Fractus is published online as a public service. Development of Fractus was originally supported by CNA, a not-for-profit institution that conducts high-level, in-depth research and analysis to inform the work of public sector decision makers. CNA is deeply engaged in understanding how networks of all sorts – supply chains, electrical grids, water systems, terrorist organizations and more – behave and evolve.  Please learn more about CNA’s curiosity and commitment at


Supply chains and other complex networks are studied by academics  as they are being conceived and constructed by practitioners. Discussion is too often obscurely theoretical or narrowly self-interested. Fractus  wants to blend theory with practice in a way that encourages more mindful design, cross-cutting conversations, and resilient operations.  We are especially interested in the interplay of vulnerabilities and threats across multidimensional networks.


Philip J. Palin serves as the executive editor for Fractus.  Phil is a former college president, foundation executive, and serial entrepreneur.  He is the author of several books and other publications including, Considering Catastrophe, Resilience: The Grand Strategy, the Catastrophe Preparedness series from McGraw-Hill, and Out of the Whirlwind (please see the link above).


Please let us hear from you.  Join any of the ongoing Conversations

Fractus welcomes submission of essay ideas or manuscripts for future online publication.  The executive editor will consider stand-alone essays on Time or Space or Complexity or Convergence or Disruption or an integrated series encompassing all these recurring themes.   

These five themes and a continuing conversation regarding their practical implications constitute the “strange attractor of meaning” around which Fractus is self-organizing.

Fractus is especially interested in essays of roughly 1000 words to no more than 3000 words that consider how emerging networks confirm or challenge our current understanding of how the world works.

Please send us a note »


A cumulative collection of references appearing in Fractus, presented in the order they appear.

TIME: Just-in-Time (October 2015)

Ohno, Taichi, Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production, Productivity Press, 1988

Cusumano, Michael A.,  Manufacturing Innovations: Lessons of the Japanese Auto Industry, MIT Sloan Review, 1988

Moore, Gordon E., Cramming more Components onto Integrated Circuits, Electronics, April 1965

Lee, David, Nokia: The Rise and Fall of a Mobile Giant, BBC News, September 2013.

Thompson, Derek, How did Greek Yogurt get so Popular?, The Atlantic, August 2011

Javelin Research, Mobile Online Shopping will top $217 billion by 2019, July 2015

Briggs, Bill, Delivery Cost Holds Back Occasional Online Grocery Shoppers, Internet Retailer, March 2014

Chaudhuri, Saabira, Aldi Details US Expansion Plan, Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2015

Downes, Larry and Nunes, Paul, Big Bang Disruption, Portfolio, January 2014

Ramaswamy, Sridhar, Micro-Moments, Thinking with Google, April 2015

SPACE: Density and Rapidity (October 2015)

World Health Organization, Urban Population Growth, Ongoing and multiple resources

Chandler, Tertius, Four Thousand Years of Urban Growth, Mellen, November 1987

United States Census Bureau, Urban and Rural Classification, Ongoing and multiple resources

Cage, Fielding, Where do we Live?, Time Magazine, originally appeared

Harvey, David, The Condition of Postmodernity, Wiley-Blackwell, October 1991

Virilio, Paul, The Aesthetics of Disappearance, MIT/Semiotext(e), April 2009

Beveridge, Andrew, The Affluent of Manhattan, Gotham Gazette, June 2003

Morad, Renee and McDermid, It’s an Exciting Time for Biotech, Biospace, June 2015

IHS Global Insight, US Metro Economies, US Conference of Mayors, 2013 and ongoing

COMPLEXITY: Kroger is Complex (October 2015)

Drucker, Peter F., Post-Capitalist Society, HarperBusiness, April 1994

Eggers, William D. and O’Leary, John, If We can Put a Man on the Moon, Harvard Business Review Press, November 2009

National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2012 Census of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, 2013

Cilliers, Paul, Complexity and Postmodernism, Routledge, March 1998

Kroger Investor Relations, Kroger Factbook 2014, The Kroger Co.,2015

KPMG, Fourth Annual Global Manufacturing Outlook, KPMG, May 2013

Chavez, Jon, Kroger enacts more cuts to grocery prices, The Toledo Blade, April 16, 2015

Booker, Ted, Milk Glut Reverses Fortunes, Watertown Daily Times, January 7, 2015

Sowinski, Lara, The Global Food Supply Chain, Food Logistics, March 16, 2012

The Kroger Co., Security and Exchange Commission Form 10-K, February 2, 2013

CONVERGENCE: Dense Nodes, Thick Spokes (October 2015)

Lewis, Ted G., Bak’s Sand Pile: Strategies for a Catastrophic World, Agile Research and Technology, February 2011

Tedlow, Richard S., New and Improved, Harvard Business Review Press, February 1996

Economic Research Service, Retail Trends, United States Department of Agriculture, Ongoing and multiple resources

Food and Water Watch, Grocery Goliaths, December 2013

Simon, Bill et alia, NYSE:WMT (financial analyst presentation) Walmart, October 15, 2013

Byrnes, Nanette, Special Report: Food Technology for All, MIT Technology Review, May 28, 2015

Helmer, Jodi, This Company will Deliver Groceries to your Door in Less than an Hour, Entrepreneur, September 2015

Perez, Sarah, AmazonFresh becomes Prime Benefit in Select California Markets, TechCrunch, June 19, 2015

Loeb, Walter, Aldi and Lidl are Ready to Invade US, Forbes, July 8, 2015

Springer, Jon, New Dollar General Prototype will Feature Fresh, Supermarket News, August 27, 2015

DISRUPTION: If the Center does not Hold (October 2015)

Supply Chain Digest, New Chipless RFID Tag Could Transform the Industry, On-Target Magazine, April 2015.

Lewis, Ted G., IBID

Dudlichek, Jim, Goldschmidt, Bridget, and Major, Meg, The Super Fifty, Progressive Grocer, May 2015

Lutz, Ashley, Three Reasons Kroger is Destroying Whole Foods, Business Insider, May 6, 2015

Western States Market: Southern California, The Shelby Report, Purchased market analysis, May 2015

Lee, Hau L., Padmanabhan V., and Whang, Seungjin, The Bullwhip Effect in Supply Chains, MIT Sloan Management Review, April 1997

Horia, Masahiro  and Iwamoto, Koichiro, The Run on Daily Foods and Goods after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, As presented to the ESRI International Collaboration Conference, Tokyo, March 2012

Nawn, Jeffrey et alia, Update -Japan Food and Agriculture, Global Agricultural Information Network, Foreign Agricultural Service, United States Department of Agriculture (several in a series)

Taniguchi, Eiichi, Nakamura,Yuki, Holguín-Veras, José, HUMANITARIAN LOGISTICS IN THE TOHOKU DISASTERS 2011, as presented in 2013 to the Japan Science and Technology Agency.