A *very* warm welcome to our newest sponsor, Dragon Innovation! As a friend, customer, and oft-co-panelist of theirs, I'm happy to have them here.
The 3MF Beamlattice extension, which I was proud to spearhead on behalf of nTopology, has been has been released! This is the result of almost a year and a half's worth of work, spread out among a dozen or so of 3D printing's most forward-thinking players. I'll have more to share about this soon, but for now I'll just say that file specs are a fascinating, complicated, and strangely exciting world :)
Planning & Strategy.
- A *very* good longform piece on The Wonderful Company, of Pom (& pistachio & almond) fame. Wonderful operates the largest farm in the US, and it does so in California's Central Valley. Though the recent drought Wonderful’s output has *increased* year after year, as their farms have consumed 2/3 as much water as all of LA county - sapping not only the state-run reserves but also public water supplies 40 miles away. They've done this, of course, in service of a lot of overpriced pseudoscience - but all the while they've also undertaken a campaign of philanthropy of rarified scale. A big, complicated, and troubling/hopeful story.
- On GE and the decline of the industrial conglomerate. As someone whose career path bears almost zero resemblance to GE's average employee, I'll only say that the feeling of visiting GE Global Research - and the logic behind the shared-service model of heavy, 20th century R&D - is both palpable and compelling.
- Bunnie Huang on the (low) cost of entry to ASIC chip design.
Making & Manufacturing.
- On my personal blog, videos showing how The Public Radio is assembled, programmed & fulfilled. I really can't emphasize enough how crazy our process is: Consumer electronic devices which are programmed, assembled, and fulfilled just-in-time within 24 hours of orders being placed.
- Using electroadhesion in robotic end effectors.
- On getting your EDA's autorouter to accept pinswaps. GUIs for multi-dimensionality: Still lacking.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- A scratchpad for planning a maintenance-focused conference in the UK later this year.
- "Faced with a string of lawsuits over grisly crashes, the city of Los Angeles paid out more than $19 million last year to cyclists and their families for injuries and deaths on [poorly maintained] local streets... But fixing the most badly broken streets is so costly that the city has instead focused on preventing salvageable roads from sliding into disrepair."
Distribution & Logistics.
- Amazon is rolling out Shipping with Amazon in LA. Cleverly, SWA is launching with third party merchants only; It'll be a product, subject to all of the criticism that third party customers bring, from the beginning.
- On Bird, the startup distributing dockless e-scooters around SoCal.
- How Curitiba, Brasil built a legit - and scrappy - public transit system around buses with dedicated lanes & loading areas.
Inspection & Testing.
- A good, quick teardown of a production Model 3. Lot of complaints of panel gaps here, but also some interesting engineering critique around escape routes & emergency access. Note that this was done by Munro & Associates, which *knows* teardowns.
- A perhaps counterintuitively interesting study on Uber drivers' ~7% pay gap. The app is gender blind, and its users aren't told gender in the first place. And yet somehow, due to factors that are built into our value system and are on their face quite reasonable, women are paid less than men.
- "A 2017 Government Accountability Office report assessing the U.S. Navy’s multiple attempts to optimize its ships’ manning levels found that the assumption that new technologies would enable smaller crew sizes has been overly optimistic. In fact, 'crew sizes on most new ship classes have grown over time as anticipated workload reductions from new technologies have not materialized.'”
- Why circular image sensors on DSLRs aren't a thing.
- The source code for iBoot (a critical piece of iOS infrastructure) was posted on GitHub last year. It went unnoticed until last week, when it was promptly taken down + distributed widely elsewhere.
- The Pudding (the best data vis jawn out there) does the Mars Curiosity Rover.
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared.Credit also to Ada, Brad, Jordan, Tristan, John, and Reilly for sending links.
p.s. - We should be better friends. Send me a note - coffee's on me :)
p.p.s - Whenever possible, we work to encourage inclusivity. Here's how.