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She helped put a man on the moon. Now Katherine Johnson is getting her own movie.

Taraji P. Henson stars as space scientist Katherine Johnson.

Mathematician and NASA scientist Katherine Johnson isn't exactly a household name, but that may soon change.

Johnson, best known for her role calculating the trajectories for NASA's Mercury and Apollo missions by hand — including the moon landing — is one of the greatest American minds of all time.

And to think you may not have ever even heard about her.


Katherine Johnson. Photo by NASA.

Johnson's space science career began in 1953 at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, NASA's predecessor) at Langley Research Center's Guidance and Navigation Department. Johnson's title: computer. (Seriously, before computers were computers, really super-smart people like Johnson were computers.) Neat, right?

Now 97, Johnson is finally getting some much-deserved credit for her work, including an upcoming movie based on her life.

In 2015, President Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls.

And more than 10,000 people have signed on in support of making a "Women of NASA" Lego set featuring Johnson, Sally Ride, Mae Jemison, Margaret Hamilton, and Nancy Roman.

But the biggest boost to Johnson's name recognition is likely to come from "Hidden Figures," a movie starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe as Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, respectively. The film is based on the book of the same name, written by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Representation matters. History books can only tell part of the story, and they often leave out important characters.

Though jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are some of the fastest-growing career paths in the U.S., women make up just 14% of engineers nationwide.

While a single movie highlighting the lives of women of color working in a STEM field isn't likely to eliminate the representation gap, girls around the country will at least be made aware that yes, they can be mathematicians or engineers or scientists if they want to. At the very least, "Hidden Figures" might finally make Katherine Johnson the household name she always should have been.

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As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash (left), Kimberly Zapata (right)

Picking a psychiatrist is a precarious situation, one I know all too well. I have bipolar disorder, depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. I have been in and out of therapy for nearly 20 years. And while I have left doctors for a wide variety of reasons—I've moved, I felt better and "been better," I've given up on pharmacology and stopped taking meds—I've only had to fire one.

The reason? She was judgemental and disrespectful. In her office, I wasn't seen, heard or understood.

To help you understand the gravity of the situation, I should give you some context. In the spring of 2017, I was doing well and feeling good, at least for the most part. My family was healthy. I was happy, and life was more or less normal, so I stopped seeing my psychiatrist. I decided I didn't need my meds.

But by the summer, my mood was shifting. I was cycling (which occurs when bipolar patients vacillate between periods of mania and depression) and when I suffered a miscarriage that fall, I plunged into a deep depressive episode—one I knew I couldn't pull myself out of.

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Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less
via @Kingkeraun / Twitter

Keraun Harris, who goes by the name King Keraun, is a popular comedian on social media who's appeared as an actor on HBO's "Insecure" and ABC's "Black-ish."

On Monday, he posted a video on Twitter sharing the story of how a white woman had his back during a recent traffic stop.

"I just got pulled over, and for the first time, I watched a white woman record my whole traffic stop," she said.

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via Tania / Twitter

Therapy animals have become a controversial issue of recent, even though they've helped over 500,000 people overcome psychological and physical issues that have made it difficult to perform everyday tasks.

It's because countless people have tried to pass off their pets as service animals, making it hard for legitimate, trained animals to gain acceptance in public.

So when people hear about emotional support llamas, they're met with understandable cynicism. However, studies show they are great at helping children with autism spectrum disorder, and they are routinely used to cheer up people residents in retirement homes.

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