Friday, March 24, 2017

Your Cash Flow Bracket - Amazon vs. Walmart

From Supply Chain Digest.

The Art of Taking Notes

From HBR.

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Graph of the Week

The Future of the Great Lakes Region

From the abstract The Future of the Great Lakes Region by the Urban Institute:
The Great Lakes region—home to 50 million people in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin—has become a fixture in our national political discourse. Many of the country’s social, economic, and political challenges are being played out here.
Despite a decade of job loss, demographic shifts, and falling household incomes, evidence suggests the area has strong foundations capable of sustaining future growth and prosperity. By building on these strengths, the Great Lakes region can rewrite its Rust Belt narrative as a story of resurgence.
Outlined below are key findings from the Urban Institute report The Future of the Great Lakes Region, which offers a glimpse into the region’s past and future challenges and promise. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of recent economic, demographic, and social trends in the region, coupled with projections on how those trends will play out between now and 2040.
Manufacturing collapse, but steady population and economic growth
  • From 2000 to 2010, manufacturing jobs in the region fell 35 percent, a loss of nearly 1.6 million jobs.
  • Overall, though, the region added 1.2 million jobs from 2000 to 2015. But the growth was mainly in low-wage jobs.
  • Sixteen percent of Great Lakes residents were ages 65 and older in 2015. From 1990 to 2015, the region’s white and native-born population was stable or declined, but African American, Hispanic, other non-white, and foreign-born populations grew rapidly. The region is still less diverse than other states were in 2000.
Gradual population growth and labor force stabilization
  • By 2040, the region is expected to grow by 3.2 million people. Births will outnumber deaths until around 2030.
  • Standing at 8 million today, the senior population will reach 13 million by 2040. Younger age groups will shrink over this period, however, because of out-migration and lower birth rates.
  • The labor force will shrink because of early retirement and out-migration of workers in their 30s and 40s, but young people will continue to enter the labor force.
  • Although fewer manufacturing jobs exist, remaining industries will still be a major source of employment and high wages.
Challenges and promise
  • From 2000 to 2010, median household incomes fell more dramatically in five of the six Great Lakes states than in the entire United States.
  • More workers will have associate’s and four-year college degrees, but this increase will be held back by disparities between African Americans and Hispanics on one hand and whites and Asians on the other.
  • In addition to racial and economic segregation, demographic change and economic stress have reduced the vitality of rural, suburban, and urban communities.
Toward future prosperity
To improve the quality of life and economic mobility for Great Lakes residents, decision makers should
  • Encourage young families with children to stay in the region to sustain population levels through more targeted investments;
  • Welcome and integrate immigrants and their children into the community;
  • Prepare young adults to enter the labor force; and
  • Ensure workforce development systems upgrade worker skills, because manufacturing will continue to be a major source of jobs and high-wage employment.

Another Sign of Blade Runner 2049

Lightvert adFrom the BBC: 
"Passers-by on a London street were recently amazed to see a fleeting image of a pink tongue protruding from fruitily plump lips, seemingly suspended in mid-air.
It was the famous logo for the Rolling Stones and was part of an experiment by tech start-up Lightvert.
Its technology can produce images that appear to be 200m (656ft) high, but which only exist in the eye of the viewer for a fraction of a second.
So could we be on the verge of seeing giant digital ads in our cities, similar to those featured in the seminal 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner?
Lightvert certainly hopes so.
Its tech, called Echo, works by employing a narrow - no more than 200mm - strip of reflective material fixed to the side of a building. A high-power projector mounted below or above the strip beams light off the reflector directly into the viewer's eye.
The image appears momentarily, exploiting what's called the "persistence of vision" effect - the way sparklers seem to leave a trail of light when you wave them around quickly."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

More Oil with Fewer Petroluem Engineers

From the New York Times:

"Indeed, computers now direct drill bits that were once directed manually. The wireless technology taking hold across the oil patch allows a handful of geoscientists and engineers to monitor the drilling and completion of multiple wells at a time — onshore or miles out to sea — and supervise immediate fixes when something goes wrong, all without leaving their desks. It is a world where rigs walk on their own legs and sensors on wells alert headquarters to a leak or loss of pressure, reducing the need for a technician to check. And despite all the lost workers, United States oil production is galloping upward, to nine million barrels a day from 8.6 million in September. Nationwide, with a bit more than one-third as many rigs operating as in 2014, production is not even down 10 percent from record levels. Some of the best wells here in the Permian Basin that three years ago required an oil price of over $60 a barrel for an operator to break even now need about $35, well below the current price of about $53..."

Hacking the Farm

From Motherboard:

"To avoid the draconian locks that John Deere puts on the tractors they buy, farmers throughout America's heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that's cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums.

Tractor hacking is growing increasingly popular because John Deere and other manufacturers have made it impossible to perform "unauthorized" repair on farm equipment, which farmers see as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time.

"When crunch time comes and we break down, chances are we don't have time to wait for a dealership employee to show up and fix it," Danny Kluthe, a hog farmer in Nebraska, told his state legislature earlier this month. "Most all the new equipment [requires] a download [to fix].""