Latest read: Disruptive Possibilities

There can be no doubt today that Big Data has changed everything. Jeffery Needham has written a great book Disruptive Possibilities: How Big Data Changes Everything. Its all about the impact of Hadoop in the cloud as the ultimate computing platform.

Disruptive Possibilities: How Big Data Changes EverythingI was very pleased reading his work when I found his personal story at the end regarding the application of Hadoop in neuroscience as a method to address Sturge-Weber Syndrome. We know it as having a port wine stain on your face.

His story made me appreciate his desire to throw Hadoop at the datasets that may one day reveal a cure for this syndrome. I am amazed at how he described reteaching himself not only how to walk down a hallway, but train his body to hit a baseball after losing vision in his right eye.

My favorite segment of Disruptive Possibilities is chapter five: When Clouds meet Big Data. Needham also makes a very easy read in chapters one to four where he lays the foundation based upon his deep experiences with Hadoop. And yes you can run Hadoop off laptops found in a dumpster.

There is much to learn in university circles about the impact of Disruptive Possibilities and Hadoop.  Worry not its not the computing or research units that I am thinking about but rather HR, Admissions and just about every other campus unit that would benefit from moving their data into a Hadoop cluster in order to data mine their future.

Battle of Ong Thanh anniversary

Today marks the 47th anniversary of the Battle of Ong Thanh. This battle was a tremendous loss for American troops, ambushed forty miles northwest of Saigon during Operation Shenandoah II.

october 17
Ong Thanh Battle date 1967

On this weekend in 1967 the battle in Vietnam and a student protest turned riot in Madison resulted in a turning point for the State of Wisconsin. While affluent students were protesting Dow Chemical at Bascom Hill, blue collar boys from the south side of Milwaukee were dying in battle.

The soldiers including Danny Sikorski, Jack Schroder and football All American Don Holleder served under the command of Terry Allen Jr. on this fateful day.

In Madison Paul Soglin, (the city’s current Mayor) led student protests that turned violent. After this battle 64 Americans were dead. Even today this is a shocking number of American losses in a small battle. The Tet Offensive began less than 90 days later.

It was in David Maraniss’ award winning book They Marched Into Sunlight the Sikorski family in Milwaukee would receive ~$740 from the Army to bury their son Danny. He was one of the first Black Lyons killed in Bravo Company. Yet at the same time The Pentagon Papers reveal the Michelin Corporation secured a reimbursement agreement from the U.S. Government for ~$700 per tree destroyed in combat on their rubber plantations in Vietnam.

The Army’s report on the battle of Ong Thanh remained classified for almost four years until released in 1971.