Famed NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

On Episode 481 of the Waves of Tech, we are chatting about technology news that matters! We kick off the podcast by asking if browsing the internet is still a thing in today’s world. The death of Katherine Johnson, famed NASA mathematician and leader in racial equality, shook the industry. The loss of Larry Tesler, the creator of cut/copy and paste, will be felt as his contributions in computing and user interface were powerful. Mike Hughes died after his homemade rocket crashed in the desert. Lastly, we learned the value of buying personal financial information with Intuit’s acquisition of Credit Karma.

Famed NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson Dies

Katherine Johnson, a NASA legend and a pioneer in women in mathematics, has died at the age of 101. Johnson is most well known for her superhuman computing skills associated with John Glenn’s early 1960s orbital mission. Even more, she paved the way for STEM education, women in aerospace, and for creating a black presence in a male dominated industry,

  • Her life is portrayed in the nonfiction book and film adaptation Hidden Figures
  • President Obama presented Katherine with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015
  • Her work outside of NASA included the pursuit for racial equality in the workplace
  • Katherine led a team pushing the space race in the 1960s between the US & USSR

Larry Tesler, Tech Pioneer Passes Away

Well known user interface guru and computer scientist Larry Tesler has died at 74. Larry worked in a series of roles within the technology industry, including holding positions with Apple in the 1980s and with Xerox in the 1970s. He is famous for creating the “cut/copy & paste, find & replace” function that is so well utilized in today’s computing systems.

  • Larry held numerous executive positions at Yahoo, Amazon, and 23andMe
  • His graphical user interface ended up making it into the Apple Mac OS
  • A simple cut/copy and paste function revolutionized daily computing for all
  • He was heavily involved in the user interface design of Lisa, Macintosh, and Newton

Mike Hughes Dies After Crash-Landing 

Flat Earth conspiracy theorist ‘Mad Mike’ Hughes died after his homemade rocket crashed in Barstow, a small town within the Mojave Desert. He was a self-made engineer and had previous success in a smaller launch. The Associated Press reported the rocket “appeared to rub against the launch apparatus which might have torn the parachutes attached to it.”

  • Hughes wanted to see for himself the shape and dimension of Earth through his eyes
  • A well known daredevil by nature, he was creative and adventurous in this pursuits
  • This demonstrates the need for multiple engineers and scientists for launching units
  • He often stated that people can do extraordinary things with their lives

Intuit Beefs Up Their Financial Services

After a cash and stock deal estimated to be worth $7 billion, Intuit is going to be the proud owner of Credit Karma. This acquisition adds the free credit service to their other offerings of Mint and TurboTax to its financial toolbox. Ultimately, the purchase signals the growing value and high demand for a customer base’s personal financial information.

  • Intuit sees itself as a one-stop online financial services institution for their users
  • Credit Karma is on record saying they hold over 2,500 data points on their customers
  • This movement increases the attention of consumer rights and privacy concerns
  • These companies are changing the game in terms of access to financial outlets

Resources & Links

Katherine Johnson’s Life

Larry Tesler – cut, copy, and paste

Mike ‘Mad’ Hughes Dies

Intuit Buys Credit Karma

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