All links today :)
Planning & Strategy.
- The Chinese government is putting on a massive push to encourage life sciences R&D.
- Global Sources is being acquired by Blackstone and will be taken private.
- The world is designed for men [not women].
- Arduino continues to vacillate between incompetence and malice.
- Foxconn says they'll invest $10B in the US, including a rumored 10,000 flatscreen manufacturing jobs somewhere in the upper midwest - a move that would radically change the region's labor market. "The sheer enormity and sophistication of Foxconn would send ripples of turbulence across the region unlike previous industrial newcomers. By contrast, what passed for a major Wisconsin industrial recruitment announcement only three months ago was news that German candy-maker Haribo would invest in a facility to churn out sugary trademark Gummi Bears."
Making & Manufacturing.
- By 2021, there will be the equivalent of something like 3.5 of Tesla's Gigafactories in China.
- A good piece on the scale of automation in steelmaking, which has seen a ~70x productivity increase in the past century and a 3x increase over the past 20 years.
- Zach on what we're doing to make The Public Radio in the US - and on The Amp Hour, talking about his job and our journey (so far) through Kickstarter.
- Apparently GE and ATI are working on a way of making metal powder (for printing) which doesn't require melting at all. I'm curious about this, and wonder whether it might mean non-sperical powder. Interestingly: The conventional wisdom is that sphericity is critical for metal printing powder, but I've heard rumors that more jagged powder can result in process improvements due to its (temperamental, perhaps) ability to pack more tightly than spherical powder.
- Some curious work out of ORNL that takes a printed stainless steel lattice and then casts an aluminum alloy over it, creating a composite structure. My initial reaction is that you might want to start with materials that are less subject to galvanic corrosion, but in general it's a clever way to eliminate the risk of buckling in the lattice.
- Apparently Tesla's paint shop is *not* a bottleneck after all, and they're on track to produce a half a million cars next year.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- Roman concrete, which contained a combination of seawater and volcanic ash, produces tobermorite and phillipsite as it ages - minerals that help fill any cracks that develop over time.
- On the hostility that NYC MTA workers (who are certainly not at fault for the underfunded system's woes) endure on a daily basis.
Distribution & Logistics.
- A bunch of bikeshare stuff. As Seattle accepted the first few applications for dockless permits, the SFMTA published their permit application (which will compete with the official and recently expanded Ford GoBike system, which is being run by Motivate). Meanwhile, in China, Mobike and Ofo agreed to share theft & vandalism data with the national credit scoring agency. And, photos of tens of thousands of abandoned bikes in Hangzhou. I'm already on record here, but I'll say it again: Dockless bike share is *incredible,* and (assuming the backside of the supply chain can be figured out, which seems tractable) I'm all for having them in the US.
- See also: "Chinese umbrella-sharing firm remains upbeat despite losing most of its 300,000 brollies."
Inspection & Testing.
- A good post on geometric search engines, which (similar to a Google Image Search) allow the user to query a database of geometries directly rather than via metadata. One use case I've heard of for these is for helping CAD systems automatically fix issues caused by changes far back in a feature tree; if the system knew how the old shape looked & acted, maybe it can make a good guess about how your new shape should look & act as well.
- Related, Octopart adds robust categories & filtering!
- A real takedown of Blue Apron's economics. An interesting idea: "Because Blue Apron cannot retain customers for extended periods of time [that] means that customer acquisition cost is effectively part of cost of goods sold."
- A geographically accurate NYC subway rail map.
- Me, on the Formlabs Digital Factory Podcast, talking with Jon and David about the stuff I talk about :) See also Andrew's recap of the Formlabs Fuse conference and the state of product & manufacturing today.
- I'm reading New York 2140, a novel about... New York in 2140.
- Ethereum uses about as much electricity as the country of Cyprus.
- What it was like to be at Xerox PARC when Steve Jobs visited.
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared. Credit also to Jonas, Dan, Reilly, Andre, Dan, Andrew, Aziz, Dan, Blake and Gabe for sending links.
p.s. - We should be better friends. Send me a note - coffee's on me :)
p.p.s - If you know someone who does good work - especially if they're a minority in their field - please share The Prepared with them! And see our inclusivity policy here.