You got trolled! Thrice!

You got trolled! Thrice!

There you have it! A triple troll picture, so to speak. Let me give you the run down on why I fashioned the picture in the way that I did. First, I chose three people who were close related through their work on or relating to a machine called the Difference Engine, conceptualized in the 1800’s. From top to bottom, they are: Charles Babbage (Name on the quote), Vannevar Bush (who the quote really came from), and Augusta Ada Lovelace (in portrait). I felt that the picture should be Ada Lovelace for a number of reasons, but I felt that since she shared the same time frame as Babbage, not to mention worked with him, she should be the one to be pictured saying the quote. Speaking of quotes, I chose that particular one because it was taken from the future mouth of Vannevar Bush, in a time where building Charles Babbage’s brainchild was quite possible. When considering that Babbage wanted nothing more than to see his invention successfully completed, it makes it quite ironic. Coupled with the fact that Lovelace is quoted as saying the line makes it even more so.

Some of you may not be familiar with what a Difference Engine is, so let me give you the definition taken from Wikipedia to save you some time searching. That is:

“A difference engine is an automatic, mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions. The name derives from the method of divided differences, a way to interpolate or tabulate functions by using a small set of polynomial coefficients. Both logarithmic and trigonometric functions, functions commonly used by both navigators and scientists, can be approximated by polynomials, so a difference engine can compute many useful sets of numbers.”

In a really simple sense, this just means it does simple mathematical calculations. At the time, however, it was so incredibly advanced that Babbage, the machine’s intellectual creator, would never get to produce a real working machine during his lifetime due to the insufficient advances made in engineering.

How was Ada Lovelace related with all of this? Well, to keep things in the most basic terms, she was Babbage’s colleague in his pursuit to make his dream machine a reality. Sadly, she too did not live long enough to see a working model of the difference engine, having died even earlier than Babbage despite being younger. This incredible conceptual breakthrough was too important to forget about, however, as Vannevar Bush, a 20th century scientist, took this idea and pushed it even further into the developmental stage. Finally bringing the world at the time, one step closer to an analogue computer.

I hope everyone enjoyed that! Let me know what you think!

Here is the link back to to the assignment!

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2 responses to “You got trolled! Thrice!

  1. Here’s why I love ds106. The triple troll challenge can be played in 101 different ways. The natural tendency for many is to make something playful or absurd. That’s a fun path to go down.

    But every once in a while something like this comes across the transom. This is both a brilliantly executed visual and a highly informative “essay.” People who are lucky enough to come across your post will get a glimpse of a moving story peopled by compelling characters.

    Also, I love your description and explanation of the difference engine project.

    Nicely done.

    A couple of suggestions/requests, if I may. It would be helpful to include a URL to the original ds106 assignment early in your post. Also, I would have liked to have been able to click the names of the different people in your prose to get to their story rather than having the URL at the end.

    I’d would also be useful to know how you created the image. It looks like you started with a painted portrait. How did you get the stark black and white effect? It looks almost like a stencil.

    Thanks for taking the time to set such a great example with your first ds106 assignment. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

  2. Pingback: Teacher Demonstrates ds106 Assignment | CIS 0835 – SP12

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