2019-09-16 3 min read


Planning & Strategy.

  • A clarification from last week: Joi Ito's resignation did come *after* Kate Darling's piece, but it was *triggered* by a slew of negative coverage (most notably Ronan Farrow's exposé) of the Media Lab's ties to Epstein. Thanks to Allison for pointing out how my wording implied otherwise.
  • A public list of notable women in architecture, engineering, and construction (with a bias towards computational design).
  • A discouraging update to Kickstarter's protracted struggle with its own values: Two employees, one of whom I know personally, were fired after publicly advocating for staff unionization. I'm no impartial commentator here, but as an admirer of their culture, their engagement with the NYC community, and their PBC status, I'm totally flummoxed by this move and find myself at a loss as to what leadership's endgame is. And while I have a hard time imagining a world without Kickstarter, it seems to me that their fate might be as a true literary tragedy - A heroic institution, at the peak of their (ultimately benevolent and good) powers, doomed to be brought down by ordinary human flaws. Or perhaps they're just, to paraphrase a wise commentator with scores of successful Kickstarter projects under their belt, "a normal company which doesn't give us warm fuzzies but also isn't intrinsically evil."

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • An Airbus A330 flying from Frankfurt to Cancún was forced to divert to Ireland due to coffee being spilled on the pilot's audio control panel. From the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch report: "The aircraft manufacturer recommends using the cup holder. The size of cups used by this operator on this route made it more difficult to take cups in and out of the cup holder than larger cups that have a bigger area at the top of the cup holder to grasp. This incompatibility generally discouraged use of the cup holder, despite the policy."

Distribution & Logistics.

  • Some really valuable work out of Transport for London: The Direct Vision Standard, which mandates that urban delivery trucks be able to directly see cyclists & pedestrians. Lower cab heights, more glass, and less reliance on mirrors (which often distort the image and require a lot of head/eye movement) make for much safer interactions with vulnerable road users. Watch the explanatory video here - and kudos to London for requiring direct vision for all trucks over 12 tons starting next October.
  • Citi Bikes are, of course, faster and cheaper than cabs. I still regularly hear NYC residents excuse their cab rides based on how late/rushed they are; I look forward to a day when that mistaken rationale is eliminated.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


The Milky Way's full central plane, photographed from two latitudes 6 months apart.

Read the full story

The rest of this post is for SOW Subscribers (free or paid) only. Sign up now to read the full story and get access to all subscriber-only posts.

Sign up now
Already have an account? Sign in
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Scope of Work.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.