The Rewatch 13: The Galileo Seven

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 1.16 The Galileo Seven (1-5-67)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 3/20

Notable Guest Stars:
Don Marshall- Lt. Boma.  Best known for his role in Land of the Giants.
John Crawford –
Commissioner FarrisHe has appeared in several disaster movies, such as The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure.
Phyllis Douglas-
Yeoman Mears.  She played Bonnie Blue Butler in Gone with the Wind)

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 13: The Galileo Seven”

The Rewatch 3: The Naked Time

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 1.03 Naked Time (9/29/66)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 1/16 (not counting non-crew members death unless its a major character in the episode)

Notable Guest Stars:

Bruce Hyde: Lt. Kevin T. Riley. Lt. Riley is a recurring character on TOS
Majel Barrett: Nurse Christine Chapel. Majel Barrett is a mainstay in the Trek universe, playing not only Christine but also the ship computer and Lwaxana Troi on several series. Christine Chapel is also a recurring minor character, appearing in several episodes and seasons, including the films and animated series.
William Knight – Crewman. He is known for his voice acting, including several Anime and video games.

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 3: The Naked Time”

Women of History: Saruhashi Katsuko

This week we travel to modern Japan.  Katsuko Saruhashi was a Japanese geochemist and became known for creating the tools to test for Co2 levels in water.  This lead to the discovery of radioactive fallout in the waters around Japan after the 1954 Bikini Atoll nuclear tests.

Katsuko was born on March 22, 1920 in Tokyo, Japan.  As a child she became interested in the dynamics of rain and water, and it would be an interest that would drive her career.  There is not much available from online sources about her childhood, but her career has a lot more out there.

She graduated with a degree in chemistry from the Imperial Women’s College of Science, which would later become Toho University.  She started a career in research at the Meteorological Research Institute.  It had a geochemical laboratory, which she would become the executive director of eventually.

While she started her research, she also continued her studies.  She graduated with a doctorate in 1957 from the University of Tokyo. She made history for the university becoming the first women to graduate with a Doctorate in Chemistry.

Her main study was the carbon dioxide levels in seawater. It was a relatively new area of study, and she was forced to improvise in her methods.  She developed methodologies and tools to be used with the study. Eventually she discovered that sea water has 60% more carbon dioxide then the air above it and gives off twice as much as it absorbs.  Her paper, published in 1955, would serve as the basis of oceanography study for three decades when it came to carbonic acid measurements, and aided to the developing understanding of climate change and global warming.

She became involved in another ocean related study in the late 1950s, when the Japanese government asked the laboratory to conduct tests on the radioactivity of the water surrounding the Bikini Atoll testing site.

In March of 1954, the United States completed “Operation Castle” which was a series of high-yield nuclear tests to develop aircraft viable nuclear weapons.  The sites for this operation were held across several Islands in Marsha Islands, particularly Bikini Atoll where there were 3 test sites. Atolls were islands made from volcanic rock receding leaving a coral reef remains, surrounding a lagoon.  They often appear as small circles of land around a center water area.  Several of reefs above ground become small islands to make up the atoll.

One test, known as Castle Bravo, detonated twice its predicted yields, and ended up contamination several nearby islands, as well as US Soldiers stationed in the area and a Japanese fishing boat known as the Daigo Fukuryu Maru.  One person died as a direct result of the test, but many continued to have health problems.  This brought the test to the Japanese government’s attention.

The tests and research the lab did proved that the fall out of radioactive activity did not simply affect the immediate area of the incident.  The fall out could travel via the ocean and air.   It was the first study of its kind.  They continued to watch the waters till into the 1970s, finding that the radioactive particles from Bikini Atoll had reached the other side of the Pacific Ocean.  This test and those that followed helped the push for a Test Ban Treaty, limiting the fall out of radioactive bomb testing.

However, her results weren’t always trusted.  Several times the fact that she was female, and because she was not an American, her studies were questioned.  However she succeeded to prove her scientific discoveries again and again, earning her the respect she was already due.

In 1979, Katusko was named the executive director of the Geochemical Laboratory.  She continued to investigate water chemistry, focusing on acid rain and its effects.

Over her years as a scientist, she won many awards. She was able to establish the Society of Japanese Women Scientists (1958) to promote women in the sciences.  After her retirement in 1980, she took a gift of 5 million yen and used it to establish an organization looking for the future of women scientists.  It was called the Association for the Bright Future of Women Scientists. In 1981, she established an award in her own name known as the Saruhashi Prize, which was given to a female scientist whose studies are in the natural sciences who has been a good role model for younger women scientists. 37 women have received the award since its inception.  In the further reading section, I’ve included a link to a page on Wikipedia that lists the recipients.  Several have their own pages and it’s a good start to researching women in science in Japan.

Saruhashi Katusko died on September 29, 2007.  Her image appeared this year as a Google Doodle on what would have been her 98th birthday.  She left behind a legacy of science, and of determination to see that other women could achieve the success that she found.

