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.

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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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.

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.

Tableau your data!

Dan Murray was the keynote speaker at the March Milwaukee Tableau User’s Group and discussed his new book Tableau Your Data! I was lucky enough to win a raffle for one of the books and Dan was kind enough to sign.
tableau your dataLook forward to diving into Tableau dashboards by tapping into an Oracle data warehouse and Google Analytics data.

Clearly this type of Business Intelligence tool has been gaining ground among data report writers, supervisors and even C-level executives.

Today the impact of interactive data visualizations cannot be overstated as a key driver of tablets that have become a key tool in business today. As the growth of Big Data continues to impact analysis across all organizations it is more important than ever before to establish data stories in dashboards.

As business embraces mobile devices even further into their enterprise the growth of Tableau will continue. They have a hot product that is growing rapidly and seems to have no ceiling.

Latest read: They Marched into Sunlight

This book has been very difficult to finish. Not for the number of pages nor a wandering eye. They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967 has change my understanding about the war in Vietnam in the same way Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War due to the release of the Pentagon Papers.  This book brings home the war to the campus of UW-Madison and the south side of Milwaukee.  Half the book is about the campus antiwar movement and the Dow Chemical riot on the same weekend two sons from Milwaukee Wisconsin died in an ambush at Ong Thanh.
Our country is approaching the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Enough time has passed to acknowledge tragic mistakes. What makes this very sensitive is the number of Americans who died in a war we know was ‘lost’ even before US soldiers first stepped foot at Da Nang in 1965.

The worst part is that we learned of tremendous loss of life due to poor intelligence and leadership.

Our country has never been able to wrap this around the bigger issue of our long standing efforts in Vietnam that began at the close of World War II.

Must admit I feel a bit numb after reading half of the Pentagon Papers.  Reading They Marched Into Sunlight is truly disheartening.  I am now more determined than ever to finish all 7,000+ pages of the Pentagon Papers before the end of the year.

The focus at UW-Madison as described in my earlier post showed our nation was in public turmoil well before the Tet Offensive. Can you imagine today a selected minority (of privileged students) who could avoid serving by going to college while those poor middle class sons went to fight and die in Vietnam?

The closing chapters of They Marched Into Sunlight leave me (again) frustrated by 40 years of reflection. Why on earth did the military approach the enemy around Lai Khe in the same way after three consecutive skirmishes? And why –– why after bombing the area the night before Alpha and Delta companies headed out, did the military refuse to provide mortar fire when requested?  The ambush was well underway. The Silver Star awarded to Major General John H. Hay, payment to the Michelin tire and rubber company for every tree damaged on their plantations and finally the burial of Danny Sikorski at St. Adelbert’s Cemetery in Milwaukee.

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They Marched Into Sunlight

Is there anything better than a book you simply cannot put down?  They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967 written by Pulitzer Prize winner and best selling author David Maraniss is striking a cord with me. This story set on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and a battlefield named Ong Thanh, located 40 miles north of Saigon where American soldiers walked into an ambush.

they marched into sunlightThere are so many elements of this book that make you want to slowly digest each chapter. The early chapters introduce soldiers making their way towards Lai Khe including Lt. Terry Allen, Jr. He was the son of World War II hero Army General Terry Allen.  Soliders came from around the Midwest and were eager to serve our country.

Growing up in Ohio and today living in Milwaukee I was immediately drawn to the stories of those soldiers.

Chapter Six: “Madison Wisconsin” is just a wonderful overview to the student anti-war movement of the 1960s.  One of the students involved in Madison campus protests was Paul Solgin. He has been elected Mayor of Madison three times since 1973. After his first stint as Mayor he became a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.  Today he is the current Mayor, elected in April 2011.

The student newspaper The Daily Cardinal editor-in-chief was Jeff Greenfield, current CBS senior political analyst. And former Vice President Dick Chaney was finishing his master’s degree on the Madison campus in 1967.

PBS produced an American Experience segment titled “Two Days in October” about They Marched Into Sunlight.  The BBC re-aired the program renamed “How Vietnam was lost.”  Is it any surprise that Tom Hanks’ production company Playtone, is shooting a movie based upon this book?

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Will printed books remain relevant in the future?

Milwaukee radio station 620am WTMJ broadcast a segment regarding ebooks last week.  I finally got around to blogging about it today.  The segment was titled: Will printed books remain relevant in the future?  Book/library aficionado/blogger Paul Everett Nelson joins WAN at 4:34pm.

While the discussion was simple and well targeted to their audience there is certainly more to this story.  I understand the limited time allocated to radio segments — its Milwaukee’s WTMJ – not NPR.

My own experience and love of reading drew me to think deeper about the discussion of the publishing industry and their new demand to charge libraries unbeliveable fees.Some believe the publishing industry has been decimated in the internet age like the music industry.  Not sure that I completely agree with this statement.  A well run publishing business should be able to make significantly more profit from selling ebooks.  But in order to be successful the publishing industry must cannibalize itself.

One of the points of discussion is a rather draconian sales policy ebook publishers have demanded. They are changing their Terms  by actually charging libraries to repurchase (at full price no less) any ebook checked out more than 25 times. Yes you read that correctly – publishers plan to force every library that checks out an ebook 25 times to re-purchase the ebook at full price.

When exactly did those same publishers force those same libraries to purchase additional hardback copies of their books at full price after they were checked out 25 times?  Never, since the idea is just asinine.

Imaging a cable company requiring you to purchase a new cable package after watching 25 TV shows. Yep – now you know how stupid — or simply greed — is driving this decision.

Ever see a stack of 500 books on a shipping pallet?   Consider all the costs for print, assembly and shipping.  Add costs to distribute those books to bookstores and big box resellers….that is an expensive and time consuming process.  Oh yea…want it fast? — then pay extra for overnight shipping. Remember those books are only available during business hours.
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Internet2 CyberInfrastructure Days

Supported by a grant from NSF, eight universities (including the UWisconsin System) have been funded to help support a “CI Days” event at their campus.
i2bannerCI Days are intended to bring together various sectors of the campus (Faculty, IT Staff, librarians, administrators, students and others) to better understand the needs and roles of each sector.  Its a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know” for almost every campus.

This Friday Wisconsin will introduce their initial CI Day event at UWMilwaukee with remote viewing supported around the State.  It was great to hear WiscNet’s Shaun Abshere at this session today in Q&A regarding Friday’s coming session and supported remote technologies that will be used.

UW CI Day event program at UW-Milwaukee.

Google to build multiple fiber cities ?

Google may launch more than one “fiber city” in America.  This cyberinfrastructure project could will be a tipping point for a few lucky cities.

Tags: experimental network, Google, Network, internet access, Research, Internet2, Broadbandt, gigabit, high speed, trends,