Latest read: We Were Soldiers Once and Young

Joe Galloway and Hal Moore wrote We Were Soldiers Once And Young about their battle in the Ia Drang Valley. They reveal a deeper tragedy around the tipping point battle that would haunt America for a generation. As always the book is better than the movie.
we were soldiers: The battle in the Ia Drang ValleyThe battle of the Ia Drang Valley casts a long shadow over America’s role in Vietnam. It carries implications today. The ambush and loss of 155 Americans from a single battle (LZ Albany) was the largest loss of life throughout the entire American war including the siege at Khe Sanh and the Tet Offensive. Please recall Khe Sanh was a six month siege while the Ia Drang Valley was less than 48 hours.

America’s fast growing role in Vietnam was largely based upon the Ia Drang Valley. The White House would establish “body count” as the measured outcome. At the same time I somehow missed that Norman Schwarzkopf marched into Ia Drang at LZ X-Ray the day after the battle.

Galloway has written an excellent account of the Air Cav surviving LZ X-Ray and also the failures of command moving troops to LZ Albany on the ground. His attention to detail unique that every man in battle is identified by name and hometown…many times the following paragraph revealed that soldier’s death. Three cities where I have lived lost men in the Ia Drang Valley. One solider killed on the second day at LZ X-Ray lived 9 miles from our home in Milwaukee. Young men from greater Chicago and Northwest Ohio also died in battle.

As portrayed in the opening sequence of the movie based upon this book, NVA soldiers executed wounded Americans in the Ia Drang Valley. The history of war in Asian culture is much harsher than in Europe.
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Latest Read: Keeping Up with the Quants

Have been looking forward to Tom Davenport’s Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics for longer than I care to admit. I throughly enjoyed his book Competing on Analytics all the way back in 2008. His followup Big Data@Work provides the same scope for business regarding the emerging era of Big Data.
Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics Tom has truly mastered the role of business analytics for well over two decades. He is acknowledged as revealing the path of metrics and just as important how success can be defined by adopting a mindset of analytics over intuition. It should be no surprise that I am a big fan of Tom Davenport.

Seems like a lifetime ago in the competitive and fast changing world of analytics. Quantitative analysis with a side of regression is not a diner order but a key skill to identify patterns in data.

An easy read with great common sense approaches for leaders to understand and professionals to embrace it proves not only how business gains insights but how to defend Kobe Bryant.

On the heels of reading Nate Silver’s bestseller The Signal and the Noise, Davenport reveals how quants have not only broken down NBA basketball defensive measures to each quarter when playing Bryant and the Lakers but how to guard him in a last possession game scenario.
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Latest read: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Wharton’s Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner is another great read addressing analytics, human behavior and analytic technologies for establishing and sharpening forecasting abilities for any organization.

superforecasting the art and science of predictionThe book title is a wonderful attention grabber for me that demonstrates we live in the era of big data with business driving the age of immediacy.

Superforecasting acknowledges data lessons supplied by Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise as helping to define standards to data and how it misled the national media.

Yet just into the second chapter Tetlock and Gardner point to the research by Daniel Kahneman excellent work Thinking Fast and Slow to help determine behaviors shaped over time that have fundamentally changed how we predict success.
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FarmBot: Open­source precision farming

FarmBot is an open­source and scalable automated precision farming machine and software package designed from the ground up with today’s technologies. The world’s population is growing and is projected to surpass 9 billion inhabitants by 2050. As a result farms must increase production by about 60 percent to meet demand which is stunning since many believe we have reached the limits of traditional farming.
FarmBot

In comparison to desktop digital 3D printers and CNC machines FarmBot extends the idea of X, Y, and Z directions and applies it to plows, seed injectors, water and sensors in order to accurately and efficiently grow plants and soil. I think that I would like to try this out in my own backyard.
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Glowforge laser cutter

Glowforge has quickly emerged as the best Kickstarter campaign to introduce desktop laser cutting. The entry point of $2300. The Pro version with an Air Filter for $5,000 is actually the right configuration.
Glowforge uses subtractive rather than additive manufacturing. The device will carve objects out or burn designs into a number of materials.

Latest Read: Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution is the best book hi-lighting the impact Makers have established over the last five years. The Maker movement is growing due to the collision of powerful digital tools, the internet of things and cost effective manufacturing. As a child I always wished for these advanced tools to bring to life my ideas, inventions and the toys my childhood friends would talk about and dream about making.

Makers The New Industrial RevolutionMy ideas for creating art was always apart of my Saturday art classes at the Toledo Museum of Art. The drawings I kept of my inventions have all but disappeared.

This is where Makers: The New Industrial Revolution comes into focus for parents and educators today a generation later. What is making this possible? The industrial global supply chain has driven the cost of affordable powerful IoT including the new $5 Raspberry Pi Zero that will drive new innovations at incredibly efficient price points.

We should be careful at home because the world is embracing these technologies. Remember Anderson shares his belief that inventors and creative types are actually makers. Now this is happening on a truly global scale.

