I'm reading Robert Caro's new book, Working, and should *again* take the opportunity to recommend that you read everything of Caro's.
The most clicked link in last week's issue (~17% of opens) was a survey of manufacturing methods behind Jeff Koons' artwork.
Planning & Strategy.
- A good piece on BMW's transition to electric drivetrains, whose low complexity mean big changes to automakers' workforces.
- A good explainer on Hong Kong Metro's 'rail plus property' business model: Build rail on property you own, which makes your property more valuable, and then make your investment (plus profit!) back by operating that property.
Making & Manufacturing.
- Reporting by the NY Times shows that Boeing's 787 line has a serious issue with leaving tools, trash, and cuttings all around the insides of the plane. Reading the article, I recall the shockingly high rate at which surgical instruments - mostly sponges, but also things like forceps - are left inside a patient's body after surgery (I believe I first learned of this in Atul Gawande's excellent The Checklist Manifesto; this article contains a good overview of the problem). But surgeries involve a relatively small number of tools, and are undertaken by relatively small teams; if the Times' account is accurate, it would seem that a big cultural shift will be required at Boeing. Related, a good Vox explainer video on the 737 Max issues.
- A comprehensive overview of the ways in which the cannabis industry is being industrialized as growers and processors are freed up to make large investments in automation equipment.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- A good restoration video of an old "cutawl" jigsaw, which uses a reciprocating non-serrated blade and is steered with two handles like a router. A pretty interesting old tool - it's worth looking at the last few minutes of video just to see how it works.
- A thought-provoking list of anti-lean practices that are nevertheless a big part of airlines' operating cultures.
Distribution & Logistics.
- A good twitter thread of all the ridiculous things in The Boring Company's absurd proposal for a DC-Baltimore loop. See also Aaron Gordon's take: "Honestly, it gets exhausting illustrating all the reasons this project is so silly, over and over again, every time some new report or outlandish Musk tweet makes news. There isn’t a single redeeming benefit that isn’t eclipsed several times over by other, existing, proven transit modes."
- JD.com makes 90% of its deliveries within 24 hours, and 57% within 12 hours.
- IP over Avian Carriers was a 1990 April Fools' proposal to carry internet protocol by homing pigeon.
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
- The Daily podcast on Carlos Ghosn's spectacular career at - and fall from - the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance.
- The surprisingly entertaining history of Biosphere 2.
- Some pretty crazy security flaws in multiple series of Master Locks.
- Terry Gou, Foxconn founder, will run for president of Taiwan.
- "Zugzwang is a situation found in chess and other games wherein one player is put at a disadvantage because they must make a move when they would prefer to pass and not move."
- NYC Transit CEO Andy Byford is, somewhat unsurprisingly, not super happy with his relationship with NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.
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