Cosmos: Pickerings Computers from “Sisters of the Sun”

The “Sisters of the Sun” episode of Cosmos featured stories about female scientists who helped us understand the composition and classification of stars.

Here’s a snippet to whet your interest.

The two women scientists are Cecilia Payne and Annie Jump Cannon. They are given voice in the full section of the episode by Kirsten Dunst and Marlee Matlin.

According to Wikipedia,

Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin was a British-American astronomer and astrophysicist who, in 1925, proposed in her Ph.D. thesis an explanation for the composition of stars in terms of the relative abundances of hydrogen and helium.

. . .

Annie Jump Cannon was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification.

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s delivery is so nonjudgemental on this series, but those raised eyebrows when he says, “Wonder why,” do speak loudly.

In case you have not been watching this marvelous series, you can see past episodes on cosmosontv.com.

The Brain Dump: Random Short Thoughts

A brain dump is one of those things I do when I have just a thought to share on something. It’s a random mess.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is so genial and agreeable on Cosmos. He states the science in the friendliest possible way. But, underneath his low-key style is the knowledge that he’s showing all the misguided fools who don’t believe in science the truth. It’s very effective.

The Bletchley Circle
The Bletchley Circle image © World Productions 2013

The Bletchley Circle from PBS is brilliant. I wish there were more than 4 episodes to a season. It captures the time and place with perfect clarity and the women are smart and courageous.

Divergent was good. Not as good as The Hunger Games, but good enough to create a new young female heroine and to guarantee that the next movie in the series will be well attended. Going out to see it was my birthday present to myself, and it was the perfect gift. It felt too long, but that was mostly because there were at least 30 minutes of previews of coming attractions before the film started. THAT was definitely too much.

20 Feet From Stardom is an absolute delight! Wonderful music, fascinating women with so much talent and who are so under appreciated. You must watch it.

Pink: The Truth About Love Tour – Live from Melbourne. Spectacular film! I’m glad I wasn’t there with all the yelling and screaming. I completely enjoyed seeeing it on film, however. A concert for elders via the TV! What a performance and what brilliant stunts and athletic feats. And, hey, I’d just watched 20 Feet From Stardom so I gotta tell you that I looked up Pink’s backup singers and learned their names.

Last night’s live concert in Nashville from the cast of Nashville was fabulous. Missed Connie Britton, but it was great to see these actors just sing. So much musical talent.

It’s my week for music, because I also watched The Punk Singer, a film about Kathleen Hanna. I’d heard of her but didn’t know much more than that she was associated with a women’s movement and made music. The film was my education into both Kathleen Hanna and the Riot Grrl movement. An inspiring woman and a great leader. I wish her well and hope her health continues to improve.

 

TV Equals Likes 7 Upcoming Shows. I Don’t.

7 New Shows Premiering Soon That I’ll Be Watching at the website TV Equals by P.T. Jackson got my attention.

Go take a look at the shows mentioned in the article. Notice the photographs.

I’m certainly not criticizing P.T.’s taste in TV shows. But, personally, I have a problem getting excited about most of the shows mentioned in the article on TV Equals.

Why?

The photographs tell the story. Gender imbalance.

  • Star Crossed: the image shows one unidentified male, one unidentified female in a love story. What about all the supporting characters?
  • Mind Games: 4 men, 2 women
  • Sirens: 3 men, no women
  • Resurrection: 5 men, 3 women, 1 boy
  • Believe: 1 man, one girl
  • The 100: 2 men, 2 women but no indication about the other 96 people in the cast
  • Turn: 2 men, no women

TV is definitely doing better than the movies in finding stories that feature women in leading roles, but this particular crop of upcoming shows is a big disappointment.

I admit some hope for Resurrection. Here’s the trailer for it. Themes explored in this one look irresistible.

What’s your attitude toward this crop of shows? Does the gender imbalance make any difference to you?

I have mentioned one upcoming show I’m looking forward to: Cosmos. Granted, I see the irony in the fact that Cosmos is hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, but the science looks too fascinating to miss.

The irony of inconsistency aside, the point is we need to make more progress in bringing 51% of the population into a position of 51% of the visibility.

Watch This: Trailer for Cosmos

Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a continuation of the old Carl Sagan series, COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey. The new 13-part series premieres Sunday, March 9 at 9/8c on FOX. It will also appear on the National Geographic channel.

Set your DVR. This ought to be good!