Planning & Strategy.
- The 3MF Consortium officially released its Beam Lattice extension this week - a fundamental shift in the way that lattice designs are communicated and transferred between CAD and CAM packages. As I wrote on my blog, nTopology approached 3MF about adapting our file structure to the 3MF spec almost two years ago, and I'm proud to have played a part in the development process; As I wrote on the nTopology blog, 3MF Beam Lattices are often 1/1000th the size of their STL counterparts.
- In my first ever Long Bet, I take the bull case for the future of physical verification of simulated (in this case CFD) results: Wind tunnels won't be completely replaced by computers in the next eight years.
- Uber bought Jump.
- VanMoof launched a bike subscription service: A down payment plus monthly fee gets you a license to a bike and maintenance. As someone who likes a certain level of control over the things I use and who also thinks that traditional bike ownership (and maintenance) is bad for a lot of consumers, I'm interested to see where this goes.
- MIT is offering a 9-week online course on additive manufacturing.
Making & Manufacturing.
- I am looking for a vendor to do laser marking on stainless steel parts. Get at me!
- Elon Musk says that Tesla tried to automate too much of their Model 3 production line. I also recommend watching Gayle King's CBS This Morning interview with him (part 1, part 2 - scroll down on part 2 to watch all the additional clips), in which Musk seems at times underslept, acquiescent, and somewhat grandiose about things that should be mundane ("the goal for the Model 3 is to have 10 times the precision of any other car...we just keep at it until you really can't even tell with a precise instrument that there's any difference from one car to the next").
- A very good piece on the design and construction of "Symphony of the Seas," a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Related, a short piece on the 370-person lifeboats in Royal Caribbean's Oasis class. And, a reminder that if you haven't read A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, you *really* should.
- NYC's East Side Access project is now projected to cost $11.1B.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- The FTC says that "warranty void if removed" stickers are illegal, and that manufacturers are breaking the law by putting them on their products.
- The San Francisco Naval Shipyard, a Superfund site that's contaminated with industrial and radioactive pollution, is now possibly the site of the biggest case of eco-fraud in US history. The EPA says that a contractor called Tetra Tech (which posted profits of more than $350 million last year) falsified up to 97% of the cleanup data there. Tetra Tech remains a subcontractor to the DOE's Los Alamos cleanup project.
Distribution & Logistics.
- Tens of thousands of combustion chambers are being installed across the Tibetan plateau in an effort to produce rainfall over a swath of northern China three times the size of Spain. The chambers produce silver iodide, and appear to rely on the same method that the US military attempted to use to flood the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War - an effort that's largely considered a failure now.
- San Francisco is starting to consider real regulations on e-scooters.
- Mexican lime consumption increases during Lent, resulting in price spikes in the US; LA taco trucks switch to lemons.
Inspection & Testing.
- Erik sent a few interesting links on autonomous driving: "California requires autonomous driving vehicle makers to create public reports (posted here) about the disengagements (human interventions) while autonomous vehicles are testing). A lot of articles analyzed these reports and crunched the numbers to make nice graphics for the public (like this one). It's still tough to tell who is doing what in the autonomous space, but this third party report provides an interesting graphic. Some interesting points are that Uber apparently wasn't considered a leader in autonomous in this analysis, and Tesla is far behind because of their focus on cameras and their efforts to develop an in-house next-gen autopilot system."
- Related: After a driver was killed while in autopilot mode a few weeks ago, Tesla released details of the accident on their blog - prompting the NTSB to remove Tesla from the investigation into the crash.
- "Burglar finds family's spare key, breaks in while they’re in Mexico, hangs photos of himself on the walls, rents house out to strangers."
- "Wow. Look at These Astounding Photos of Abandoned Dockless Vehicles in America."
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared.Credit also to Geoff, Dan, Ryan, Jay, Kevin, David, Alex, Xavier, and Ingrid for sending links.
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