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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day. I marked it in my gCal so I suppose I'm honor bound to make an entry. Like text? Read on ...

What is there to say? Most of my heroes in life are male, technologically or otherwise. I think most "heroes" in general tend to be male, that's just the way life gets sorted. In contemporary culture this means you have a bounty of twenty-something women who grew up wanting to be a Ninja Turtle or Indiana Jones (or in my case Alex DeLarge or Clint Eastwood) who are then told they can't be, or they shouldn't be, if they want to get anywhere in life.

To that, of course, I say fuck off, as I'm narcissistic enough to blindly do what I want all the time (it's just easier that way, let's be honest), but I understand that for the women concerned with appearances and social grace that can be very difficult, and for them a day forcing the celebration of womanhood is a great way to discover other women who said fuck off too.

The idea of an Ada Lovelace day piqued my interest when normally the idea of a women's blogging day would strike me as terribly gauche. I would venture to guess that it's because I'm the only woman I know who blogs (what an awful word, I feel dirty just typing it) and is also previously familiar with Ada and her work with Charles Babbage. I respect her contribution to technology, so why not give it a shot.

To ponder the question seriously for a moment -- that is, what female inspires me in regards to science and technology -- I honestly couldn't speak to any one individual, which is sad, really. On the other hand (and no offense to Marie Curie), I have only a passing interest in science, and a slight curiosity about technology. Actually, the latter bit is a lie -- I just find it hard to get excited about technology these days; I'm so incredibly bored with all the iThis and sex robot that being developed left and right that I can hardly bear to suss out any real innovation through the mire.

I'll admit that I've always been attached to computers. My mother had her first laptop at home when I was about four years old, some clumsy IBM brick with a brown screen and orange text, horrible to use. Since then I've always had access to a computer and have used technology for artistic pursuits. I suppose, then, I have my mother to thank for my second-nature computer fu (/robotic detachment?) and, more practically, my development of design skills that have earned me more bread-and-butter work than anything I learned in college or high school.

High school brings me round to the other somewhat-influential woman lurking in my past. The place I graduated from held every year a silly academic award ceremony, and in my senior year I was surprised to receive the school's computer science award. Nerd, one would think at first, but actually I earned the thing without ever attending a computer class, which my classmates were none too happy about. You see, I spent many hours in those days building websites for my friends, doodling about in Photoshop, and working on short films. In essence, not too different from today. Shit.

But I suppose I was the only enthusiastic disciple of technology in the whole school, so the computer science teacher took a liking to me and bestowed upon me the first of many questionable academic merits I've received. This particular prize came in the form of a hefty edition of Atlas Shrugged, which has been the butt of many an overly-intellectual mooching joke since I got around to reading it in February of this year. So wherever you are, supportive Objectivist teacher, I salute you. (Also mom.)

For your time here is a chandelier made from tampons.

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