A reminder! If you're in Boston tomorrow evening, stop by Meadhall at 1930h and get drinks after The Digital Factory!
And: June 23rd is National Women in Engineering Day, and I want to do *something* for it. Are you a woman in engineering, or have you read something about women in engineering recently? Ping me! Send it!
Planning & Strategy.
- Me, writing about how NYC can retain its cultural import in the 21st century. Spoiler: Work on meaningful problems; Be humble/populist, when applicable; *Really* start valuing our infrastructure.
- A really remarkable piece on Amazon's ability to productize their internal tools (FBA, AWS, tons of things you've never heard of), and the effect that has on their efficiency and strategic strength. Related, Amazon apparently now sells more private-label (a.k.a. "Amazon Basics") batteries than Duracell... etc.
- GE Additive is giving away $8MM worth of industrial (Arcam/Concept) printers, and an additional $2MM worth of desktop printers.
- NYC EDC announced the recipients of their Futureworks Growth grants, and a bunch of other stuff. Very proud to be a part of this program, and excited to work with the startups in it!
Making & Manufacturing.
- ASME is hosting a dinner next week on the engineering behind Water Tunnel No. 3. WT3 is the largest capital construction project in NYC history, and is *rad.*
- Hon Hai (Foxconn) has installed 60k industrial robots (unclear if this is cumulative or recent), and apparently now has five fully lights-out factories. Would love to know the scale of those operations.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- A rather troubling article on the absolute waste machine that is Las Vegas buffets, and the hog farms that process all of that waste.
- Noah Smith on the different possible reasons why US infrastructure projects are so slow and so expensive.
- An overview of startups tackling reverse-last-mile logistics, i.e. product returns.
Distribution & Logistics.
- Wal-Mart is apparently letting employees make a few bucks on the side by delivering packages on their way home. The article points out that "about 90 percent of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Wal-Mart," which is crazy, but I wonder if this particular spin on the traveling salesman problem doesn't introduce unique complications. Also, I live within 10 miles of two or three Wal-Marts, but those are all 40+ minute drives around one of the most densely populated counties (Kings, a.k.a. Brooklyn) in the country. In other words, distance might not mean as much as you might think.
- Grabit is a company that makes robotic actuators that use static cling to handle packages. Sounds clever.
- On the cultural importance of good, fair, infrastructure systems.
Inspection & Testing.
- A pretty cool looking portable CMM machine.
- Zach and I filmed a new Kickstarter relaunch video for The Public Radio this week, and in prep I went back and re-read Pathing Kickstarter, the 2014 blog post I wrote before our first campaign. In it, I give a damn detailed analysis of our cost structure & profitability at various funding outcomes, with the takeaway that "In short, we’re moving towards something resembling a sustainable business — which, to be honest, is a bit surprising." Pretty funny; more on the relaunch soon!
- Velodyne says they'll have a solid state LIDAR system on the market by 2020-2022.
- The Supreme Court ruled against Lexmark in a right-to-tinker case regarding refilling printer cartridges.
- The most comprehensive description of "glitter" I've ever read.
- Reflections on Kunming, a relatively remote ~6 million person city in Southern China. "If the map is full of blank spaces, it becomes exciting to discover new lands. That’s risky: Sometimes you get shipwrecked, sometimes your crew mutinies, sometimes you discover vast treasures of spice and gold. On the other hand, if satellites tell you that the world is fully mapped, or that Google tells you that your idea has been tried before, maybe you give up on adventure."
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared. Credit also to Johanna, Eric, Andrew, Gabe, Reilly, Kevin, Jay, Drew, and Vlad for sending links.
The first ever National Noise Map. Airports, man :/