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.
Photographer Drew Gardner created a photo series depicting descendants of historical figures, each posed as their ancestors. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens… It’s surprising how uncanny the resemblances often are. But none are so fascinating as his portrait of Shannon LaNier, the great^6-grandson of Thomas Jefferson. The recreation was based on the famous […]
We humans are castaways on an ocean of uncertainty. Since the beginnings of history, our ancestors sought knowledge and understanding about their lives, their relationship with the cosmos, and perhaps take a peek into their future. In such effort—long before the answers of science—earthlings developed a rich variety of divination practices and systems. Many forms […]
My dad used to enjoy combing the beach (and his backyard) with a metal detector, but unfortunately he never dug up anything like this 2,000-year-old Roman ingot that metal detector hobbyist (metal detective? metal detectorist!) Rob Jones found in a field in Rossett, Wales, UK. The lead object is approximately one-half meter long and weighs […]
As the summer surges forward, grilling and evenings in the backyard may be the only serious outdoor excursions many of us take this season. Yet even with all of our current problems, there’s one group who doesn’t care a bit about COVID-19 and will still look to make any trip you make outside into an […]
With all due respect to our vegetarian friends, there might be nothing more intrinsically linked to the 4th of July holiday than a big ole cookout. Sure, fireworks and celebrating the birth of a constitutional republic are great too, but showing off your cooking prowess with a brilliantly seared, mouth-watering slab of grade-A American beef […]
We’re at the midway point of 2020. So…how’s the year going for you so far? Yeah…we can guess. But while there’s a lot about 2020 we can’t directly control, maybe a little retail therapy can help make you feel better. Sure, the 39 items we gathered together can absolutely bring a smile to your face. […]