This Tuesday marked the celebration of Ada Lovelace Day, commemorating the world’s first computer programmer (who also happened to be Lord Byron’s daughter). Sydney Padua has published a graphic novel about Lovelace and Charles Babbage, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer. Check out scenes from the story and read more about Lovelace at Brain Pickings.
“To me a book is not just a particular file. It’s connected with personhood. Books are really, really hard to write. They represent a kind of a summit of grappling with what one really has to say. And what I’m concerned with is when Silicon Valley looks at books, they often think of them as really differently as just data points that you can mush together. They’re divorcing books from their role in personhood.” Digital pioneer and theorist Jaron Lanier fears that the Internet might be destroying not just literature, but also the middle class.
When John Steinbeck wasn’t busy writing 600-page novels, he might have been a Cold War CIA spy. In 1952, Steinbeck approached the CIA and suggested he could do some spying on an upcoming European trip. “The pace and method of my junket together with my intention of talking with great numbers of people of all classes may offer peculiar advantages,” he wrote to an agent.
Bostonians, check out this new collaboration between the city and Mass Poetry. They’ve been covering the city’s sidewalks in poetry that you can only see when it rains. If you’re visiting the city, stop at the Old Corner Bookstore for lunch, which is now a Chipotle.