A quote I have found in various sources seems to show her view:

“There are many women who have the ability to become great scientists. I would like to see the day when women can contribute to science & technology on an equal footing with men.”

Further Reading:

Wikipedia: Saruhashi Katsuko

Newsweek: Who was Katsuko Saruhashi?

Wikipedia: Operation Castle

Wikipedia: Bikini Atoll

Wikipedia: Sarahashi Prize

Japanese Femist Debates: A Life Story of Sarauhashi Katsuko – Sumiko Hatakeyama

A to Z of Women in Science in Math – Lisa Yount

 

(writer’s note:  I found that there was a lack of variety of sources for this particular feature with the time I had for researching.  I, like always, suggest doing some research on your own on the women you find interesting.  )

Women of History: Hedy Lamarr

One of the people I wanted to write about when I started this essay series was a classic film star named Hedy Lamarr.  In fact I had to check to make sure I hadn’t written about her before.  ​

Hedy Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria.  She was born into a jewish family, but was raised as a Catholic by her mother Gertrud.  Her mother was from Budapest and her father was Ukrainian, but she grew up in Austria in the years following the first World War.  She was an only child, adored by her parents, although her mother tried to be stricter to balance things out.  Her father inspired an interest in learning how things worked, while her mother inspired her artistic side, which focused on Acting rather than musician as her mother had been.

Early on, Hedy decided that acting was a career she was interested in, and worked purposely to get it.  She worked as a script girl (forging school absence slips so she could get the job), and small background parts before getting her big break in a 1933 film Ecstasy.  The film was controversial in the US, but seen as artistic in Europe.  For Hedy, it was a disillusionment of the shine of an acting career.  She had been only 18, and was tricked by the director and other crew members into close up nude scenes.

For awhile she considered not continuing, but the film got recognition and other roles were presented to her, and it had always been her dream to be an actress.  She continued to do stage work, which brought her to the attention of Friedrich Mandl, an Austrian arms merchant.  He was quite wealthy and charming and won Hedy over.

Hedy married Mandl on August 10, 1933.   He was 33 to her 18.  She found herself often attending parties and business meetings with her husband, who took to being overly protective and prefered to keep her at his side.  He had strong ties with the fascist government of Italy, as well as the Nazi government of Hitler.  Hitler and Mussolini would even attend parties thrown in the couple’s own home.

While acting remained her career, it was during this time that Hedy was introduced to applied sciences.  She would listen and learn during the business meetings and parties, her interest in how things work developed into learning as she listened to the others speak about weapons and the science that went into the development.

However, in 1937, Hedy decided she had enough.  She did not appreciate a life as a trophy wife for Mandl, and had become disillusioned with her own country.  She left her husband and Austria behind and fled to Paris.

It was in Paris that her life would change.  While she was there, she met MGM Studios head LB Mayer.  Mayer was impressed with her acting, and convinced her to join MGM, although with a stage name.  Hedy was no longer Hedy Kiesler – She became Hedy Lemarr.

Her first film in the United States was Algiers in 1938 opposite Charles Boyer.  She won over crowds with her talent and her beauty.  Unfortunately this also made it hard for her to get a variety of roles.

She was called the ‘Most Beautiful Woman in the World’, and her roles often relied on that reputation. She became the inspiration for Snow White and Catwoman because of her beauty. It did however leave Hedy bored, as her roles often came with little challenge to the actress type-casted into the role of the stunning foreign woman.  When not on set, she was able to focus her intellect on her hobbies-including inventing.

Hedy had no formal education when it came to inventing, just what she had learned from observing her first husband’s business meetings and what she had later taught herself.  However, she had caught the bug for inventing.  Some were flops – like a tablet that would make a glass of water into a carbonated beverage.  In the end it wasn’t much different then Alka-seltzer.

However, some of them were successful, and even well-known.  During the second war, Hedy had heard about issues that the military was having torpedo frequencies being interrupted by the enemy and sending their missiles off course. She already knew that her husband and other arms dealers supplying the Axis had been developing ways to jam the frequencies before she left Austria. She decided to work on the problem, and got her friend George Antheil, a music composer, to help her.  The two of them had been friends for several years and shared a strong need to help out the war effort.  Antheil was a composer, and was known for experimenting with different instruments and mechanical devices to create sound.  It was through the use of a piano roll that the two developed the idea for spread spectrum radio.   The idea was that sending out a signal that would ‘hop’ across several frequencies – known to the sender and receiver – would prevent someone from turning on the same frequency and jamming the signal from reaching its target.  They called this  “Secret Communications System.”​

They were successful, and patented their designs in August of 1942.  At the time, however, the importance of this invention was unknown.  Technology made it hard to implement and it was ignored or put on the back burner.  In fact, George Antheil, who died in 1959, would not live to see it in action.

