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  #1  
Old 01-08-2017, 09:30 AM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Hidden Figures

Saw it yesterday, enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was a great feel-good movie, as well as being an important story that needed to be told, and a sometimes painful reminder of discrimination that existed and still exist.

What did you all think?
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2017, 10:05 AM
Athena Athena is offline
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Have not seen it, but wanted to point out that the Kindle version of the book is on sale for $1.99 today (Sunday 1/8), in case anyone is interested.
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Old 01-08-2017, 02:45 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Did they show them doing any calculations on screen? Could you tell if the calculations were accurate?
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Old 01-08-2017, 04:14 PM
Lasciel Lasciel is offline
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Soooooo much chalkboard math. No freaking clue. I do not math. Loved the movie tho and very glad it's doing well for its opening weekend.
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Old 01-08-2017, 04:51 PM
JcWoman JcWoman is online now
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Saw it today and liked it a lot. The racism really pissed me off, though. Shameful and stupid.

One of the things I really loved was the side plot where Dorothy sensed that the new machine was going to make her team obsolete so she taught them all Fortran. Smart and clever!
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Old 01-08-2017, 05:22 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Did they show them doing any calculations on screen? Could you tell if the calculations were accurate?
There were a lot of blackboard scenes but it all went by pretty fast. No "real-time" scene where viewers could actually follow the math being done.
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  #7  
Old 01-08-2017, 05:34 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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p.s. For me, the most distracting inaccuracy was not the math or any technical detail, but how little the actor who played John Glenn looked like the real person.

Last edited by scr4; 01-08-2017 at 05:35 PM..
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  #8  
Old 01-08-2017, 06:02 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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Excellent movie.

The look for Glenn was less bothersome than how young he was. Glenn was 40 I think at the time, that guy is, what late 20s?

I highly recommend it to everyone. All the more amazing because the unbelievable things these women did in the movie are really pretty much what the real women did (reading up the artistic licenses were fairly mild).

Anyone know why all the computers were female? Was it that men with that mathematical aptitude went onto become engineers and the path for women was more closed?

(I cannot confirm that the math was right but if they did not have experts making sure it was I'd be shocked.)
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:36 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Anyone know why all the computers were female? Was it that men with that mathematical aptitude went onto become engineers and the path for women was more closed?
Yeah, pretty much.

The movie's power emerges from how small and everyday and unceasing the slights and indignities were. It went around from office to school to road to bathrooms and hung a huge sign on them saying, "You say you don't know what white privilege is? Stick your head in this." Now that will make some people in 2017 angry and those people probably will never see the movie. Or they'll just say that times have changed. If you're one of them: You're wrong.

What's odd is that the movie itself has numerous flaws. It's Hollywoodized to the nth degree, there is no plot, and the feel good arc is exactly like the last 50 feel good movies you've seen. For Pete's sake, they get the one number that everybody in the audience can figure out wrong. At the end it mentions that Katherine Goble's second marriage to Jim Johnson has lasted 57 years. But they are shown being married in 1962. That's 54 years. (57 is right. They actually got married in 1959, so she was married to him before the movie starts and wasn't a lonely single mom. Hollywoodization.)

The performances make it work - that and the fact that the film has a basic humanity that overcomes the cliches and falsifications. It's realer than any thousand superhero movies could ever be.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:36 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Anyone know why all the computers were female? Was it that men with that mathematical aptitude went onto become engineers and the path for women was more closed?
I think that, and also because women were cheaper to hire (i.e. paid less). It wasn't just Langley - here's info about JPL's computers.

Wikipedia entry on "human computer" says astronomers in the 18th century started hiring women to do computations. But it's really Edward Pickering (director of the Harvard Observatory in the late 19th century) who is best known for assembling such a team - the Harvard Computers or "Pickering's Harem."

