The Cetus Extended 3D printer, a Rails-based printing technology has been occupying a great deal of my time as of late. This 3D Printer has a build volume of 180x180x280mm and supports 1.75mm PLA filament.
A very important consideration for children is a printer’s power source. Many 3D printer kits from GearBest, eBay or AliExpress contain open, live wiring that may prove extremely dangerous to children. This printer is a safe choice for children and schools. Cetus ships a kid-friendly power supply that will put to rest any parental concerns. Remember kids are curious. IMHO the Cetus minimalist design provides a better introduction to real hands-on 3D Printing for my children.
Cetus printers have an active Facebook group providing great feedback from a growing community of owners. I am also pleased to see an active Reddit community.
The Blockchain Basics by Daniel Drescher. This is a very basic blockchain book. I would recommend this to someone completely unfamiliar with blockchain. Daniel hits his mark. Drescher places a repeated template for each step. In this design, I felt the book had trouble flowing for anyone who has already read a blockchain textbook. Daniel pushes the elementary lessons through 25 steps.
There is a very basic outline to the security of the blockchain. Again this book has a specific target audience: Newbie.
I have to admit that I was bored reading the text. yet was impressed by the lessons and related topics that are presented.
What really caused France’s humiliating loss to the Viet Minh in the French Indochina war? To understand we must focus on logistics. Charles Shrader’s A War of Logistics: Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945–1954 reveals the true staggering failures of the French were simply the result of poor logistics. On the surface it may not make sense. A western power falling to an agrarian band of guerrilla fighters? No author has precisely examined Viet Minh and French military logistics in great detail. This is an impressive view. Shrader has taught at West Point, the Command & General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, and at the Army War College.
He is a former executive director of the Society for Military History. His metrics and well written history document those French military pillars that collapsed triggering their retreat not only from Indochina but from the world stage.
Many respected books point to Dien Bien Phu as the surprising French loss and subsequent defeat in the war. Shrader documents how this battle was the culmination in a series of shocking logistical failures that plagued their efforts against the Viet Minh.
The shift benefitting the Viet Minh developed after the Korean War. China began delivering overwhelming logistical resources to the Viet Minh. While French and CIA intelligence captured communications confirming numerous deliveries of infrastructure, France did not adjust to this threat.
In retrospect the logistical failure to support the French effort should have been sending strong signals to American military advisors that success against this communist enemy would be a long and difficult task. Continue reading “Latest read: A War of Logistics”
Operation Vulture by John Prados reveals President Eisenhower’s plans to use nuclear weapons at Dien Bien Phu to “rescue” the French garrison. An analyst of national security based in Washington DC, he is a Senior Fellow and Project Director with the National Security Archive at George Washington University where he leads the Archive’s documentation projects on Vietnam and CIA. The US National Archive has released multiple classified documents since 2000. We now understand Eisenhower’s deep involvement. He ordered the US military into the First Indochina War in 1953. Prados reveals startling details of Eisenhower’s wish to use nuclear weapons and his order to the US Air Force and Navy bringing a nuclear weapons attack upon the valley as the French garrison was being quickly suffocated by the Viet Minh.
The details of those military actions moving men and arms throughout Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia along with the international political maneuvering by Allen Dulles in the early 1950s dispels any myth that America simply went to war in Vietnam under President Kennedy.
Prados stitches an enormous amount of Eisenhower’s actions regarding Vietnam beginning in 1953. Eisenhower acted on his view of the world that required a strong American confrontation in Asia to offset China. Continue reading “Latest read: Operation Vulture”
His truth revealed outcomes that pitted him against the White House, MACV and even senior leadership within the CIA.
What also made Sam unique was his inability to backdown to the highest offices in the government. Sam created a point of great turmoil by discovering and confronting repeated MACV intelligence failures. His analysis was not supported by CIA Director Richard Helms. Nobody wants to make their boss look bad.
War of Numbers: An Intelligence Memoir was published after the death of Sam Adams. He spent his career working in CIA intelligence during the Vietnam War. He leaves behind a memory of dedication to country and an unbending legacy speaking truth to power. Sam graduated from Harvard and began a CIA intelligence career in the Congo. Adams won high praise for accurately predicting changes to the Congolese government in 1966.
His initial Vietnam war research focused on the moral of Viet Cong troops in 1967. He wrote a larger Viet Cong order of battle. This began a long clash with CIA, MACV, the Joint Chiefs and the White House over the size of VC forces before the Tet Offensive.
