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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  March 16, 2013 3:30pm-5:00pm EDT

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will rebuild the spirit to make our entitlement system secure and jumpstart our economy in a way that will create an uplifting of our hopes and dreams and also directly impact and immediately impact economic growth. >> former florida governor jeb bush on immigration warrants. part of booktv this weekend on c-span2. up next, alec foege talks about modern-day thomas edison and ben franklin. his book is "the inventor and the tycoon: a gilded age murder and the birth of moving pictures." this is is about 50 minutes. >> i hope i can live up to the introduction. i would like to say it is such a privilege to give a talk about
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my book. the westport library has been a real innovator in terms of agreeing it was just sort of a coincidence that brought us together thank you to bill for helping make this all happen. as was mentioned in the introduction, my book is -- it is partially about what is going on in tinkering right now in the contemporary world. but it also touches on history. but more specifically talks about what the ideas behind being a tinkerer on her. and what is it tinkerer? and how is that different from being a hacker?
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typically the term has a negative connotation. you kind of think of the old crackpot not really knowing what they were making in the basement, but you are sort of having fun with your parts. but in fact, that is kind of the heart of what tinkering is about. we tend to think of them as trained engineers or specialists in their field, but historically in this country, they were really not specialists. they were generalists. certainly engineers can be tinkerer, that is typically what they're doing in their spare time when they are not at work. i have met a lot of these people talking to other groups about this book.
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it is looking at the things around us and thinking about the things we can make. it is about keeping one's eyes and ears open to the possibility. sometimes try to solve problems but oftentimes they saw completely different problems. that is okay. it is really about them pursuing their personal passion initially. making an emphasis on the corporation one day. that is typically not how they first got into it. and we talk about education these days. and whether we are teaching our kids the right things, a lot of people wonder how can we get some of that spirit back into the schools. but it's not about teaching them how to do this. i think most kids know how to do this if you give them something to play around with and able do so and try to figure out how it
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works. seeing what they can make out of them. i think that we have become a culture in a lot of ways and we sometimes forget that. teachers teach the test because they are under pressure to show higher scores for their districts. but i do not think that we really need to teach kids how to do this. we need to make sure that we don't squash their spirit to early. my book begins with my own tinkering experience, if you will. that is one i've sat on my blackberry. i was getting into the car and i realized pretty quickly that i had damaged the screen and the phone was still working but i couldn't read anything on the screen. so i took it to the local phone store thinking that they could fix it i could turn it in for
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another relatively cheap phone. the salesperson told me, i wish i could fix that, i used to do that, it was my favorite part of the job. but they don't let us do that anymore, actually. so he said he could summon anyone and i said, that's great. and he said it's watered $50. and i said, well, okay. so i went home and out of frustration did a google search. and i found a group of videos on youtube. maybe i can get this one work. sorry about that. a little bit of a technical difficulty here. just one moment.
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>> in any case, i will explain it to you. it was a video on youtube that literally told me how to pick apart my blackberry, remove the screen, and put in a new screen. i went online and got a special set of screwdrivers for a couple of dollars and ordered a new screen for about $20. i saw the video. when i opened it up, there were about five pieces. a screen and a circuit board and a keyboard, put the old one out and got the new one in and work like new. so that was my tinkering realization that we live in a culture now where we are sort of intimidated by these high-tech devices that we have. we feel like we are not supposed to open on. companies say that we are not supposed to open them because you will void the warranty. but the truth is, frankly, i
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figured i was going to throw the thing out anyway, i might as well give it a shot. it turned out it was a very difficult. humans may be things in the first place. theoretically, it should not be that difficult to figure out how to replace the screen. the idea for this book came out time after the big economic crisis of 2009 the united states used to be a country that could make things. i learned in my research that the united states is still a huge manufacturer of most of the things. many are high and electronic items. the difference is these days we just don't need as many people
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to make all of those things. we are certainly still in manufacturing hub and there has been a trend since i started working on the book of a lot of big companies like google and apple trying to manufacture some of the devices on american shows again. it turned out to be a little bit of a misnomer. i tried to boil down what this meant in terms of putting the book together. but also just to think about whether we as a country have lost this, this tinkering spirit. as i mentioned before, it is not so much a specific set of technical skills.
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it seems to be a pretty instrumental view of knowledge. but you just pick up enough knowledge about electronics and textiles and metals, programming, doing what you want to do. many try to come up with something new. >> skills are important, but there are a means to an end. mastery is not the point. the point is coming up with something new. before i delve back into history a little bit, i just want to point out a few of the things that are going on in the culture right now that show that there is a renaissance of sorts going on with this. i don't know if anybody -- most people have been toymakers there.
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there are really wonderful festivals with all sorts of tinkering in electronics and art and music. another thing going on these days, the so-called tinkering workspaces where you can go in and there is all sorts of high-tech equipment can play around with in trying to address the problem in the old days when it wasn't so high-tech, most people had a workshop in their basement and they would have all the tools that they needed to pretty much do anything. today a lot of people can't afford that. and certainly visit one of these technology shops for a day or however long you need and try out some of the equipment. hackers are always with
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something that has come up a lot in contemporary culture. the one that i focused on in my book is a gentleman who famously broke into an iphone and a few years later into a sony playstation and was sued by sony. but eventually they hired him. [laughter] to help them figure out certain things. they certainly intercept. i think the main thing that is most important about this as there is there is a certain amount of humor to it.
