American

  • February 4, 2021

    Science of the Heart and Stars

    In honor of Black History Month, I very much wanted to profile two wonderful Black American scientists who have greatly contributed to the advancement of humanity’s health and well-being and to our understanding of the universe! I’m speaking of none other than Progressive Pioneers Doctors Marie M. Daly and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Let’s take a look into the lives of these great Americans who make us all proud—for we are all one color: beautiful. Dr. Marie Daly STEM Revolution of Equal Opportunity When the 45th president signed into law the Hidden Figures Act honoring the four African‐American women who were instrumental in the success of NASA’s space race to the moon, we should not forget other accomplished women who have also contributed our nation’s scientific knowledge. One such venerated pioneer is Dr. Marie Maynard Daly. Dr. Daly was born in Queens, NY on April 16, 1921. She was the daughter of Ivan Daly (an immigrant from the British West Indies) and Helen Page of Washington DC. Her parents settled in the New York City area where Mr. Daly attended Cornell University in pursuit of a chemistry degree. Like her father, Dr. Marie Daly also chose to pursue a career in chemistry. She was spurred on by her grandfather’s extensive library of books about scientists and their scientific achievements. Dr. Daly graduated from Queens College magna cum laude with a BA in Chemistry. Due to labor shortages and the need for scientists during World War II, she was able to garner fellowships to study at both New York and Columbia Universities earning her a master’s and a Ph.D. (respectively). Daly’s first major publication was her thesis on the formation of pancreatic amylase on corn starch. From there, her scientific career soared. She was awarded a grant from the American Cancer Society...
  • October 31, 2020

    BOO!

    Happy Halloween Denizens of Digital Gotham! Tonight is Halloween, and tomorrow is November 1st, which is the famed Mexican holiday Día de Muertos (A.K.A. Day of the Dead)—a scary-fun time indeed! Therefore, I’m honoring the traditional holiday of “Tricks and Treats” (and other things to go “bump in the night”) in this post just because. All Hallows’ Eve, as Halloween is sometimes known, is celebrated not only in America but in countries from Australia, most countries in Europe, to Japan, among others. Though this holiday unofficially kicks off the American Holiday Season (consisting also of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve, to name a few), it has its roots in Gaelic, Welsh, and Christian influences. For most people who celebrate Halloween it’s usually about getting in costume (like a Bat with a cape! LOL!), going to parties, and if you’re a kid, ringing on people’s doors and “legally” asking for candy! Of course, Digital Batman celebrates Halloween every week when he writes this blog in his cape and cowl. Hahaha!
  • In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I thought it would be a great idea to profile two Japanese Progressive Pioneers who literally changed the world: the founders of SONY Corporation. SONY Corporation is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo Japan. Its diversified business includes consumer and professional electronics, gaming, entertainment and financial services. The company owns the largest music entertainment business in the world, the largest video game console business and one of the largest video game publishing businesses, and is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets, and a leading player in the film and television entertainment industry. And two men, Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita, started it all in 1946 in the devastating wake of World War II. They started out building Japan’s first tape recorder but soon expanded to transistor radios an other electronics. The name SONY was adopted in 1958 (a mashup of the Latin word Sonus for sound, and Sonny for the American slang term “sonny boy”). SONY rapidly grew into the digital mega-giant it is today. Ibuka served as president of Sony from 1950 to 1971, and then served as chairman of Sony from 1971 until he retired in 1976. He died in 1997 at the age of 89. Morita stepped down as Chairman of SONY in 1994, passing away five years later at the age of 78. Between these two men are dozens of awards, publications, and accolades that span decades. They were also involved in many charities and economic ventures helping to rebuild Japan after the war, and paving the way to making it a world economic leader. Ibuka & Morita leave behind a legacy of world‐changing Digital Revolution that reaches far into our global digital society...
  • January 1, 2020