If the buzz of 3D printers and filament reels make your eyes glaze please remember that YouTube is the best example of Makers sharing their passion. Look at any dedicated YouTube channel – say woodworking- and you will find Makers creating and uploading passionate lessons regarding their craft. Look no further than Esty for a commercial success as a reseller of Maker’s crafts now listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Simply unheard of just 5 years ago.
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Global 3D Printing Day in Milwaukee

Tomorrow 12/03/15 is Global 3D Printing Day. There are over 24,000 printers with 370 participating cities in over 150 countries participating. Luckily Milwaukee has over 30 established 3D Printing Hubs around Greater Milwaukee. There are many more throughout Wisconsin including Madison and Green Bay Hubs. 3D Hubs has established #3DPrintingDay has their twitter feed and Facebook page and Pinterest link.

3D Printing Day MilwaukeeBrowse a global map for your local 3D Printer hub location and drop by to see how they are participating in 3D Print Day to reveal local resources for digital manufacturing.

The main difference in each participating city is that the cities offer a different number of activities (most likely based on how active the community is and how many Hubs there are to host activities.)

But the idea of coordinating the same types of activities to run at the same time all around the world is definitely a testament to how much 3D printing technologies are growing in popularity and diversity of application.

In fact, London has planned is a great way to explain the template that many cities appear to be following for #3DPrintingDay. London 3D Hubs plans to honor Global #3DPrintingDay by showing people how 3D printing works tomorrow. This long day of 3D printing exhibitions includes 3D printing showcases and demonstrations throughout the day at various Hubs in London. For Londoners, this day will be jam packed with activities, according to Community Mayor Charlotte, so plan early and be ahead of the pack by reserving your spot now!

Similar events, planned throughout the world, all run from 12 am-12 am, providing a 24-hour day of 3D printing festivities in cities including: Kiev, Istanbul, Dublin, Lisbon, Milwaukee, Nairobi, Paris, Seattle, Taipei, Budapest, Cape Town, Zurich, and Buenos Aires.

Latest Read: Makers

Makers by Cory Doctorow is the fiction book about the Maker movement. Doctorow writes about two makers Perry and Lester who invent seashell robots that make toast or modified Elmo dolls that can drive a cars.
Makers by Cory DoctorowThe companies of Kodak and Duracell closed and their product inventories are absorbed by venture capitalists with a noted blogger along side writing the story of their new company.

The story goes kinda weird when Perry and Lester begin building interactive rides in abandoned Walmarts in the New World world.

But as they find success they suddenly find themselves on the defensive as a Disney executive plans an aggressive attack on the interactive rides by convincing police that Perry and Lester are actually using 3D printers manufacture AK-47s assault rifles. Kinda went off the deep end for me.

As much as I generally dislike fiction this is a title that is focusing on the Maker movement and I really wanted to see a creative story about the promise and implementation of makers shifting the economy in small steps from their home garage or workshop. My interest regarding digital fabrication machines including CNC milling.

If you are looking for a better understanding of the Maker movement in general I would strongly suggest Chris Anderson’s book Maker The New Industrial Revolution as the best and most inspirational text to see how Makers are shaping the world around you.

Latest Read: Making Makers

Making Makers is a wonderful book for parents and educators who are interested about how to guide their children to become “makers” to improve their live and chase their dreams and childhood curiosity.

Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of InnovationBy reading stories of noted inventors and creators you learn how important it is for children to become makers as the world is changing rapidly with advanced, personal, affordable technologies and why it is crucial to encourage today’s youth to be makers.

Lifelong creativity is a learned skill. The role of online learning communities today including eduX and Coursera have helped develop and establish tools to foster interests in topics explored in childhood. I believe this is a book every parent of a child should be reading today regardless of their age.

The role Makers will play in the immediate future are already being established. Again this is an opportunity for parents and educators to give their children a step up in developing new skills not only for school but also for their interests and developing new talents with friends or groups.

Maybe the most important aspect of the book is really all about how a parent can identify and foster the Maker inside their child. For many parents who have also become part of the content mindset and may have lost their way to reviving their own Maker experiences from childhood this serves as a guide to help further their own personal growth and redevelopment of their interests.

Latest read: Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman summarizes research that covers three phases of his career: cognitive biases, prospect theory and happiness. Clearly this is a deep dive touching research subjects including regression to the mean. Yes it is a very rewarding statistical dive.
Thinking, Fast and SlowYet I find this book so applicable to not only professional fields but more importantly to our personal lives.

Very impressed how Kahneman even places the benefits of Thinking, Fast and Slow into PowerPoint presentations. This was a very revealing look at how we present by carefully placing words onto a given slide and how you tell your story.

I also greatly enjoyed his references to several books that I have also read, realizing I am somewhat ontrack to deeper understanding his teaching how our brains are Thinking, Fast and Slow within our daily lives. This applies at home, at work and at school. We humans are a strange beast. Kahneman helps reveal how we are wired to think and often where we fail to apply seemingly common logic to easy questions.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is filled with examples of how easy we all can misinterpret personal scenarios of logic simply based upon human emotion and conditioning.

While short in review this is simply a book everyone should be reading to gain a fuller understanding of approaching critical thinking.

Maker Faire Saturday

littleBitsOur Saturday in Milwaukee included trips across town to maker faire events in both Brookfield and Mayfair. My son enjoyed making littleBits at Brookfield. However no Milwaukee area store held a Raspberry Pi meetup.

I was pleased to see much more products were in place at Brookfield across four spaces on both their first and second floor. Mayfair’s workspaces were on their second floor. Greenfield is a ground floor facility.