Last edited by scr4; 01-08-2017 at 07:40 PM..
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  #11  
Old 01-08-2017, 07:55 PM
Equipoise Equipoise is offline
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Have not seen it, but wanted to point out that the Kindle version of the book is on sale for $1.99 today (Sunday 1/8), in case anyone is interested.
Thank you for this tip, I just bought it and I've already started to read it. I love this movie so much and will be seeing it again. An entertaining and informative movie about SMART people, how great is that?

Last edited by Equipoise; 01-08-2017 at 07:55 PM..
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  #12  
Old 01-08-2017, 08:50 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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It wasn't just computers, but women in general were hired for technical jobs that were considered too tedious for the male "real scientists". Another example would be stellar classifications in astronomy: It was women such as Williamina Fleming, Antonia Maury, and Annie Jump Cannon who stared at thousands of spectrographs and classified each one. And in the process often made bigger scientific advances than the men they were working for.

And I really hope that those blackboard scenes were accurate. I think it's a big boon to STEM education for Hollywood to show people actually doing math, not just a vague "being scientists". And they have, in general, improved a lot on that in recent years.
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  #13  
Old 01-08-2017, 10:10 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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And I really hope that those blackboard scenes were accurate. I think it's a big boon to STEM education for Hollywood to show people actually doing math, not just a vague "being scientists". And they have, in general, improved a lot on that in recent years.
I'm sure that those scenes were accurate. And the only ones. What you saw for most of the movie was a large room of white-shirted extras sitting at desks and contributing absolutely nothing. In fact, Katherine and only Katherine does any active science at any time. There's more and better science in an average episode of Big Bang Theory.

The absolute silliest example:
SPOILER:
John Glenn is about to be launched when a discrepancy is found in the landing co-ordinates between yesterday's and today's IBM computer runs. He refuses to go up unless "the smart girl" double-checks the numbers. The launch is being held up for this. Katherine has been removed from the team because the (electronic) computer is faster than the (human) computers. So someone literally runs the printouts a half mile over to the colored computers building. She checks them in record time. Remember, every minute counts. So do they pick up a phone and say "yes, they check"? Of course not. They run back the half mile (slowly - she's a heavyset middle-aged woman in heels) to say that in person solely so that Katherine, who doesn't have clearance, can get the door shut in her face. And then... But you know what happens. This is Hollywood.

You'd think the movie is about science. It isn't. It's about discrimination. The background happens to be science, but it could have been absolutely anything and this movie would have worked just as well.

It exists to make you cry. That's a good thing and it's good at it. I'd recommend everyone go see it. But it's not a movie about science.
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  #14  
Old 01-08-2017, 10:17 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
The look for Glenn was less bothersome than how young he was. Glenn was 40 I think at the time, that guy is, what late 20s?
He's 28 now. My wife said the actor didn't look at all like John Glenn because he was cute, and John Glenn wasn't.
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:31 PM
Equipoise Equipoise is offline
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I agree they should have just picked up the phone but, Taraji P. Henson is "heavyset"?? In what universe?
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:08 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
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Note that Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is still alive at 98. Take a look at her Wikipedia entry. Many of the things that happened in the movie actually happened well before the Mercury astronauts were launched. Glenn did ask for Johnson to check the figures:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Johnson

Here's a webpage with a lot of information on the differences between the movie and what actually happened:

http://www.historyvshollywood.com/re...idden-figures/
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:49 AM
standingwave standingwave is offline
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Note that Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is still alive at 98. Take a look at her Wikipedia entry. Many of the things that happened in the movie actually happened well before the Mercury astronauts were launched. Glenn did ask for Johnson to check the figures:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Johnson

