Saturday, 11 January 2014

Making a blue dragon

seems an unlikely occupation for scientists doesn't it?
But, yesterday, there was a wonderful little snippet on the news feed and then on the news about a seven year old Queensland girl who wrote to our CSIRO (a Commonwealth funded research organisation) wanting to know why they had not yet made any blue dragons.
The letter (no doubt written with some parental help and encouragement) was sent off and someone in the CSIRO must have posted it up on the internet. In the meantime the CSIRO apologised for their lack of interest in blue dragons.
Scientists do however appear to be interested in blue dragons. They consulted each other. The great dream machine in Hollywood also appeared to be interested. Anything like a blue dragon is of great importance to those who keep the dream machine working. Discussions were held. Research was done. What does a dragon look like? Does a female dragon look different from a male dragon? How big are they? What shape are the wings? Is the head round or elongated? Teeth? Toes? Ears? Eyes? Nose?
All was apparently discovered and discussed and drawn up.
The little dragon was incubated in a 3D printer and will shortly be flying to the child who wanted to know where it was.
It is of course one of those "human interest and let's have a smile" stories but there is also a serious side to it. It shows what can happen when people care and cooperate. I also have no doubt that the making of the blue dragon was a learning exercise for the scientists who created it. The potential for 3D printing is apparently enormous, especially in the medical world. (Yes, unfortunately it also has the potential to be used for destructive purposes but I hope the good outweighs the bad.) Making the dragon no doubt taught people a lot and brought them into contact with others who are interested in the same sort of work. 
It also shows what can happen when you write a letter - a good, old fashioned snail-mail letter.
You thought you knew exactly what a dragon was like and could do didn't you?


Philip C James said...

Well, as Australia brought the Black Swans to the world's attention, why the hell not dragons wot are blue...?

In the long-term, 3D-printing everything offers the best hope of independence of the individual from the State, and perhaps the end of Money, in a society in which a fair share of resources are available to all, and information will be shared for the kudos not the financial reward.

That's one of the themes of my book, if I ever have the strength to finish it...

Nice post :)

Anonymous said...

Possibly one of the best projects completed by the CSIRO this year!

Anonymous said...

And yes, I know the year is still rather new!

catdownunder said...

definitely better than research to show that trees give shade Judy. I am hoping Philip will write that book!

Judy Edmonds said...

This was the best news story of the new year so far! It brought up so many ideas and lovely thoughts <3

catdownunder said...

could do with more of these stories Judy? I could