2021-04-26 4 min read


Notes, 2021-04-26.

None! Just links, and feelings about how weekends as a parent are *so* drastically different than I'd imagined.

-Spencer Wright

The most clicked link from last week's issue (~21% of opens) was Habitat 67, an iconic apartment complex in Montreal. On The Prepared's Members' Slack this week, an exciting thread about ways to ship high value electronic equipment (~$400k for a ~half a cubic meter shipment). If you're curious what Pelican cases, chartered semi trucks, and track-and-field starter pistols have in common, join us today :)

Also! We're starting our next book in the Members' reading group: The Innovation Delusion, which has been referenced in this newsletter twice before and is, based on the introduction, quite relevant to our collective interests.

Planning & Strategy.

  • An overview of Foxconn’s renegotiated deal with Wisconsin. “Voters were clearly unhappy with the initial Foxconn deal and they made it known at the ballot box, leading to a very much scaled-back version that puts them at way less risk, on paper. But they still aren’t going to reap much in the way of economic benefits, plus have already lost what they’ve sunk into helping Foxconn get to this point.”
  • Neri Oxman is starting a new lab in NYC “that will be used for a novel research and design practice which seeks to foster systemic changes in the built environment by radically realigning methods of design and production with the natural world.”
  • If you’re promoting something in a typically male-dominated industry on Facebook, your ads will tend *not* to be served to women unless you specifically target them - something Facebook will then charge you a higher price for.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.

  • Some interesting data on common misperceptions about how to reduce individual greenhouse gas emissions. A rather shocking number of respondents believe that recycling produces a meaningful reduction in carbon footprint (it doesn’t); many people aim to convert internal combustion engines with electric vehicles when the real benefits come from not owning a car at all; people tend to underrate the emissions in air travel and fail to consider how much CO2 can be attributed to having a lot of kids and owning pets. Also: “According to research, going to a plant-based diet makes more of a difference to your carbon footprint than eating local, but the public guess this is the other way around.” Related, a rather discouraging 2019 ProPublica piece on forestry preservation carbon offsets: “If the world were graded on the historic reliability of carbon offsets, the result would be a solid F.”
  • An in-depth investigation into MLB’s efforts to, um, “performance engineer” baseballs made by Rawlings, which MLB partially owns. There’s some pretty great materials, process, and supply chain reverse engineering in this story, but I especially liked Rawlings’ production date notation system: Each baseball’s date of manufacture is printed inside the leather shell, but Rawlings obscures the date by mapping [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0] onto [B,L,A,C,K,H,O,R,S,E].


  • Lant is preserved urine, and it has more than zero historical uses.
  • Turbo Encapsulator, a parodic video describing a fictional, over-the-top engineered object.

An interactive map of Switzerland's electricity production, 96% of which is either hydro, nuclear, or solar.

Read the full story

The rest of this post is for SOW Subscribers (free or paid) only. Sign up now to read the full story and get access to all subscriber-only posts.

Sign up now
Already have an account? Sign in
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Scope of Work.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.