Chinese Company Creates 3D-Printed Houses
Today in international tech news: A Chinese company creates 3D-printed houses; Kim Dotcom could get his seized stuff back; a high-profile Chinese blogger is jailed; and a European utility company will sell Google's Nest Learning Thermostat.
04/17/14 10:54 AM PT
Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering, a Shanghai-based company, has created 10 3D-printed houses.
Each house reportedly cost less than US$5,000 and took less than 24 hours to construct. The printer used to create the homes was about 100 feet long, 33 feet wide and more than 20 feet tall. The "ink" was made from high-grade cement and glass fiber.
The houses may not be up to snuff for 3D printing purists: They were not printed as a single item, but rather in parts that were later pieced together. Therefore, a 3D house being created in Amsterdam might still be able to claim the title of the world's first 3D-printed house (even if it won't be finished for another three years).
Kim Dotcom Could Get Stuff Back
Foreign restraining orders on Kim Dotcom's assets -- including cars, art and cash -- are slated to expire Friday, which could enable the world's most wanted copyright infringer to get his stuff back.
Dotcom's goodies were seized as part of an early 2012 raid on his New Zealand home. The raid was a tagteam effort between authorities in New Zealand and the U.S.
American authorities long have wanted Dotcom extradited to the U.S. to be tried for what is claimed to be hundreds of millions of dollars worth of copyright infringement stemming from his now-defunct file-sharing site Megaupload.
New Zealand's High Court rejected an appeal to keep Dotcom's possessions locked up. Shortly thereafter, Dotcom tweeted a photo of himself surrounded by Mercedes Benz automobiles. "Come back to daddy," he later added.
There could be an appeal of the High Court decision, however, which might delay (or prevent) the return of any items to Dotcom.
Earlier this month, six Hollywood studios banded together to sue Dotcom.
[Source: Torrent Freak]
Chinese Blogger Jailed
Qin Zhilui, a popular Chinese blogger, was sentenced to three years in prison for defamation.
Qin reportedly had 12 separate Weibo accounts -- Weibo is roughly akin to Twitter -- that were responsible for more than 3,000 libelous tweets. These tweets were shared thousands of times. According to Chinese law, when libel gets shared, the libeler gets in trouble.
Among Qin's more egregious tweets -- egregious to Beijing officials, anyway -- was an allegation that the Railway Ministry paid more than US$40 million to the family of an Italian passenger who died in the Wenzhou train collision, which killed 40 people. Qin also floated the theory that some Chinese civil servants were forced to donate to the Red Cross or face a pay cut.
Another high-profile Chinese internet personality, Charles Xue, recently was released on bail after being detained for nearly eight months.
[Source: Tech In Asia]
European Utility to Sell Google 'Learning Thermostat'
RWE npower, the UK unit of RWE, a German energy utility, will be the first European utility to sell Google's Nest Learning Thermostat.
Google acquired Nest Labs, a startup that makes Internet-connected thermostats and smoke detectors, in January for more than $3 billion. The new-age thermostats are designed to cut back on energy bills by monitoring home heating system via computers, tablets or smartphones.
RWE, which hopes eventually to roll out the product in additional European markets, is hamstrung by declining revenues in its coal- and gas-fired plants. The company poured billions into new plants, but did so just as Europe -- and especially its home base of Germany -- began offering generous subsidies for wind and solar energy.
The company posted its first loss in more than six decades last year, so it perhaps was time for a big move.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal]