[FoRK] The World Is Not Flat

Aaron Burt aaron at bavariati.org
Wed Jan 20 11:19:07 PST 2010

On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 05:50:55PM -0800, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Jan 19, 2010, at 4:42 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
> > 
> > So, linear programming, traveling delivery man, convex optimization
> > flow problems, predictive analysis, machine learning and feature
> > extraction based on all inputs (weather, holidays, economy, etc.).
> > Fun.  Sounds like they may earn their keep sometimes.

Yah, power dispatchers at electrical utilites do similar things.  The poor
logistics guys also get to deal with the madness that is the US/CA rail
network, as well as the funsies of Customs clearance, and all the graft
that greases the skids and keeps the trucks rolling.

> In principle, it was my introduction to some of these topics.  In
> practice, it is rarely as sophisticated as all that which is why there is
> still a lot of opportunity.  Not that long ago this was mostly
> accomplished by gaggles of smart people, not even computers.

I still believe there is a significant opportunity for someone with the
right knowlege and contacts in the rail networks to offer fractional-
container shipping to compete with LTL shipping at the slow/cheap end of
the market.  (Mind, most folks just ship UPS freight anyway instead of
using LTL, even.)

My wife manages a warehouse with an unused rail spur,

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