Assorted links

by on February 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Thomas Hubbard on Armen Alchian.

2. How to get a multiplier of 35.

3. The minimum wage in Canada, and did somebody kill Canadian literature?

4. Vem Aí A Troika, new Portuguese card game.  And Meg Greene on the forthcoming Italian election.  Via Christopher Koons, here is some factor price equalization being applied to France.

5. Tales of 3-D printing; “It took 45 minutes and it was kind of crappy, but I was encouraged,” Mr. Drumm said.

6. Japanese advertising markets in everything, and superhero markets in everything (at a children’s hospital).

1 prior_approval February 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

‘“Il Cavaliere” (the Knight), as Berlusconi is known, has a terrible track record for implementing the kinds of structural changes to the economy that Italy needs in order to boost growth and stabilize its mountain of public debt’

To which Berlusconi leers, says ‘bunga bunga,’ hoping to avoid any jail time in his latest court case, then asks a woman how oftens she comes (sorry, German only link about his joke – ).

Check out the special wiki link devoted just Berlusconi’s trials –

2 ladderff February 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Berlusconi: a hero for our age. Putin too.

3 prior_approval February 21, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Well, every age gets the power crazed buffoons it deserves. Along with retreaded KGB agents.

4 JWatts February 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm

3) Well, if you want a card game about politics why not just go right to the source:

5 prior_approval February 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm

‘In fact, “Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour and ship all the tires France needs,” Mr. Taylor concludes.’

No, Titan is unlikely to be sending any tires to France, ever.

What a brilliant CEO.

6 JWatts February 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Certainly the CEO is guilty of speaking the truth in public. On the other hand, he’s probably right.

7 prior_approval February 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm

See the truth below.

8 prior_approval February 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm

And here is the google cached link concerning the French reaction –

‘Mr. Montebourg hit back in his response to the U.S. businessman. “Can I remind you that Titan…is 20 times smaller than Michelin…and 35 times less profitable?” Mr. Montebourg retorted in his letter. “That shows how much Titan could have learned and gained from establishing itself in France.”

And poking around a bit, it seems as if Michelin’s contracts with the American military alone are larger than Titan’s worldwide sales.

And a minor admission – I’ve chatted several times with an American who works with Michelin dealing with contracts and specs – he is an Army Lt. Colonel, by the way. If I get the chance in the next couple of months, maybe I’ll ask about Titan.

9 JWatts February 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I’m not sure any of that is particularly relevant. If Michelin is so much better than Titan, why don’t they buy the factory in question? I suspect the answer to that question is that they’ve visited the factory also and realized it’s not a good deal.

10 prior_approval February 21, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Well, the factory was American owned, which already makes this tale a bit more interesting.

And let’s be honest – the guy is just not exactly coherent. First he threatens the French with the idea of Titan picking up a Chinese factory, then turns around and adds this – ‘ His letter went on to criticize the U.S. government as “not much better than the French” for failing to act against Chinese subsidies of tire exports.’

A brilliant American CEO, who knows what he wants – which is what he wants, apparently, regardless of whether it is consistent.

And I always love a CEO who says things like this – ‘”Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have?” he asked.’ The answer is the workers – and the law – and a political framework that supports them.

One of the strange things about France is that it never seems to follow American ideas, and yet never seems to fade away. Unlike the UK, for example. Of course, most Americans might want to read up on this before dismissing how a French company makes its tire purchasing decisions –

After all, who cares about a French company, and its alliance partners, that sells one in ten autos in the world. Certainly not Titan’s CEO, who can apparently go out and just buy a factory (though I still can’t tell if that would be with, or without, Chinese subsidies), and sell France what it wants.

He really needs to chat with some people at Wal-mart, a company that thought it could sell as much as it wanted to Germans. A reality that took at least a billion in losses to recognize as actually being wrong.

11 Slugger February 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Quick question about 3D printers. What can they do that existing CNC mills can’t? I have seen a CNC mill in operation, and it can make very complex shapes with hard to believe tolerances. A used one goes for about 20k.

12 IVV February 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm

The big difference is between milling (a material removal process), and additive manufacturing. With a removal process, you have to maneuver the removal tool into the place where the material must not be. This means that there are a number of part configurations that are impossible to create as a seamless piece. For example, a large complex cavity with a minimal exhaust. In the case of additive manufacturing, however, you can build that internal architecture before completing the shell, and still end up with a seamless piece.

13 Robbie February 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm

5 Axis milling machines can make extremely complex shapes. The helmet in question would be extremely expensive in part due to thge incredible amount of programming required using a CAM package. 3D printing is useful for nonstress bearing unique items, rapid prototypes and reproductions of items that are scanned rather than drawn on a computer such as a model of a foetus.

3D printers will not revolutionise manufacturing by replacing casting, forging, machining etc. but by allowing us to create things we couldn’t practically create before. Some of these products may replace mass produced parts of course.

14 Chi_R February 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Also, home versions of 3D printers are considerably cheaper than 20k. Granted they’re less capable than a 20k CNC mill. However, if you don’t have 20k, they’re more capable than not having anything in the first place. Also, and I’m not familiar with the CNC community, there is a large community built up around home 3D printers, so that has a knowledge sharing benefit in addition to it being less costly. Plus, what IVV said.

15 Finch February 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm

CNC mills also have to start with a large billet and mill down, while 3D printers start with a feedstock and build up, so CNC is fundamentally more wasteful of material. At today’s scale it doesn’t matter, but eventually it will.

3D printers could also potentially work in mixed materials.

16 Ryan Cousineau February 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm

CNC is not that wasteful. The typical metals that CNC works in are highly recyclable, and are recycled. That doesn’t mean there aren’t inefficiencies (recycled metal chips have to be melted down; big blanks of billet aren’t cheap) but the two technologies barely compete.

If anything, CNC is better at working in mixed materials than current 3D printers, since you can cut almost anything. For the pros, CNC milling is just one of several clever fabrication technologies available to them (including CNC EDM, funky variants of 3D printing like laser-sintered metal from powder, and then old-school techniques ranging from welding to casting to filing).

But yes, 3D printing has lots of new features, and the low cost (and home-friendly fabrication process) does make it special, even compared to cheap techniques like MAPP brazing. The democratization of design-once, print-on-demand-where-you-are could be very interesting.

17 Jared February 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm

6. I don’t see how the window washers wearing superhero costumes is a market? They’re doing it to cheer up kids in the children’s hospital. And it clearly isn’t marketing because superman and batman are DC heroes and spiderman and captain america are marvel heroes. They would never be seen together in public if it was on official business.

Portraying this attempt to cheer up hospitalized kids as a market is one of the most cynical and gross things I’ve ever heard.

18 Ray Lopez February 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm

@#2 – a silly article about a 35 multiplier that you get *if* you assume the government will prime the economy with stimulus just before a boom starts. That’s as silly as saying you will get a huge return of xyz% if you invest in the stock market during the top 10 days of the year where the stock market outperforms. A true fact but irrelevant since you cannot pick such days before the fact.

19 anon February 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm
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