"Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it’s raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."
(Source: , via explore-blog)
Badass Scientist of the Week: Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace, born Augusta Ada Byron (1815–1852), was a mathematician who is widely considered the founder of scientific computing. She was the daughter of Romantic poet Lord Byron and mathematician Anne Milbanke, whose brief marriage ended just a month after Ada was born—she never knew her father. Ada was raised by her mother, who encouraged her interest in mathematics and science, partly to prevent her from becoming a delinquent poet like her father. When she was seventeen, Ada met Charles Babbage, professor of mathematics at Cambridge and inventor of the Difference Engine, the first calculating machine. They began correspondences about mathematics, logic, and all manner of subjects. Two years later, Ada married William King and had three children, and became a Countess of Loveless when William inherited a noble title. In 1834, Babbage made plans for a new kind of calculating machine called an Analytical Engine, and in 1842, Italian mathematician Louis Menabrea published an article on the machine in French. Babbage enlisted Ada to translate it, a task she threw herself into with fervour—she translated the article over a nine-month period in 1842–43, adding extensive, enlightened notes of her own, which are the source of her enduring fame. Her notes show she understood the device’s potential better than Babbage, as they contained incredible visionary statements—she predicted, for example, that the Engine might act upon things other than numbers, such as composing elaborate scientific pieces of music. The idea that a machine could manipulate symbols according to laws, and that numbers could be used to represent things other than just quantities, marks the transition from calculation to computation. Ada took this mental leap, and she has been referred to as the ‘prophet of the computer age’ and an ‘Enchantress of Numbers’. She died young, cancer taking her at just 37, but her achievements as a mathematician and a woman live on in her legacy. In 1980, in honour of her contributions to computer science, the U.S. Department of Defence named its computer language ‘Ada.’
Ink cat pawprints in a 15th c. book. I was just wondering today if calligraphers of the past had problems with cats walking across wet ink and ruining things.
This reminds me of the 9th century Old Irish poem, “Pangur Bán,” about a monk working in a scriptorium and his cat, the eponymous Pangur Bán. Translation here is Seamus Heaney’s:Pangur Bán and I at work,Adepts, equals, cat and clerk:His whole instinct is to hunt,Mine to free the meaning pent.More than loud acclaim, I loveBooks, silence, thought, my alcove.Happy for me, Pangur BánChild-plays round some mouse’s den.Truth to tell, just being here,Housed alone, housed together,Adds up to its own reward:Concentration, stealthy art.Next thing an unwary mouseBares his flank: Pangur pounces.Next thing lines that held and heldMeaning back begin to yield.All the while, his round bright eyeFixes on the wall, while IFocus my less piercing gazeOn the challenge of the page.With his unsheathed, perfect nailsPangur springs, exults and kills.When the longed-for, difficultAnswers come, I too exult.So it goes. To each his own.No vying. No vexation.Taking pleasure, taking pains,Kindred spirits, veterans.Day and night, soft purr, soft pad,Pangur Bán has learned his trade.Day and night, my own hard workSolves the cruxes, makes a mark.
For a moment of awe: After 22 years of photographing the whimsy of the cosmos, the Hubble Space Telescope captures the deepest view yet of the very early universe.
The Paris Time Capsule Apartment
“…The owner of this apartment, Mrs. De Florian left Paris just before the rumblings of World War II broke out in Europe. She closed up her shutters and left for the South of France, never to return to the city again. Seven decades later she passed away at the age of 91. It was only when her heirs enlisted professionals to make an inventory of the Parisian apartment she left behind, that this time capsule was finally unlocked…”
FOR THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK THE LINK:
An amazing piece of preserved history.
“What it does seem to reveal is more subtle and complex: that some group of early Christians drew spiritual strength from portraying the man whose teachings they followed as having a wife. And not just any wife, but possibly Mary Magdalene, the most-mentioned woman in the New Testament besides Jesus’ mother.
The question the discovery raises, King told me, is, “’Why is it that only the literature that said he was celibate survived? And all of the texts that showed he had an intimate relationship with Magdalene or is married didn’t survive? Is that 100 percent happenstance? Or is it because of the fact that celibacy becomes the ideal for Christianity?’”
‘Not you! I was speaking to my women. You’re a man, you know. You fight like a man. You stay with us.’
I look down at my stomach, thinking back to all my ploys with the Gestapo, that same old story of my illegal pregnancy. Is there anything masculine about that? Why is it that the greatest compliment a man can pay a woman is to tell her: you write, you work, you act like a man. When I was preparing the history agregation at the Sorbonne, my teacher, Guignebert, had said to me: ‘You ought to sit for the male section of the agregation; you have the intellectual power of a man.’ I had been extremely upset by that judgement, which classified me according to a stereotype.
My reply to this man, who has received us with such kindness, is in no uncertain terms: ‘As far as I’m concerned, I feel perfectly at ease as a woman, you know; what I did was a woman’s job, and what’s more, a pregnant woman’s, something that would never happen to you.’
There is a silence.
Favier is speechless; then his face wrinkles and he burts into loud laughter: ‘What a woman! She isn’t scared of anything. Now I understand, my boy, how she got you out of the cooler,’ he adds, slapping Raymond’s shoulder.
‘Three times,’ Raymond answers. ‘I’ll tell you all about it someday.’"
From Outwitting the Gestapo by Lucie Aubrac
[File under: Badass Women of History, The French Resistance Chapter]