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[laughter] >> there is a spirit of fun. they developed innovations because they were enjoying what they were doing. i think that that is the key element that is important. now i shall go back a little bit. in my book i sort of tried to get through the beginnings of american tinkering. we can talk about how this differs from tinkerers around the world. there was something about this country and our founding fathers seemed to be right in to our original history. obviously, ben franklin is one of the great american tinkerer and inventor. in school we learned the story
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about the lightning rod, bifocals, all sorts of other things as well. he was also considered a huge source of wisdom. which is great. he is a very interesting figure. but the only thing is that he raised the bar kind of high and early. he made it seem like a very daunting thing. another interesting thing about franklin is this is a way to open things up. we are looking at the results of what the tinkering is about. had such an impact on american society. it was something that he had to
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work out in his head over a long period of time for became a reality. there are a couple of examples as to how those things can be as valuable as the actual thing as well. the other thing that is interesting about franklin is that he wasn't the only founding father that was a tinkerer. many original founding fathers were lifelong tinkerer. george washington included. he wanted to find the best way for cultivation and to prevent plant diseases and he owned the lot of land, so there was a real need for it. but this was something that he pursued throughout his life. the other project of his was
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building the potomac canal. he was obsessed through the rest of his life. he actually died before it finished. he had ideas about it. he wanted to hire engineers to help them build it. at that time there actually were no trained engineers. they had to consult engineers in england. and, in fact, the techniques that he used to develop a, it ended up being kind of wrong and they didn't work out. eventually it was built with a totally different technique. but again, it was something that he pursued. he invented the plow and the macaroni machine. james manderson -- james madison
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created a stick that you could look at books for what they magnifying glass. alexander hamilton was the original financial tinkerer. it is clear that these are men of wealth and leisure. at that time they had pursued it and figuring out solutions to problems throughout their lives. i don't know if television change that or something. but benjamin franken was not the only one at this time.
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ben franklin is a serial inventor for one. he made his original fortune with a series of infusion pumps, including insulin pumps that allowed stations to receive medication around the clock. without having a nurse present. he also invented the wheelchair. he built this gyroscopic technology into it. and they said you might want a wheelchair to climate curbs or stairs. so he invented this very ingenious technology to do that. he's probably best known for the segway. it was built on the same
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technology as the wheelchair. i don't love you remember when the segway came out a number of years back, it was hailed as the future of transportation and it was going to change the way we live. unfortunately, a lot of big cities banned the use of them on sidewalks, for one. in warehouses they used them, i think amazon uses them in their warehouses. there are a lot of tours around the country. the technology is around. maybe it will have bigger use in the future. he obviously became wealthy off of his invention. but if you look at, you know, how they track this over time,
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he knew exactly what he was doing. in fact the way that he first got into it was like shows that were synchronized to music. eventually he was able to install technology as a teenager in new york. so some of them don't know where they are going, but they can still go on to do great things. i also talked about thomas edison in the book. of course, the inventor of the century. he was hailed as a wizard and again, the same issue with ben franklin. he raised the bar so high in terms of what people thought of tinkering that seemed almost otherworldly. i tell the story in my book of
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the invention of the device in this photo. this was actually the phonograph. and he really, he came up with the first photographs that were workable and relatively easy to produce. but edison hated music. he could not fathom why anybody would want to listen to this device and spend their leisure time listening to music. it did not make any sense to him. so he spent a number of years pursuing what he thought was the real market for this device. it was an office dictation machine. it did not work out that well for him. but he never made a lot of money off of it.
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you know, at the time people didn't understand how electricity works very well at that point. a lot of the things that he did, he regarded as matter. they actually thought he was a wizard. but he represents a connection between the origins of tinkering and the contemporary version of it. he was a great man. he had these great ideas coming out of his head and he would have all kinds of assistance trying to figure out how to make them work. that became the new arc type for how to tinkerer and innovate. you could argue that his was the first in research and development operation.
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again, he could not understand why people would want to listen to a phonograph for entertainment purposes. the irony is it was an entertainment device that included alexander graham bell as a partner, which was particularly upsetting. my point is edison was muddling through everything. surely that is okay for all of us as well. you know, if you read the accounts of how most of his inventions were realized. it was composed with frustrated
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assistance and midnight dinners and, you know, it was not particularly easy. but he was having fun. back to the idea of tinkering is something conceptual, it started in the world war ii era. i became intrigued with a guy named thomas macdonald who is really by most people's understanding. a career bureaucrat. the guy grew up in the midwest in iowa in a farming community. he watched throughout his childhood farmers struggle to transport their crops on dirt roads so money sometimes they were would just stay home for weeks at a time. so the roads would dry up so they could go out again and transport crops.