Here's a webpage with a lot of information on the differences between the movie and what actually happened:

http://www.historyvshollywood.com/re...idden-figures/
And here she is receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2015 along with some kind words from the POTUS. (She's first in the list so no need to que the video.)
https://youtu.be/YtAWclEzfFM
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:47 AM
bonzer bonzer is offline
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But it's really Edward Pickering (director of the Harvard Observatory in the late 19th century) who is best known for assembling such a team - the Harvard Computers or "Pickering's Harem."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
It wasn't just computers, but women in general were hired for technical jobs that were considered too tedious for the male "real scientists". Another example would be stellar classifications in astronomy: It was women such as Williamina Fleming, Antonia Maury, and Annie Jump Cannon who stared at thousands of spectrographs and classified each one. And in the process often made bigger scientific advances than the men they were working for.
Which is the subject of Dava Sobel's new book.
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  #19  
Old 01-09-2017, 08:21 AM
JcWoman JcWoman is online now
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
You'd think the movie is about science. It isn't. It's about discrimination.
I agree with this for one big reason: They glossed over it a bit but there was also a white computer group. Who didn't seem to do anything exceptional (according to the movie). The colored computers seemed to report to the white computer supervisor (temporarily as they made it a point to show that Dorothy should have been the colored supervisor but they wouldn't promote her and she seemed to report to Vivian (Kirsten Dunst).

Anyway, this would seem to imply that the colored women were smarter than the white women, but that's just because the story's been hollywoodized (to emphasize the discrimination).

Other replys have cited links showing that women were commonly hired for cheap to do tedious jobs like computer while men got to be engineers. What I find extremely fascinating when looking at that through modern day eyeballs is the whole "math is hard" thing that modern women seem to be raised with (and fight). If anything, this shows that women are completely capable of doing hard analytical sciences. I don't know how we lost that.

Last edited by JcWoman; 01-09-2017 at 08:24 AM..
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  #20  
Old 01-09-2017, 10:16 AM
Equipoise Equipoise is offline
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I've just started the book Hidden Figures and the author makes a point to mention that there were white female computers at NASA, hundreds, maybe over a thousand. But Hidden Figures is the story of these 3 women, Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan. It's not a perfect analogy, but it's like complaining that Richard. Feynman wasn't mentioned in The Theory of Everything. The story was about Stephen Hawking, not Hawking and other physicists. It never occurred to me that the black women were the ONLY computers at NASA. They just had a building of their own. It may not be enough for some people, but I think when Dorothy tells the highway trooper that there are "quite a few women working in the space program" that indicates there are many more.

I don't see how showing some of the discrimination the black computers (and blacks in general) faced is "emphasising" it, and I sure don't see how showing discrimination is "Hollywoodizing" (generally accepted as a derogatory term) the story, except that the reality was probably much much worse.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:27 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Originally Posted by Equipoise View Post
I agree they should have just picked up the phone but, Taraji P. Henson is "heavyset"?? In what universe?
The one in which she is standing next to Janelle MonŠe. Or that young skinny white engineer she's trying to keep up with.

She has a real-world 46-year-old mom's body. It is not meant for running.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:39 AM
Equipoise Equipoise is offline
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
The one in which she is standing next to Janelle MonŠe. Or that young skinny white engineer she's trying to keep up with.

She has a real-world 46-year-old mom's body. It is not meant for running.
I think her heels caused her more problems than her body type. Heavyset, get outta here.

I can't even believe that such words or this discussion is happening in a thread about NASA scientists.

Well, yeah, I can.
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  #23  
Old 01-09-2017, 11:27 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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I think her heels caused her more problems than her body type. Heavyset, get outta here.

I can't even believe that such words or this discussion is happening in a thread about NASA scientists.

