2019-06-17 3 min read


Planning & Strategy.

  • France plans to ban the practice of destroying unsold consumer products; a similar ban for food is already in effect.
  • Uber's Jump raised prices significantly in at least Denver, LA, and SF; Lyft is suing the city of San Francisco to block a Jump expansion there.

Making & Manufacturing.

  • An interesting application for AR/VR: As a no-touch UI for people who are suited up for cleanroom work. I'm not totally sure what the goggles are for, though, and it strikes me that a flatscreen display (+ voice control and a Kinect) would be preferable to taking a non-disposable piece of apparel (AR goggles) on and off. Related, I heard a rumor that a large company (possibly Intel) had, at some point in the past, "put a bunch of R&D into making a Class-10 cleanroom bathroom, at great expense, just to avoid employees having to de-gown and re-gown to use the toilet, because it's like a 45-min roundtrip. Apparently it was not successful." If you can verify or correct this, I'd love to hear from you!
  • "Hand-operated laser cutting for nuclear decommissioning." 😬
  • A practical overview of optical engineering for mechanical engineers.
  • The origin story of Wazer, the desktop-ish sized water jet.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • A very strong argument for spending up to half a trillion dollars cleaning up the lead (in pipes, in paint, and most insidiously in soil) across the US.
  • Starsky Robotics says that average semi trucks need to be serviced every 60 days, which (at 2,000-3,000 miles per week) seems pretty reasonable to me. I'm curious how much the average trucker knows about their vehicle and what they typically fix themselves - and whether it'll make economic sense to wire trucks up with diagnostics so that you don't need someone with at least *some* mechanical ability on board.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.

  • A totally, totally wild profile of WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann. The culture of this company sounds terrible, and their insistence that they're doing anything other than aggregating demand for office space strikes me as just bonkers. "The company uses data to improve its management of conference rooms and analyze its customers’ interests to better plan community events...The manager of a WeWork space in Flatiron told me that 'one of our best learnings' since opening was that people liked sitting at several desks in the back of the room that were near the windows. This, he said, was something they hadn’t guessed, before admitting it 'makes a lot of sense.'" And the hubris on Neumann: "He then asked if I had seen the TV show Heroes. 'There was one [character] that was very strong,' he said. 'He had the ability to have all superpowers.' Neumann neglected to mention that this was the show’s villain: a serial killer who murdered people to get their powers."
  • Salesforce is buying Tableau for $15.7B.
  • An actual academic paper on bullshitters - people who "who claim knowledge or expertise in an area where they actually have little experience or skill." "Our findings support the view that young men are, on average, bigger bullshitters than young women, and that socio-economically advantaged teenagers are more likely to be bullshitters than their disadvantaged peers."


  • National Park is a typeface designed to mimic the National Park Service signs that are carved using a router bit.
  • Polyus was a Russian prototype anti-SDI weapons platform designed to fire a megawatt CO2 laser from space.

SpaceX's Starlink satellites: Definitely visible at launch time, and likely to disrupt all sorts of astronomy research.

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