2017-01-15 2 min read



Friends! Starting next week, I'm going on paternity leave :) It's our first, and I'm excited to learn a few new skills - and a few new things about myself, too.

To fill in, I've got guest editors for you: Eric Weinhoffer, Sam Wurzel, Dan Hui, and Noah Lorang. They're four of the most interesting and active people I've connected (and reconnected) with through The Prepared, and I'm *really* excited to see what they make of it.

See you all in a month!

Planning & Strategy.

  • Last week's 99pi has a nice little story about how a mapmaker put a fake town into upstate New York, just so that they could tell if anyone else copied their map. This reminds me of Google wiring Easter Eggs into wacky search terms, which they used to finally accuse Bing of copying their search results.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • Reliability-centered maintenance was started by United Airlines because of their early experiences with the Boeing 747, which was complex and highly prone to failure. Interestingly, they discovered that "the vast majority of failures are not necessarily linked to the age of the asset."

Distribution & Logistics.

  • My neighborhood has a pretty high concentration of West Indian immigrants, and recently I realized that the big blue plastic barrels being sold at hardware stores were intended to be used to ship stuff back to their families. This older NYTimes piece gives some info, but I feel like there should be a deeper story about this somewhere.
  • United and Delta are both retiring their last 747s this year. They will be the last US airlines to fly 747s.

Inspection & Testing.

  • A tour of Standridge Granite, a manufacturer of inspection plates.
  • Before the US joined WW2, we sold a bunch of Liberty Ships to England to help their war effort. In order to make them more quickly (and avoid a *lot* of riveting), the hulls of the ships were welded - in retrospect, a poor choice. The ships were often deployed to the North Atlantic, where their steel hulls became brittle - and any cracks that developed then propagated unimpeded through the welded hull. Moreover, the hull had square portholes with sharp corners, which acted as stress risers where cracks would begin. More info on the metallurgy here.


Credit to David, Derek, Andreas, Jordan, Russell, Bill, Eric, Neil, and Amanda for sending links this week. If you see something, send something :)


Women's work.

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