Hidden Figures

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] Wow, a must see!

    Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Mar. 21, 2017

    This week’s ride as some of you may know is the Toyota Mirai FCV. Although the first NASA Fuel Cell was used during the Pre-Apollo Gemini V mission in August 1965, it ties in perfectly with the math, science, and engineering that the movie Hidden Figures portrays. I saw Hidden Figures as the lone attendee in a 100 seat theater on Tuesday night.


    I first heard about the human computers within NASA in an episode of "Timeless" late last year. In a NASA episode, one of the characters was tasked to reconfigure a NASA computer that had been hacked with a modern day Virus. When trying to figure out who to approach, it was not the control room with the NASA control team we have seen in movies for years. Instead, this character said, "We need to go to the smartest people in NASA." The smartest people were black females who resided in the basement and were known as "Human computers." This intrigued me to say the least!!!

    While Moonlight took the Best Picture at this year’s academy awards, Hidden Figures was in the hunt and imho, should have taken the Oscar. It depicts the behind the scenes actions of three key black females working at Langley in the early 60s who were integral in helping America win the race to the stars.

    In the early 1960s, the U.S. was “behind the curve” with the Soviet Union seemingly making successful strides into space almost at will. First with Sputnik in October of 1957 and then the first man to orbit the earth - Yuri Gagarin - in April of 1961.

    Within Hidden Figures, three mathematically and technologically gifted African-American women not only met but exceed expectations despite the racial and sexist overtones in the country at the time and even within the segregated halls of NASA at their Langley, Virginia computing facilities.

    Katherine Johnson played by Taraji P. Henson was the lead as a mathematic prodigy followed from a small girl to her pivotal role. She was the individual who singlehandedly figured out mathematically how a returning Mercury space capsule would have to transition from an elliptical orbit to parabolic one without skipping off the atmosphere into space – to soft a trajectory – or coming in at to acute of an angle and burning up – to hot – all the while landing inside a 20 mile by 20 mile box in the Atlantic for final recovery. The transition was called the Go - No Go, trajectory and she is the U.S. citizen who figured out the math by thinking outside the box.

    Dorothy Vaughan played by Octavia Spencer was the leader of a team of female African-American "human computers" contributing to the success of NASA during the early 1960s. Her contributions were not only was she a strong leader of the “human computer” team, she taught herself FORTRAN to program Langley’s IBM 7090 Mainframe and was the first African-American woman to lead a department at NASA. Hidden Figures revealed her contributions in a manner that will make you smile each time you see her on screen.

    The third black female role was Mary Jackson played superbly by Janelle Monáe. She held degrees in both math and physical science.

    In one of the most poignant scenes of the movie, Jackson was asked if she's want to be an engineer if she were a white man. Jackson responded, "I wouldn't have too. I would already be one!"

    To earn her engineering degree - her third degree, she had to petition the Hampton, VA City Court to attend the segregated Hampton High School where night classes were being offered. She won, attended, graduated, and soon afterwards was promoted to a full engineer position in 1958, making her NASA's first African-American female engineer.

    Mary was a firebrand and the movie showed both her frustrations and her restraint in scene after scene while dealing with both the racism and sexism of early 1960s America. You will love her behind the wheel in a driving scene at the beginning of the movie in particular.

    2016 Toyota Mirai and the Movie Hidden Figures

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    Hidden figures was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Dorothy Vaughan played by Octavia Spencer - and Best Adapted Screenplay.

    DVD rental availability is scheduled for April 11 and I highly recommend that you pick it up for a great evening of learning and humble appreciation for those that really did made America Great without any of the fanfare or acknowledgment they so deserved.

    Regarding the 2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV), it performed well in terrible raining rush hour traffic on Tuesday afternoon between Torrance and Carlsbad, Calif.

    2016 Toyota Mirai

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    Shell H2 station closed. :( -- Displays reset. Traffic, traffic and more traffic. -- 101.5 MPGe over 82.8 actual miles.​
     
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  2. dr61

    dr61 Well-Known Member

    On my "must see" list. Back in 1950 at Cal Tech, my father was working on his thesis on ramjets and Cal Tech made available their human computers to help solve the differential equations involved.
     
    xcel likes this.
  3. rhwinger

    rhwinger Well-Known Member

    Enjoyed it a few weeks ago. Thanks for spreading the word about this worthy story.

    Bob
     
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