Living Women Inventors

Here are some living women inventors whose ideas produced products used by NASA, home owners, computer companies and in many other fields.

Sally Fox
• Year of birth: 1955
• Birthplace: Menlo Park, California
• Occupation: Inventor/businesswoman/entomologist
• Invention: Inventor of commercially viable fiber-colored cotton.
Colored cotton had been grown for thousands of years but was not suitable for modern textile machines and had to be spun by hand. While working as a pollinator for a farmer seeking more pest-resistant cotton, Fox began breeding brown and green cotton. It took her eight years to develop plants that were uniform in color and size as well as commercially viable. Because it doesn’t need to be dyed, colored cotton needs minimal processing and is more environmentally friendly.

Temple Grandin
• Year of birth: 1947
• Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
• Occupation: Inventor/teacher
• Invention: Animal-handling devices
She has designed animal restraint systems that rely on behavioral principles rather than the use of force. Grandin studied how cattle react to ranchers and various stimuli, and designed stockyards and chutes that reduce stress and injury. Today, almost half the cattle in North America are handled or slaughtered using equipment designed by her.

Joy Mangano
• Year of birth: 1956
• Birthplace: East Meadow, New York
• Occupation: Businesswoman
• Invention: Self-wringing Miracle Mop
Joy Mangano invented the self-wringing Miracle Mop and made it a best seller on shopping channel QVC in 1992. She went on to develop numerous consumer products and sold her business, Ingenious Designs, to the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in 1999. She holds more than 100 patents and trademarks and has been successful as a businesswoman and engrepreneur.

Valerie Thomas
• Year of birth: 1942
• Birthplace: Maryland
• Occupation: Scientist
• Invention: Illusion transmitter
Valerie Thomas invented the illusion transmitter, which uses concave mirrors to create optical illusion images. After majoring in physics at Morgan State University, Thomas began her career at NASA. When she worked on Landsat, the first satellite to transmit images from outer space, saw the need for a technology that would deliver three-dimensional images. The illusion transmitter was patented in 1980 and is still used by NASA today. Scientists are seeking to incorporate it into technology that will give surgeons three-dimensional views of the human body.

Olga D. González-Sanabria
• Year of birth: N/A
• Birthplace: Patillas, Puerto Rico
• Occupation: Scientist/inventor
• Invention: Long-life nickel hydrogen batteries
Olga González-Sanabria played a key role in the development of the long-life nickel hydrogen battery, used to power the International Space Station. A native of Puerto Rico, she joined NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland in 1979 and has held a number of senior positions there.

Janet Emerson Bashen
• Year of birth: 1957
• Birthplace: Mansfield, Ohio
• Occupation: Businesswoman
• Invention: Software to secure documents
Janet Emerson Bashen, founder, chief executive officer, and president of human resources company Bashen Corp., in 2006 became the first African American woman in the U.S. to receive a software patent. She and a cousin developed LinkLine, a web-based application that stores and retrieves information pertaining to Equal Employment Opportunity cases.

Jeanne Lee Crews
• Year of birth: 1939
• Birthplace: United States
• Occupation: Inventor/scientist
• Invention: Bumper to shield satellites from space debris
Jeanne Crews joined NASA in 1964 — one of the first women engineers to do so — and began working on the problem of protecting satellites and manned craft from space debris. She developed the “space bumper,” a multi-layered shield that is as light but stronger than aluminum and is still in use on the International Space Station.

Margaret Hamilton
• Year of birth: 1936
• Birthplace: Paoli, Indiana
• Occupation: Computer scientist
• Invention: Software development
Margaret Hamilton led the Software Engineering Division at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory that developed guidance and navigation software for the Apollo space program. The software was critical to the success of the Apollo missions and was adapted for use in Skylab, the Space Shuttle and the first digital fly-by-wire systems in aircraft. Hamilton coined the very term “software engineering.”

