Hidden Figures: Yes, Go See It Right Now

Here’s how to deal with the fact that a great orange buffoon is getting sworn into our highest office: go see Hidden Figures. Just go. Go see black women fighting misogyny and racism and Jim Crow while doing badass math. You need to see that right now.

*This review is mostly spoiler-free*

Take your children to go see it. Yes, even the young ones. Yes, even the teens. Look: I was in a theater full of little kids and teenagers, and they were sitting there beside unrelated adults up to the age of probably-watched-John-Glenn-orbit-live-on-teevee-with-their-own-kids, and apparently they were all riveted. I have never been to a movie that full of young folk who were so extraordinarily quiet. I’ve never been in an auditorium packed with nearly 400 people of all ages and had such an uninterrupted experience. The kids will do fine, and they need to see this.

Hollywood put out a movie about black women doing math, and it was spellbinding. I never thought they’d try. And since they tried, I never thought they’d do it with so much math and so few explosions. They had exploding rockets, but seemed almost embarrassed to mention them. There was a love story, but only because one of the real women this movie is based on actually got married in the middle of our race to space. It wasn’t shoved in just to hook our emotions, and you get the feeling they’d rather be doing more math. The movie stayed remarkably true to actual, historical events.

You’ll get to meet three of the most extraordinary women in our country’s scientific history: Katherine Goble (later Johnson), Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. You will get to see them be math nerds. You will get to see them have interests other than marriage and children. Hell, you’ll even get to see one of them fix a car. In a dress. Did you know women could fix cars while wearing dresses? Well, now you do.

You’ll get to see three black women star in their own story, as heroes, not as sidekicks and inspirations to white people. This wasn’t a story about white people learning how not to be racist gits (although several white people learned this, the movie isn’t about them). This wasn’t a story about three career women trying to also balance their roles as wives and mothers (although they were). This wasn’t a story about men learning how to deal with career women, women smarter than them, and figuring out how not to be sexist gits (although this all happens).

No. Continue reading “Hidden Figures: Yes, Go See It Right Now”

Hidden Figures: Yes, Go See It Right Now
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(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VII: Awash in Creationist Nonsense

Take your seasickness prevention pills and weigh anchor, my darlings. We are embarking on a long voyage, and I’m afraid it isn’t the lovely salt sea, but an ocean of creationist bilge we be sailin’. BJU has got a lot to say about oceanography. A good portion of it is utter bunkum. And there’s three bloody chapters of this shite.

Here. This meme may help us survive.

Image shows a cat in a cardboard pirate ship. Caption says, "I comes to plunder yer living room."

The wrong starts out strong with Dr. Emil Silvestru, a creationist speleologist from Romania. He started his career as a secular scientist, then jumped into Christianity with both feet and became a young earth creationist. The quality of his “reasoning” can be assessed by the following explanation: Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VII: Awash in Creationist Nonsense”

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VII: Awash in Creationist Nonsense

Protected: Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XLIII: Wherein A Beka Outsmarts Insane Clown Posse

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Protected: Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XLIII: Wherein A Beka Outsmarts Insane Clown Posse

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VI: Oceans O’ Creationism

After a long interlude with ACE, we’re now ready to jump in the deep end of our other creationist textbooks. Make sure you’ve got your scuba gear!

Science of the Physical Creation’s on about the oceans now. They begin their section on oceanography with Psalm 104: 24-25, because it has got the word “sea” in it, and sez God made it, therefore “God did it” is Science Fact. I suspect they’re doing this because there are only so many ways to work God into a discussion of seawater. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VI: Oceans O’ Creationism”

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VI: Oceans O’ Creationism

Protected: Adventures in ACE XXIX: Gusty With a 100% Chance of Drivel

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(Repost) Adventures in ACE XII: Wibbly about Water

It’s about time we finish with the risible ACE PACE 1086, and the subject matter segues nicely into the chapters on oceans we have coming up in our other “science” textbooks. Besides, after last week’s installment, I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats wondering if the Loyaltons are about to go splat against a mountain. So let us continue our flyover with them, and see where we end up. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in ACE XII: Wibbly about Water”

(Repost) Adventures in ACE XII: Wibbly about Water

Protected: Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XLII: Wherein Creationism Leaves Us Cold

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Hey, Earth Scientists! Share Your Predictions of What Won’t Happen in 2017

Whilst I was soliciting ideas for blog posts, Anne Jefferson came up with an excellent topic:

It’s New Years – make predictions for what geology things WON’T happen in 2017. The magnetic pole won’t flip. Yellowstone won’t erupt. There won’t be record high Arctic sea ice. Scientists won’t suddenly admit that climate change is a Chinese hoax.

