Planning & Strategy.
- The Wikipedia page for can openers is much more interesting than you'd expect: "Although preservation of food using tin cans had been practiced since at least 1772 in the Netherlands, the first can openers were not patented until 1855."
- China is cutting back aluminum production significantly, partly in an effort to clean up old, dirty plants. An interesting note: "there could be an additional 2% reduction in global aluminum production as capacity goes offline during China’s heating season." In other words: When Northern China's government-run central heating kicks on in the winter (and gobbles up something like 700 million tons of coal), other energy-intensive industries must shut down; aluminum production is one of them.
Making & Manufacturing.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- On carbon fiber recycling. Most composite recycling is done via pyrolysis, where material is heated to 400-500°C in an oxygen-free furnace. As with many industries, composites manufacturing produces a lot of scrap - apparently on the order of 40% for prepreg layups - and this article points out that there are distinct advantages to having your input material be scrap. "'We can always be competitive with milled and chopped virgin carbon fiber,' Spooner contends. 'In theory, we're a little cheaper because we're not affected by carbon fiber prices in the world, and we know our costs to manufacture,' he explains. 'Also, we can offer a consistency of supply because we have different supply routes than traditional carbon producers.'"
- China is moving to reduce foreign imports of trash & recyclables, to the tune of billions of dollars of global trade.
Distribution & Logistics.
Inspection & Testing.
- Me, writing on the Y Combinator blog, about my experiences building this very newsletter. Among other takeaways: "The Prepared’s payoff per unit effort is greater than any other thing I’ve done in the past five years. And it’s not about self-promotion; Sitting between industry and media has forced me to understand market forces in ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and has put me in touch with customers, competitors, and collaborators alike." Thanks to all of you for your support :)
- An endorsement: History, which is every bit as fucked up as our own time. I bring this up mostly because of the Nazi shit, which I can't bring myself to comment on directly. But somehow the most recent Hardcore History makes me feel better, just as the Caro LBJ books did last fall. My point is: Context is good.