Hidden Figures makes superheroes out of mathematicians

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A few years ago, I was Freshly Pressed for writing a blog post about math.

I’m really proud of this because not only was I Freshly Pressed, I was Pressed for writing about something I am so uncomfortable with.

When I heard about the movie Hidden Figures, I knew I had to see it. I mean, who would have thought that in 2017, a top grossing movie would be one about black women doing math for NASA?

If this movie was made in 1998, it would have been Ben Affleck flying into space to rescue us from an asteroid. (And, I don’t want to miss a thing.)

But it’s 2017 and nerdy is the new flash. As Hidden Figures so inspiringly taught us, math is the backbone of today’s technology.

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As a daughter of an programmer, it was also really exciting to see them roll the first IBMs (International Business Machine, whoop!) into NASA. I practically squealed when Octavia Spencer’s character steals a book on Fortran from the white segregated library. Not because it was so ballsy but because I’ve never heard Fortran mentioned in mainstream media. And when she whipped out those punchcards… oh no you didn’t!

Sure, the scripting was cheesy but it was thrilling to see three minority women confidently take on math and out-calculate not just any men, but NASA’s top engineers. I hope it inspires a whole new generation of girls and women to never back down from a difficult equation or a top spot in the conference room.

E-readers aren’t sexy (but still awesome)

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I recently came back from a brief, two-week trip in East Asia which included stops in Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo. It was loads of fun! But I made the mistake of bringing a book that I didn’t really like and it made all the waiting in airports super painful.

I know, First World Problems, right?

Well, I really felt sorry for myself because I could have brought my Kindle and bought any other, better, book on the fly.

On a side note, I’d like to congratulate my cousin L. on buying his very first Kindle and welcome him to the weird club of e-reader readers. L. bought the Kindle because he had always wanted one and found out that it qualifies for same-day shipping with Amazon Prime. A fan of new and shiny objects with touch screens, he opted for the Kindle Paperwhite with a built-in light.

I was a little surprised L. bought an e-reader because he’s an early adopter and unlike other portable devices, the e-reader never got its sexy back. It’s more or less still a bonified etch and sketch. Newer versions of Kindles and Kobos have added a fancy light and other high(er) tech upgrades like uh, page numbers and less flickering when turning pages.

In fact, e-readers haven’t even been sexy enough to replace books — which some people argue are unsexy in their own right.

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Alas, I’m still a big believer in e-readers and, after all these years, I STILL use my Kindle Keyboard. Yes, it’s got a KEYBOARD and no touchscreen. Isn’t it beautiful?

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I can buy books and read them while in bed – without even getting dressed. Also, I can travel with a dozen Russian novels in my back pocket.

So, welcome to the club L. Feel proud because now you can read Fifty Shades on the subway without getting weird looks. (No really, don’t do it.)

P.S. For all you other Kindle owners, check out Buzzfeed’s article on “21 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Your Kindle.

 

I wish I knew how to quit you

It’s been more than a year since I blogged on Broken Penguins and yet, I’ve had so many moments that made me think, “That’d make a great post!” And then, there were my friends who were always telling me about a great book they read — and then of course, they’d ask “What are you reading?”

The sad part is, I kind of stopped reading. Which in my world, means reading, like, one book every two months. But in the book blogger world, that might as well be a book per century.

But this blog never really left my thoughts. And while I haven’t been buried in a book, I have been reading The Economist and listening to a lot of podcasts. I guess all the U.S. elections has been more entertaining than fiction.

So maybe I wasn’t quite ready to leave Broken Penguin yet. Maybe I’ll stay this time.

MAYBE they’ll make Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train into a movie! I won’t lie, seeing the trailer for that movie was one of the most compelling, “I MUST BLOG THAT” moments. I actually didn’t love the book as much as I wanted but I am such a big fan of Emily Blunt. Has anyone seen it yet?

 

Other moments include buying this shirt from Forever21. Yes, I paid for a shirt with holes in it.

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But what really got me back here? A few months ago, I moved into a condo that is a 15 minute walk away from a huge public library. Yesterday, I finally got my library card and walked all the floors. And it felt great. And this feels great. And I thought, “I have to blog this”.

I found this treasure of a book from 1932 on the shelves and can’t wait to start it:

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Watching The Slap mini-series

A few years ago, I blogged about how Chris Tsiolka’s The Slap wasn’t smut after reading a bunch of Amazon reviews calling it smutty. Well, they made a TV show about it and it’s even better than the book. It feels so good when they get a book right on screen.

I binge watched the Aussie miniseries on Netflix over Easter weekend. It was amazing. The show tones down much of the violence, sex and swearing so it can play on prime time. The characters are still hard to love but thanks to some great casting and scripting, they’re incredibly real.

Watch it, watch it, watch it!