Moving Parts - October 13th: in the words of the 4 Non Blondes, "What's going on?"


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Moving Parts
Moving Parts - October 13th: in the words of the 4 Non Blondes, "What's going on?"
By Trey • Issue #4 • View online
It’s Wednesday (yes, I know). The NHL season has begun.

Today's Takeaway
The Bullwhip Effect
Listen, even if you’re not in an introductory supply chain management class, it’s my opinion that you should know what the Bullwhip Effect is - mostly because it’s a reason for a lot of our current supply chain issues.
This illustration from Sketchplantations is great, given our collective memories of overbuying toilet paper (of all things) last year:
Essentially, what happens is that the consumer goes out and decides to purchase a bit (okay, a lot, like way too much) more toilet paper than usual. The retailers see this and say, “we need to stock up for next week!”, then the manufacturers go “holy shit, our orders are going up 10x”, and attempt to order 10x the inputs from their suppliers.
When it’s all said and done, there’s six billion rolls of toilet paper being produced per day in a country of 30 million people. Then, of course, discounts hit, and retailers stop ordering, so manufacturers cut production and (possibly) lay off staff, only to be under prepared when the next order(s) come in.
This shut down, laying off of staff and a slow return to “normal” production is part of the reason behind the rising global energy prices - which have also tended to be a recession indicator in the past. Interesting, interesting.
The Roundup
Let’s get those goods (to you)
First up, let’s start with this interesting Twitter thread from Bloomberg’s Akshat Rathi, observing the TEDCountdown event from Maersk’s (global shipping company) Chairman. Essentially, the facts are as follows:
  • “Maersk’s goal to become a net-zero shipping company by 2050 means inventing a zero-emissions ship by 2030 and then replacing the entire fleet of 700 ships over the next 20 years”
  • That’s too difficult (read: expensive, not enough shipbuilding yards in the world for that), so instead they are spending more on operating costs for more expensive (better/greener) fuels.
  • Maersk’s Chairman estimates the global shipping industry would need around $2T to transition to ‘net zero’
Get out your boat…
CNN is out with a fantastic piece (with incredible imagery) on how climate change & the corresponding sea level rise will impact some cities. It’s stunning, infuriating, frustrating, scary, and also kind of… relieving(?) to see the side-by-side comparisons of various cities.
  • According to the Climate Central report, roughly 385 million people currently live on land that will eventually be inundated by high tide, even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
  • If warming is limited to 1.5 degrees, sea level rise would affect land inhabited by 510 million people today.
  • If the planet reaches 3 degrees, the high-tide line could encroach above land where more than 800 million people live, the study finds.
Check the article out, even if just for the visual comparisons.
Plug in your cars (so long as your city isn’t underwater)
A who’s who of climate academics are out with a great Nature piece on electric vehicles, specifically how they need to be made lighter (much, much lighter) if we want greater environmental benefits and less harm to pedestrians.
  • The likelihood of passengers being killed in a collision with another vehicle increases by 12% for every 500-kg difference between vehicles.”
  • Heavier vehicles also generate more particulate pollution from tyre wear. They require more materials and energy to build and propel them, adding to emissions and energy use.
  • However, the best part of the article (IMHO) is at the end: “Reducing the distance driven can help in meeting climate targets as electric and, eventually, automated vehicles become widely available. Policies should ensure that alternatives such as walking, biking and public transport are safer, more convenient, accessible, affordable and reliable.
Can I get a side of Artificial Intelligence?
  • Down the road, voice recognition could be used to identify customers from past orders and personalize services, like anticipating favorite meals or sodas, or making suggestions.
  • On one hand, I’m like “yay, efficiency” and on the other hand, I’m… okay waiting an extra 30 seconds for the low-paid worker to take my order if it means Wendy’s isn’t recognizing my voice.
In other news…
Facebook’s list of Dangerous Organizations and Individuals got leaked to the Intercept, so you can see just how much Facebook is worried about brown-skinned people, and how little they are about those silly white supremacists. Of course, I’m being a little facetious and incorrect, they totally worry about both of those things equally, says the head of Facebook’s Counter-terrorism Unit.
  • Truthfully, if you want my take on this, I lean a bit on to FB’s (Brian Fishman, FB’s CT head) take - Facebook seems to take decent steps towards countering terrorism from what I’ve seen, and considering the list of dangerous entities is 100 pages long… yeah. This could be an interesting space to watch.
  • Tangentially related, there was some uproar on the internet (and in the article) about how FB uses this to vilify minority groups (probably a bit of truth to that), and designate people the US wants designated as terrorists. I find this an interesting as this brings up the conversation around defining “Terrorism” - there is no set definition, because states deem whoever they want to be terrorists as such - often to clamp down on social and left-wing issues/movements. If you think that conversation is interesting, I recommend this Second Thought video on the definition of Terrorism.
  • If you’re not familiar with what a DDoS attack is, or saying “who cares”, it’s basically ‘just’ a party using many, many servers (computers) to overwhelm another bunch of many, many servers, and take down services. Good on Microsoft for mitigating this, I guess?
If you missed it earlier this week, the NY Times piece on what the ‘Shipping Crisis’ looks like is a really fantastic piece. Highly recommend if you like big ships 🚢😎
  • Nearly 13 percent of the world’s cargo shipping capacity tied up by delays, according to data compiled by Sea-Intelligence, an industry research firm in Denmark.
  • I mean, frankly, this ‘crisis’ is almost entirely a crisis of capitalism and consumerism (over-consumption), but I guess sellers gotta sell?
First up, let’s start with this interesting Twitter thread from
The Happy
The maker of Gazelle, Santa Cruz, and Urban Arrow bikes bought out a few of the most popular brand names in bikes this past week, acquiring Cannondale, Schwinn and Mongoose from Dorel. While this would create a behemoth of a bicycle company, I’m thinking about the possible opportunities this would mean for some of my favourite bike brands, like Urban Arrow.
I (hope) think this could be a takeover of the distribution networks situation, where Pon Holdings (the acquiring company) could start pushing their UA and Gazelle brands more prominently beside Cannondale, Schwinn, and Mongoose brands in North America.
That means that I’ll be pulling up in one of these bad boys shortly (I’m not kidding, it’s one of my dream bikes):
The Urban Arrow Family cargo bike.
The Urban Arrow Family cargo bike.
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