2019-06-10 3 min read


Planning & Strategy.

  • Madrid's central city low emission zone - which appeared to have reduced NOx, CO2, and NO2 levels all by double digits after only a few months - is in danger after the region is on track to have elected a center-right party into power. Congestion is “part of the life in Madrid”, [expected PP President Isabel Díaz Ayuso] said, adding that the city’s nightlife “goes hand in hand with traffic jams”.
  • In a move that would seem obvious to anyone living in 2019, the FCC approved new rules that will finally allow phone carriers to block all robocalls. But don't worry, there's something in here for Ajit Pai haters as well: There are no guarantees that robocall blocking will be free for customers.
  • United Technologies and Raytheon have agreed to "a merger of equals."

Making & Manufacturing.

  • A good video tour of an MSI motherboard factory, including a lot of automated testing and assembly. Check out the sheer quantity of pogo pins at around 2:35.
  • An old and somewhat hokey documentary on small Japanese factories; stay through the romanticism (and the glitchy audio) for good metal spinning footage and a pretty cool deep drawn hypodermic needle.
  • A well done multi-blog post series on building the Goodman One, an open source film camera made largely from 3D printed parts.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • festoolrecon.com is Festool's flash sale site for refurbished tools.
  • Volkswagen is building a pilot facility for recycling lithium ion batteries in Salzgitter, Germany; its goal is recycle up to 72% of batteries' raw materials.
  • A strong argument that plastic is not, in practice, recyclable. “I think that it's time that we all stop kidding ourselves...we're collecting this stuff in the blue bin so we can all feel good about recycling, and then we sort it out and half of it is still going to the landfill. At what point do you say, ‘You know what, it's not recyclable’?”

Distribution & Logistics.

  • FedEx is ending its express contract with Amazon. In a (since deleted) two-sentence press release back in January, FedEx had disclosed that "Amazon.com, Inc. is not FedEx Corporation’s largest customer" and represents only 1.3% of their total revenue; express shipping would be a smaller number still. In net, this strikes me as strong positioning but not a huge business decision.
  • The governments of Ireland and France agreed to build a €930 million undersea cable which would bring 700 MW + data from continental Europe to a post-Brexit Ireland.
  • TomTom's 2018 traffic index, which ranks global cities by traffic congestion.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.

  • The largest fire in California history was caused by a rancher who was pounding a 24 inch concrete stake (a steel stake used for concrete formwork) into the ground with a claw hammer in an effort to (literally) "plug a wasp nest."
  • A pretty decent video demonstration (with testing) Wera's "Hex-Plus" system, which allows more torque to be applied to socket head cap screws.
  • On the NYTimes, a roundup of everything going on (wrong) at Tesla :/


  • "The Dymaxion House was developed by inventor and architect Buckminster Fuller to address several perceived shortcomings with existing homebuilding techniques. Fuller designed several versions of the house at different times — all of them factory manufactured kits, assembled on site, intended to be suitable for any site or environment and to use resources efficiently...No Dymaxion house built according to Fuller's intentions was ever constructed and lived in."
  • The Mira calligraphiae monumenta is some *really* beautiful 16th century calligraphy. I recommend poking around in this - it's pretty remarkable.

English units 🤦

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