However over the next few decades technology started to catch up with Hedy & George’s idea.  In the 1960s, the military had taken the idea and developed a version to use in their ships during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, twenty years after Hedy & George had patented the idea.  The full impact of spread spectrum radio would not be felt till a few more decades past and the internet started to grow.  It allowed for faster internet connections, and was the underlying work on which GPS, Bluetooth and Wifi were based on.

So you can thank Hedy Lamarr for many of the communications technology that we use every day, such as cellphones, the GPS in our car, using Bluetooth to talk handless through our phones or vehicles, and being able to have mobile internet available to tablets, laptops and phones without the need to have wires dragging behind us.

Hedy’s contribution to science and communication technology was not really recognized until the late nineties, when she received the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer award in 1997 for her invention.  SHe was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014, four years after her death.

In her personal life, Hedy found more obstacles than success at times.  She would marry five more times, have three children, and even write her own memoir.  But she would also deal with increasing agoraphobia, discord with her children (in particular her eldest), and public scandals.  At one point she was rumored to have an addiction to prescription pills as well.  THe various depths of her problems depend on the source of the information. Hedy herself was a very private person, and even admitted later in life to not writing a truthful memoir.

Hedy died on January 19, 2000 at the age of 85.  She had lived long enough to see herself become a “classic film star” and see her invention finally be put to real use.

Further Reading:

Wikipedia: Hedy Lamarr 

Biography.com: Hedy Lamarr 

Women Inventors: Hedy Lamarr

The Official Hedy Lamarr Website

Anna Couey: How “The Bad Boy Of Music” And “The Most Beautiful
Girl In The World” Catalyzed A Wireless Revolution–In 1941
  (1997)

Women in STEM: Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr: Inventor of Frequency Hopping

Orlando Sentinel: Court to Weigh Plea of Lamarr’s estranged son

Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy the Lamarr, the most beautiful woman in the world – Richard Rhodes (via Google Books)

Vanity Fair: How Inventive “Genius” Hedy Lamarr Became a Hollywood Tragedy

Smithsonian:  Team Hollywood’s Secret Weapons System

The Marketplace: The Story of Hedy Lamarr

The Atlantic: Celebrity Invention: Hedy Lamarr’s Secret Communications System

 

To read more in this series, see the Master list

TV Review: The Orville 1×06

And now I am caught up.  Since the episode airs on Thursday on FOX, I hope that it will be up on Hulu (where I can watch it) Friday morning, so with all luck Friday’s post will be the 7th episode that airs this week.  but first, the sixth episode:

Episode:  Krill (1×06)

(Original Airdate: October 12, 2007)

Notable Guest Stars:

Michaela McManus (Teleya) -She’s been in a couple big shows, but I know her mostly as Lindsey from One Tree Hill.

James Horan (Sazeron) – Star Trek Alum who also does alot of voice work for video games. He appeared in The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.

~*~

This episode was a wonderfully written episode.  Ed and Gordon are sent undercover (using Holographic technology so no physical alterations) to obtain the Krill holybook so that the Union can better understand the people they are fighting.  The Krill believe their god has made them the supreme species in the universe, and therefore they are mission bound to take over.

THis episode does a good job in giving us a look at how the Krill operate.  I was a little uncomfortable with the theme that belief in god makes you less advanced or more inclined to be terrorists, however.  It seemed pretenious and a bit preachy.

I have to admit that in previous scifi ship shows you don’t often find the main crew come across another ship with children on it. I didn’t realise that till I saw this episode and realised it seemed odd that there was this idea that Humans would be the only ones to make long term exploratory vessels with families on board.

I have to admit that in this episode, Gordon reminded me a lot of Scott Grimes’ other known character Archie Morris from ER.  Except perhaps more inclined to do adult humor.

Notable Quotes:

Gordon:  Dude!  We are Vampire Hunters!

~*~

Gordon:  AH!  That;’s a new leg!

~*~

Ed: They aren’t my enemy.

Teleya:  After seeing what you did, they will be.

Pros:

More back story about the Krill

Cons:

I was a little disappointed in the heavy Anti-religon of this episode.  Like somehow believing in a deity makes you less advanced.  While I get that the Krill are set up as fundamentalists, that still doesn’t mean that belief in god is somehow wrong.

Final Grade: A-

Women of History: Admiral Grace Hopper

For this week’s edition of Historical Women, we travel a bit closer to our own time.  Our subject today is Grace Hopper, an American Admiral and computer scientist.  I have talked about her before, as she is one of those people I’ve always wanted to know more about.  She is one of the pioneers in computer engineering, and is the one said to have coined the term “Bug” for a computer problem.

She was born Grace Brewster Murray on December 9, 1906 in New York City, the eldest daughter of Walter & Mary Murray.  She was known for having an early interest in how things worked, taking apart things and putting them back together.  This followed her into her career.   Continue reading “Women of History: Admiral Grace Hopper”