Well, yeah, I can.
You're really working to find offense where none is meant. I have no idea what she looks like in real life. Maybe she's a bikini model. Maybe she was wearing large amounts of padding under her dress. In the movie - the one thing I am referring to - she is clearly meant to have a body type midway between Janelle MonŠe and Octavia Spencer as is shown on the ubiquitous poster. She is neither skinny nor fat, but portrayed as somewhat stout or stocky, which are the meanings of the word heavyset. And the word was used solely in the context of her being required to run carrying large printouts when time was critical, so it was the opposite of gratuitous. The word said nothing about her abilities in science but is pertinent to a totally gratuitous action the director threw in to Hollywoodize the reality.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:30 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
You're really working to find offense where none is meant. I have no idea what she looks like in real life. Maybe she's a bikini model. Maybe she was wearing large amounts of padding under her dress.
Some would even say her figure was hidden.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:24 PM
Dorjšn Dorjšn is offline
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The equations on the chalkboards are generally correct. I'm learning them now (mechanical engineering student here).
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  #26  
Old 01-09-2017, 03:11 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
You're really working to find offense where none is meant. I have no idea what she looks like in real life. Maybe she's a bikini model. Maybe she was wearing large amounts of padding under her dress. In the movie - the one thing I am referring to - she is clearly meant to have a body type midway between Janelle MonŠe and Octavia Spencer as is shown on the ubiquitous poster. She is neither skinny nor fat, but portrayed as somewhat stout or stocky, which are the meanings of the word heavyset. ...
I experienced no offense at your comment but the same "huh??" In that poster and in the movie she does not look at all "heavy-set." No question the character of Mary Jackson as played was very thin, but I am perplexed that anyone would look at the Katherine Johnson character and call that "heavy set" or "stocky" or "stout." What do you possibly image as a "normal" build?
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  #27  
Old 01-09-2017, 03:35 PM
Richard John Marcej Richard John Marcej is offline
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Saw it today and thought it was good. Some good performances and a strong cast. (though it looks like Jim Parsons is on his way to being typecast by playing a similar type of character as Sheldon Cooper with this role and all those intel ads)

The events that occur in the first half of the film take place around the month I was born. Maybe it's because I lived in the north/north east or perhaps because by the time I was a teen the blatant segregation shown in the film wasn't around much anymore, but I wasn't aware of how people were treated and that may explain how I reacted to this scene:

When Katherine begins her first day as the computer for Harrison's crew, at one point she's going over paper work and is completely focused in it. She's so focused, that as she gets up, goes across the floor and pours herself a cup of coffee, her eyes never leave the paper. As she's doing this, all the other people in the room are staring at her.

Dummy me, I'm thinking that they're staring at her and are upset about it because she's so devoted to her work that she's going to make them look bad. It didn't dawn on me that they were upset because she "dared" to take coffee from an urn that served coffee for whites.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:49 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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I experienced no offense at your comment but the same "huh??" In that poster and in the movie she does not look at all "heavy-set." No question the character of Mary Jackson as played was very thin, but I am perplexed that anyone would look at the Katherine Johnson character and call that "heavy set" or "stocky" or "stout." What do you possibly image as a "normal" build?
Huh, indeed. In the modern U.S. "normal" is heavyset. This is true by observation of normal people and by statistical norms: two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, according to the CDC. Thin people are abnormal. The character in the movie had a normal build for a middle-aged mother. That build is not thin, skinny, slender, slim, or slight. It is not a runner's build. It's not fat either, which is why I picked a middle term, heavyset. I'm sincerely surprised that people here are conflating heavyset with fat. To me they are far apart on the scale, and there are dozens of terms for fatness I could have used if I meant fat.
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  #29  
Old 01-09-2017, 05:10 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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This is a major digression but ...

Actually in my estimation she was relatively thin for a middle-aged mother, at least currently, albeit in the early sixties maybe not.

Using the BMI definition of "healthy" weight, i.e. 18.5 up to 24.9 with "overweight" being 25 to 29.9, and noting that your statement underestimates the current overweight and obesity figure (it is actually over 70% and higher among Black women with less than 30% not in one of those groups). Also please note that those numbers defining "healthy BMI" were not ever actually the averages. In 1960 the average adult BMI was 25, at the edge of "overweight."

I'd ask you to tell me if the character looks much heavier than these various women in that "healthy BMI" range? You can play there picking BMIs but seriously I think you have some major league distortions if you look at that character and see "stout." She looks most like someone with a BMI of 24. "Healthy" and thinner than average in 1960. A "middle term" between thin or skinny and fat is not "heavyset" ... it could be labelled "healthy" or "normal" or "historically average" ... but "heavyset"? Just odd. End hijack from my POV.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:20 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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To me, the poster looks more like she's just wearing shapeless clothes (you know, like a nerd would wear because they're comfortable) than that she's particularly heavyset.
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:32 PM
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I'm laughing at Taraji being called "heavy set". If she's heavy set, what in the world is Octavia? (And no, I'm not offended. Just amused).

