2016-10-09 3 min read



I've been working on a Prepared gift guide, which I'll send out around Thanksgiving. It'll be more or less what you'd expect - stuff that helps you do physical things. If anyone out there has suggestions, please send them!

Wayfinding & Strategy.

  • I'm reading Robert Caro's The Path to Power, the first part of his monumental biography of LBJ.
  • On 3D Robotics, who recently stopped making drones: "We're a Silicon Valley company and we're supposed to be doing software and there are Chinese companies that are supposed to be doing hardware." IMO that's a short sighted path to go down, but I do agree that competing with DJI is crazy.
  • The NYC Economic Development Corporation is giving out $30k growth grants to companies manufacturing in the city. I think this is great.
  • Ben Thompson on Google: "technology alone is rarely enough, and the only thing more difficult than changing business models is changing cultures."

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection & Testing.

  • A tour of a precision metrology shop.
  • Tesla built ~25k cars last quarter - a small number for the big automakers, but at least they're hitting their numbers. Interestingly, though, their total output at NUMMI is capped at about 225,000 cars per year, due to the air quality regulations that their paint shop is subject to - and it seems highly unlikely that they'll be able to expand beyond that number by 2018, when Musk has said he plans to be turning out 500,000 cars per year. These two blog posts explain the constraints on Tesla's Fremont plant in detail - and make me wonder whether Musk plans to purchase someone else's facility in order to move more quickly.
  • Sandia National Labs slammed an (unarmed) B61-12 nuclear weapon into a concrete wall. They're using the data to calibrate their simulation model, as well as test some of the edge conditions that are difficult to simulate in the first place.
  • SpaceX is investigating the possibility that a sniper shot out that rocket that exploded a few weeks ago.


Credit to Chris, Andre, Kane, Star, Jordan, and Mike for sending links this week. If you see something, send something :)


The NYTimes' photo essay on large-scale US agriculture.

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