I watched American Factory, the Netflix film produced by the Obamas, this weekend; it's poignant, nuanced, and very good. As Kaiser Kuo noted in his review: "American Factory is a near-perfect focal point for the thorny conversations Americans are having about the U.S.-China bilateral relationship, globalization, automation and the future of work, and American competitiveness."
An update on Arevo, the startup that is apparently trying to use a bike framebuilding business to build an aerospace manufacturing company. I fundamentally don't get this - partly because I'm skeptical of any startup that claims that they'll sustain multiple business models, and partly because Arevo claims that bike frames currently take 14 days to produce (which they don't). I also find it a bit silly to suggest that they'll generate meaningful (relative to their $34 M raised) cash flow by selling bikes - but if I'm just being a curmudgeon at this point, I'd love to hear it.
On fiberoptic infrastructure and the Pacific Railway Act of 1862. "Google recently announced the availability of a new datacenter in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is the latest in datacenter investments by Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and others, distributed along a line corresponding to the 41st parallel in the United States...Why did all of these telecommunication companies choose to locate their fiber cabling along this specific route across the United States? It’s because each of these cables are buried in the contiguous 200-foot right-of-way alongside the first transcontinental railroad, completed in 1869."
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
Solar power is now cheaper than grid electricity in every city in China - even without subsidies. Interestingly, though, solar's cost competitiveness depends on full amortization over their ~20 year lifespan - but the average lifetime of Chinese companies is only about 8 years. This means that even with grid parity pricing, solar could still be a tough sell for a lot of big commercial energy customers.
An ode to Casio watches in the age of Apple. "Casio called them technological 'miracles' back then. It is their continued availability at reasonable prices, not their aging technology, that makes them minor miracles today."
The Wikipedia entry for Sino-Japanese vocabulary. "It is estimated that approximately 60% of the words contained in a modern Japanese dictionary are kango [derived from Chinese], but they comprise only about 18% of words used in speech."