bev_vincent (bev_vincent) wrote,

Colored computers

You know you're in Texas when the ice cream truck, with its annoying, endless chiming melody, goes down your street in the middle of January. And you think that if you'd been outside you might have bought something! It's nearly 80° today, and there were tornado alerts earlier this morning. Looking like a soggy week here.

Hopefully it won't be too rainy come the weekend. I'm about to do something I've never done before; take part in a protest march. We've signed up to participate in the Women's March in Houston on Saturday. Nearly 6000 people have signed up to attend. Should be interesting. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I've become more politically active and vocal since the outset of the recent election campaign. Before I became a citizen, I didn't really feel like I had a voice in this country. But I do now, and I'm going to use it—at least during the tenure of the forthcoming administration.

We saw Hidden Figures on the weekend. An excellent film about a little-known aspect of the NASA program: how many African American women worked on the mathematics that put John Glenn into orbit, and subsequent aspects of the program, too. Three women are the focus: one aspires to be the first black woman engineer with NASA (despite the fact that the only school providing the extension courses she needs is segregated), one who runs the Colored Computing division, although her request to be acknowledged as a supervisor, with the attendant respect and salary are regularly turned down, and one who proves her computational and mathematics skills under pressure. It's a good ensemble, also featuring Kirsten Dunst, who doesn't think she's prejudiced but is; Jim Parsons, who has to swallow his pride when a black woman computer solves problems his team has thus far failed; and Kevin Costner as the leader of that group. Costner is surprisingly good as a man whose team is under a great deal of pressure to get a man into orbit. I love the scene where he solves an issue with bathrooms. I don't always care for his performances, but I liked this one a lot. There's also a nice romance subplot featuring Taraji P. Henson's character and Mahershala Ali, who plays Remy Danton in House of Cards, and I appreciated the scene where Octavia Spencer's character picks up a Fortran book, determined to teach herself the programming language to guarantee that the new IBM mainframe won't make her and her fellow mathematicians obsolete. I taught myself Fortran some 30 years ago, and it was a valuable skill indeed!

I finished Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (review forthcoming, but #WTFThatEnding indeed!) and started Final Girls by Riley Sager, which I'm enjoying thus far.
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