His initial reports never made it out of the CIA. His experiences in chapter 4 “Bulletin 689” changed everything. Adams was able to discover errors in the MACV order of battle. Insights from CIA interrogations allowed Sam to separate deserters vs. defectors regarding guerrilla troops at the hamlet, village and district levels. His order of battle data revealed MACV underestimating VC guerrillas by 120,000 by 1967. Continue reading “Latest read – War of Numbers”
Regarded as one of the CIA’s premiere Vietnam intelligence experts George W. Allen wrote a 2001 memoir None So Blind: A personal account of the intelligence failure in Vietnam that remains an alarming insight of intelligence failures that forecasted both France and America’s defeat in Vietnam. Allen’s contributions set the stage regrettably for the Pentagon and White House to also follow France’s misplaced goals in Indochina for the next twenty-five years.
My interest in Allen’s memoir developed from reading a series of confidential reports by the US military and CIA from the 1950s. Declassified in the late 1990s the documents address the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu.
Many of those documents point to Allen’s intelligence reports and analysis. Naturally this peaked my wish to better understand the American intelligence analysis of the French defeat.
Allen holds a unique, deep understanding of the Indochina Wars (France 1945-1950) and the coming failure of America’s intervention on behalf of South Vietnam 1960-1974. The lessons in his book leave deep, haunting impressions today on the White House and Pentagon leaders who ignored our intelligence community. Continue reading “Latest read: None So Blind”
The valley of Dien Bien Phu was the site of a historic siege by the Viet Minh on a French garrison from March 13th to May 7th 1953. The result was the first time an Asian guerrilla force defeated a standing Western army in sustained battle.
The French hoped to again draw out their Viet Minh enemy and defeat them with superior artillery fire as they did at Na San in November 1952. However a year later a series of French military blunders would doom the garrison.
To more fully understand the French defeat the six titles below are well written and serve as the entrance to a deeper American involvement that would lead to our own nightmare.
Each author addresses key failure points long after the battle that invalidate immediate reactions to the siege. Each author conveys the inhumanity suffered by both sides before, during and after the siege.
The books all provide powerful experiences from both the Vietnamese and French perspectives:
This garrison was not an all-French unit. Quite the opposite. A majority of soldiers were African, Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian and of course Vietnamese serving the French Far East Expeditionary Corps. This unit included European volunteers from Spain, Poland and Germany. The garrison’s officer corps were French. Make no mistake Paris was no longer interested in sending their sons to die in the jungles of Vietnam.
French Union troops moved a brothel into the garrison. Yes in 1953.
Generals Christian de Castries, Henri Navarre and René Cogny ignored their own very accurate military intelligence reports. The movement of heavy artillery from China into the surrounding hills was discovered by radio intercepts. Yet the Generals never considered the Viet Minh able to position heavy artillery around the surrounding hills.
Windrow has written an amazing history of France’s approach to defeat the Viet Minh. His work complements a select number of authors who have brought to life an important battle long overlooked in the late 1950s by America that contributed heavily to our entry into Vietnam.
Similar to my review of Ted Morgan’s book Valley of Death The Tragedy at Dien Bien Phu That Led America into the Vietnam War the siege is a stunning look by Windrow at a morally bankrupt 4th republic attempting to re-colonize Indochina beginning in 1946. World War II in Europe was over with rebuilding was underway. France attempted along with Britain to reclaim colonial territories after the surrender of Japan.
The blockchain is the future of financial infrastructures. An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services.
The World Economic Forum has posted a PDF view of the Blockchain’s pragmatic impact upon global financial services. Its a very visual read to a great deal of research.
The key areas of focus are blockchain technologies that can push simplicity and efficiency. The opportunity to create new financial service infrastructure based upon high level information security.
The blockchain is looking to launch next generation financial services infrastructure. The report’s use case focus considers how blockchain technology can benefit multiple scenarios across future financial services.
When Melanie Swan’s book Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy written under the O’Reilly series was available I was eager to start reading. This is a thoughtful overview to the Blockchain. There is much to learn about the role of cryptocurrency and the blockchain but this is not the sole focus of her work.
Melanie, like Tapscott paints a wide brush across the Blockchain. Too similar to Tapscott perhaps? No. If the blockchain’s focus was just security then it would command a smaller, narrow focus on IT infrastructure. Yet Melanie provides a wider arena to learn how Blockchains especially in healthcare hold enormous possibilities.