Patricia Billings
• Year of birth: 1926
• Birthplace: Clinton City, Missouri
• Occupation: Sculptor/inventor/businesswoman
• Invention: Geobond-replacement for asbestos
Sculptor Patricia Billings invented Geobond to prevent her works from shattering. She knew that sculptors during the Renaissance used a cement additive to make their plaster more durable and wanted to create a modern version. After years of experimentation, Billings developed Geobond, which creates an indestructible plaster when mixed with gypsum and concrete. What’s more, it is fireproof and non-toxic and thus a practical alternative to asbestos.

Lynn Conway
• Year of birth: 1938
• Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York
• Occupation: Computer scientist
• Invention: Pioneer of microelectronics chip design
Lynn Conway is more than an inventor — she’s a revolutionary. Along with Carver Mead, Conway is credited with the Mead & Conway revolution, a design process for the integrated circuits that make microchips. She also invented generalized dynamic instruction handling, which is used to improve computer processor performance.

Erna Schneider Hoover
• Year of birth: 1926
• Birthplace: Irvington, New Jersey
• Occupation: Mathematician
• Invention: Invented computerized telephone switching method
While working at Bell Labs in New Jersey, mathematician Erna Hoover invented a way to monitor the frequency of incoming calls and prioritize tasks so as to avoid overloading phone switches. In 1971, she received a patent for a Feedback Control Monitor for Stored Program Data Processing System — one of the first software patents ever issued — and the principles of her invention are still applied in telecommunications equipment today. Hoover also worked on radar control programs for the interception of intercontinental ballistic missile warheads.

Nancy Perkins
• Year of birth: N/A
• Birthplace: N/A
• Occupation: Inventor
• Invention: Invented and improved various household appliances
Nancy Perkins has made a career out of either inventing or improving household appliances. Perkins holds patents for various household items such as a rotary grater for cheese, an upright vacuum cleaner, a buffet server, and a slow cooker, to name just a few.

Edith Marie Flanigen
• Year of birth: 1929
• Birthplace: Buffalo, New York
• Occupation: Chemist
• Invention: Invented or developed over 200 different synthetic substances
Edith Flanigen has been described as one of the most inventive chemists of all time. Over her 42-year career with Union Carbide, she invented more than 200 synthetic substances and was awarded more than 100 patents. Flanigen is known for her work on molecular sieves, which can filter or separate complex substances, and in particular zeolite Y, which is used to refine petroleum. She also co-invented a synthetic emerald that was used in masers, predecessors of lasers, and jewelry.

No, Your Sight Isn’t Failing

Having trouble reading things on the web? Wonder if it’s your eyesight? It’s not. The tech world is failing you.

The internet is becoming unreadable because of a trend towards lighter, thinner fonts – fonts that don’t meet the basic standards of readability for a good share of the populace.

readabilityThe Telegraph of London reports that a web expert has found these lighter, thinner fonts are making it difficult for the elderly or visually-impaired to see words clearly. Where text used to be bold and dark, which contrasted well with predominantly white backgrounds, now many websites are switching to light greys or blues for their type.

Award winning blogger Kevin Marks, founder of Microformats and former vice president of web services at BT, decided to look into the trend after becoming concerned that his eyesight was failing because he was increasingly struggling to read on screen text. He found a ‘widespread movement’ to reduce the contrast between the words and the background, with tech giants Apple, Google and Twitter all altering their typography.

True black on white text has a contrast ratio of 21:1 – the maximum which can be achieved. Most technology companies agree that it is good practice for type to be a minimum of 7:1 so that the visually-impaired can still see text. Yet Marks found that even Apple’s own typography guidelines, which recommended 7:1 are written in a contrast ratio of 5.5:1. Google’s guidelines also suggest a 7:1 contrast ratio, but 54 per cent opacity of display, which brings the ratio down to 4.6:1.

Marks, who has been named one of the Telegraph’s 50 must influential Britons in technology, said the changes risk undermining the universal reach of the internet. “The typography choices of companies like Apple and Google set the default design of the web, and these two drivers of design are already dancing on the boundaries of legibility,” he warned on the technology site Backchannel. “If the web is relayed through text that’s difficult to read, it curtails the open access by excluding large swaths of people such as the elderly, the visually impaired or those retrieving websites through low quality screens.”

