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.

 

Black Friday Finds

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I’m so glad us Canadians get to share in the wonders that is Black Friday. Finally, a holiday that let’s us shop shamelessly without having to justify through religious or historical connotations.

I went a little nuts this Black Friday — which seems to last from Black Thursday to Cyber Tuesday. One retailer sent me an email stating “GET READY TO CYBER”. Those of us who remember chat rooms will know that this is horribly inappropriate.

But CYBER I did! Here’s my loot from Black Friday:

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Soia & Kyo Carmella Coat  –> This is my big splurge of the year. Soia & Kyo is a Montreal-based company that makes super cozy winter jackets that don’t make you look like a sleeping bag. The hood on this jacket is also large enough to cover all peripheral vision — thereby allowing me to forget it’s actually winter. (Photo credit: freshcollective.com)

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Phillips Wake-Up Light –> I hate mornings. I hate them more than winter. But winter mornings are the worst because it’s cold, dark and you almost always have to go to work. The Phillips Wake-Up Light is an alarm clock that wakes you up with a light that emulates the sunrise — instead of jolting you awake with a horrible Nokia ringtone. Oh wait, no one uses Nokia anymore.

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The Royal Physician’s Visit –> I recently watched The Royal Affair and fell in love with the story which is roughly based on this book. See my post on royal reading.

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Otterbox Challenger for Samsung Galaxy Note 3 –> This one’s an anniversary/ Christmas gift for my boyfriend. He owns the phone of my dreams: Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I decided I would look ridiculous with a massive phone but he got one and it’s pretty awesome. The Otterbox Challenger is basically the most heavy duty case on the market. Unfortunately, it makes the phone pretty clunky. But real men like some meat on their phone! YEAH! (ok, maybe not)

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FitBit Force Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband –> It hasn’t arrived yet but this one is a gift for my dad. It’s a wristband that monitors your exercise and sleep through a phone app. The newest Force model features a OLED screen which you can use to tell time and monitor progress. The light also helps make the wristband look less like jewellery and more like some kind of watch from the future.

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