I saw it today and left with a quivering chin and tears in my eyes. A movie doesn't need a glaring plotline to be great. I don't know if the ladies were friends in real life, but Janelle, Taraji, and Octavia have wonderful chemistry together. I thought Janelle was just okay in "Moonlight", but she was terrific in "Hidden Figures".

I was humbled. I'd like to imagine that if I had been born in the right time and place, I could have also been one of the "colored computers", but I dunno. My math courses were fun when they weren't stressing me out, but I was very glad when I finished taking them. However, my field (environmental science) didn't exist back in those days. So perhaps I would have gone into computing just because it was a viable occupation that didn't involve broom, kitchen, or children. As Katherine was performing her "go no go" calculations in front of those senior officials, I couldn't help but think to myself that if she (and all the others) had believed the bullshit they'd been fed their wholes lives about their supposed inferiority, I wouldn't be where I am today.

It is also humbling to think that all of this occurred fairly recently. Katherine Johnson is still alive (so is my grandmother, who is just a couple of years younger). So we really have come a long way over a short period. Just think how far we can go if we keep up the momentum!

I got to visit Langley last year for a meeting with some of the remote sensing folks down there. I hope the next time I'm down there (if there's a next time), I am able to check out the building named after Katherine Johnson. Maybe in her honor I'll run to it in high heels and pearls!

Last edited by monstro; 01-09-2017 at 07:33 PM..
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:47 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Girl on the left in the ad is screaming hot, especially in those pants. But all three of them look good.

If they do calculations naked together, I am so there.

(PLEASE GOD I am not a sexist I swear...but why did they do a movie about women scientists with a poster with three gorgeous women? I AM A (heterosexual male and a) VICTIM OF THE PATRIARCHY)
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:59 PM
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Girl on the left in the ad is screaming hot, especially in those pants. But all three of them look good.

If they do calculations naked together, I am so there.

(PLEASE GOD I am not a sexist I swear...but why did they do a movie about women scientists with a poster with three gorgeous women? I AM A (heterosexual male and a) VICTIM OF THE PATRIARCHY)
Well, at least at no point in the film do any of them take off their glasses and suddenly turn ravishingly beautiful in the eyes of the male lead. In fact, it was their brains that attracted attention.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:05 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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1960s PLAYBOY cartoon "Look! Miss Bosomly TOOK OFF HER GLASSES! Why, she's BEAUTIFUL!"

(Set in a nudist camp)
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:10 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Yeah, see, if Taraji P. Henson takes off everything but the glasses, I can't actually imagine objecting to the glasses. Or, y'know, noticing the glasses.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:27 PM
Richard John Marcej Richard John Marcej is offline
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If anyone's interested in knowing what was true and what wasn't in the film, like, was there a real Al Harrison (Costners' character). Rather then just discuss weights of women, I came across this History vs. Hollywood: Hidden Figures
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:35 PM
Equipoise Equipoise is offline
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Huh, indeed. In the modern U.S. "normal" is heavyset. This is true by observation of normal people and by statistical norms: two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, according to the CDC. Thin people are abnormal. The character in the movie had a normal build for a middle-aged mother. That build is not thin, skinny, slender, slim, or slight. It is not a runner's build. It's not fat either, which is why I picked a middle term, heavyset. I'm sincerely surprised that people here are conflating heavyset with fat. To me they are far apart on the scale, and there are dozens of terms for fatness I could have used if I meant fat.
As someone who was called "heavyset" often as a child and teenager, especially by both of my grandmothers and my grandfather, it was ALWAYS meant as "fat" but a more "polite" way of saying it. At some point the term was replaced by "overweight" and the word heavyset is now almost quaint. No matter how you meant it, anyone who's been called heavyset hears it differently. And I'm not offended, just astonished and disappointed.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:36 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
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Um, did you notice that in post #16 I linked to the same webpage?
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  #39  
Old 01-09-2017, 08:40 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Oh, and
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Quoth Exapno Mapcase:

