Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Teh Internetz: Ada Lovelace Day

Hello, Fringe-philes. Today I bring you a bit of blogging with heart and soul, for today is Ada Lovelace Day, a day to commemorate the achievements of ladies in the field of computing, engineering, innovation, and general awesomeness.

Ladies holla!

I love making ladies holla, so I jumped on the Ada Lovelace Lovefest ship at the first toot of its smokestack horn. But then I realized, holy crap, I don't know any awesome lady computing superstars! Except for myself. And I think this day is supposed to be used to recognize ladies who have invented useful things, not lame YTMND pages.

So I dove headfirst into some Wikipedia research. Yeah, that's right. I didn't go to my local library or scour an old folks' home looking for aging female inventors hungry to share their life stories.

And it doesn't matter that I did this half-assed. Because I learned something. You know Hedy Lamarr? Silver screen starlet during Hollywood's Golden Age? Running gag in many Mel Brooks movies?

Well she was also a scientist, y'all. And she patented frequency-hopping spread spectrum instruments. Do you even know what that is? I SURE DIDN'T.

But without this innovation in the use of radio frequencies, originally intended to help us win the war against the godless Nazis, we wouldn't have the sweet wireless technology we all enjoy today.

So thank you, Hedy Lamarr. You were both extremely attractive and a brainy boffin. It's like one of those sitcoms where a smart gal is all geeky and wearing glasses, but you know that eventually she'll take off her glasses and maybe take her hair out of her library-lady bun and she will turn out to be totally hot.

It's kind of like that. BUT REAL.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day, guys.

1 comment:

Anna Lena said...

Hey TJ,
Make magazine has a great post about this auspicious day. It includes brief profiles of some present-day women in technology, including Limor Fried of Adafruit Industries, which offers lots of cool electronic projects (TV-B-Gone, anybody?).
Thanks to Dane for the link.