Hey, That's Great!

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Re: Hey, That's Great!

Postby Baker » 17 Dec 2014, 06:08

In my reading experience, from childhood, has been that at any time in the past the human race has been about 100 men for every woman. And those women were almost exclusively queens. Women didn't do anything, include write history or do any research. So, I am totally chuffed at the book I began reading last night: "A HIstory of Ancient Egypt". When reading the section about the Badarian people the author sang the praises of Gertrude Caton-Thompson. She was an extraordinary archaeologist who did exemplary field work, which the author of the book I'm reading characterised as a generation ahead of her time.

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Reading her wiki entry introduced me to the names of other women who were also working in the same field, including Margaret Murray who was the first woman in Britain to be appointed as a lecturer in archaeology.

Who knew? Women were out there doing brilliant work.
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Re: Hey, That's Great!

Postby wildlx » 18 Dec 2014, 02:46

Nice :-)!
That reminded me of sharing about Margaret Heafield Hamilton, a woman I had never heard about also until a few days, which is credited for coining the term “software engineering” and whose work prevented a crash during the landing of Apolo 11.

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“Margaret Hamilton, Apollo program”

Margaret Heafield Hamilton[1] (born 1938) is a computer scientist and mathematician. She was Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program.

[...]
At NASA Hamilton was responsible for helping pioneer the Apollo on-board guidance software required to navigate to/from and land on the moon, and its multiple variations used on numerous missions (including the subsequent Skylab).[2] She worked to gain hands-on experience during a time when computer science and software engineering courses or disciplines were non-existent.

In the process, she produced innovations in the fields of system design and software development, enterprise and process modelling, preventative systems design, development paradigm, formal systems (and software) modelling languages, system-oriented objects for systems modelling and development, automated life-cycle environments, methods for maximizing software reliability and reuse, domain analysis, correctness by built-in language properties, open-architecture techniques for robust systems, full life-cycle automation, quality assurance, seamless integration (including systems to software), distributed processing systems, error detection and recovery techniques, man/machine interface systems, operating systems, end-to-end testing techniques, and life-cycle management techniques.

Hamilton's work prevented an abort of the Apollo 11 moon landing:[7] Three minutes before the Lunar lander reached the Moon's surface, several computer alarms were triggered. The computer was overloaded with incoming data, because the rendezvous radar system (not necessary for landing) updated an involuntary counter in the computer, which stole cycles from the computer. Due to its robust architecture, the computer was able to keep running; the Apollo onboard flight software was developed using an asynchronous executive so that higher priority jobs (important for landing) could interrupt lower priority jobs. Initially, the fault had been attributed to a faulty checklist and the radar being erroneously activated by the crew, but a 2005 re-analysis concluded that a hardware design error in the rendezvous radar provided the computer with faulty information even while in standby mode.[8]

Due to an error in the checklist manual, the rendezvous radar switch was placed in the wrong position. This caused it to send erroneous signals to the computer. The result was that the computer was being asked to perform all of its normal functions for landing while receiving an extra load of spurious data which used up 15% of its time. The computer (or rather the software in it) was smart enough to recognize that it was being asked to perform more tasks than it should be performing. It then sent out an alarm, which meant to the astronaut, I'm overloaded with more tasks than I should be doing at this time and I'm going to keep only the more important tasks; i.e., the ones needed for landing ... Actually, the computer was programmed to do more than recognize error conditions. A complete set of recovery programs was incorporated into the software. The software's action, in this case, was to eliminate lower priority tasks and re-establish the more important ones ... If the computer hadn't recognized this problem and taken recovery action, I doubt if Apollo 11 would have been the successful moon landing it was.
—Margaret Hamilton, Letter to Datamation, March 1, 1971

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_H ... ientist%29
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Re: Hey, That's Great!

Postby Baker » 18 Dec 2014, 05:48

Great. :-) Maybe we ought to have a thread for the forgotten, the overlooked, the diminished, and the dismissed women of history. Perhaps we could call it the Rosalind Franklin Memorial Thread. ;)
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Re: Hey, That's Great!

Postby wildlx » 18 Dec 2014, 06:38

YES! Excellent name for the thread ;-)!
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Re: Hey, That's Great!

Postby Baker » 12 Jan 2015, 06:38

Image
source

Massive silent march in Paris.

We're not going to let a little gang of hoodlums run our lives," said Fanny Appelbaum, 75, who said she lost two sisters and a brother in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. "Today, we are all one."


That's the spirit! She makes such a sensible contrast to that recycled idiot Sarkozy, who I heard calling the act a declaration of war. FFS! I know human beings have a proven ability to not learn anything from history, but Sarkozy only has to look across the Atlantic to see where "war" is going to lead you. You end up starting wars that trash countries and provide breeding grounds for more insurgents. You end up with a massive surveillance state aimed at your own citizens. You curtail the liberties you say you want to protect. You end up spending trillions of dollars mounting up a pile of bodies. You end up losing your moral compass entirely, and proudly boast of torture. Is that really what you want Mr Sarkozy? Or will you resist these criminal acts with a show of strength to not bow to terrorism rather than a knee-jerk violence that will lead you into a downward spiral that turns you into what you profess to want to fight against? Listen to the people who have really felt the effects of terror and loss. Fanny Appelbaum knows what she's talking about. The Londoners of the Blitz knew what they were talking about. It's demagogues like you, who want to spill the blood of other people, who deserve contempt. You, sir, are a fucking idiot not the modern Napoleon.
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Re: Hey, That's Great!

Postby wildlx » 12 Jan 2015, 07:45

That was some rant, Baker ;-). Sarkozy is just a plain idiot. Actually, on that photo I see more idiots :).
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Re: Hey, That's Great!

Postby Proofrdr » 12 Jan 2015, 12:35

from Inquisitr:
. . . shortly after the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, hackers from the activist group Anonymous declared war. The group opened a new Twitter account and hashtag, #OpCharlieHebdo, and made this ominous threat to the terrorists.

“You will not impose your sharia law in our democracies, we will not let your stupidity kill our liberties and our freedom of expression. We have warned you; expect your destruction. We will track you everywhere on the planet, nowhere will you be safe. We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forget. We do not forgive. Be afraid of us, Islamic State and Al Qaeda — you will get our vengeance.”


Since ISIL, al Quaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups use the internet to recruit, this seems a rather sensible way of cutting them off from the young idiots who join them.
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Re: Hey, That's Great!

Postby Baker » 19 Sep 2015, 08:17

I didn't realise they'd done this, but it's pretty cool. They've replaced the generic green man on the pedestrian signals with an outline of Kate Sheppard to celebrate 121 years of women's suffrage. (Kate Sheppard is also on our $10 bill.)

Wellington has a new character to replace the ‘green man’ in the pedestrian ‘cross now’ lights.

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Not all the pedestrian crossing lights in the capital have changed: mostly they're around the Parliament building.

I wish they'd do this more widely.
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Re: Hey, That's Great!

Postby wildlx » 20 Sep 2015, 21:37

Nice :-)!
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Re: Hey, That's Great!

Postby Proofrdr » 20 Sep 2015, 23:36

When you think about it, it's time that the universal sign for human being ceased being just male.
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