2019-05-06 2 min read


Planning & Strategy.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • A detailed account of how a 54-year-old DoD procurement system, written on COBOL, was ported to Java on Linux with no downtime.
  • "The Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel is an underground water infrastructure project in Kasukabe, Saitama, Japan. It is the world's largest underground flood water diversion facility, built to mitigate overflowing of the city's major waterways and rivers during rain and typhoon seasons."
  • The SOM-designed Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs will undergo significant renovations later this year.

Distribution & Logistics.

  • A behind the scenes video of Royal Mail's Heathrow Airport operation, which processes all of the international air mail leaving the UK - on average, 700K packages every night. The detail that strikes me here is that addresses (unclear if it's every single one or just the ones that aren't machine readable) are dictated aloud by humans (see 0:57) and then presumably processed by a speech recognition system and routed to their correct destination. Note that USPS also has about 1700 employees in Utah who read anything that "computer technology produced by the likes of Siemens and Lockheed Martin" can't.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.

  • A specific old model of Medtronic insulin pumps has a security flaw that allows users to load their own software onto them. This allows closed-loop control software (which takes blood glucose readings and automatically doses insulin) to be installed; hacker diabetics rejoice.
  • An Oregon company called Sapa Profiles falsified thousands of material certifications for hundreds of customers, including NASA. The fraud caused "more than $700 million in losses and two failed satellite launch missions."
  • Grace Hopper explains a nanosecond.
  • "Big Dick Data is a formal, academic term that we have coined to denote big data projects that have masculinist, totalizing fantasies of world domination through data capture and analysis. Big Dick Data projects ignore context, fetishize size, and overstate and inflate their technical and scientific capabilities."


U.S. energy consumption by source and sector, 2018
(Quadrillion Btu)

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