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after going to agricultural college, he became under the spell of mr. marston, who was 18 at the agricultural college and proponent of the good roads movement. it was actually intended to promote the use of bicycles because cars were not really around when it started. the idea was to build more public roads so that people could ride bicycles more. eventually cars became popular. he went on to become the head of the roads in washington and later created the highway education board and the american association of highway officials. the reason i think of him as a tinkerer is because over a period of years, he pursued the idea that there had to be away to construct and facilitate this
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interstate highway system throughout the country. the idea was to build roads where people were going to go or where they wanted to go as opposed to where they were already going. before that, most roads were built by the state and there is a lot of corruption by the states. a lot of back roads. and it was really a conceptual idea that he came up with. it made the interstate highway system happen. he liked to say that the only other two great programs of road building in history were that of the roman empire and that of julius caesar and that of napoleon of france. so the u.s. was the only one built under a democracy. but there's something about the
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idea. it made me realize that a lot of the big tinkering innovations in the latter part of the 20th century going into today's society, it sort of started with tinkering with ideas. hopefully those would spin out into actual physical things that could change our lives. so i talk about the originator of game theory. it was founded during the cold war and the idea was to protect national security. they came up with ideas to
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protect us better than the idea that we are to have. later on in the 70s, xerox famously, which was based in stamford, connecticut at the time, they famously created the palo alto research center. this was known as being one of the great experiences. the idea was that they were going to fund research without any products in mind. they were just going to see what came out of it. that was kind of unheard of at the time. why would you spend corporate money on something that you
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didn't know what would happen with? but in fact, it was very fruitful as an experiment. they hired former academics. one of my favorite stories was their version of beat the dealer. and they used it in terms of tossing around ideas and they would have these mustard colored beanbags. it was the 70s. someone would present their idea and they would sort of a bad that idea and explain why it was wrong. this is a big departure from what edison did in his lab. would where he would have this idea and say, you guys do it, this was actually like this.
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some great things came out of it. the most famous was probably a personal computer. in a similar to windows like software elements. it came out of all of these sessions. but when they showed it back in stamford, they just said that they didn't see an application for business at the time. most computers typically would submit your request and the operator of the computer would execute it for you. they didn't see a point for it.
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steve jobs famously went in and wanted to have a look at this. ..
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another person does but to for the book was this guy nathan our fault. and he was biker sauce first chief technology officer. he left in the early 2000's. obviously did very well. he went on to do some really interesting things after that. some people might know him from his modern cuisine cookbook. he is known as sort of -- the developed this whole school of scientific cooking. he applies science. in the bucket is like a $450 book or something. you can -- you know, it is all new way of cooking. but the other thing that he founded was a company called
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intellectual ventures, which ito was very interesting because he was trying to address the issue that it was such a problem in the 70's. how'd you commercialize this great idea that tinkerers can come up with without either having to go elsewhere to develop them or unjust not develop them because the corporate climate is right. and so intellectual ventures, it is not devonshire -- venture capital firm. it is an intellectual or in venture-capital firm. the idea is that he gets all different types of innovators, inventors from all different fields together in the room, and they try to just sort of brainstorm and come up with solutions to the world's big problems. my favorite one is a laser bugs
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separate that they developed to help fight malaria. in fact, the bill and melinda gates foundation has gotten involved in it and helped fund it because apparently it is very effective. they have come up with some really novel solutions for addressing climate change in all different kinds of power solutions. so it is an interesting model. it is still early to see whether it will really grow into something big, but it is interesting. i mentioned alexander hamilton's financial tinker. now, people don't usually think of what happened a couple years back as tinkering if you think about them positive sense. you know, there obviously are a lot of horrible things that came out of the tinkering of some
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people on wall street. but the point i make in the book about this kind of tinkering is that credit the fall swaps and collateralized debt obligations were initially actually invented to solve problems, not to create wants. and in the case of the collateralized debt obligations in the for example, there were two people, built in check and blythe masters looking for new ways to offset risk for some of their clients. and so, you know, that is what they were trying to do when there were pulling together all these mortgages and slauson them up and selling them as securities. in theory it made sense. unfortunately, you know, there can be a dark side to tinkering, obviously. and in fact, probably the darkest part of the financial tinkering was that most people
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other than the people who came up with in the first place didn't understand it. and so that is something i think that we deal with a lot in contemporary society. when you are tinkering and a high level, whether it is financial tinkering or tinkering with technology, when there is that gap between understanding what is being done and what the average person can comprehend, it sometimes creates problems. of course, remember back to edison. people fought electricity was magic. so, you know, there is a learning curve. that's not to say that people can't catch up. this was another guy that i interviewed for the book. really interesting young tinker, professional adventure who was trained at mit. actually originally from australia, but he lived in this country for a long time. he -- he has founded a lot of
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companies to buy invented a lot of interesting things including some interesting wind turbines that actually flow in the air as opposed to being on posts, which allows them to get up into much stronger currency and therefore be more efficient. and he has also fought -- thought a lot about how to make tinkering more fun again. he has come up with all sorts of interesting website said things. one of my favorites instructor bowles which is actually where that mouse experiment came from. but it is actually a really -- a lot of these sites are really interesting because they -- there are all sorts of projects on there that you really can't just downloaded do. some of them are very basic and some of them are very high tech. but the instructions are all
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there. it's a you can pretty much make an attempt at them. [inaudible question] mentioned before about the idea of american tinkering versus tinkering around the world. one of the things i want to look at a little bit of my book is, things going on in tinkering outside the united states that we could learn from. in one of the people that i talk to who is not american, his name probably doesn't ring a bell, but he is actually the father of the mp3 file, the music file, you know, the file technology that created a revolution and up into the recording industry. and he -- what is interesting about how he develops the technology for the mp3 filed, did not start @booktv stark contrast to how we do things in this country. he has worked for a very long time at the fraunhofer institute
