Photo by Antony Freitas on Unsplash

What We’re Reading: The hidden history of the GPS

Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog
Published in
4 min readFeb 3, 2024

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👋🏾 Hello there,

Every time I ask my phone for directions, I remind myself (and whomever is riding with me) that we have Dr. Gladys West to thank for GPS. She’s a mathematician, born in 1930, whose hidden figures, so to speak, are present in most every electronic device you own.

As NASA columnist, astrophysicist, and science writer

puts it, West is “a still-living and largely unheralded Black woman whose scientific contributions enabled us to understand geodesy and the shape of the Earth well enough to make GPS technology possible.”

Enter Black History Month, a nationwide celebration in the U.S. designed to officially herald folks like West. There’s a lot of “who created the crop rotation method,” “who created the traffic light?,” and “who invented the Super Soaker?” this month. I love that stuff.

According to the association that created the origins of Black History Month back in 1926, this year’s theme is Black Art. That makes me think about the work of Kehinde Wiley, renditions of George Floyd, and the lovely brand design of The Honey Pot company, which was just sold for a landmark $380 million. Heritage and history cover a lot of ground. If you are writing (or reading) new pieces that fall into this broad category, please reply to this email and let me know.

See you on Medium.

, Director of Content @ Medium

What We’re Reading

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Is Andre 3000 the Most Free Black Man in America?

Published by

in Rock n’ Heavy

But what I hadn’t yet seen is what exactly that earns a person. I had yet to see exactly what true freedom could look like — beyond the notion of “f-you money” — for a person with all that success behind them. At least not from and by a Black man in America. Even Drake is going to be measured on hitmaking and Steph Curry on his ability to win another title or not.

Last night, my contact fell out of my eye mid-show after realizing I was getting teary-eyed because, I saw what that saying really looks like when a famous Black man has won the hard battles to be truly free.

: Author-generated AI image of the Singapore Merlion statue garbed in festive red-and-gold decorations.

5 Fun Facts About Lunar New Year From a Singaporean Chinese

Published by

in Bouncin’ and Behavin’ Blogs

The Chinese zodiac has 12 animals corresponding to a 12-year cycle.

For what it’s worth, the 12 animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. There’s a whole charming story about how this order of the animals came to be. And yes, a dragon is considered an animal.

A DATA VACUUM?: Did you know that new vacuum cleaners now offer data analytics?

delves into the trend in “When Quantification Loses Its Meaning.”

APPLE ENTREPRENEURS: In tech news,

offers us another way of looking at the Apple Vision Pro release. In “Dear Entrepreneurs: Don’t Forget that Apple’s Vision Pro Is Creating Enormous Opportunities,” he posits that the new headsets herald a new economic era.

UNABRIDGED HISTORY:

’s detailed story on racial progress in America details key points in history that impact modern-day race relations. It was published in AfroSapiophile.

Today’s Final Word goes to

, who reviews the much-discussed musical remake of Alice Walker’s seminal work The Color Purple. Though the community is largely divided on how to (re)process such a grief-stricken tale, Helligar finds in it a throughline to hope, art, and beauty.

“By the end of The Color Purple, music is no longer merely a means of escape. It becomes a declaration of humanity, sisterhood, and survival. At the end, how can everyone not break into song? To understand Black pride and survival is to understand why music is so integral to The Color Purple. This isn’t just a remake of the 1985 classic. It’s a reimagining that gives flight and light to the inner lives of Black people.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Let us know what you’ve been reading and writing in the responses!

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Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog

Director of Content @Medium. Award-winning journalist. Featured in a Beyoncé reel. Before now? EBONY, Netflix, Sun-Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe.