Julie Payette | Photo: NASA, CC0 (Public Domain)
This week’s news is three stories about three women, because why not?
Julie Payette, computer engineer, former CSA astronaut, and all-around incredibly accomplished human being, has been announced as the pick for the new Governer General of Canada. To me, a science-loving Canadian, this is really exciting news, but hold on and I’ll do a little explaining. As you may know, Canada is still technically a monarchy, with the official head of state being Queen Elizabeth II. Now, all told, the queen does very, very little, except save us from having expensive presidential elections. But the Governor General is her official representative in Canada, and, legally, the Commander in Chief of the Canadian armed forces. Pretty much everything done by the Governor General is bound by what’s called political convention, meaning that while theoretically she has a great deal of power, in reality she’ll just do as asked by the elected representatives. However: the Governor General is very import as both a figurehead and a public persona, insofar as they are meant to represent Canadian values to the world, the individual picked is generally considered an indication of the priorities of the sitting government. Previous Governors General have played important roles in the promotion of the arts, so it’ll be interesting to see what Payette, a former astronaut and COO of the Montreal Science Center, will bring to the national conversation. You can read more about the role of the Governor General at the website www.gg.ca.
Doreen Green—that’s Squirrel Girl to her fans—has a new face. The first actor to play her, in the still-in-development ABC/Marvel New Warriors TV show, will be Milana Vayntrub. Though she’s been in a number of shows you’ve probably heard of—Silicon Valley, or This Is Us, for instance—you might know her from an altogether more peculiar place: in commercials as “Lily the AT&T Girl” (<– link to a commercial). Aside from being talented, the actress is also the cofounder of a charity to help Syrian Refugees, called “Can’t Do Nothing,” which is definitely worth checking out. As you can probably tell, I’m pretty excited about the whole thing, mainly because SQUIRREL GIRL YOU GUYS. She’s beat MODOK, Terrax, Thanos, and Doctor Doom. DOCTOR DOOM. Come on. Anyway, you can get a pretty decent feel for what she’s like as a person in this filmed radio interview where she reacts to the news that millions of people saw her face during a sporting event called the Sugar Bowl (don’t get me started). Now the real question is: who’s going to play Monkey Joe?
The 13th Doctor has been announced—and it’s finally a woman! The actor Jodie Whittaker, who’s most famous for portraying the character Beth Latimer in the TV series Broadchurch, will take the reins from the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, in the Christmas Special at the end of the year. Of course there are a whole lot of people on Twitter and elsewhere (almost all of them white and male, to no-one’s surprise) upset that the choice wasn’t yet another white man, complaining about sacrificing “art” and “story” for what they’re calling “political correctness;” but, if you replace “political correctness” with “just the tiniest attempt at equality in representation every now and then” then their complaints (remarkably! lol) seem somewhat misplaced. Whittaker wasn’t my first choice (I still want to see Sue Perkins flying the TARDIS, myself) but unexpected Doctors have a habit of growing on you (Matt Smith, I’m looking at you and your fish fingers and custard). I’m looking forward to seeing what she brings to the table. You can watch “the reveal” (all 60 seconds of it) below.
Best of the Rest
Of course there’s always more to cover than I get to, so here you have it: your weekly linkspam!
- The Orion got a splashdown runthrough test
- Amazon had an AI try to design phone cases and things went… weird
- Facebook’s adding ads to messenger because they love to shoot themselves in the foot
- We’ve got a drug that reduces the effects of traumatic injuries to mice brains
- Elon Musk showed off the first production Tesla Model 3
- It turns out the GI problems autistic people have aren’t to do with what they eat (or don’t), and
- Oh my god so many amazing photos of Jupiter thanks to Juno
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Richard Ford Burley is a human, writer, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as Deputy Managing Editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.