You'd think the movie is about science. It isn't. It's about discrimination. The background happens to be science, but it could have been absolutely anything and this movie would have worked just as well.
There's no reason it can't be both. Right now, there are young black girls (and black boys and white girls) in the inner city who are interested in science and math, but who are being told that they can't do it, because they're girls, or because they're black, or because they're not good enough for some other reason. And maybe some of them will see this movie, or ads for this movie, or talk about this movie, and will decide that they can do science, after all, despite those people telling them they can't, because after all, these ladies faced even sterner opposition, and they managed it. And that, in my mind, is a Good Thing.

They could also have made a movie about black women who overcome prejudice to become successful business owners, or successful athletes, or successful politicians, and that would have been good, too. But I, specifically, am especially happy that it's a movie about black women becoming scientists.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:40 PM
Richard John Marcej Richard John Marcej is offline
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Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
Um, did you notice that in post #16 I linked to the same webpage?
Actually no I didn't. If I had I wouldn't have posted it.
Frankly, I was just hoping to get the conversation steered back to the actual movie, discussing the story and characters rather than this unnecessary (IMO) discussion about weight.
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  #41  
Old 01-09-2017, 08:44 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard John Marcej View Post
Actually no I didn't. If I had I wouldn't have posted it.
Frankly, I was just hoping to get the conversation steered back to the actual movie, discussing the story and characters rather than this unnecessary (IMO) discussion about weight.
And hotness.
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  #42  
Old 01-09-2017, 09:17 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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The movie is about science, too.

Most people don't really know how much teamwork is involved with science. We have a tendency to worship the singular greats while overlooking great teams. I think the movie does a wonderful job showing how no one at NASA was a lone superstar. Like, Ms. Vaughan could have hogged the Fortran knowlege for herself, which is what most people would do in a cut-throat work environment like that one. But she knew she wasn't going to be able to do anything without a team.

I have known about human computers (and that they were mostly women) for some time now, but I never really thought much about what they did until I saw this movie. I take for granted the R scripts and Excel formulas I use to crunch numbers, despite the fact they save me weeks/months of tedium and headache. It is humbling to think that the Langley engineers had the same attitude towards human beings. And it's humbling to think that very few people today--even those with fancy degrees and certifications--would be able to do what those women were able to do without skipping a beat.

Makes me wonder what we might be losing by turning so much of our thinking to computers.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:21 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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Weight wait ... can someone explain what the ancient numerical method she was inspired to apply was and how it worked?
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  #44  
Old 01-09-2017, 09:42 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Oh, and

There's no reason it can't be both. Right now, there are young black girls (and black boys and white girls) in the inner city who are interested in science and math, but who are being told that they can't do it, because they're girls, or because they're black, or because they're not good enough for some other reason. And maybe some of them will see this movie, or ads for this movie, or talk about this movie, and will decide that they can do science, after all, despite those people telling them they can't, because after all, these ladies faced even sterner opposition, and they managed it. And that, in my mind, is a Good Thing.

They could also have made a movie about black women who overcome prejudice to become successful business owners, or successful athletes, or successful politicians, and that would have been good, too. But I, specifically, am especially happy that it's a movie about black women becoming scientists.
I'm old enough to remember the excitement about the space program. When I was nine I wanted to be an astronomer and happily reeled off facts about the planets to anyone who would listen. The movie touches on some of that excitement, and the pleasure that the characters have in being even a small part of that achievement.

But again, that's not what the movie is about. It's a pretty dismal view of science, overall. Any portrayal of women in science and women overcoming tremendous odds may do some good, certainly, but girls may be just as likely to come out of the movie thinking "if that's what science is like, I don't want any part of it." I didn't get the feeling that the filmmakers understood anything about real science; it was colorful background and nothing more. They didn't even get to read the book, which wasn't finished until after production.

