Planning & Strategy.
- Atul Gawande was named CEO of the healthcare company that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan set up recently. In addition to being a surgeon and a researcher, Gawande is possibly the most affecting writer I've ever read. His work is empathetic, thoughtful, and widely applicable, and his interest in improving healthcare is clearly comprehensive. The implications for this venture are obvious. If you haven't read him, I recommend starting with his 2006 piece "The Score," which is about childbirth but is *really* about the tradeoffs that come with industrializing something that once was a craft. Ditto his books: I've read both The Checklist Manifesto and Better and just started Being Mortal. In short: I find a lot of the news rather discouraging, but this... this seems like a good thing.
- Bunnie Huang on the USTR's new tariffs, which 'do not include goods commonly purchased by American consumers such as cellular telephones or televisions.' "Think about it – big companies with the resources to organize thousands of overseas workers making TVs and cell phones will have their outsourced supply chains protected, but small companies that still assemble valuable goods from basic parts inside the US are about to see significant cost increases." TPR fits this description exactly: We're the rare case of a consumer electronic device that's made in the US, with ~60% of our COGS going to Massachusetts and a range of lower value parts being imported from overseas. Needless to say, Bunnie's argument resonates. Related: The largest nail manufacturer in the US laid off more than 10% of its workers this month and "could slash 200 more jobs by the end of July and be out of business around Labor Day."
- A quick overview of a leaked Lime pitch deck.
Making & Manufacturing.
- 507 Mechanical Movements, animated.
- Northrop Grumman's classy page for the OmegA, a rocket that offers "a new, affordable method of launching national security payloads."
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- A good, general purpose overview of NYC DEP's billion dollar repair of the Delaware Aqueduct Rondout-West Branch tunnel, a massive underground water tunnel that's been in nearly continuous service since it was opened in 1944 - and that's currently leaking at a rate of 3% of total flow. See also the full 102 page scope of work for the project.
- NASA's Opportunity, which was designed to last for 90 days but has been more or less running since it landed on Mars in 2004, is caught in an enormous dust storm and is unable to charge its batteries via its solar panels. Curiosity, which is younger and uses the heat from a decaying plutonium isotope to charge its batteries, continues on.
Distribution & Logistics.
- In 1993, when the EU singe market was established, there were about 3000 daily truck crossings into the UK; now (pre-Brexit) there are over 12000.
- A very comprehensive list of resources for tracking ships.
- UPS and the Teamsters reached a handshake deal for a new contract, raising wages for existing employees but also adding a lower tier for weekend drivers.
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
- The Core77 design awards for commercial & industrial equipment, of which I was a judge, have been published! I particularly enjoyed the niche industrial products, with bonus points to things that will spend most of their lives in messy environments. A big thanks to everyone involved in this - it was a lot of fun and there were a *bunch* of ingenious designs!
- A rundown of what the GAO and the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology think about NASA's many megaproject cost & schedule overruns. Some of this is management straight out of The Power Broker: "NASA managers have come to believe―usually correctly, [NASA Inspector General] Martin said―that 'projects that fail to meet initial cost and schedule goals will receive additional funding and subsequent scientific and technological success will overshadow budgetary and schedule problems.' So, while a project may experience a cost overrun or schedule delay, it is of little real consequence to NASA managers other than perhaps a scolding or two by the GAO, the Inspector General, and Congress."
- The UK cycling industry is roughly 3 times as valuable as the UK steel industry, and it employs twice as many people.
- "Flamethrower drone clearing debris from power lines." Do not endorse.
- A pretty cool analysis of NYC train schedules, specifically with respect to whether you should wait for an F at W4th or take a C.
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared.Credit also to Kane, Jordan, Gabe, Russ, Josh, Karen, and Mike for sending links.
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