Planning & Strategy.
- GlobalFoundries shut down their effort to move to a 7 nm process node, leaving only three semiconductor foundries (Intel, Samsung, and TSMC) working on increased transistor density. Their CTO says they will focus instead on "further enhancements" of their 12 and 14 nm nodes, as well as other features (like on-chip 5G, embedded memory, 3D integration and low power).
- "US Senator bans funding for beerbots that don't exist."
- The Boring Company is proposing a subway in LA.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A very good retrospective on all of the prototyping that went into Dame Products' Eva, a hands-free couples' vibrator. Janet was on The Prepared's podcast last year, and we went into a lot of detail on developing sex toys - which present really interesting challenges.
- A good explainer on why it took so long for manufacturers to switch over from steam power to electricity. First, it required a complete mindset shift; Second, it meant changing over the capital equipment they had already invested in.
- A startup called CarbonCure "manufactures a bolt-on technology that introduces recycled CO2 into fresh concrete;" in other words, they're aerating concrete with carbon dioxide.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- "Lime’s average scooter lifespan is 120 days. At 6 trips per day & avg trip of 1.6 miles, that’s 720 trips and 1152 miles traveled over the life of the scooter."
- A team in Australia developed an underwater drone that can identify and kill crown-of-thorns starfish (which prey on coral and have made a big impact on the Great Barrier Reef in the past few decades).
Distribution & Logistics.
- A short video of lakes being stocked with fish via airplane. I grew up hearing about old WWII pilots dropping trout into High Sierra lakes that basically had to be dive bombed, and if you're at all curious I recommend watching Huell Howser's California Gold episode on California's trout hatching & stocking regime. Huell is just such a pleasant guide, and the episode includes some excellent archive footage at the end. Related, I recommend Jesse Thorn's rememberance of Huell starting at 65:00 here.
- A very good interview of Ryan Petersen (CEO of Flexport) about his nonlinear career and the global freight industry.
- Planet Money on the Universal Postal Union, which Wikipedia describes as "a specialized agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system." As Planet Money explains, the UPU makes it effectively cheaper for Americans to buy products from abroad than from the US.
- TransportationCamp 2018, an unconference in NYC, will be on 10.13. Let me know if you'll be there!
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
- This Sinica podcast (which I consistently enjoy) just finished an extended three part interview with Chas W. Freeman Jr, the interpreter for Nixon's 1972 visit to China. After blasting through the whole series I'm now reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Henry Kissinger; if you're looking for more US/China history, I recommend John Pomfret's The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom.
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared.Credit also to Zack, Nick, and Christophe for sending links.
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