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in germany, which is a series of institutes of a country. there are sort of these interesting public-private hybrids. they have public -- they get some public money, but they also have earned their keep as well. and so he was a professor, but he was also working on projects. moneymaking potential. what is interesting is that the mp3 technology was -- the original goal was to find a way to transmit high fidelity music over phone lines. i'm not sure why. but that is what developed into an. >> caller: is essentially a compression technology so that you can get, you know, i fidelity music into a much smaller file and therefore transmitted much more easily. the after effects of that --
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there we go. master and all sorts of other things that created, you know, a lot of confusion in unhappiness in the music world and the united states in particular. in fact, of a large recording companies try to file -- you know, shut that down. they succeeded, but many other services popped up. they tried to us essentially ban in the three files, which never happened. in fact, an technology is still the most common form of music sharing technology. so i guess to you know, my point and looking at something like that is that i think in our country traditionally there was
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a lot of actually federal money that went toward research and development. but their is a lot less now. a lot less now in the u.s. compared to an a lot of other developed countries. that is something that think needs more looking into. and then i also looked at, again, different kinds of conceptual tinkering. this woman, she is an architect in chicago. her most famous building is this really cool building called the art of building which is a residential condominium. those are actually here regular concrete balconies that create this effect. in the building is right on lake michigan. so they sort of -- they are echoed in the like. but it is a very cool building. what is interesting about how it was developed as the way her firm works in which it is actually a very collaborative tinkering environment were the architects actually work in small groups. she works in an office that is
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only slightly secluded that is right near them, so she can sort of come over and look at what everybody's doing. in fact and i have seen a few other companies recently doing this is particularly computer software companies where they're will have two people, two engineers at a computer the same time. after both be working on the computer the same time to get anything done. the idea is that, you know, you don't know what you're going to a stumble upon. you sort of -- it takes to to make sure you capture all that tinkering goodness. by also looked at back overseas. the creators of angry birds. a finnish company started by a young guy named nicklaus said. the company called rodeo. and what was so interesting about the way angry birds was developed, again, these were guys trying to start their own gaming software company. what they did was they could not
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afford to spend all their time developing this new game they had an idea for. they would take on projects for other companies and it would only work on angry birds in their spare time. but instead of market research unit, like he might do if you're a big company, they actually just kept working on it and basing it solely on what day as program raised dollars fund. and it took a long time to do it, but obviously angry birds became a huge success. so, you know, again, the idea that there is a reason why start-ups typically -- sorry, i stalled out here. there is a reason why, you know, why start-ups typically perform a lot better. >> deal may to go back? >> jack, just go back.
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>> t want to play -- >> yeah, i guess the word. sorry. we had to change computers at the last minute. in the process we did was we took the connections to the videos off. we will play the video separately. it does give video. >> there is a reason why start-ups tend to come up with a lot of great innovations these days, not large corporations, but there's a lot of thinking, obviously to operations, how we might get some of the star of spirit in house. book tv book tv -- ♪
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>> take all this advice with a grain of salt. i am a contract computer scientist by trade, but i am the founder of something called the tendering school. a summer program which aims to help kids learn how to build the things that they think of. we build a lot of things. i do put power tools into the hands of second graders. so if you are thinking about sending your kid to tinkering school, they do come back bruise, script, and bloody. the book is called 50 dangerous things. this is five dangerous things. the number one, play with fire. learning to control one of the most elemental forces in nature is a pivotal moment in any child's personal history. whether we remember it not, it is the first time that we really
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get control of one of these mysterious things. these mysteries are only reveal to those who get the opportunity to play with it. playing with fire. >> during tinkering. >> one of the great things we ever discovered. but playing with it, you learn some basic principles about fire, about and take him of combustion, but exhaust. these of the three working elements of fire that you have to have to control fire. and you can think of the open pit fire as a laboratory. you don't know what you're going to learn from playing with it. let them full route that on their own terms. just me. they're going to learn things that you cannot get out of playing with door of the export toys. [laughter] number two, a pocket knife. pocket knives are kind of drifting out of our cultural consciousness, which i think is a terrible --
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>> there is. >> here we go. ♪ >> welcome to five dangerous things you should let your children do. i don't have children. i borrow my friends' children. [laughter] take all this advice with a grain of salt. i am the -- i am a contract computer scientist by trade. i am the founder of something called the tinkering school. it is a summer program which aims to help kids learn how to build the things that they think of. so we built a lot of things. i do put power tools into the hands of second graders. so if you are thinking about
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sending your kid to tinkering school, they do come back bruise, scrapes, and bloody. the book is called 50 dangerous things. this is five dangerous things. the number one amplifier. learning to control one of the most elemental forces in nature is a pivotal moment in any chiles personal history. whether we remember not, it is the first time we really get control of one of these mysterious things. these mysteries are only reveal to those who get the opportunity to play with it. so playing with fire, this is like one of the great things we ever discovered, fire. from playing with that they learn some basic principles about fire, but in take a lot about combustion, but exhaust. these are the three working elements of fire they have to have to have a good control fire. and you can think of the open
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pit fire as a laboratory. you don't know what they're going to learn from playing with it. you know, let them fool around with it on their own terms. trust me, they are going to learn things that you cannot get out of playing with the door of the export toys. [laughter] number two, on a pocket knife. pocket knives are kind of drifting out of our cultural consciousness, which i think is a terrible thing. [laughter] the first pocketknife is like the first universal tool you're given. you know, it is a spatula. it is a pry bar, a screwdriver, and it is a blade. yes. and is a powerful and powering tool. and in a lot of cultures they give knives like as soon as their toddlers they have knives. these are inuit children cutting whale blubber. i first saw this in a community film byrd.
