Sunday, December 03, 2006

In the beginning was the nerd

"Sir: In your otherwise beautiful poem 'The Vision of Sin', there is a verse which reads - 'Every moment dies a man, Every moment one is born.' It must be manifest that if this were true, the population of the world would be at a standstill...I would suggest that in the next edition of your poem you have it read - 'Every moment dies a man, Every moment 1 1/16 is born'...The actual figure is so long I cannot get it onto a line, but the believe the figure 1 1/16 will be sufficiently accurate for poetry."

- Charles Babbage (letter to Lord Tennyson)

From Doron Swade's The Cogwheel Brain.

The book does not clarify this, but I certainly hope to God he was kidding. Though it would surprise no one if the 'father' of computer engineering was a nerd.


Anonymous said...

OMG, that's hilarious! completely nerd stuff :). i can't stop laughing.

Where do you find all these things, Suratna :).

Quizman said...

LOL. Evidently, that was a joke by Babbage.