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Published: March 8th 2017
It's been a bit of a busy week! So I'll sum up quickly and try to be moire regular in future!
2nd March Yap Day in Micronesia. Celebrating the Yapese culture - culture, tattoos, cuisine, and scuba-diving. Tourists are encouraged to participate and learn about Yap culture, meet people and take photos. There are dance competitions, demonstrations of traditional crafts (canoe building, net making, grass skirt weaving, jewellery ). To clebrate I tried dancing the women's sitting down dance and the men's bamboo stick dance (with my trustly umbrella).
3rd March - Noche de Brujas - Night of the Witches. In Catemaco, Mexico, Shamen, witches and fortune tellers meet at an annual convention and read tarot and palms and buy cleansing spells, charms and healing potions. Indigenous beliefs mixed with medieval Spanish folklore and voodoo from West Africa. The festival is an opportunity to rid the soul of negative energies. To celebrate I read my tarot.... this year does not look good.
4th March - Hi Mum, Happy Birthday! We celebrated with gifts, a meal and a trip to a craft fair.
5th March - 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. 5th March 1917 is always included on the top ten days that'shook' the world. It marked the end of the Tsars and the bloody beginning of Communism - which, suffice it to say, had a huge effect on the 20th Century, continues to do so and will for many generations to come. To commemorate I watched Russian Ark (highly recommend it!), which shows the history of Russia from the point of view of the Hermitage - a palace in St Petersburg.
6th March - the 37th anniversary of the Komodo Dragon National Park in Indonesia. So I learnt a little about Komodo Dragons - which are much bigger than I previously thought. The park was made to protect 5700 Komodo dragons and other native wildlife. Komodo dragons can regrow teeth and have flexible skulls. A research trip to collect them was part of what inspired the first King Kong film. They are venomous and originally from Australia (like most dangerous creatures).
7th - Women's History Month - 8th International Women's Day!
So, the first 8 women of my Women's History Month are:
Katherine Johnson - NASA Computer - the woman who did the math to put a man on the moon (guess which film I've recently seen!). Her family relocated 120 miles so she could go to high school as there were no provisions for black students in her area. She graduated at 14 and graduated college at 18. She calculated the trajectory for the flight of the first American in space as well as the Mecury m,ission. In 1962, NSA got computers.... and then asked Johnson to check that the technology had got it right.
Rita Levi-Montalcini - A biologist who had to convince her father to allow her to study. She set up a lab in her bedroom so she could continue to work when Mussolini banned Jewish people from working. She isolated nerve growth factor, which offered potential treatments for Alzheimer's, infertility and cancer. Nobel prize winner. Appointed as senator for life in Italy for 'outstanding contributions to science'. Only stopped her research when she died.... aged 103.
Chien-Shiung Wu - The first lady of nuclear physics. Worked at Princeton before women were allowed as students. Worked on the Manhattan project. Disproved a basic law of physics when she designed the 'Wu experiement', which despite her creating and it being named after her - she did not receive the nobel prize for the experiment. That went to two men, Dr Lee and Dr Yang. She was elected president of the American Physical Society and was awarded the Medal of Science.
Jackie Mitchell - baseball pitcher and reason why women aren't allowed to play in the male dominated sport. Why? She struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig back to back in 7 pitches. Ruth pulled a tantrum, said women were too 'delicate for baseball' and Mitchell's contract was voided. This didn't stop her playing in exibition ('barnstorming') games with the House of David - a men's team famous for their long hair and beards (she would also put on a beard for publicity). She retired in 1937 after becoming angry about her baseball skills became nothing more than a sideshow.
Hedy Lamar - Hollywood actress... who happened to invent frequency-hopping spread-spectrum technology to create a jam-proof radios and torpedoes, which is also the forerunner of modern technologies such as blue tooth and WiFi.
Nellie Cashman - In the 1870s, after the Canadian army declared it too dangerous, Nellie organised 6 people to take 1500lbs of supplies to 26 miners stranded in the British Colombia mountains during a snowstorm. Because she's a bad ass.
Hypatia of Alexandria - a Greek mathematician, philosopher and astronomer in Egypt. She has the head of the Neoplatonic school, where she taught philosophy and astronomy. A lot has been lost and forgotten about Hypatia - however Socrates of Constaninople (a contemporary Christian historian described her as a woman who 'made such attainments in literature and science as to surpass all the philosophers of her own time... (she didn't) feel abashed in going into an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more'. She was eventually killed by a Christian mob.
May Edward Chinn - Black-Native American pioneer who was the first black woman to graduate from Bellevue medical college. She was also the first black woman to have an intership at Harlem hospital and ride with an ambulance crew. When Black people were barred from formal accociations, she opened her own practice to give affordable health care. Almost worked at the Roackeller Institute... until they discovered she was black. She worked for the Strang Clinic and helped develop the pap smear - which has helped reduce cervical cancer deaths by up to 80%. She also started a society to help black women go to medical school.
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