The hottest Infrastructure Substack posts right now

And their main takeaways
Top Technology Topics
Construction Physics • 22131 implied HN points • 04 Mar 24
  1. Airports are crucial for global economy, with aviation contributing significantly to GDP.
  2. Building airports is notoriously difficult due to opposition from various interest groups, particularly related to noise concerns.
  3. Despite challenges in airport construction, the aviation industry has managed to adapt and accommodate increased air travel by adding runways, expanding infrastructure, and increasing passenger capacity per plane.
Glenn’s Substack • 2496 implied HN points • 11 Feb 24
  1. A cautionary tale in an article discusses a fictional attack on America, highlighting the importance of border control, intelligence, and target hardening.
  2. The aftermath of past attacks in Israel showed that atrocities can fuel anger and determination rather than cowing a nation into submission.
  3. Having a strong deterrence strategy may be a crucial factor in preventing potential future attacks by instilling fear in those who support terrorists.
Chris Arnade Walks the World • 770 implied HN points • 14 Mar 24
  1. The Dutch culture emphasizes good citizenship, seen in how they are thoughtful, friendly, and helpful to strangers.
  2. The Netherlands is clean and functional due to being a high-trust society, which allows for nice things without fear of them being misused.
  3. Placing a focus on pedestrians and cyclists over cars has made Dutch cities more livable and charming, contrasting with the struggles in the US.
Odds and Ends of History • 603 implied HN points • 09 Mar 24
  1. Britain's new AI supercomputer, Isambard AI, is housed in a shipping container in a car park to boost the country's AI capabilities.
  2. London Mayoral and West Yorkshire Mayoral candidates support liberating the Postcode Address File, encouraging small business innovation.
  3. The National Underground Asset Register aims to map underground infrastructure to enhance safety and reduce accidental damage.
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The Garden of Forking Paths • 2869 implied HN points • 10 Jan 24
  1. The internet largely runs through undersea cables spanning about 900,000 miles, connecting the world in a hidden network.
  2. Early undersea cables were made possible by materials like gutta-percha and played a key role in rapid communication during events like the US Civil War.
  3. Specialized ships lay and repair undersea cables made of fiber optics, and even guard against threats like sharks and sabotage by SCUBA divers.
Construction Physics • 19834 implied HN points • 25 May 23
  1. Electricity transitioned from a rare luxury to a critical aspect of modern life in a short period of time.
  2. The development of high-voltage transmission lines allowed for long-distance power transmission and the creation of interconnected power systems.
  3. The electric power industry grew by embracing scale, cooperation, and regulation to meet increasing demand and ensure reliability.
An Africanist Perspective • 2117 implied HN points • 01 Jan 24
  1. Africa in 2024 will see tough economic times, with debt distress, moderate growth, and challenges in inflation and household purchasing power.
  2. Several African countries will hold pivotal elections in 2024, with notable contests in Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, and South Africa.
  3. Elite political instability and conflicts are expected to persist in regions such as Central Africa, the Horn, and the Sahel, with specific countries facing ongoing challenges while others remain stable.
Construction Physics • 11274 implied HN points • 03 Jun 23
  1. In the 1930s, federal projects like the Hoover Dam increased electrification and capacity, but growth slowed due to the Great Depression.
  2. Post-World War II saw the Golden Age of the electric power industry with massive growth in electricity generation, consumption, and industry assets.
  3. The end of the Golden Age came in the late 1960s due to factors like environmental concerns, technical challenges, and the 1973 energy crisis, leading to rising costs and stagnation.
Off to Lunch • 687 implied HN points • 07 Feb 24
  1. Barratt Developments is acquiring Redrow in a £2.5 billion deal, creating the largest housebuilder in the UK
  2. The all-share deal values Redrow's shares at a 27% premium, with Barratt shareholders owning 67.2% of the new company
  3. The merger expects to save up to £90 million in annual costs and position Redrow as the premium housing brand within the group
TheSequence • 413 implied HN points • 23 Feb 24
  1. Efficient fine-tuning with specialized models like Mistral-7b LLMs can outperform leading commercial models like GPT-4 while being cost-effective.
  2. Incorporating techniques like Parameter Efficient Fine-Tuning and serving models via platforms like LoRAX can significantly reduce GPU costs and make deployment scalable.
  3. Using smaller, task-specific fine-tuned models is a practical alternative to expensive, large-scale models, making AI deployment accessible and efficient for organizations with limited resources.
Doomberg • 8671 implied HN points • 31 May 23
  1. The Great Ice Storm of 1998 had devastating impacts on areas in lower Quebec, parts of New England, and the Northeast megalopolis.
  2. The US power industry is facing a growing supply chain crisis, particularly with a chronic shortage of transformers, risking grid reliability.
  3. Industry leaders are urging for a $1 billion appropriation to address the transformer shortage and accelerate production via the Defense Production Act.
Striking 13 • 2176 implied HN points • 04 Oct 23
  1. HS2 project cancellation in the UK is criticized for hindering progress and development, especially in terms of infrastructure, economy, and environmental impact
  2. HS2 aimed to address capacity issues in the existing rail system, improve connectivity, and contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing carbon emissions from travel
  3. The decision to cancel HS2 is seen as short-sighted, as it not only fails to save money but also overlooks the long-term benefits and potential financial gains of the project
North Carolina Rabbit Hole • 353 implied HN points • 09 Jan 24
  1. Power companies find burying overhead lines too expensive compared to overhead lines.
  2. New developments in North Carolina are opting to bury power lines during construction.
  3. Historically, power companies moved lines underground to enhance urban aesthetics and meet rising electricity demands.