    Ad Astra Per Feminae

    With the 34th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster this past Tuesday, I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to Christa McAuliffe as the first teacher in space who perished on that fateful day back in 1986. And, I thought it would also be fitting to include Sally Ride, America’s first woman astronaut. Both are Progressive Pioneers who advanced space exploration for generations of future American female astronauts, young women everywhere. Here are their stories: Sharon Christa McAuliffe (A.K.A. Christa) is famously known for being chosen as America’s first teacher in space. Though, she never made it into space due to a tragic accident involving the Space Shuttle Challenger 73 seconds into liftoff on January 28, 1986. Despite the loss of McAuliffe and the other six crewmembers aboard the space craft, which is regarded as a national tragedy, McAuliffe’s life is celebrated and honored all across the country. Schools, scholarships, documentaries, and more have all been named in her honor. She has inspired whole generations of kids since that fateful day to reach for the stars and to achieve their dreams. McAuliffe was born in Boston on September 2, 1948. Her father, Edward Christopher Corrigan was an accountant of Irish descent, and her mother, Grace Mary Corrigan, was a teacher of Lebanese Maronite descent. McAuliffe received a bachelor’s degree in Education from Framingham State College and a master’s degree in Education (supervision & administration) from Bowie State University. She married Stephen J. McAuliffe in 1970, with whom she had two children, Scott and Caroline. She eventually took a teaching job Concord High School (Concord, NH), where she would eventually apply for President Ronald Reagan’s Teacher in Space Project for NASA. Out of 11,000+ applicants, she and teacher Barbara Morgan were the final two chosen in 1985, with McAuliffe earning the top spot. Both McAuliffe and Morgan took a year’s leave of absence to train for the space shuttle mission...
  • October 17, 2019

    Chariot Runner of Digital Music

    Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, known throughout the world as Vangelis has been dubbed the great composer of Symphonic Electronica. Probably best known for his Academy Award‐winning score for the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire, Vangelis’ music has inspired whole generations of digital artists from musicians to filmmakers and more. In fact, when the score for the sequel to another of Vangelis’ iconic film scores, Blade Runner (1982), came rolling around for Blade Runner 2049 (2017), he was firstly considered for the job. Vangelis declined and the job fell to another great composer of traditional and digital music, Hans Zimmer. Zimmer cited several times that Vangelis’ music would be a huge influence in the sequel’s score. The reason that he is a Progressive Pioneer is that his music not only pioneers symphonic electronica but transcends it to all mediums (film, television, theater, sports, etc.). Born in 1943 in a coastal town in Thessaly Greece, later raised in Athens, Vangelis began composing music since the age of four! However, it is the way that he began composing music which would define his later digital‐electronica aural accomplishments: by experimenting with sounds, such as placing nails and kitchen pans inside their family piano, and with radio interference. He made music from a sea of unique sources ranging from synthesizers, sitars, harps, finger cymbals, orchestral instruments, and choirs to name a few. From there his decades‐long‐spanning career has been an epic adventure of artistic supremacy. Some highlights are: 1963–1974, Vangelis performed in several rock bands, and began scoring music for Greek film and television projects. He was even invited to join the famed progressive rock band YES. During the 1970s–1980s, Vangelis moved to London, England and secured a lucrative record deal with RCA Records. After the release of his seminal work, the album Heaven and Hell,...
  • So it turns out that Kevin Costner was right all along not to try to fake a British accent in the 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves! In fact, if anyone spoke closer to the way the mythical Robin Hood would have spoken back in those days, it would have been Costner (portraying the titular character) and not the predominantly British cast (with the exception of Morgan Freeman of course who played the Moor Azeem sporting a Persian dialect)! Okay, now before my British friends flame the hell out of me listen to my reasoning on this matter: So last night while watching an episode of Sleepy Hollow I was intrigued by an exchange between Ichabod Crane and one of the modern-day police officers. The officer was trying to insult Crane by saying something that he wasn’t an American because he spoke with a British accent. However, the officer didn’t realize that Crane was transported through time from the American Revolution to modern times (by witchcraft) and that would explain his accent because back then (ca. 1776) American colonists and their British counterparts all pretty much spoke with the same accent. So then my interest was piqued, and I looked up when did American English and British English accents diverge. The answer surprised the hell out of me! It turns out that it weren’t Americans who lost their so-called British accent. It was the British who gained theirs over the last 300 years or so (242 years since the American Revolution)! I couldn’t believe it! I have a degree in English but I don’t recall this being covered in any of my English classes. Please no comments about the quality of American education—let’s just stick to the subject at hand. So anyway, that blew my mind. I’ll post the link to the research here. Now there are a few exceptions to...