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left a lasting impression. see babies play with guys. it shows that kids can develop an extended sense of self through tool at a very engaged. he laid down a couple of very simple rules. always cut away from your body, keep the blaze sharp, never force it, and these are things kids can understand and practice with. they're going to cut themselves. i've seen terrible scars on my wife's from when i set myself. you know, they are young. they heal fast. [laughter] number three cannot throw a spear. turns out that our brains are actually wired for throwing things. and like muscles, if you don't use parts of your brain they tend to atrophy overtime. and the wind you exercise them, any given muscle may add strength still whole system which applies to your brain as well. so practicing throwing things has been shown to stimulate the
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frontal and parietal lobes, which have to do with visual acuity, a 3d understanding and structural problem solving. so it helps develop there visualizations skills and their predictive ability. and throwing is a combination of analytical and physical skills. so it is very good for kind of whole body training. these kinds of targets based practice also helps kids develop attention and concentration skills. those are great. number five, deconstructs appliances. there is a world of interesting things inside your dishwasher. next time you are about to throw out an appliance, don't throw out, take a par with tickets or send them to my school and we will take a par with them. even if you don't know what the parts are, a figure now what
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they might be for is a really good practice for the kids to get sort of a sense that they can take things apart and no matter how complex they are, they can understand parts of them. that means that eventually they can understand all of them. it is a sense of nobility. something is noble. so these black boxes that we take for granted are actually complex things made by other people. you can understand them. number five, 2-part. break the original millennium copyright act. [laughter] >> whoops. go back. it.
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>> and wrong one. >> okay. so this is -- he is a really interesting guy. he started a summer program out in san francisco originally called the tinkering school. and at the tinkering school kids, they go for a few weeks. they use real tools. they do things like build suspension bridges and work and roller coasters and all sorts of cool stuff. he also wrote this. he became well-known before. you just saw an expert -- exodus of qualified vendors things you should let your kids do. we saw the first three of those. the last couple were break the digital millennium copyright act which was sort of a -- we were talking about was about sharing. give lomas let your kids drive a car.
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and he's talking about little kids. yet. the idea is that -- and now he is actually go founding a private school called bright works which is based on the same principles, and the idea is immersive learning. that while you're learning things and the textbooks you can also actually do them. if you're doing physics experiment you can do the physics experiment and read about it and do all these things simultaneously. it's a really interesting approach on how to us, again, not so much teach kids of the tanker, but to encourage the tinkering that they already want to do. so, you know, back to the contemporary world. it is amazing. every single day now it seems like that there are new sorts of indications that tinkering is
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taking on a sort of, you know, all the earmarks of a mass phenomenon, magazine, which is also part of the o'reilly media empire that helped start the affairs, a pretty cool magazine that is filled with all sorts of experiments you can do a project to to build. it's probably one of the best known phenomenons of today's tinkering. the kick starter. for people unfamiliar with it, it is a website where tankers and inventors can post their projects. they essentially, the video patch. and people can go on and crowd find the innovation, which has created a system that had never existed before because you're
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essentially taking out the middleman that people traditionally needed to get their ideas realized in commercial projects. and so some amazing things have happened. in fact, just in the last week there was an amazing campaign, a company that was really just to people called wabble works may happen. they have this 3d printing and. i don't know if you're familiar with 3-d printers. we will talk a little bit about that and a few minutes, but the idea that these have -- you can actually drop 3d objects with them. plastic comes out of the pen. it's really quite amazing. anyway, they had a goal of $30,000 or trying to raise to make this product reality. this was -- you did this green grab today. you can see what they were up to now. and the idea is, you know,
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people who go on to the site can pledge a certain amount of money to the project. typically either they will get the product and is finally made or sometimes there are surprises. if it is something that is too expensive to be handing out to people. it is just an amazing phenomenon the kickstart has granted the a very large company of the past couple of years. there are a couple of others, other sort of innovation websites out there. two of them, other ones are why, a nader and tech stars. you're seeing more and more of these kind of tinkering incubator's they're going on line which seems to kind of supercharges them. and it i think that that is sort of a real cutting edge trend right now. i mentioned 3d printing. of course, the library is way ahead on this. the library purchased -- i think
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it is to 3d printers. think there is up 34th in the works now. this has become the new symbol of today's tinkerers. if you have not seen when action before, the idea is you can design a three-dimensional object under computer and then printed out. at three the printer will make a prototype of it in plastic. it is an amazing thing for inventors, and you know, they can actually create a prototype. i know that kids enjoy the lot. in fact, we are going to, as you can see up in the top corner there, upstairs in the maker space we have got some young tinker's actually assembling, i think, a new three the printer that the library just purchased. it was cheaper than the previous one. the only trick is yet to put it
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together. so they know their audience. well, i just wanted to talk for a few minutes more about sort of what is been going on. as i mentioned at the start of much talk, by sheer coincidence. but a fortune a coincidence, as i was working on this book the westport library was sort of delving right into this tinkering phenomenon and really bringing the maker movement right into the library. so upstairs in the library there is now lawmakers space where all sorts of projects are being realized on a daily basis. amidst all the books. those three guys in their right now. it's been a great resource. another are a lot of other big plans in the works. the library staff as an involved. this is some totals from part of
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a recent staff day and a library the staff members, you know, you would not connect library and soldering, but in fact i think you will in the future. the knowledge comes from all different directions. you always need to know how the solder fill going to put something with technology together. so also, i mentioned westport has hosted a maker fair. another is another one coming up in april. just a great way to see what people from different walks of life for working on. i know that i went with my kids to the last one. we just all sorts of cool stuff. some photos of some of the 3-d printers that the kids are making. fun stuff. i know one of the biggest hits
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was from the last year, the basketball player robots. astonishing accurate ones that were being controlled by high-school students to build them with laptops. in fact and what's interesting is that those robots were billed as part of the first robotics competition, which is something that dean kamen actually founded. so, again, all of these -- is not just that there is a lot of tinkering amongst adults going on among but there are a lot of really interesting efforts out there right now to get kids involved as early as they can to in trying to a committee know, the curiosity. the instinct for having fun that is so intense it to tinkering. here are few other things.
