Hello, The Prepared. Sean here.
When I last guest edited in July, I was in the middle of a big move. I went from a large medical company in the San Francisco Bay Area to a startup in New York City. They say change is the only constant, but I’ve enjoyed finding common threads. Regardless of the challenges faced by an organization, you can always find passionate people working hard to solve them.
Right now, things are changing for a lot of us due to the coronavirus. At The Prepared, we have debated how much we should focus on this pandemic. For now, you will find a COVID-19 section added to the beginning of this week’s newsletter. Let us know how you feel about it.
Some things that aren’t changing: innate human desire to keep building new things, and our desire to keep learning about them.
The third most clicked link in last week's issue (~6% of opens) was McMaster-Carr's patent for their search/browse system, which is a little awkward because that link directed to the wrong URL :/ The correct URL is here.
- A relevant paper from 2012 on what it takes to produce and distribute vaccines on a global scale and the challenge of pandemics
- The solar industry’s warehousing tax credit strategy did not account for coronavirus
- I’ve been holding out for the iPhone SE 2, for which the Apple launch event has been postponed. Apple (and many others) are struggling due in part to their adoption of just-in-time manufacturing. While JIT is known for its efficiency, I’m curious to see if opinions of JIT worsen because of its reliance on an undisrupted supply chain.
Planning & Strategy.
- Wind has now surpassed hydropower as the largest source of renewable energy. For a number of reasons, the cost-efficacy of wind turbines increase as their blades get larger. The scale of these turbines is an engineering marvel.
- Congress is considering an act that could eliminate end-to-end encryption in messaging apps in order to provide a backdoor for law enforcement.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A contour gauge is a tool that instantly duplicates a profile by pushing up against it, making it easier to cut mating parts.
- A video overview of induction heating which can be used for example to harden gear teeth.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- After introducing laws last year to cover household appliances, the EU has introduced new laws for 2021 that would cover “right to repair” for used phones, tablets, and computers.
- I am trying OpenBOM (a former sponsor of The Prepared) as a way to track bills of materials. The appeal is that it is more intelligent than a spreadsheet and less complex than a product lifecycle management system. If you have experience with OpenBOM or the PLM space, send me a note.
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
- A link I had originally posted in The Prepared’s paid subscriber Slack instance, kinematic couplings allow two separate parts to be joined repeatably, and more importantly precisely. MIT has an entire website dedicated to the design of these useful interfaces.
- Identifying a metric for blur in an image using OpenCV. The bulk of the processing is done with one line of code and is a reminder of the power of matrices.
- As a follow-on from last week’s closing link on color-changing knot thread, my college dynamics professor conducted a two-year study to figure out why shoes get untied and published a paper on it. Turns out that the knot on your shoe experiences 7g of acceleration! Good news, there is a better way to tie your shoe.