2021-03-08 3 min read


Notes, 2021-03-08.

Hello Prepardians,

Did that sound odd to you? It did to me as well, and it sent me down the rabbit hole of demonyms: the words that define groups of people in relation to a particular place. But The Prepared is not a place—at least not geographically—and that train of thought led me to anthroponymy: the study of anthroponyms, the proper names of human beings as individuals and collectives. Anthroponymy is a branch of onomastics: the study of proper names which, interestingly, are similar to but not quite the same as proper nouns.

Why was I thinking about this in the first place? Because I’ve procrastinated on guest editing this edition of The Prepared (sorry Spencer), and in a sleep-deprived state of pensar en la inmortalidad del cangrejo (“Thinking about the immortality of the crab”), I’ve become fascinated with the idea that I can communicate these thoughts to you, reader, with combinations of 26 letters and 14 punctuation marks.

-Kane Hsieh

The most clicked link from last week's issue (~16% of opens) was a *really* beautiful video of Japanese kumiko crafts. In The Prepared's Members' Slack this week, a brand new channel for folks to dump fave patent drawings in.

Planning & Strategy.

  • It’s the tenth anniversary of Steve Jobs passing away, and I re-read a fascinating 2013 piece on the first iPhone keynote and all the planning that went into ensuring its success. Among my favorites: the signal strength was hard-coded to show full signal, the radios were set to use Japanese frequencies, and the presentation phones had delicate custom hardware wired in to project the screen (pre-AirPlay). It’s hard to imagine now, but the iPhone was controversial and oft ridiculed by the telco execs (Blackberry market share: 45% in 2008) when it was announced.
  • My housemate has been watching a new motherboard collect dust for the past three months as TSMC shortages choke AMD and NVIDIA’s supply chains. This led me to pull on the thread upstream of TSMC, and it turns out that the source of the purest quartz sand—the raw input for semiconductors—is in Spruce Pines, North Carolina.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • The most expensive aircraft in the world is the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, and we seem to have lost the plans or tooling or both for critical heat exchanger parts. Interestingly enough, NASA also had to reverse engineer the F-1 rockets on the Saturn V that carried Apollo, but not because they lost the plans: the original rockets, handbuilt in the ‘60s, are just riddled with undocumented idiosyncracies.
  • B-LABO is a curated collection of unusual desktop implements. My favorite is the shredder scissors.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


  • /u/whibbler is a redditor that draws extremely detailed diagrams of submarines in Microsoft Paint.

My housemates recently went up in a helicopter to observe the traffic jam in the Port of Oakland.

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