Vietnam Weekly • 235 implied HN points • 25 Jan 24
  1. Northern Vietnam experienced its strongest cold front in nearly a decade, impacting communities without proper heating infrastructure.
  2. Speculation about the health of top leaders in Vietnam, like General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng, can cause uncertainty until confirmed news is provided.
  3. Infrastructure projects like airport expansions are underway in Vietnam, with notable progress but challenges in transit link development.
Overlooked by Alexandre Dewez • 157 implied HN points • 07 Feb 24
  1. The gaming industry is challenging for infrastructure startups due to various factors like the long tail of independent studios and project-based nature.
  2. Generative AI tools can automate up to 50% of the gaming value chain, accelerating game development and enhancing quality.
  3. Gaming companies are at varying stages in adopting AI tools, from experimenting with asset generation to integrating AI into core game development operations.
The Charlotte Ledger • 176 implied HN points • 01 Feb 24
  1. Traffic on U.S. 521 in Ballantyne is increasing, and transportation planners are exploring complex solutions like new intersections and even a possible tunnel.
  2. The widening of U.S. 521 is facing challenges due to rapid area growth, making it trickier and more costly to find effective traffic solutions.
  3. State officials are considering various comprehensive solutions, such as flyover intersections or tunnels, to accommodate the expected increase in traffic volumes in the future.
Tilting At Windmills • 176 implied HN points • 23 Jan 24
  1. Cold weather affects electric vehicles' performance, causing issues like dead batteries and long charging times.
  2. Investing in electric vehicles like buses can lead to costly repairs and maintenance, making them less viable than alternatives like biodiesel or hybrid buses.
  3. Pushing for widespread use of electric vehicles may not be practical due to their current limitations, despite government incentives to promote them.
Why is this interesting? • 1749 implied HN points • 18 May 23
  1. Mexico City and Jakarta are sinking due to various factors like draining lakes and illegal wells
  2. Indonesia's plan to move its capital to Borneo from Jakarta is ambitious but faces challenges like corruption and cultural differences
  3. The sinking of these cities raises environmental and social concerns that need to be addressed
City Hall Watcher • 78 implied HN points • 09 Feb 24
  1. Toronto City Hall is facing a significant budget battle next week over a $17 billion budget.
  2. Council spent time debating printing costs, travel expenses, bus lanes, and shelters in their recent meetings.
  3. The Toronto Community Housing Board is tackling the issue of overhoused households, aiming to reallocate space for those on the waitlist.
Arpitrage • 574 implied HN points • 15 Sep 23
  1. Government procurement often involves unnecessary costly requirements and limited bidder outreach, leading to high expenses and poor quality outcomes.
  2. High infrastructure costs in the US are exacerbated by procurement problems and a legal system that limits state power.
  3. Failure in government procurement, like outdated unemployment insurance systems, results in costly software upgrades and limited benefits for recipients.
City Hall Watcher • 78 implied HN points • 26 Jan 24
  1. Toronto City is seeing a trend where a few large corporations dominate the employment landscape, which could lead to political challenges.
  2. Toronto is working on improving housing development timelines and affordable housing projects to address the growing housing crisis.
  3. City Hall in Toronto is considering implementing new measures like a foreign buyer tax, revamping subsidy programs, and investing in dedicated bus lanes to improve transit infrastructure.
Odds and Ends of History • 1072 implied HN points • 17 Apr 23
  1. E-scooters can help reduce car usage and congestion in cities due to their compact design and ability to take up less space.
  2. Legalizing e-scooters can lead to positive downstream consequences, such as reducing car dependence, reshaping urban geography, and creating a more sustainable environment.
  3. Regulating e-scooters through legalization can improve safety standards, encourage responsible riding behavior, and prompt the development of infrastructure to accommodate different modes of transportation.
Age of Invention, by Anton Howes • 736 implied HN points • 23 Jun 23
  1. Transport infrastructure plays a key role in boosting economic growth by providing access to energy and markets.
  2. Historically, the primary focus of early transport infrastructure like canals and railways was to transport goods, especially coal and grain.
  3. While passenger transportation is beneficial for connecting cities and improving labor market efficiency, access to energy and markets are more crucial for economic growth.
Urben Field Notes • 32 implied HN points • 26 Feb 24
  1. Long-distance trains are nostalgic but may not be the most efficient way to provide rail service to small towns and neglected regions.
  2. Expanding long-distance train routes could reach more Americans, but issues include unreliable trip durations, inconvenient schedules, and high costs.
  3. Optimizing rail routes by focusing on shorter, higher-demand trips could be a more cost-effective and efficient way to improve passenger rail service in America.
The Charlotte Ledger • 275 implied HN points • 18 Oct 23
  1. Norfolk Southern is now considering allowing commuter rail on its tracks in Mecklenburg after a 20-year impasse
  2. The change in Norfolk Southern's stance could give momentum to Charlotte's regional transit system plans
  3. The city leaders hope that a deal with Norfolk Southern for the Red Line could help secure support for a larger transit plan
S(ubstack)-Bahn • 341 implied HN points • 22 Sep 23
  1. Kyiv Metro managed to run high frequency trains during wartime, which was a challenge for other systems.
  2. The success of Kyiv Metro can be attributed to infrastructural choices, like station typology, and organizational practices, like a Soviet-era philosophy of train throughput.
  3. Kyiv Metro's ability to operate effectively and maintain high frequencies is also due to having a surplus of labor, contributing to its resilience.