Monthly Archives: August 2008

IMTS Video Tour of Chicago!

Today’s Machining World has produced a video that will give you insider tips on using public transportation to get from O’Hare airport to downtown Chicago and then from downtown to IMTS at McCormick Place. There are also recommendations on some great restaurants close to the show.

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People Just Don't Get Manufacturing

August 21, Chicago’s NPR station ran a short blurb about how manufacturing’s seemingly continuous slowdown has caused many shops to let go of workers in recent months. Hearing stories like this over and over supports the notion that one of the difficulties in urging a young generation workforce to enter the manufacturing industry is not only caused by manufacturing’s image as dirty, monotonous and underpaid, but also by the general news being presented to the public everyday. Who would want to commit one’s life to jobs that are portrayed as traditionally difficult and also declining? Most people make little effort to learn the greater truth behind the stories they hear. And all that’s heard about manufacturing these days is how it’s flailing.

Question: Do you think there is a chance your children will be interested in a carear as a machinist?

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An Olympics of Competing Machines

Dartmouth economics professor Andrew Bernard has come up with a mathematical system to predict the medal standings of the Olympics. He has tested his formula on the Olympic games dating back to 1960, and claims it has an accuracy of 96 percent.

In the formula he equates athletes to complex machines. You need materials to build the machines, which are people, meaning countries with large populations have an edge. Then you need resources, which is a country’s income, to the produce the people into great athletes. The “machines” last a while, so past results are another factor. The final factor is what he calls the “host factor” effect, which may be influenced by the crowd or other intangibles.

For the upcoming Beijing Olympics Bernard predicts that the U.S. will lead all countries in total medals, followed by Russia in second, and China in third. In the gold medal tally he calculates the Chinese will win 37 medals to the U.S.’s 36, but he recognizes that those numbers are too close to be conclusive.

Listen to an NPR interview with Bernard at

Source: NPR

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More Auto Industry Woes

Just days after Toyota said their U.S. sales dropped 18.7 percent, Toyota is cutting 800 jobs at a unit making Lexus vehicles. It’s the first time Toyota has let go of contract workers before their contracts are up. This is yet another indicator of a sliding U.S. auto market, as Toyota has historically grown during previous recessions.

In the following video John Casesa, Managing Partner of Casesa Shapiro Group, elaborates more on the future of the U.S. auto industry. He discusses automakers shifting production from SUVs and trucks to that of smaller fuel efficient cars, the changes in American car buying behavior, the importance of international emerging markets, and the prospect of a GM bankruptcy.

Source: The Wall Street Journal Online

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