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indeed clues as want to say some deep interest in from the start, but i think that, you know, there is something intrinsic to the american spirit this seems to be -- it really works well with tinkering. the fact that we still see a lot of really bright people coming from all sorts of other countries around the world to study and to work in the united states and a lot of high-tech felts, it's evidence that there
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is a lot of -- but don't know if you want to call of the frontier spirit or just this sort of cockeyed optimism that the americans have. tinkering seems to go so well. i think the key is from a corporate standpoint, just figuring out how we can not squash too many innovations before they become fully realized. wanted thank you all for coming tonight. i know we're supposed to have a question and answer if anyone has any questions. think we have a microphone. >> any questions? >> people are afraid.
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>> that's a good bet -- that's a good question. you know, i mean, patents -- i actually do talk about patents in the book a little bit because there are some interesting things about the way pat and law has evolved in this country. one thing that i have learned in doing the research for my book is that the idea that an invention is some brand new idea to a sort of incorrect because, of course, everything comes from what came before. in fact, in my mind that is one of the key points about tinkering. tinkering is actually taking what is around you and trying to make something new out of it. even though lazar bugs upper which intellectual ventures have developed, bits of me that they actually built it out of spare parts from consumer electronics
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that they bought off the date. so, you know, i think that was something that they wanted to do a lot of waste. so, you know, i understand people come up with a great idea and are free we're going to steal it, but the reality is that it does not usually work that way. usually people tried steal it once it's already successful. so if you can get to that point they have i class problem. so, you know, i think it's natural for people, especially young people to think that what they've come up with, you know, has never been done before. chances are even if you look back at the history of the airplane immobile for the wright brothers, people have been trying to build a flying machine for hundreds and thousands of years before that. we just happened to us figure out just how they might do it in a way that would work. >> i just wondered, are you a tinker? if so, have you invented anything?
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>> well, i would like to think that writing is tinkering in some regard because you certainly play around with things that already exist for a long time and hope you're creating something new. so i do a lot of that. certainly as a kid i tinkered a lot, whether it was to funnel remember having -- radio shack used to make these kids were you would connect wires and you could build a radio or flashing light erase. you know, remember using those. chemistry set and all sorts of things. have i invented anything? no, i don't think that have. but you brought up a good point in the sense that i think the message in my book ultimately is not that everybody is an inventor, everybody is an innovator or everybody is even a nod to the north but that, in fact, some of these ideas about tinkering and the tinkering mindset are actually very useful to anybody.
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so, you know, i think the idea that coming up as something new involves a certain level of risk and often times failure. i think we have become a society sometimes, particularly with kids to try to protect them from failure some much. in fact, failure is such an intrinsic part of creating something new in success. i think the bat that is another reason why it is important to get kids involved in tinkering when they're young because i think that is how the world works. yes? thank you for fixing the display, by the way. >> you're very welcome. in your research for your book a month the type -- there is more tinkering happening? for example, innovations from the east coast. >> right. >> the last 20 years in the the majority of innovations are coming from the silicon valley. >> it's interesting. in fact, working on this piece
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called the top-10 tinkering cities in the country. so i may have an answer to this. emmy, you're right that obviously silicon valley has been, for quite awhile, sort of tinkering central. but of course to on the east coast to have got, you know, the kids at mit, the cambridge area. what is also really interesting, i think, is over time you see these areas, cities where you don't necessarily think of as being tinkering cities that because they have made an effort to attract that kind of activity have started, you know, growing into those -- into tinkering dybbuks. when it comes to mind right now is tulsa, oklahoma. i know that they have a big medical technology of their and there are a lot of startup companies happening there. i think more -- you know, going around the country there are
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just a lot of smaller cities that are seeing, well, this is a way to the attract economic growth. so i think that there are a lot of other places happening now. of course, with the internet is becoming so much easier to share knowledge and to even, you know, whether it is through skype or some other means to communicate in real time so that there are no longer the cultural and geographical regions word to five reasons why tinker and what happened specifically in certain areas of the country. any other questions? >> oh, yes. >> can you turn that on? >> it i just mess it up? lawsuit. maybe we lost it.
