Grace Hopper For #TheNew10 Dollar Bill

Grace Hopper
Since the Treasury Department announced they will be redesigning the $10 bill and featuring a woman on the front, it got me thinking. While more obscure, Grace Hopper is the ideal candidate.

Lets go through her qualifications:

  • Attained the rank of United States Navy rear admiral. A rare feat for a woman (the first was Alene Duerk).
  • Active in the service between 1943–1966, 1967–1971, 1972–1986 for a total of approx. 41 years of service. Including during WWII.
  • Notable achievements in her field had a large influence on shaping the her industry as well as the nation as high level programming languages accelerated computer proliferation through business and eventually personal use:
    • Wrote the first compiler.
    • Invented COBOL, which is still in use over 50 years later and it’s predecessor .
  • She’s the one responsible for the term “bug” being used to describe a defect in software.
  • Responsible for some badass quotes like “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”
  • And lastly… diseased (technically relevant).

Per the Treasury Dept. website:

…The person should be iconic and have made a significant contribution to — or impact on — protecting the freedoms on which our nation was founded.

I think a Navy veteran buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors meets the qualifications as much as anyone who walked the face of this earth.

So to summarize, she’s a female veteran who climbed the ranks of the Navy who quite literally invented her field and launched and industry that’s reshaping her country and the world even years after she passed away. I’d say that’s worth $10.

Calamari Or Pig Rectum

This could just be some sort of urban legend however NPR’s This American Life is claiming some pork producer may be selling “pork bung”, the rectum of a pig as artificial calamari. Granted, it’s in sausage and most likely other highly processed pork. Some more discussion on CHOW about the product itself.

Update: Slate has some pretty good reporting that suggests this story is bogus and it’s not true. If it’s in hot dogs or other things you eat, that’s a whole other story.

Inventor Of The Bar Code Dies

N. Joseph Woodland, notable for inventing the bar code has died. On how his famous invention came about:

“I poked my four fingers into the sand and for whatever reason — I didn’t know — I pulled my hand toward me and drew four lines. I said: ‘Golly! Now I have four lines, and they could be wide lines and narrow lines instead of dots and dashes.’ ”

He was a former boyscout so he knew Morse code. You gotta love inventions that are thought of like that. It’s a pure eureka moment. Even more impressive is it wasn’t until years later that technology caught up and made his idea practical and prone to widespread adoption. He really was ahead of his time.

It’s a really cool story, well worth a read.

Using HIV To Kill Cancer

From NY Times:

To perform the treatment, doctors remove millions of the patient’s T-cells — a type of white blood cell — and insert new genes that enable the T-cells to kill cancer cells. The technique employs a disabled form of H.I.V. because it is very good at carrying genetic material into T-cells. The new genes program the T-cells to attack B-cells, a normal part of the immune system that turn malignant in leukemia.

The altered T-cells — called chimeric antigen receptor cells — are then dripped back into the patient’s veins, and if all goes well they multiply and start destroying the cancer.

The T-cells home in on a protein called CD-19 that is found on the surface of most B-cells, whether they are healthy or malignant.

I can’t help but think this is one of those major events in which we’ll look back and see it as a turning point in medicine. This stuff is at it’s infancy but when you think about it, we’re turning a deadly virus into a cure for a deadly disease. Science FTW!

Election 2012

cbsnews.com 2012 Election

My 4th election, 2nd presidential election. I couldn’t even tell you how many primaries, debates, etc. without hitting Wikipedia and counting. Handling the technical side of elections on a large internet news presence is nothing short of crazy. It’s a lot of 1’s and 0’s to move across the internet in a very short amount of time. No margin of error, no time to recover from mistakes. You’re product launches with the firmest of deadlines and is consumed immediately. Scale later is not an option, you scale from the starting gate to handle an unknown number.

It’s an interesting experience no matter how many times you do it. No matter how much planning, quick thinking and judgement calls are unavoidable. At least there’s a 2 year break until the next one :).

Post Hurricane Sandy

Bandwidth

Things have been quiet for a few days thanks the Hurricane Sandy. Power went out Monday afternoon and wasn’t restored until Thursday afternoon. About 4 hours after that it was cut again and was restored this afternoon. Despite that I still managed to work until 3:30 AM Tuesday fighting fires at work thanks to extremely slow cellular connectivity. Lots to catch up on, lots of deadlines to still hit over the next several days.

Believe it or not, the above image was delightfully fast internet access during the storm. For the majority of the time it was way worse.