2019-12-23 3 min read


Planning & Strategy.

  • Kathleen King tells the story of Tate's Bake Shop on NPR's How I Built This. Tate's is about two and a half miles from the house I grew up in; I went to school with a few of Kathleen's nieces and nephews and definitely remember when she was fired from her own company (it was a big deal locally). Her comeback was decisive: Now, her cookies can be bought in bodegas and grocery stores everywhere and her revived company was, in 2018, bought out by Mondelez for $500 M. I love stories like this one - Kathleen is likely to be much wealthier than most of the tech startup founders I come in contact with, and she got there by just doing a *really* good job in an industry that was already filled with powerful (and profitable) companies.
  • New Belgium Brewing was acquired by Kirin.
  • I don't have much to say about Boeing other than that it seems like a real mess, and that the reported effects (a .5% hit to first quarter US GDP) are kind of wild. So instead of commenting at length, I'll remind you that what we now know as Boeing is actually one-third of an aerospace monopoly that was broken up in 1934; its sister companies are UTC and United Airlines.

Making & Manufacturing.

  • A history of progress in fusion energy, as measured by the triple product (which appears to have flatlined recently) and plasma temperature (which the ITER megaproject *should* improve upon).
  • A good overview of different types of pins (dowel, spring, split, etc) used in mechanical assemblies.
  • A carpentry compiler: A pairing of two new languages, one high level and one low level, that allow for simple carpentry projects to be designed and then compiled into "concrete fabrication plans that take into account the physical constraints of available manufacturing processes." Many of my most formative personal and professional experiences were on jobsites, and as with many construction related innovations I think this one is cool, and also that there are other forces (the fact that construction firms are often small; the fact that jobsites are often unfriendly to computers; the fact that project managers simply have a lot on their plate and replacing a few skilled carpentry tasks with computers that might only be marginally more efficient probably doesn't rank high on their list of priorities) that may prevent future versions of it from gaining widespread adoption.
  • The Open Book, an open-source e-book reader that Joey has been building up at The Prepared's workshop. He calls the style "Dr. Bronner meets Instructables;" I think it's *wonderful.*

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • A photo (and video) of a radically large screw (a helical earth anchor) that's used to mount solar panels to a soil substrate. These are apparently often used to anchor temporary structures - greenhouses, tents, portable buildings, etc.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


A real time 3D view of Tokyo's transit system.

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