Another day, another broken promise. This is getting tiresome. On the eve of this year’s federal budget yet another retreat from last year’s. Scrapping an increase for Family Tax Benefit part A recipients is surely the last piece of evidence people need not to take seriously anything Treasurer Wayne Swan announces next Tuesday.

The market speaks. This morning the Crikey Election Indicator has Labor’s re-election chances down to just 10%. How low can it go after the Treasurer releases his annual budget fiction?

The perception and the reality. With the coverage shootings in the US get on television throughout the world, I’m sure that the Pew Research Center would find the results of its latest study replicated in other countries:

And the people would be quite wrong. Analysis of government data shows national rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s,

Like a new nose? Well choose a design, get it printed and find a surgeon to insert it. The new technology of 3-D printing is upon us, and not just for things like the plastic gun you can make at home that I drew attention to yesterday. As US President Barack Obama declared in his most recent State of the Union address, 3-D printing “has the potential to revolutionise the way we make almost anything”.

Strange, surely, that our government ministers who pretend to be concerned about reinvigorating Australian manufacturing are so silent on the potential of the process (please see below about the use of that word “surely”).

The process called 3-D printing (or additive manufacturing, in industrial parlance) follows instructions from digital files, and joins together layer upon layer of material — whether metals, ceramics or plastics — until the object’s distinctive shape is realised (read a good introduction here).

News and views noted along the way.

Peter Fray

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