Female accomplishments are too often overlooked in our history books, but this photo looks to change that by celebrating one of history's coolest ladies.
Margaret Hamilton was the lead software engineer for NASA's Project Apollo and created the code that let Apollo 11 land on the moon. As this Medium article points out, “The engineers weren’t all boys with crewcuts, short sleeve oxford shirts, and narrow black ties. That’s just a fairy tale they told for a while.”
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Hamilton was directly responsible for some of NASA’s most impressive achievements. In 1971 she shared this story in an issue of Datamation about a tense moment in the Apollo 11 moon landing and how the software she designed was able to handle it:
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.
You can read more about Hamilton on Wired and check out an interview with her over on Medium.
Writing at Metropole, Sarah Balakrishnan describes the development of cemeteries in a city in Ghana. As of the 1800’s, the general practice in the seaside city of Accra was to bury the dead underneath the family’s home. Around 1888, British colonists began forcing the populace to bury the dead in public cemeteries. The requirement served […]
Presumably coming soon to ESPN’s “The Ocho” is some version of this 200-year old tradition in Malta held in honor of St Julian the Hospitaller: In the tournament, known as Gostra to the Maltese, a 16 meter-pole is covered by 15 liters of lard and fixed at an angle from the promenade into the sea. […]
I had hoped In the Valley of Gods, Campo Santo’s follow up to Firewatch, was going to adapt some of the magic of the Indiana Jones and Brendan Fraser Mummy films, and add a modern sensibility. The trailer looked promising: From the team that brought you Firewatch, In the Valley of Gods is a sprawling […]
You might know someone who can make a pipe out of any conceivable household object. But if they’re doing it every time they smoke, it might be time to get them a little Christmas present. And we’ve got just the thing: The Twisty™️ Glass Original Combo Pack, priced way, way down for December. If you’ve […]
With all the revolutionary tech that’s out there, it’s pretty sad that finding a simple stud in your wall can feel like dowsing for water. This can be equally true whether you’re using a magnetic finder and it’s reliance on “feel,” or an electronic unit that can give fuzzy readings (especially when the batteries are […]
Do you have any Star Wars fans on your list? Given the reach and output of its new corporate masters these days, it might be easier to ask if there’s anyone out there who isn’t a Star Wars fan. So let’s narrow it down further: Do you know a Star Wars fan who likes to […]