2021-01-18 3 min read


Notes, 2021-01-18.

Every September, a high stakes contest unfolds on Twitter: the Mineral Cup. Fans from all over the world make their case and cast their votes for their favorite mineral in a round robin competition. The 2020 winner was magnetite, famed for all the cool things ferrofluid can do (and an excellent choice at that).

I love it because the criteria is entirely arbitrary: All opinions are valid, but only one will rule. And so, I want to invite you all to participate in the 2021 Adhesives cup - a grand battle of glues, tapes and other sticky stuff. Voting starts today to crown the (totally subjectively) best adhesive!

-Hillary Predko

The most clicked link from last week's issue (~11% of opens) was a short but relatively comprehensive playlist of progressive die stamping videos. This week on The Prepared's Members' Slack workspace, we're setting a schedule for our next reading group (on Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World) and doing our biweekly #projects show-and-tell (Thursday at 16:00 ET).

Planning & Strategy.

  • Seafood from Scotland used to make it to European markets within 24 hours but new regulations coming into effect post-Brexit are threatening the whole industry. Fees for paperwork are wiping out profits and long inspections are pushing product freshness to the limit. Industries may be able to adapt eventually, but these long queues of trucks are evidence of how difficult it has become to move commodities across UK borders.
  • This report on the longest lived businesses has some interesting insights into business strategies that span centuries. The bad news for manufacturing is that service industry businesses seem to be more long lived than commodities - a key exception being alcohol, with 23% of the longest lived businesses producing some kind of spirit. The authors point out that alcohol production goes back to at least 8,000 BC and that “it’s not at all clear if civilization stopped being nomadic in order to ferment things, or because they started fermenting things, they stopped being nomadic.” Cheers!

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • When Disney wants guests to ignore something in their theme parks, they paint it “Go Away Green,” a shade formulated to have the lowest contrast against its surroundings - making construction, utility boxes, and cameras (allegedly) fade into the background.
  • These remote Russian nuclear lighthouses fell into disrepair when the Soviet Union collapsed. They’ve since been decommissioned, but it’s unknown where some of the nuclear batteries ended up.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


Afghan war rugs.

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