I'm not kidding when I say that Big Bang Theory is far better at conveying the excitement of real science. That's a central focus for them. Not here. Jim Parsons spends most of him time looking like he's wondering why his lines are so bad and the money is as well.

The film itself is a wonderful product of what Hollywood better than anyone. I repeat, everybody should go see it. There are so few films that deal with science at all that any good ones need to be encouraged, even celebrated. It's also a film that exemplifies what so many people hate about Hollywood: its tendency to take complicated, nuanced subjects and simplify and sentimentalize them against a one-dimensional background. Everybody will take away different percentages of those dichotomies. I can only give my view.
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  #45  
Old 01-09-2017, 09:43 PM
bmoak bmoak is offline
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She was talking about the Euler method, but I don't have the math to understand why it was important.

I really liked the movie, though.

Last edited by bmoak; 01-09-2017 at 09:44 PM..
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  #46  
Old 01-09-2017, 10:48 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmoak View Post
She was talking about the Euler method, but I don't have the math to understand why it was important.
They needed to figure out the change between the elliptical round-the-world orbit and the parabolic descent to the ground.

Quote:
Consider the problem of calculating the shape of an unknown curve which starts at a given point and satisfies a given differential equation. Here, a differential equation can be thought of as a formula by which the slope of the tangent line to the curve can be computed at any point on the curve, once the position of that point has been calculated.

The idea is that while the curve is initially unknown, its starting point, which we denote by A0, is known (see the picture on top right). Then, from the differential equation, the slope to the curve at A0 can be computed, and so, the tangent line.
They knew the curves, but didn't know the starting point for the parabolic curve. This gave them an approach to work backward and calculate that. I'm sure Chronos will contribute more on the subject.
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  #47  
Old 01-10-2017, 11:34 AM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Euler Method is a way to solve differential equations numerically (brute force), rather than analytically (i.e. coming up with an equation that describes the answer). I remember learning it in freshman astronomy course, though we were allowed (and required) to use electronic computers, not human.

I'm not sure it made sense in that context though. If transitioning from an elliptical to a parabolic orbit by firing a thruster, the change is almost instantaneous. It should be possible to use the same position and new velocity, and find an analytical solution to the resulting parabolic orbit.

But maybe the thruster firing took long enough that the trajectory during the firing needed to be calculated numerically. Or they needed to calculate the trajectory with air resistance taken into account (though this wouldn't be correctly described as "parabolic").

And to be pedantic, "parabolic" orbits are actually elliptical orbits that intersect the ground. But in that situation, a parabola is probably a good enough approximation.

Last edited by scr4; 01-10-2017 at 11:37 AM..
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  #48  
Old 01-10-2017, 03:44 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Well, there are orbits that are true parabolas, but you wouldn't see any of those in the Mercury program (maybe in Apollo, if you ignore perturbations).
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:56 PM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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Saw it last night, and loved it. So refreshing to see a movie where the smart people are rewarded. The scenes of racism and discrimination were hard to watch, but the ones where the three main characters gracefully showed their bosses (racist and otherwise) that they were making a valuable contribution were inspiring. There weren't many people in the theater where we saw it (it was a rainy night) but there were several instances of applause during the movie (not just at the end). That was cool.

Took me a while to recognize Cottonmouth from "Luke Cage" as the love interest. I think the spouse and I figured it out about the same time and gave each other a "THAT's who that is!" satisfied look.

I feel like I'm getting old, since I remember Kirsten Dunst as a teenager, not as a full-grown woman in a position of authority.
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:26 PM
Equipoise Equipoise is offline
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That's Mahershala Ali. I haven't seen the show you reference, but I know him from the film Moonlight. Look for him to get a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for the Moonlight role (along with a boatload of other Oscar nominations for that movie, including probably Best Picture). I saw him in Hidden Figures and after awhile it occurred to me, "Wow, that's the guy from Moonlight!"

Last edited by Equipoise; 01-11-2017 at 02:28 PM..
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