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July 11, 2009

Lovelace and Babbage
Posted by Avram Grumer at 02:13 AM *

Kate Beaton isn’t the only one doing historical webcomics. London-based animator Sydney Padua is doing a series of comics about an alternate-historical Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, seemingly as a form of work-avoidance:

…and a few more strips and random illos can be found if you explore the site.

Comments on Lovelace and Babbage:
#2 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 07:39 AM:

Lovelace and Babbage is a beautiful thing and deserves to be more widely known.

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:28 AM:

I was especially amused by the cartoon about Lovelace as the Byronic Woman.

#4 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 10:00 AM:


#5 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 11:09 AM:

Byronic containment field failing!

So very much win.

#6 ::: Mike Leung ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 11:11 AM:

After George Carlin died, a lot of his broadcast interviews became available online. The common observation/question that stood out was something like, "wow, you really make your audience think, don't you?" He always denied this, responding that he wasn't challenging the audience to think but instead showed the audience that he was thinking. While not necessarily a best-practice in performance comedy (we can imagine Stan Laurel dedicating thought to what he did, but we don't laugh because he showed any) showing the audience thought without imposing on their own seems to be an inherent best-practice in comics as a medium. The medium is hostile to subplots (subplots are still a barrier to accessing Alan Moore's work). And in comics any cropping of the figure disproportionately risks losing the reader, since each panel occupies so much more of storytelling "time."

I like how the internet has opened more access to comics, where artists like Padua can play at push this gap between the artist's display of thought and how little the thinking is imposed on the audience.

#7 ::: Mike Leung ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 11:26 AM:

...pushing this gap between the artist's display of thought and how little the challenge to think is imposed on the audience...

#8 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 12:06 PM:

Thanks! This is just swell. And I appreciate it more because of my own small Babbage-related obsession, namely the copies of Carquillat's Jacquard Jacquard he purchased, and its even more recursive sequel, the Jacquard Jacquard Jacquard.

I had not realized that Babbage owned a silver female automaton. Must read Passages from the Life of a Philosopher one of these years.

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Puns are not poetry? Harrumph!

#10 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 09:07 AM:

Just noticed this thread, partially because....

Coworker in adjacent cubicle whose eating habits are somewhat reminiscent of a hobbit (he eats breakfast and maybe second breakfast, and....): "I'm forwarding you some good link about Ada Lovelace, including a cartoon."

Me: "Have you eaten your Babbage today?"

#11 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 09:36 AM:

Excellent stuff! Will be reading that in future, and hoping for the involvement of some other Eminent Victorians (Michael Faraday? Charles Darwin?)

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 10:44 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 8...

I was quite amused by this part of your linked post.

Babbage worked out a system of colored stage lighting using limelight shining through glass tanks of colored fluid. He produced a ballet that would show off his special effects, and got some of his Royal Society buddies to assist him. Hyman comments that, with Babbage and Michael Faraday, this ballet had perhaps the most scientifically high-powered tech crew in history.
#13 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 02:08 AM:

Great comic. I did some checking, and it seems Sydney Padua is a friend of Suw Charman, sometime commenter hereabouts.

#14 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 02:37 AM:

Also, Fragano, in the panel you are referring to, Lady Ada is wondering whether puns are poetry, so she can smite the punster (Babbage, incorrigible, as it happens). Having little exposure to poetry, having been raised by wolves mathematicians, she truly doesn't know (but suspects).

#15 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 02:50 AM:

(It's all explain'd in the origin story (where the two team up and fight the alien invasion.))

#17 ::: Suw ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 06:10 AM:

Hallo! Yes, I'm afraid I've been far too erstwhile around these parts lately!

I know Syd has some really cool stuff planned for the comic, so it will be well worth keeping an eye on. I'm not sure if her frequent repetition of "Wow, Faraday was really hot!" will have any bearing on future episodes, but I suspect (hope) it may (will).

She's also done an episode in colour for BBC's TechLab, which is well worth a look:

If anyone's curious, this whole shenanigans started as Syd's contribution to Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to raise the profile of women in tech. Fabulous result, if you ask me!

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