Sunday, February 22, 2015

Human Progress: The Incredible Shipping Container

Reminder: Due to illness, I am forced to modify my posting schedule for a period ending, hopefully, by June 1st. Consequently, I am reducing the number of posts to two per day and will be relying on audio, video, and re-posts to a much greater extent than normal during this period.  Thank you for understanding and for continuing to visit – and recommending! -- On Liberty Street!

Yep, those huge rectangular boxes you see at ports and on the backs of the trucks that consititute the major element in our transportation infrastructure.  And as Tim Maughan in this BBC Future article, so cogently, and elegantly, explains, the shipping container network represents nothing less than a revolution in human productivity:
Stand on the bridge of a container ship docked in a mega-port in Korea, however, and it's clear that's just not true. The global supply chain that brings us those tablets and phones, and pretty much everything else from our clothes and food to our toys and souvenirs, is nothing short of a moon shot itself – a vast, unprecedented engineering solution to a truly astronomical logistics problem. The fact that it's hidden from most people's sight, and that it has become so utterly reliable and efficient to the point of transparency, doesn't make it any less of an achievement of human technical endeavour.
There is much more of interest in this fascinating article; highly recommended  [ht: Glenn Reynolds]