Nov 032013
 
Douglas Hofstadter: The Quest to Replicate Thought

Douglas Hofstadter has devoted his life to the exploration and replication of human thought – relating mind to matter.  His central question:  How could a few pounds of gray gelatin give rise to our very thoughts and selves? A recent article by James Somers for The Atlantic, titled The Man Who Would Teach Machines To Think, does an excellent job describing Hofstadter’s seemingly-endless quest. I first looked into Hofstadter in depth when I stumbled across his book: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (more popularly known as GEB).  It was his first work, published in 1979, and an immediate [Read More…]

What Do Cadets Do?

 Posted by on September 16, 2013  West Point
Sep 162013
 
What Do Cadets Do?

I am frequently asked what exactly I do at West Point during the summer and throughout the school year.  And it’s quite understandable.  Much of what we do is shrouded in rumor, hearsay, and preconceptions from a careful public image that our Public Affairs Office endeavors to cultivate. So, I’ll attempt to paint an honest portrait of time spent at West Point. Summers focus on military training, but also include leadership opportunities, academic or physical trips, and leave (time home).  Incoming plebes attend six weeks of Cadet Basic Training (CBT – Beast Barracks), and rising sophomores (yuks or yearlings) attend [Read More…]

My Dad’s Favorites

 Posted by on September 13, 2013  Reading Lists
Sep 132013
 
My Dad's Favorites

From my Dad:  For those who like military history, books that explore leadership, or intriguing works of fiction, I have listed some of my favorites. Favorite biography: Washington: The Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexner, New York: Back Bay Books, 1974. An engaging biographical history and a must-read for every American. This book tells the story of our first president – a remarkable man of character who was the right leader, at the right time in history, to forge the America we know today. Other early American history: Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004 [Read More…]

I, Robot

 Posted by on September 13, 2013  Science Fiction
Sep 132013
 
I, Robot

In the twenty-first century, the first image that most people associate with “I, Robot” is Will Smith  – violently blasting his way through hordes of evil robots.  Not many are familiar with the nine short stories written and collected under the same title by Isaac Asimov, more than half a century prior to the release of the Blockbuster film.  Asimov’s masterpiece is a seminal work of science fiction, a pioneering light that thinks critically about what was the largely-unexplored field of robotics. The series of loosely-linked stories focus on the use and impact of robots in a human society not [Read More…]

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

 Posted by on September 13, 2013  Science Fiction
Sep 132013
 
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

This book, a classic and one of the first that can be called “science-fiction,” unquestionably validates Verne’s status as the forefather of the genre.  It reads as a travel log, telling of an unlikely trio’s journeys around the world and under its surface. Verne writes in colorful language of an eclectic mix of undersea adventures, all with the eccentric Captain Nemo at the helm.  Descriptions of the Nautilus and other scientific marvels within the book are decades ahead of their time and challenge present-day writers to exercise every fiber of their creativity when authoring new and fantastic tales.  Yet it [Read More…]