I sort of missed it, but yesterday was Ada Lovelace Day!
Ada Lovelace, of course, is the patron saint of Dess, the hypernumerate character from my Midnighters series. She’s also one of the towering figures in the history of computing, given that she wrote the world’s first computer program . . . back in 1843. This achievement is as amazing as it sounds, given that the computer didn’t exist back then, except in theory. But that didn’t stop Ada.
It’s stories like this that make me realize that history itself can be quite steampunk. That is, ideas and technologies don’t all appear in a neat, predictable order. Sometimes theory gets ahead of practice in ways that are profound and mysterious, and imagination is never limited by the engineering capabilities of the present.
That’s a good thing to remember, so happy belated Ada Lovelace Day.
Also thanks to everyone at Marrickville High School, where I had a great visit yesterday. About 40 students (mostly Year 9s, or what us USians call freshmen) were stuck with me for about two hours. That’s a long stretch, but they all stayed focused and smart and full of brilliant questions.
Thanks for a great day, Marrickvillians, and good luck with your NAPLANs.