Quirky World ... 3D printer takes giant step for self-sufficiency in space

USA: The first 3D printer in space has popped out its first creation — a sample replacement part for itself.

The printer was delivered to the International Space Station two months ago, and Nasa said it has churned out a replica of the face plate for its print head casing. Space station commander Butch Wilmore set aside the small plastic piece for eventual return to Earth.

About 20 objects will be printed in the next few weeks for analysis on earth, and Nasa hopes to one day use 3D printing to fix broken equipment in space.

A California company called Made in Space supplied the printer. The European Space Agency plans to fly a 3D printer next year.

Going underground

ENGLAND: The ancient landscape of Stonehenge could be transformed by putting a major road into a tunnel past the stones, heritage groups have said ahead.

English Heritage and the National Trust said they are hopeful the government will announce plans to improve the A303 at Stonehenge — a notorious bottleneck which is “highly detrimental” to the ancient monument — with a tunnel.

Officials approached English Heritage, which looks after Stonehenge, and the National Trust, which owns much of the land in the wider World Heritage Site, earlier this year with three proposals for improving the A303.

Make a splash

USA: One of Kentucky’s newest whiskey makers has made a big splash, fetching more than $28,000 (€22,5000) for its first bottle of bourbon.

The Boundary Oak bottle appeared to rank among the most expensive bottles of bourbon ever sold. Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, said he did not know of any other bottle to have sold for that amount. All the money will go to a local charity.

Boundary Oak Distillery said the winning bidder is from Kentucky but asked to remain anonymous.

Smelly cat

USA: Residents are hoping air samples tests can explain why their Pennsylvania city smells like cat urine.

New Castle residents began noticing the smell on November 1, in the city about 75km northwest of Pittsburgh. The New Castle News says the smell lingers near a sewage treatment plant in the city’s Mahoningtown neighbourhood.

State environmental officials do not believe the odour is harmful, but they don’t yet know what’s causing it.

A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says on-site monitoring did not detect any hazardous substances in the air.

Hear them sing

ENGLAND: The first Canterbury Cathedral all-girls’ choir is in rehearsal for its first public Christmas concert following a busy year.

Sixteen mainly local girls aged 12-18 were selected for the Canterbury Cathedral Girls’ Choir in January, the first to be assembled under the name of the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

More than 600 people attended their first performance at Evensong that month, and they have since performed at several significant events at the cathedral.

Fatsquatch stolen

USA: An “overweight” 181kg statue of the mythical Sasquatch has been stolen from a family’s garden.

Ralph Spence, from Delhi Township, west of Cincinnati, said his sons bought the statue for him several years ago. The 61-year-old said it started out as a practical joke but ‘Squashy’ soon became part of the family.

Spence said he received a call days after the theft from a friend who spotted the statue in a nearby open field. A note found with Squashy poked fun at his weight, and was signed by “the body building bandits”.


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