On “Chance Operations” and “Her Code Got Humans on the Moon”

I enjoyed watching the video of Casey Reas’ talk on chaos in art for the most part, with the exception for his critique of ordered art. I found most of the examples of computer-generated chaotic art very interesting, especially since most of them probably were/could be done using Processing, which is exciting, since I could try doing something alike.

However, even critiquing ordered art, Reas mentions the “idea to use a rational machine to do something unexpected”. And I found it somewhat controversial, since a machine is rational, therefore it can be seen as a form of ordered art, since it takes a lot of effort and ordered operations to make a machine work (maybe I’m saying something stupid here, I just felt like that can be a perspective on what a machine is, and whether a machine can be considered a piece of art or not).


As for the “Her Code Got Humans on the Moon” article, when I first opened the page, I did was slightly confused by the picture. The title of the article seemed very inspirational, but the image you first see when you open the article is of a woman (supposed the woman who the article is about) with an upset look on her face. And if she is the one who “Got Humans on the Moon”, why does she have that facial expression?

Anyways, despite that picture, I found this article very interesting and very personal. I though it was less focused on the code, somewhat about the process of making it, and totally about the story of Margaret Hamilton. About her life, her husband, how she got into programming at MIT, how she was so into programming to the extent that she took her little daughter with her to work, and while a 4-year-old girl slept on the floor her mother “programmed away”. And, most importantly, about how she persisted in a male-dominated diversity-challenged industry.

I really enjoyed reading the article and wish there was more about the stress and the process both Margaret and the crew went through when fixing mistakes after Apollo 8 was successfully launched, especially when launching P01 program has wiped our all the navigation data and the Apollo computer wouldn’t be able to figure out how to get the astronauts home. I would really love to know more about what they had to face when coming up with a plan to return Apollo 8 astronauts back home.