2018-07-02 3 min read


Planning & Strategy.

  • The NYTimes on China's "slowly, then all at once" process of taking over Sri Lanka's Hambantota Port. With the US's bellicose trade strategies in the news, I find Chinese cunning and steadiness almost refreshing. Related, I enjoyed Sinica's interview with Kurt Campbell, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, on the state of US-China relations and the (possibly missed) opportunities for true collaboration there.
  • Facebook is canceling its Aquila drone program, closing its drone factory, and "focusing on partnerships instead." Recall the Aquila was solar powered, with a wingspan similar to a 737, a weight of just 880 lbs, and a claimed power consumption equivalent to "three blow dryers." It lacked landing gear to save weight; landing was, as you might expect, something of a challenge.
  • GE will spin off healthcare and divest from its Baker Hughes oil field services division.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • A long (and old) forum thread detailing how the LA Department of Water and Power performed repairs on a shorted out 230 KV, many-hundred-amp, 10 mile long underground coaxial cable. This is good for a few reasons, not the least of which is the old school website design and the update-after-update writing style, but what drew me in was the freezing (with liquid nitrogen) of the oil dielectric that this particular cable is filled with. As it happens, I had experience with the pipe freezing repair method (described here) on a *way* smaller scale, and it ended in near disaster when (due to poor decision making on my plumber's part and poor oversight on my own) the ice plugs blew out and many thousands of gallons of water jetted across my jobsite. It was an interesting day; I can only imagine if the pipe was 16" in diameter and threatened to spill hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil in a residential neighborhood.
  • Kyle Wiens on the Retina MacBook Pro's integrated keyboard-battery-top-case assembly. Installed (and replaced) as a single unit, it's susceptible to failure from dust, is essentially impossible to repair, and is now eligible for a four year warranty.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


  • Elon Musk started a very small school, mostly for his own kids, and it's housed at SpaceX.
  • On scooters as selfie sticks - products of Chinese manufacturing increasingly influencing the world.
  • Nora Stanton Blatch Barney was an English-born U.S. civil engineer, architect, and suffragist. Her marriage to inventor Lee de Forest lasted only a year, "due largely to de Forest's insistence that Nora quit her profession and become a conventional housewife."

On California's (renewable-driven) power oversupply & lack of energy storage.

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