2020-02-10 3 min read


Planning & Strategy.

  • It’s exciting to read about Spinlaunch, which is taking a novel approach to getting things (hucking them?) into orbit. I hope they succeed but expect a lot of spectacular failures along the way - there’s just so much stored energy to be dissipated and it can’t all just vent to the atmosphere like nozzle exhaust can. For example, once their counterbalance is released at the time of launch to prevent the whole structure from shaking itself apart, where does it go?
  • In other space news, Astra, a Rocket Lab competitor, is building small launch vehicles about 5 minutes from my home in Alameda. What an exciting time for the space industry; SpaceX has inspired others to take a crack at low-cost rocketry and launch vehicles seem to keep getting smaller (Astra’s is only 40 ft tall).
  • It turns out you can talk to astronauts on the ISS with ~$1k in radio equipment and a Ham Radio license. I particularly love the astronaut’s enthusiastic response.
  • The Chinese government did, basically, build a hospital out of prefabricated materials in 10 days. The photos here are worth looking at.

Making & Manufacturing

  • I love a well-executed switch or knob and appreciate the impact they can have. Like the "heft" or weight, a knob that feels nice to use can have a large impact on the supposed quality of a product. I think it would be fun to create a display that celebrates great switches, such as one that reveals a bright color when powered on or this one, from an oscilloscope, that cleverly uses a Geneva drive mechanism to allow the counting wheel to carry.
  • Low-cost CNC manufacturer Tormach has released a CNC bed router. I appreciate that it can run off 120V power and fit through a normal man door. For folks like me who run lab spaces, the ease with which equipment can be moved into place and powered on is always a huge consideration.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


Miami Beach has very colorful lifeguard towers.

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