California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has been central to the US missile and rocket development and operations for decades, and from the beginning that technology's success rested on a corps of expert mathematicians, people known as computers. And from the beginning they were all women, in a time when such opportunities were few and far between. You can find pictures of them, but names have not been well-recorded ... until now. Nathalia Holt found many of those women and wrote about their experiences in her book, Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars. [more inside]
What was once a series content to celebrate simple boy-racer pleasures, the seventh Fast & Furious fell prey to a recent tentpole-film affliction: ridiculously over-complicated plotting. Iron Man 3 and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation writer Drew Pearce draws an analogy for this blockbuster bloat, responsible for routinely pushing run times over the two-hour mark: “Much as I love a prog-rock album, if it’s a pop song I like it to be short and sweet, and I think it has more impact that way. And summer blockbusters are very proggy right now.” Mission impenetrable: are Hollywood blockbusters losing the plot?
For centuries, ships navigated by the stars. Thousands of ships' logs representing hundreds of thousands of position readings were diligently recorded by sailors for a future use they never could have imagined: 100 years of ocean travel 1750 to 1850.