systems Cube printer and $30 in materials to make his own working pistol.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
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Photo: Rami Shlush
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Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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