Friday, October 2, 2015

Eight Years, Two Thousand Posts: Doing the Math

I.  I Attempt to Do Math

This is l'astronave's 2,000th post! And its 8th birthday (close enough, anyway). And it recently passed its 500,000th page view.
So... I should crunch those numbers, right?

Let's see... 
8 years x 365 days = 2,920 days ÷ 2,000 posts = 1.46 posts/day.
Donald Glover* in The Martian says, "Your math is wrong."

Ha! Right. My math is crap. It's the other way around: 
2,000 posts ÷ 2,920 days = an average of .68 posts/day.

Yeah, there we go. 

It wasn't like that though---per my archive, I averaged more than one post a day some years, but barely one per month one year.
(Also, like half those views were people looking for "that poem from Lives of Others".)

II. The Martian: "Do Your Science Shit"
Speaking of math,
I went to see The Martian (links to trailer; 2015, dir. Ridley Scott) last night--it's about an astronaut (Matt Damon) stranded on Mars, and Earth's efforts to rescue him. 

It's a Robinson Crusoe–like tale, so that's fun; and it's also about "the human instinct to help each other out", so that's uplifting;
but overall the movie felt like one loooooong public service message for STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics):
Waking up after an accident to find himself alone on Mars, the astronaut says, 
"I'm left with only one option: 
I'm going to have to science the shit out of this."

Come on, American kids! Do your science homework!
Or, maybe more to the point? Come on, American politicians, fund this science shit! 

It is very cool to watch him do science--there's real shit (toilets in space!), and stuff blows up--  cool for a while, anyway:
at 2 hrs, 21 min, I'd say it was 51 minutes too long.
And I did enjoy the movie. 
But it was all very surfacey–– the astronaut never has anything like a Dark Night of the Soul. 

That may be accurate, of course. NASA chooses scientists who are not prone to despair, but its absence doesn't make for a great human-interest story.

Also, Mars was awfully noisy...  
US movies are too often like radio, disallowing silence for even one second. 
The astronaut talks almost incessantly, mostly in a jokey tone that gets old quickly, like avocado-colored kitchen appliances--
 and when he doesn't, we hear schlocky movie music or he listens to songs from the Seventies. [Watched Guardians of the Galaxy, did you, Ripley?]

The movie met the Director of Inclusivity's** standards, for men anyway––but bafflingly, all the women were white (even mostly blondish), including Kristin Wiig who has absolutely nothing to do but stand around looking concerned. Very odd. 

Of course, if you're a woman who talks in a movie, you're already a minority. * * *

III. The Ten-Dollar Woman

Speaking of representations of women, I hear the US is going to replace Alexander Hamilton with a woman on the ten-dollar bill.

I'm fine with replacing some guy, but working on Andrew Jackson lately, I'd definitely choose to replace him over Hamilton. You could say Jackson inherited a no-win situation with white settlers vs. American Indians, but his response was a kind of mismanaged ethnic cleansing [can it be well-managed?].

A-ha! I see the Business Insider agrees with me about Jackson being the better choice to get rid of. They also explain that the woman will appear along with Hamilton, which seems kinda goofy.

Anyway, what woman would you like to see on the $10 bill?

I choose Sally Ride!
First US woman in space, in 1983––twenty years after Soviet Valentina Tereshhkova––and the first LGBT astronaut in space too.

How cool would this look on currency:

* I thought Donald Glover was new to me, and delightful as a star-dusty-child scientist who comes up with a Star Trekish plan (slingshot around the sun!), but he wrote for 30 Rock, so I do know his work.

**The Director of Inclusivity is a title I got from a much snappier media production---W1A, a BBC TV show sending up working for the BBC---applies equally well to almost any workplace involving humans.

Marketing Evil Genius(?) Siobhan Sharp (Jessica Hynes) tells it like it is to BBC Head of Values, Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville):

 *** Washington Post, Feb. 2015: "Study: There are fewer women in lead roles in top films than there were in 2002"

The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that females comprised 12% of protagonists in the top-grossing films of 2014.


deanna said...

Congratulations on your blog's milestones! Yours is one of the most interesting and enduring blogs I read.

I'll have to ponder whom I'd like to see on the $10 bill. Sally Ride is one good choice; it's time we had someone "from outer space" on something.

Michael Leddy said...

Congratulations on your MMth post!

I’d like to see Sojourner Truth or Harriet Tubman on the ten.

Anonymous said...

i think we should follow the europeans and the euro. each state could have its own female figure.

if each state had a woman selection (kind of like state quarters) women would be the majority figure on bills.

sally ride is an interesting choice. i am more parochial. i would like
to see eleanor roosevelt on one of the bills. amazing woman and 1/2 gay perhaps.
i could be a politician.
love you father

Zhoen said...

Nellie Bly would be another one. I like the idea of each state having one. And not just one white woman to represent us all, so they can call it good and go back to white statesmen.

Fresca said...

DEANNA: Thanks for your kind words, Deanna! I'm so glad you're still blogging too, and I'm grateful to Blogger for bringing us together!

MICHAEL: And thank you too!
Yeah, those are excellent choices---real-live action heroes!
and I think they're top-ranked too, so quite likely it will be one of them. (Harriet Tubman, I think, was #1 in the popular vote.)

To blend African American women + outer space,
I also nominate Nichelle Nichols (Uhura on Star Trek).
I'm not being facetious, either---no less a figure than Martin Luther King praised her work for portraying a black woman in a powerful position.

FATHER: "1/2 gay" Ha! :)
(I think they call that "bisexual"?)

Anyway, yeah Eleanor would be great, but I bet she's too "Socialist".
Someone else suggested Frances Perkins.

Along those lines, how 'bout Emma Goldman? (Oh, no--I checked--she was never a US citizen.)
Well, then, Mother Jones?

One woman per state is an AWESOME idea.

ZHOEN: I like your thinking---Nellie Bly. Since women couldn't hold office for so long, it's good to look to other areas.

Jane Addams of Hull House is another.

Willa Cather.
Not my favorite artist, but popular: Georgia O'Keeffe.

Billie Holiday, or Ella Fitzgerald! That'd be a cool choice!

Anne Hutchinson

Pocahontas (kids will know her from the movie!)
Abigail Adams ("remember the women")
Annie Oakley
Helen Keller

Yoko Ono! [though the person must be dead, so that bill would have to wait a while]

So many---we definitely need 50 different dollars.

ArtSparker said...

Nichelle Nichols appeared in the recently revived show "heroes", as did fellow icon George Takei. Also Zachary Quinto's first major outing before being the new Spock.

Fresca said...

ARTSPARKER: There'd be three people to put on currency! :)