This topic is marvelous. I love it. But I don’t want to do the predicting alone: I want to hear your prognostications, too!

Here are a few of my predictions for 2017: Continue reading “Hey, Earth Scientists! Share Your Predictions of What Won’t Happen in 2017”

Hey, Earth Scientists! Share Your Predictions of What Won’t Happen in 2017

What’s New at Rosetta Stones: Moon Geology, Flash Flood Survival, and More!

It’s been a busy week over at Rosetta Stones, since I neglected the poor thing all month. If you’ve been wanting some tasty geo to sink your teeth into, that’s the place!

Marvels and Mysteries of the Moon

With John Glenn’s passing earlier this month, my thoughts turned to space. People don’t think of the stars when they think of geology – I mean, it’s all about Earth, right there in the name. But the earth is made of star stuff. And the way gravity works, it turns that star stuff into rocky little worlds all over the universe, perfectly suited for our good science of rock-breaking. Geology isn’t limited to the planet it was born on and named for. And we can take it all over space and time.

One of the first places we took it was our own moon. John Glenn is among the people who got us there: without his pioneering flight, without the early successes of astronauts like him (not to mention the legion of scientists, engineers, and computing women behind him), there would have been no Moon landing.

We got there. We grabbed some rocks. We made some nifty discoveries. And believe me, green cheese might be a pretty tasty substance, but it’s nowhere near as delicious as the things the moon is actually made of.

Instant Peril: Flash Floods (and How to Survive Them)

The eleven European tourists exploring Antelope Canyon on a fine summer day in 1997 probably never considered drowning in a desert slot canyon to be a possibility. They may have known that water carved those sandstone walls into fantastical curves and angles. But it wouldn’t have seemed like an ongoing process. Why would anyone be thinking of water, standing on dry sand, with shafts of sunlight spearing through from the narrow opening above? Despite it being the height of the Arizona monsoon season, it wasn’t raining.

It started with the sandy silt on the canyon floor leaping six inches into the air. Tour guide Pancho Quintana and his group heard a roar so loud it drowned out screams. The solid rock walls shook. They began running, trying to find a place to climb out. And then they were hit by a wall of water that filled the canyon to a depth of eleven feet. Bodies were thrown into the walls. People might find a grip for a few seconds before debris or other bodies hit them and tore them away, tumbling them down the canyon. Pancho was the lucky one: despite the water and rock tearing off his clothes and skin, he managed to get a foot wedged in a crevice. The rest of the people with him, his tour group and another, were swept out of the canyon and into Lake Powell. Some of their bodies have never been found.

How? How could water suddenly appear from nowhere and end almost a dozen lives in a few minutes?

Troubling Signs for Science under Trump

We’re getting a clearer picture of how science in America will be treated under Trump. It’s horrifying. Our scientific endeavors are under severe threat, as is our environment. Scientists and those who support science have every reason to be concerned about the next several years.

Here’s a small taste of what we’re dealing with under Trump.

The Astonishing Climate-Changing Power of Plate Tectonics

Oh, how I struggled with this particular Accretionary Wedge topic:

What geological concept or idea did you hear about that you had no notion of before (and likely surprised you in some way).

I mean, there’s a lot. All the hijinks that go on in subduction zones constantly astonish me. The idea that rocks in the mantle flow without being actually molten, and that rocks have any sort of elasticity to begin with – I found that incredible. I had no idea when I first started studying geology just what temperature and pressure could do to minerals. I mean, I knew there was such a thing as a metamorphic rock, but my eyes popped when I learned more of the details. It seems like every time I read a book on geology, there’s something new and astonishing.  For instance: whilst reading a book about caves for a bit of the world I’m building, I found out there are places in the world with natural caves formed in salt. I had no idea that happened.

So yes, I’m spoiled for choice.  But I think the one thing that’s made my eyes pop the most is the idea that plate tectonics affects climate.

What’s New at Rosetta Stones: Moon Geology, Flash Flood Survival, and More!

(Repost) Adventures in ACE XI: Tommyrot About Topography

We are, at last, almost at the end of the breathtaking inanity that is ACE Science* PACE 1086. So far, we’ve seen a really inept drilling project, watched them mutilate Mount St. Helens and other volcanoes, suffered through their igneous ignorance, had to spend two posts on their sedimentary nonsense, and dealt with their metamorphic misconceptions. At times, it’s seemed like we’ll never get through debunking this unfathomable ignorance. But we’ve only eight pages and two topics to go! Racer and his dad are finally flying home! Stick with us and we’ll get there – if the Loyaltons’ plane doesn’t crash. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in ACE XI: Tommyrot About Topography”

(Repost) Adventures in ACE XI: Tommyrot About Topography