The changes in typography have come about because, as web design evolved, the numbers of fonts, colors and background began to diverge from the original set of ‘web safe’ fonts which were deemed legible online.
The rise in LCD technology and high definition screens has also allowed designers to use increasingly thinner fonts. While these fonts work on desktops, they can be virtually impossible to read on smartphones or tablets.

In recent years, reference guides have steered designers away from too much contrast, claiming that traditional black on white typography strains the eyes, and made it difficult for people with dyslexia.  Many computers are now set to grow dimmer during the evening to avoid too much blue light after dark, which can keep people awake.

But the US based Web Accessibility Initiative, which came up with the original ratio formula in 2008 to help web designers said too little contrast made web pages “confusing and frustrating”. “Choosing colors with poor contrast makes navigating, reading and interacting a real pain,” said a spokesman. Sufficient contrast between foreground and background colors is essential for people with low contrast sensitivity which becomes more common as we age.

Marks said reducing the contrast risked alienating some users. “To arbitrarily throw away contrast based on a fashion that looks good on my perfect screen in my perfectly lit office is abdicating designer’s responsibilities to the very people for whom they are designing,” he said. “My plea to designers and software engineers: Ignore the fads and go back to the typographic principles of print. “You’ll be making things better for people who read on smaller, dimmer screens, even if their eyes aren’t aging like mine. It may not be trendy, but it’s time to consider who is being left out by the web’s aesthetic.”

A Peek at the Not Distant Future

Welcome to tomorrow.

Posting on, Dr. Robert Goldman, M.D., PhD., offers some exciting and sometimes frightening insight into what lies ahead for mankind.

In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years – and most people don’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that three years later you would never take pictures on paper film again? Digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore’s law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became way superior and went mainstream in only a few years.

Now the same thing is happening with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.

Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.
Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. AirBnB is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers are becoming exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. In the US, young lawyers already don’t have jobs. You can get legal advice (more or less basic stuff) from IBM Watson within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.

Watson already helps nurses diagnose cancer, four times more accurately than human nurses. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Automatic cars: In 2018 the first self driving cars will appear for the public. They will be mainstream just two years later. Around 2020, the complete automobile industry will start to be disrupted. You won’t want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our kids will never get a driver’s licence and will never own a car. It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% fewer cars for that. We can transform former parking space into parks. Each year 1.2 million people die in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 100,000km (62,000 miles), with autopilot driving that will drop to one accident in 10 million km (6.2 million miles). That will save a million lives each year.

Cities will be less noisy because all cars will run on electricity, which will become incredibly cheap and clean.

Most car companies might become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will try the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. A lot of engineers from Volkswagen and Audi are terrified of Tesla.

Insurance companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

Real estate business is bound to change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away from their job sites.

Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can only now see the impact. Last year, more solar energy stations were installed worldwide than fossil. The price for solar energy will drop so much that all coal companies will be defunct by 2025.

With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter. We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.

Learn much more about tomorrow at:

We’re Looking for One Great Systems Administrator!

dinoslogoPerhaps you, or someone you know, is looking for a great job. Our systems administrator is retiring and we need someone responsible for installing and maintaining all computer hardware, software and networks. The systems administrator will provide hardware and software maintenance, training and consultation, including recommendations about future planning and development of resources.

The ideal candidate is a self-starter and a team player with a “can do attitude”. This individual has demonstrated knowledge of technologies such as operating systems, networks, database systems and POS. The candidate can immediately assist staff/clients through a series of actions to help set up systems and troubleshoot issues, with the ability to prioritize and manage numerous projects at once.

Those considering applying for this position should have a wide range of skills and qualifications including, but not limited to, the ability to install and administer computer hardware, software and networks; team building skills; analytical and problem solving skills; strong understanding of computer viruses and security; decision making skills; and effective verbal, presentation and listening communication skills.

Those considering applying for this position also need the skills to troubleshoot hardware, software, and networking operating system; provide orientation to new users of existing technology; train staff about potential users of existing technology; install work stations; connect and set up hardware and software; and working knowledge of all operating systems.

For complete position information, ask us to send you the Systems Administrator  document.


David J. Paladino CPM, MSRED


Landmark Group 402-672-6566

2702 Douglas St. Omaha NE 68131