2020-09-14 4 min read


Notes, 2020-09-14.

As if this year hasn’t been difficult enough, the sky has turned red in my home state of California and much of the West Coast as they battle unprecedented fires—the destructive manifestation of global warming. While there are at least in theory vaccines in the works for the coronavirus, the end to rising temperatures caused by centuries of carbon debt is less clear.

However, I am an optimist at heart. I believe in our innate ability to work together to solve complex problems when they present themselves—I’m looking at you, 2020. I’ve linked to a couple of positive developments in the energy industry below, but the change I’m looking forward to most is from the generation growing up in this world that knows this isn’t acceptable and can’t be put off any longer.

Stay safe and keep going,

-Sean Kelley

The most clicked link from last week's issue (~26% of opens) was the Agency of Design's "Optimist" toaster.

Planning, Strategy & Energy.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • At the suggestion of someone in The Prepared’s slack instance I’m reading The Innovation Delusion, which argues that we’re letting critical maintenance and repair fall to the wayside in pursuit of more frivolous technology.
  • Speaking of investing in new technology, an extremely detailed and damaging investigative report came out on Nikola, a publicly-traded zero-emissions truck company whose stock price has more than tripled over the past 6 months. The web of lies uncovered is on the scale of Theranos and makes me wonder how this can continue to happen.
  • Growing up I spent summers in Japan and was always amazed by the cleanliness and efficiency of their transit system. Take for example the intricacy of Japanese train station ticket machines, which can sort tickets of different sizes and reorder them in seconds. As a mechanical engineer, it stings that all of those mechanisms will eventually be replaced by a single RFID reader.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


  • The Pomodoro Technique is a way of structuring your work into timed intervals of productivity followed by short breaks. I’ve found it especially useful while working at home.
  • The Japanese word for lightning and thunder is the same.

The Golden Gate Bridge Covered in Smoke.

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