Book Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger


You know, I really enjoyed this book. Continue reading

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Portrait of Ada Lovelace

The Enchantress of Numbers

What, you mean you don’t know who Ada Lovelace is?

Quick lesson time.

Ada Gordon was born in 1815, the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron. Her mother, Annabella Milbanke, feared that Ada would inherent Byron’s ‘poetic’ temperament; so, being a lady of mathematics herself, Annabella insisted that Ada study math, science, and logic – which, for women, was quite unusual at the time!

At 19, Ada married William King, an aristocrat.  When King was made Earl of Lovelace in 1938, Ada became Lady Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. (So while ‘Ada Lovelace’ is not technically correct, it’s become the name referred to her over time).

In 1833, Ada attended a party, alongside her mentor Mary Sommerville (a scientist and polymath), who in turn introduced her to Charles Babbage. By this time, Babbage was relatively renown for his (unfinished) giant clockwork calculating machines. Ada and Babbage both had personalities that were not quite the norm for the time, and hit it off quite well together, forming a close and life-long friendship.

Now, Ada was quite interested in Babbage’s Analytical Machine – a rather complicated device which combined an array of gears to his previous Difference Engine with a punchcard system. Ultimately, this machine was never built, but it contained elements of what is now our modern computers.

In 1842, Ada published a translation of an article on the Analytical Machine originally wrote by Luigi Menabrea, an Italian  mathematician. Babbage requested her to elaborate and expend the article, since she “understood the machine so well”.  The final article turned out to be around three times the length of the original, with Ada adding her own extensive notes! Some of these notes included the first published description of a step wise sequence of operations to solve certain math problems, and contained thoughts and ideas of what machines could do, such as composing music. Because of this, Ada is referred to as “the world’s first computer programmer”. Babbage spoke highly of Ada’s intellect, praising her mathematical skills; it was he, in fact, who so dubbed her “The Enchantress of Numbers”:

Forget this world and all its troubles and if
possible its multitudinous Charlatans – every thing
in short but the Enchantress of Numbers.

Quite unfortunately, her life was a short one. She said at 36 years old from uterine cancer.

But, luckily, that was not the end of her contributions.  Her notes helped to inspire Alan Turing (Turing Test, anyone?), and became some of the critical documents needed on his work on modern computers.

It’s easy to see why she’s such a revered figure. And she’s a fantastic role model for everyone – especially young women, specifically those wishing to pursue a career in science, math, or technology. People around the world celebrate Ada Lovelace for her tremendous contributions to society, and use this day to honour her – and other women, modern or not – who helped contribute to the various aforementioned fields.

But I’m leaving quite a bit out about her, and Ada Lovelace Day. I’m not going to give away everything that’s known! Go look it up!

…Oh, she also fought crime with Babbage, too. That’s very important to remember.

The lovers, the dreamers, and you.


Hey, how’ve you been? It’s been absolutely crazy on my end. The life of a college student is never dull, I can assure you of that.

I know we’ve been talking about College Success, and I promise that I’ll get back to that shortly. But today I’d like to speak, briefly, about this man.

Picture of Jim Henson and Bert

24 September, 1936 ~ 16 May, 1990

Today would have been Jim Henson’s 76th birthday.

Henson was, in a few words, a compassionate genius. Best known for creating The Muppets, Henson worked in television since 1954, and was responsible for many wonderful shows and movies, including:

  • Sesame Street
  • The Muppet Show
  • The Muppet Movie
  • The Dark Crystal
  • Labyrinth
  • and Fraggle Rock, amongst others.

As a child of the late 80’s/early 90’s, I was immersed in Jim Henson’s work. I grew up with Kermit and Miss Piggy, and I learned with Big Bird and Bert. I joined them in their grand movie adventures, and laughed when they succeed. And I cried when Jim Henson died.

First hand reports of Henson’s work and character are of the highest calibur. I’ve heard endless stories about his compassion, his generosity, and his lively, infectious attitude towards life. And he was a hero to many.

“When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope still is to leave the world a little bit better for having been here.”

In his honour, I’d like to make a suggestion to you. Be one of the people to make a difference in the world. Even if it’s just to one other person that needs you – because you are needed, I promise you. Believe in others, as well as yourself.

Do a good deed. Do something you love. Do something new. Do something scary.

Do something.

Celebrate your life. It’s the only one you’ve got.


To Mr. Henson: I hope that I can emulate, in some small way, your large impact on the world. I wish you were around to see all of the good you’ve done.

Happy birthday.

College Success Series, Part One: GO TO CLASS.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

And so passes the first week of classes. How’s it going for you?

Things have been pretty hectic the entire month of August, at least for me and the College Village staff! We’ve been working very hard to try and make this academic year a fun and safe one, and we hope you’ll like all of the neat things we’ve got in store for you.

But when everything is said and done, don’t forget that, ultimately? Your success or failure in college is entirely up to you. Entering college gives you a shocking amount of personal responsibility that you need to grasp on to, and that can be pretty overwhelming if you’re not used to it.

Now, don’t get me wrong; we have many people here who are willing to assist you should you need it. But at the end of the day, it’s what you choose to do with your time and resources that will determine if your school year (and college career) will be a great one.

So, that being said? I’m going to spend a few posts talking about success at college. This first one is somewhat long, and it’s serious – but it’s also important. (Let’s get the serious bits out of the way first.) Jump the cut for more. Continue reading

Dog Meets God, Art Meets Life.



recent post on the GCC Facebook page was pointed out to me, and frankly, I’m a little surprised at the slight ‘controversy’ surrounding it. What’s the story? Jump the cut for more. Continue reading

Help how do I computer-


I’ve spent the better part of the last hour trying to write something that would suffice as a nice, elegant introduction post. Something that would speak to you conveying a sense of elegance – class, if you will (see what I did there?) – and to show that I have the capacity in engage you in intellectual conversation that would stimulate and inspire you.

Yeah, that didn’t exactly work.

Hi, I’m Joan. I’m the new blogger around these parts, and it’s great to meet you. You can learn a bit more about me (if you’d like) by clicking on the Meet the Bloggers link at the top of the page.

To give you a brief sum of who/what I am: I’m a Resident Assistant down at College Village, as well as being a full-time student. This tends to leave me with very little free time during the school year proper, but when I can get the opportunity to escape the madness (such as it is), I enjoy writing, sketching, driving my roommates crazy with my odd taste in music, and DJing up at WGCC.

(Oh, did someone want an obligatory plug for WGCC, 90.7 The Music FM?



You know, summer orientations and classes aside, there isn’t very much going on around here that I can highlight for you. As such, I’d like to take a moment to share what exactly I’m bringing to the table here.

In short, I want to be able to start some discussion about a variety of things that I hope you’ll find interesting. I’m working on a few posts ranging from discussing virtual worlds (such as Second Life) and their impact on society, to ‘how-to college’ with some helpful tips on college success.

Not everything is terribly serious, however – expect to see a wide variety of silly things as well, from game discussions to musical genre explorations. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I’ll enjoy writing them, and I’m looking forward to seeing your comments, questions, and suggestions.

That’s it for now, I think. Again, it’s great meeting you, and I’m looking forward to sharing my semester with you.

Take care!