Okay! Lotta stuff here. So much so that I'm adding a new category: Maintenance, repair and operations, which you'll know as "MRO."
Wayfinding & Strategy.
- A good interview with Basecamp's Jason Fried. It's refreshing to hear about software startups who have avoided venture capital, and Basecamp has a few such layers where they differ - in compelling ways - from what you might expect them to be like.
- Patagonia's CEO on the financial upside to offering on-site child care.
- A very good three part (one, two, three) blog post on the Japanese zoning, and how it differs from the Western approach. In short our municipalities tend to micromanage, and end up giving a lot of opportunities for NIMBYs to discourage mixed-use blocks - whereas in Japan, zoning is controlled nationally and is much more permissive.
- The users you don't want.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A rundown and detailed description of laser manufacturing processes, and how they're used in watchmaking.
- A fascinating and heartwearming interview with Lonnie Johnson, the NASA engineer who invented the Super Soaker and the Nerf Blaster.
- While researching batteries, MIT's Group Sadoway found a more efficient way to smelt antimony.
- A profile of Detroit Bikes, and the difficulty of building bikes in the US. Remember: there aren't a lot of forging shops here.
- A somewhat frantic series of gifs showing how golf balls are made.
- A short video showing the powder removal process after an Arcam build.
- Locus Robotics, a spinoff from Quiet Logistics, is trying to replace the Kivas that Amazon took off the market.
- New methods of manufacturing graphene and silicene (2D silicon), both involving adding oxygen into the process.
Maintenance, repair and operations.
- Ultrasonic vibration could be a way more efficient way to dry clothes.
- On the difficulties of keeping the air conditioning on in NYC subways.
Distribution & Logistics.
- Mobileye is working on a self-driving "system" with Delphi, an auto parts supplier, that would be purchased by auto makers and integrated into their cars. Release date: 2019.
- Did you know that Hughes Aircraft created & owned DirecTV when it was part of GM? I didn't. Interestingly, this was also when GM owned Delphi.
- There's a crazy, emergent transportation system in Manila, based on old Jeeps left there by the US army. Jeepneys are visually wild, polluting (they mostly run on diesel), and cause the world's worst traffic congestion - yet it's hard to see how they'll ever be replaced.
- Mexico City has an informal system of franeleros, who guarantee protection to your car while it's parked (and prevent you from parking unless you pay them).
- A short profile of Otto, the autonomous truck startup that Uber just acquired.
Inspection & Testing.
- How NYC's failed Olympic bid was a big win for the city.
- How to short Uber.
- A thorough report on the state of manufacturing in NYC. I spoke to the report's author a few months back, and while I would quibble that fabrication isn't necessarily manufacturing, the conclusions here are interesting.
- A new America Makes project to analyze the performance of lattice structures.
- A pet peeve: When "cement" is used to refer to concrete. FYI, concrete is a mixture of portland cement, aggregate, water, and optionally admixtures. Meanwhile, the word "cement" just means something that's used to bind any two things together. More here.
- Kenji Lopez-Alt defends American cheese. <- I recommend this.
- Slow TV is now on Netflix.
- The Wikipedia page for the Rocketdyne F-1 engine.
- Two new books on Noam Chomsky's place in the field of linguistics. I studied syntax in college, and many of my professors were both students and critics of Chomsky's; the portrayal in this piece aligns with my experience.
- A good obituary for Gawker.