2018-09-18 3 min read


Planning & Strategy.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

Distribution & Logistics.

  • On the existential fragility of the US's supply chain for basic medical supplies. "The last US factory making penicillin closed in 2004, he found. Only 10 percent of the generic drugs used in this country are made here. Four-fifths of the active ingredients in American pharmaceuticals come from somewhere else, mostly India and China. If anything disrupted delivery of a critically needed drug — a process line collapsing in a factory, a typhoon fouling the path of container ships — supplies would run short, the manufacturer would be far out of US jurisdiction, and there would be no domestic alternative."
  • A *very* good piece in the New Yorker about the rise of ecommerce in rural China.
  • Through an integration with Latch locks, UPS will offer customers in NYC the ability to have their packages dropped off indoors - even if they aren't home.
  • Samson and Goliath are two gantry cranes that define the Belfast skyline - even though shipbuilding no longer occurs there.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.

  • A retrospective on the whole idea that uberPOOL and Lyft Line would reduce overall car ownership. "Even more distressingly, a recent transportation study found that rideshare services are in fact adding to VMT [Vehicle Miles Traveled] and not eating car ownership VMT like we originally hoped. This is due to several factors: 1.) Uber drivers come in from all over to drive, e.g. from Sacramento to SF core, which is largely dead time to/from, 2.) driver down time between trips, 3.) on the demand side, we’re largely cannibalizing public transit and creating marginal trips that otherwise wouldn’t have happened (this is probably the biggest factor)."
  • A good teardown of a counterfeit iPhone X.
  • Aaron Gordon on Cynthia Nixon's failed NY gubernatorial campaign. Three critical factors:
  • Cuomo had, and utilized, his incumbency advantage. He also (at minimum) allowed people close to him to play dirty.
  • Infrastructure & transit simply doesn't have a single-issue voting bloc in the US - a fact that I, for one, find rather discouraging.
  • Despite Nixon's focus on the subways, her proposals weren't all that convincing to begin with.
  • Autodesk and Kickstarter collaborated on a suite of test prints to help evaluate printers headed for crowdfunding.
  • The last part of that "detecting anomalies in CNC machining with machine learning" series from a few weeks back.


  • A reductio ad absurdum for bike helmet laws. "But let’s be honest and realistic; helmets can save lives. That’s why everyone in construction wears them. That’s why the Finnish safety agency is suggesting that senior citizens wear them. Given road conditions and the quality of the drivers, I wear one when I bike. But it still begs the question we have asked before: we know that more people get traumatic brain injuries in cars than anywhere else. And it is not just because more people drive; we know that the rate of injury and death per million hours traveled is actually higher for drivers than it is for cyclists. So why don’t drivers have to wear helmets?"
  • "Made in Japan" is getting big in China.
  • How flatfishes evolved.

Cookie cutters being made.

Read the full story

The rest of this post is for SOW Subscribers (free or paid) only. Sign up now to read the full story and get access to all subscriber-only posts.

Sign up now
Already have an account? Sign in
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Scope of Work.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.