Ada Lovelace, the brilliant mathematician widely regarded as the first computer programmer, has proved to be one of the most powerful symbols for women in technology. Earlier this month, global celebrations marked the seventh Ada Lovelace Day, dedicated to inspirational female figureheads in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Born in 1815 as the only legitimate child of the ‘mad, bad, and dangerous to know’ poet Lord Byron, Ada grew up under the influence of her mother, who had fled Lord Byron just one month after Ada’s birth.
The first video ever uploaded to YouTube didn’t offer much of a hint as to the future popularity of the platform, although it did predict the style of its many successors.
‘Me at the zoo’ stars YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, who offers his thoughts on the elephants at the San Diego Zoo, ‘They have really, really, really long, um, trunks, and that’s, that’s cool.’ This video, the first of many, is still there.
Supernovae are often seen as dramatic endings to the lives of stars. In fact, some of the most fascinating astronomical objects are formed from the ashes of these tremendous events. One such object is a pulsar, a specific variety of neutron star. Neutron stars are formed from normal stars at least 8 times the mass of the Sun. As a sufficiently massive star reaches the end of its normal life, the intense gravitation pull of the dense Iron core causes the star to collapse. This causes the temperature of the core to soar to the point where electrons and protons are forced together to form neutrons. The intense burst of energy produced during this process causes the outer atmosphere of the star to be hurled outwards in a supernova. What remains is a neutron star.
‘We’re off; We’re starting’
This SMS message signalled the start of a series of coordinated terrorist attacks against the people of Paris.
That night in November, seven terrorists claimed 130 innocent lives in an act of abject barbarism that shocked the world. This brutality was swiftly followed by a heated media discussion seeking to identify the intelligence failures that allowed this attack to occur.
Software, in its many forms, has utterly devoured modern life. The ubiquity of digital automation in today’s world cannot be overstated, and there are few hints that the relentless progress of technology will abate any time soon.
Many students will be acutely aware that this has led to generic ‘computer literacy’ becoming just another box to tick on the checklist of employability. Most (or at least most millennials) would tick said box without much hesitation. However, I would contest that the popular understanding of what it means to be ‘computer literate’ is insufficient, and that it is leading to a populace that does not feel empowered by technology, but bewildered by it.