Daily Archives: May 18, 2016

Fixing the American Commute

By Patrick Sisson – These tunnels and rail systems, a chokepoint in a vital circulation system, now stand not as monuments to American accomplishment but as symbols of decline. The most recent Infrastructure Report Card from the American Society of Civil Engineers said the country would need to spend $3.6 trillion to repair our country’s crumbling roads, rails, pipes, power grids.

For comparison, the entire 2015 federal budget was $3.8 trillion.

The nation’s largest rail systems, all chronically underfunded, face a $102 billion repair backlog, and the Washington Metro that services the nation’s capital may be shut down for months due to aging equipment and electrical lines. In March, the Twitter account for Bay Area Rapid Transit responded to riders complaining of delays with unvarnished truth: “BART was built to transport far fewer people, and much of our system has reached the end of its useful life. This is our reality.”

According to John Olivieri, 21st century transportation campaign director at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, that reality is the result of regular budget decisions favoring expanding roadways over maintaining mass transit.

The United States spends 55 percent of available transportation funding expanding one percent of the system, and 45 percent maintaining the other 99 percent. more> http://goo.gl/S0mLqG

Updates from Chicago Booth

Four ways to make hospitals more efficient
By Chana R. Schoenberger – Hospital patient records are being digitized, and financial, clinical, and outcomes data are piling up.

Medical devices attached to patients generate real-time information, as do health apps on patients’ own mobile phones and wearable devices such as Fitbits and Apple Watches.

All these data are enabling researchers to find and address inefficiencies in hospitals.

The end goal: help hospitals care for the sick while also being operationally and fiscally efficient.

As building and equipping a single hospital bed can cost $1 million, simply building more beds and hospitals is not a practical solution. Rather, strained hospitals have to use their existing resources more wisely. more> http://goo.gl/Rbnkba


Updates from Boeing

Boeing’s Converted Freighters: 20 More Years of Life
Boeing – The number of airplanes in the worldwide freighter fleet will increase by more than half during the next 20 years as demand for air cargo services more than doubles.

The challenging market environment of the past three years have left traffic levels relatively flat, resulting in persistent overcapacity and weak yields. Cargo capacity on passenger flights has been expanding as airlines deploy new widebody jetliners, such as the 777-300ER and 787, that have large lower-hold cargo capacities, even with a full load of passenger luggage.

Dedicated freighter services nonetheless offer significant advantages, including more predictable and reliable volumes and schedules, greater control over timing and routing, and a variety of services for outsize cargo, hazardous materials, and other types of cargo that cannot be accommodated in passenger airplanes.

In addition, range restrictions on fully loaded passenger flights and the limited number of passenger frequencies serving high-demand cargo markets make freighters essential where both long-range and frequent service are required.

For example, the Asia-to-North America market requires about 70 freighter flights. It would take about 150 passenger flights to provide service equivalent to 10 of those freighter flights. more> boeing.com/innovation/

Uncanny Valley

By Anna Wiener – This office, of a media app with millions in VC funding but no revenue model, is particularly sexy. There are views of the city in every direction, fat leather loveseats, electric guitars plugged into amps, teak credenzas with white hardware. It looks like the loft apartment of the famous musician boyfriend I thought I’d have at 22 but somehow never met. I want to take off my dress and my shoes and lie on the voluminous sheepskin rug and eat fistfuls of MDMA, curl my naked body into the Eero Aarnio Ball Chair, never leave.

It’s not clear whether I’m here for lunch or an interview, which is normal. I am prepared for both and dressed for neither. My guide leads me through the communal kitchen, which has the trappings of every other start-up pantry: plastic bins of trail mix and Goldfish, bowls of Popchips and miniature candy bars.

Around here, we nonengineers are pressed to prove our value. The hierarchy is pervasive, ingrained in the industry’s dismissal of marketing and its insistence that a good product sells itself; evident in the few “office hours” established for engineers (our scheduled opportunity to approach with questions and bugs); reflected in our salaries and equity allotment, even though it’s harder to find a good copywriter than a liberal-arts graduate with a degree in history and twelve weeks’ training from an uncredentialed coding dojo.

Our soft skills are a necessary inconvenience. We bloat payroll; we dilute conversation; we create process and bureaucracy; we put in requests for yoga classes and Human Resources. We’re a dragnet — though we tend to contribute positively to diversity metrics. There is quiet pity for the MBAs.

This is a cozy home for believers in bootstrapping and meritocracy, proponents of shallow libertarianism. more> https://goo.gl/JJwmht