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>> there we go. >> daniel? i think they turn it off completely. >> a, guys. >> a. >> can you hear me? >> yes, i can. >> i just wanted to ask you what you guys are working up there? >> well, right now we are working on a $400 kate, a 3d printer. we have it pretty well fumble right now. this is going to print. this will move side to side. these rails is what it's mounted on. we will move up and down. this is what we have done so far. we're making pretty good progress. >> how long have you been working? >> this is our second date working on a. obviously not full base. it is hard to get in time.
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initially we built the fourth few hours and then today we have been working on a for a few hours. we have made a pretty good amount of progress. >> when you think he will be done? >> i think we will be done present, by either late tonight -- actually, probably next time we start building again we will probably have it done in that session. >> and do you have ideas of what you want to try doing that first dinner done with it? >> first we want to see what kind of resolution that has and what it's capable of doing, and we might use a for smaller objects and use the replicase that we have for larger, more detail the objects. >> can you think of an example? what kind of logic? >> yap. a lot of the things are like we like to print, things like that, just small, little trinkets that could be.
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>> stabbed. i these things that you design? and then -- >> well, most of them are from the website, lsi where people apply there designs. you can download them for free. it's a great community. people have some really cool models they have. and a lot of the time you can find some really cool stuff. >> well was the thing the first of you excited about the 3-d printers? >> well, you hear a lot about it on the news, newspapers like the new york times. it's pretty much everywhere now. lazar working at the library was a have access to a three the printer was a lot of fun because i can experiment on my own and learn a lot about preprinting in general. >> says. well, thank you for talking about it.
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i cannot wait to see it when it's done. [applause] >> any more questions? >> i have read about some other companies that a developing a 3d chips. are there any particular companies that are particularly involved in 3-d chips? all more prominently -- >> well, i noted -- and not sure what you're referring to, but i noted there are a lot of companies right now developing in mercers' 3d technology so they you can, you know, for example, control your computer or your television without a mouse. it's all just reoriented. and there are actually a number -- i know that -- can remember the name of the company. as a small company of his
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partner with basis. the first laptops are coming later this year, i think. they're going to have -- it's all going to be a gesture based. and so -- and another there is a plug in product that you can actually buy a best buy this month, think, that does the same thing. so i think we will be seeing a lot more of that. i'm trying to remember. there is one -- it is escaping me. let me think about a for a minute. improbably remember. i can talk to you after. i can look up until you. but, yeah. a lot of interesting stuff like that going on. you know, it's funny. even in the course of, you know, the past few years, you know, we have lived in this world of the personal computer for quite a while. almost seems like the personal computer is going to disappear within the next few years. you know, it we will have
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something tablet based. something happening right now. still in prototype. they do glasses were you put on a pair of glasses and, you know, you are in the computer. you don't need a computer a more i think we will see a lot more stuff like that. [inaudible question] >> well, i guess you will always need a keyboard. maybe it will be a virtual keyboard. i know that there is technology out there already where you can -- it just projects a keyboard on to the desk and you can type on that. so -- >> any more questions? >> just a note that the 3-d printer that the library, they're all done it. the three printers that we have. >> well, thanks to everybody. this was a lot of fun. [applause] >> you're watching book tv on c-span2. forty-eight hours of nonfiction
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authors and books every weekend. >> next on book tv, learn about the history of the alexandria police department. using photos to tell the story of the apartment in the city of alexandria. >> arcadia.
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there is a thorough history to go with it. the police department. they touch on the very early days of alexander which really it was established in 1870 and that is really where the buck starts. photographs taken. the crime scene. quite also the police department's. they're doing their jobs and contacting. powerful photos were taken. there weren't any extraordinary cases. there were not high profile cases. but it gives you a glimpse into what life is like at that moment that the tragedy occurred. and because this crime scene photography, they don't have a chance to clean out.
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and so you really see how people were living at the time that the tragedy occurred. in the photographs, the 1940's and 50's. a powerful image. look in sewell was going on to some of these sounds, barbershops for restaurants, things like that. prohibition and traffic enforcement. they had to start enforcing probation. they had to start enforcing traffic laws. see how the cooperatives, the relationship between really changed. the out gall was banned in virginia a few years before. there are people that believe that affected just go out there
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were technical in virginia. earlier the alexandria book department did not need a lot of new vehicles. it did not need a motorcycle. pretty small area there were responsible for patrolling. the double than doubled again. pretty much really change the department. staffing. one of the stores the found interesting was out officers began enforcing speed limits. from the first 47 years of the police department history didn't have cars. emergency situation. there were not notarized. so once car started coming through alexandria, the question arises, how do you stop somebody for speeding. and today we have radars and some may techniques. there's no way do that.
