Today’s Dame of the Day is Ada Lovelace (December 10, 1815-November 27, 1852). While her mother disapproved of her interest in mathematics, Lovelace defied her wishes and continued to explore the subject. As a colleague and contemporary of Charles Babbage, Lovelace created the first algorithm to be used by a machine. She frequently checked Babbage’s work, making her the first debugger in the nascent digital world.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Juliana Buhring (June 2, 1981-). After growing up in a cult in the English countryside, Buhring escaped and took up long distance cycling. In 2012, she set the record for the Fastest Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe by Bike; Buhring traveled 18,000 miles over the course of 152 days. Buhring is frequently the sole female competitor in races and she is widely considered one of the best long distance cyclists in the world.
July 21st marks the four year anniversary of singer Amy Winehouse’s death, and I plan to spend the day watching Asif Kapadia’s new documentary, Amy: The Girl Behind the Name. Normally, I’m critical of biopics; I still haven’t watched Whitney in spite of its favorable reviews. Particularly in instances of drug and alcohol abuse, it’s easy for directors to portray the subject as a train wreck instead of a person. But from what I’ve read, Kapadia goes beyond the tattoos and the beehive to highlight her wit and talent. While her family is less than pleased with the result (they argue that the film portrays them as doing little to intervene and help Amy), I’m interested in seeing this other side of her. Clearly, other people are, too: the documentary’s opening weekend in the UK broke attendance records.
Here’s a clip from the film and the original trailer from the film.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Shappi Khorsandi (June 8, 1973-). Born in Iran, Khorsandi and her family were forced to flee to Britain during the Islamic Revolution. She chronicled how the move impacted her family and childhood in her book, A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English. Khorsandi continues to tour throughout Britain and internationally.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Constance Markievicz (February 4, 1868 – July 15, 1927). While she married a Polish count, Markievicz identified with her Irish roots and took an active role in the fight for Irish independence. She taught young scouts how to bear arms, commanded troops in St. Stephen’s Green during the Easter Uprising and, after the British army captured her, served time in Kilmainham Gaol. Following the formation of the Republic, she became one of the first women in the world to hold a cabinet position as the Minister of Labor.
Certain rappers have voices so distinctive that you can pick them out in the first four bars. The Tribe track “Busta’s Lament” is a great example of this phenomenon; instantly, Busta makes his presence known by rhythmically repeating the word “yo.” Nicki Minaj has a similar effect; from the first syllable of the verse, it’s clear that Ms. Minaj is on the track. Certain voices assert their presences and grab the listener’s attention from the get-go.
Photo courtesy of Little Simz
Islington rapper Little Simz’s flow had a similar effect on me the other day. While I first listened to “The Square,” I feel her new release, “Time Capsule,” best highlights her strengths. From the first sixteen bars, the 20 year-old bursts onto the track with a surge of confidence.
They put me down as the one to watch/
Haters put me down as the one to stop/
I can’t even lie, tick all of the boxes/
Still I’m thinking outside the box.
The track oscillates between Simz declaring her dominance over other rappers and reassuring a younger self that the challenges she will face will eventually lead to greatness. This back and forth is not surprising; her other recordings range in subject matter from calling out the music industry to procrastinating on homework assignments while watching Breaking Bad. I’m certainly not the only one who’s impressed by Little Simz’s lyrical abilities. In this typically male-dominated industry, Little Simz was one of three women on Complex Magazine’s 25 rappers to watch list, so she has no choice but to bring her A-game. While the American hip hop market can be rather unforgiving, I hope that Little Simz will make a space for herself at the table.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Nicola Adams (October 26, 1982-). Adams started boxing at age 13 and worked the English circuit while financing her career as a builder and a soap opera extra. The ICC supported funding for women’s boxing in 2009, so Adams began fighting every chance she could. With the inclusion of women’s boxing at the 2012 Olympics, Adams became the first woman and first openly LGBT person to win a gold medal for boxing.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Rosalind Franklin (July 25, 1920 – April 16, 1958). Franklin’s use of X-ray diffraction images discovered the structures of coal, graphite, viruses and RNA. While Watson and Crick are often credited for the discovery of DNA’s double helix, Franklin independently mapped the structure and her findings informed the team’s research. She also delved deeper into the structures of tobacco mosaic and polio viruses before succumbing to ovarian cancer at age 37.
Tumblr is an amazing tool for connecting with creative folks, and Cecile Emeke is currently one of my faves. Her “Strolling” series follows each subject on a jaunt through the streets of London and engages them in casual conversation about crucial issues. This most recent episode discusses the pill, mental health, anxiety, depression, the dreaded “where are you from?” question, healthy eating, and books; it’s a lot to pack in to 15 minutes, but Emeke succeeds with ease. Check out the latest installment and cruise through the archives to catch up on the earlier releases.