On my own blog, how The Public Radio's US-based supply chain works. If you're curious about how one would make consumer electronics in the US - or what just-in-time electronics operations look like - then this is for you!
Also, a standing request: The Prepared wants to follow a more intelligent, interesting, and diverse audience. If you know (or are) someone doing good work, let us know here.
The most clicked link in last week's issue (~21% of opens) was Bruce Sterling's essay (polemic?) on smart cities.
Planning & Strategy.
- United Technologies will split itself in three, spinning off Otis (the company founded by Elisha Otis, the inventor of the elevator brake) and Carrier (the maker of AC systems which moved a bunch of manufacturing jobs to Mexico after Trump had given them big tax breaks to stay in Indiana). UTC will remain an aerospace company centered around Pratt & Whitney (whose geared turbofan program *seems* to be coming to life) and the recently acquired Rockwell Collins.
- Elon Musk's pet tunneling company says that no, they actually *won't* build the test tunnel they'd been planning under the 405; meanwhile NASA says they'll conduct a "pretty invasive safety review" of SpaceX.
- PTC acquired Frustum.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A pretty awesome design project to package energy gel in plant-based bioplastic pouches.
- Derrick is looking to speak with someone with experience joining thin walled corrugated sections of Inconel 625.
- A graphical anatomy/diagram of Amazon Alexa as a system comprised of "material resources, human labor, and data." This is a remarkable piece of work, and one that you kind of need to poke around at to understand.
- How parmesan cheese is made.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- Stellafield, a nuclear fuel reprocessing/recycling plant in Cumbria, England, is in the beginning stages of what is expected to be a £4B decommissioning project. Its initial construction costs were £1.8B and over its ~24 year lifespan it generated £9B in revenue.
Distribution & Logistics.
- I'm reading The Undersea Network, Nicole Starosielski's book about subsea communications infrastructure.
- The NYTimes on XPO Logistics, which seems like a pretty terrible place to work.
- Spokane, WA - a city of 217,000 - had more than 139,000 scooter, bike, and e-bike rides during a 68 day trial period.
- "Citi Bike will double its service area and more than triple its fleet of bicycles during the next five years."
- California's carbon emissions per capita are on the rise and the state is not on track to meet its own emissions goals for 2030. "Dramatically increasing the amount of electric vehicles on the road will not solve the problem, the report said. Even if new car sales of zero-emission vehicles increase nearly tenfold from today, the state would still need to reduce vehicle miles traveled per capita by 25% to meet the 2030 goal."
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
- Kohzy's running twitter thread of pictures of construction site wall portholes.
- Starsky Robotics, which is working on autonomous trucks, explains why they don't (and won't) use LIDAR.
- Why Google/Alphabet's eye contact glucose sensor failed: Basically, measuring glucose in tears is *hard.*
- On modern anxiety, etc: "Like many modern workers, I find that only a small percentage of my job is now actually doing my job. The rest is performing a million acts of unpaid micro-labor that can easily add up to a full-time job in itself. Tweeting and sharing and schmoozing and blogging. Liking and commenting on others’ tweets and shares and schmoozes and blogs. Ambivalently “maintaining a presence on social media,” attempting to sell a semi-fictional, much more appealing version of myself in the vain hope that this might somehow help me sell some actual stuff at some unspecified future time."
- A big thanks to Mindtribe for including The Prepared's podcast on their "12 Great Podcasts for Engineers" list!
- Cows who eat a little seaweed create way less methane.
- Spaceships are now older than airplanes were when we flew our first spaceships.
- Pretty much the best possible definition of "level set," the corporate-speak classic.