Planning & Strategy.
- More influential women in additive manufacturing from The Barnes Group.
- The US Attorney in Manhattan joined a class action lawsuit the MTA for making improvements to subway stations without making them ADA compliant, and the MTA says that it'll defend the case rather than settle. On Second Ave Sagas, Ben Kabak calls this "a test case for the feds and the MTA...It is focused on only one station and rests on a determination by a federal agency that the MTA actually violated Title II of the ADA. It’s as close to an open-and-shut case on the ADA as one may find, and if the MTA is intent on fighting it on its merits rather than settling, the feds are likely to win. With a victory in their pockets, federal prosecutors would have stronger arguments for some of the tougher cases against the MTA." Related, Google Maps now allows users to specify wheelchair accessibility on public transit trips.
- Mobike has been acquired by the local delivery startup Meituan Dianping, reportedly for $2.7B. The two companies share an investor in Tencent; recall that Ofo has been heavily invested in by Alibaba, who acquired the local delivery startup Ele.me just a few days earlier.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A pretty awesome collapsible injection mold core for making curved hollow parts.
- On the engineering challenges facing NASA's Parker Probe, which will fly to the sun to study its corona and solar winds.
- A comprehensive list of transit & major construction projects currently underway in Seattle. Related, Seattle's mayor officially proposed congestion pricing and a host of other programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- A good, relatively technical video of "the paper airplane guy."
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- If a solar storm the size of the Carrington Event were to happen today, the cost could exceed $2 trillion - 20 times that of Hurricane Katrina. "Pete Riley of Predictive Science, a space weather research company, pegs the probability of a Carrington-strength event or worse over the next decade at around ten percent. But, he said during the AAAS session, 'There are large uncertainties associated with that number, and that is at least an equally important message to communicate as the actual value itself.'" I'm curious: How much would it cost to start buying & stockpiling power transformers for if/when this does happen, and what would a solar storm repair business actually look like?
- Got links about things being fixed? Send 'em to me.
Distribution & Logistics.
- A very good, very thorough analysis of the USPS's "Market Dominant" and "Competitive" businesses, explained in the context of their relationship with Amazon and Trump's false claims thereof. This piece is detailed, wonky, and interesting, and I recommend reading it with as little outrage as you can. Then, read "The Washington Post stories that preceded Trump’s tweets about Amazon" :/
- Shyp shut down, just a few months after they retreated from huge parts of their business and were "effectively breaking even from a bottom line standpoint." I used their consumer shipping service many times before they shut down NYC operations; the experience was excellent and the cost was hard to believe. I approached them about batch shipping The Public Radio's first production run in 2015, but they were confident when they declined and while doing so also managed to blow off multiple phone appointments. That said, their small business strategy didn't totally make sense to me either. The operation I saw at their Sunset Park facility was complex (and expensive, I'm sure), and as my own small business actually started fulfilling orders I realized that Shyp's flexibility wasn't an asset to me. My net impression is that it's likely that *none* of Shyp's businesses (consumer, small business, eBay sellers, etc) were capable of operating profitably - let alone scaling to meet the expectations of their investors.
- Metro Vancouver transit ridership grew 5.7% last year, the largest increase in North America - and one of only four North American cities over 1 million people whose ridership grew. Seattle, mentioned above, was one of them.
- Flexport on managing the proposed tariffs on goods from China. I spent a whole evening this week researching HS codes, as a component that we import for TPR (which is assembled in the US but includes Chinese and Taiwanese components) may be covered in the proposed changes. Pretty silly. Related, Planet Money is digging for a HS code that "is meant to protect *one single manufacturer* in the U.S."
- A good overview of why UberRUSH shut down.
Inspection & Testing.
- Radar satellite imaging shows 4000 square miles of Texas rising and then falling as much as 40 inches as oil fields are pumped full of CO2 and saltwater and drained of oil.
- On the huge growth of the premium apple market. "The future of the apple may be in so-called 'club' varieties [like Honeycrisp, which saw 275% growth since 2010]. Supplies of these fruits are tightly controlled using patents and royalties paid per tree, which fund marketing campaigns that build the brand." Related, a good older piece on the companies and people who develop new apple varieties.
- "Clay tablet; letter from Nanni to Ea-nasir complaining that the wrong grade of copper ore has been delivered after a gulf voyage and about misdirection and delay of a further delivery," 1750 BCE. Full translation on Wikipedia.
- MailChimp has updated their TOS to explicitly prohibit the promotion of cryptocurrencies and ICOs. "MailChimp previously held policies prohibiting multi-level marketing, 'make money online' businesses, and 'industries have higher-than-average abuse complaints,' and earmarked 'online trading, day trading tips, or stock market related content' for 'additional scrutiny.'" Seems consistent to me.
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared.Credit also to Patricia, Ingrid, Dan, Reilly, Xavier, Geoff, Chris and Jordan for sending links.
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