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we had two officers spanning one corner of one block and then after another. and they had somebody between us to box. being able to approach set and then up at pressure on the police department for a number of years to hire a black police officer. it was pressure from the mayor and pressure from the community. the police chief at the time, city wants to do it. he repeatedly said to my just have to find the right person. you won the find somebody would be successful. he really did enjoy with the
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agency the president of the united states were tear for we can have. and what happened at that time was charles ford, the vice-president, he became president when nixon resigned. it happened very quickly at the time. the fourth family was living in alexandria. by 20 years. is going to take a lot. for week in half. in 1974, the president of the united states would wake up. he would go out. greed is neighbors. there would be gathered. then he would be escorted so that he could go to work the white house. and the detail to provide security near his home, on the street, and then also sit in traffic.
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the world were to head, a lot of men had to go serve and the war. and so pretty soon there was a need for women to start working in the apartment. that's when there are there for secretary. the first civilians who were in the early 1950's wanted to of train police officers from more important things. and so the department hired women to serve as crossing guards. this group of women, african-americans. at the forefront of women's or representing the agency. the first time people of color were in uniform representing the alexander police department. in the eyes and a police department from the early stages these there was a police officer
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who had trained his doctor respond to radio commands. in the k-9 corps which eventually evolved into the k-9 unit. office reopened trend is toward to the radio commands. the following his death. as much like it was in the 1930's, a benevolent organization, their work to support the interests of the members, largely police officers. the family situation, the personal crisis the social events for the members.
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a variety. >> this weekend book tv is in alexandria, virginia with the help of our local cable partner, comcast. all weekend long watch tours of the city. hear from local authors and learn about some of the important historical literary and cultural sites in the area. next, we bring you the story of the said in a 1939. >> 19395 african-americans were arrested at the alexandria city library as they try to obtain their library cards. attorney samuel tucker was behind this release in which resulted in the creation of a separate library for its black residents. we travel to the side of the original seven. a city library. the place where the black library was built. today an african american history museum to tell a story of samuel tucker and the five people arrested that date for the simple act of trying to library card.
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>> august 21st 1939 plus 5 african-american men who were not allowed to use the library came in, and each one paillasse to for a library card. there were denied. each band picked up a book, said that a separate table and a library staff just not know what to do with that. they pay taxes, filed laws, but there were not allowed to take part in the things that every alexandria system was allowed to take part in. this was part of a program that young local attorneys and samuel tucker had been working on for some time. >> and native from alexandria. two reasons, the lawyer here in town who rented space from tech is father. he became fascinated. and then the other was to take a trip on a street car with his brothers into d.c. there were coming back from d.c.
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there were asked to move from their seats was the streetcar got into alexandria by white pitcher knew was there. there refused. refuse to move from his seat. when they got up there, got off the streetcar the woman saw and flag down a policeman and had the young man arrested. and luckily there were thrown out because the lawyers were really scared the charges would not be thrown out, but the judge had not created any disturbance and they weren't trying to do anything that was illegal, but it gave tucker a sense that being a lawyer give you some kind of power to make things right price before 1939 he had an african-american sergeant and george wilson was a world war one veteran. he had worked with wilson to come into the library and applied for card. wilson had been denied on technical grounds. the wilson case did not go very far.
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the city was able to drag its the and slow things down. so was an attacker did was to go to the neighborhood, find a large group of young men who were willing to volunteer to basically be arrested. it was a fairly large number initially, but on august 201st 1939 there were just five young men that were available. they get dressed up in the best closing. i mean, everyone perfectly groomed. they came in. they asked for a library card. there were denied. and tucker had one of the younger brothers of one of these men waiting outside. as soon as he heard that the police were being called tucker came over with a photographer. as florence murray took a one-shot the we have of the policeman and a young man coming in the building. it was dr. who instructed them to be very polite, very quiet. it was very sedate. he did not want anyone being arrested for disturbing the piece. >> it was interesting because
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decker had said fight constantly with the city attorney at the time. but the case went to court. but the man really didn't do anything wrong. they just wanted to read. tucker had another case that was going on, a case of a retired army sergeant. in beverly -- that really sort of started the idea. he wanted wilson to be able to get a library card. he tried and was turned down. even though he paid taxes in the city, he was not allowed to elaborate card. this court case, there were two cases going on at the same time. the court case for each one during the seven. i think there's no reason to send these five him into jail to make them serve any time for what they did. really any sort of punishment. it's been said that he asked for a continuance after continuance during the court case.
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and eventually the charges against the men were dropped. but the wilson case, the main issue was there were saying that when the library, wilson's case was that he was a pitch in an alexandria. during the court case he did not make it clear that when he once a librarian that he was a citizen. therefore he had a perfect right not to issue a library cards and eventually the case was solved and that there were going to find a issued. it went back. tucker went back. they issued him a card, but not for the alexandria library, but for the robinson library for african american citizens in 1940. it came out of the 1939 sit in that occurred on august of 1939 at the alexandria -- what was then the alexandria, library. he admitted that he was assistant vice andrea. it was never accessible.
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he got 21. he won full access. and a couple of things about that. we were happy that there was a library. especially that their children will have a place that they could study. supplement what they're learning in school, but they also, it was sort of a jim crow library, not a library that was meant. it was meant to appease. it was not meant for them to have full access to the information that they needed. set foot in the live and some leverage. i believe there was a letter in the document section a special corrections. if you're right to me does not consider this a solution. he was full access to the alexandria free library for all african american patrons who are citizens of alexandria. does not have a right. they sought tucker on the street and alexandria.


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