Stuff Republicans believe

People over here in the UK often ask me how Americans could possibly oppose universal healthcare. It seems to me one of the key answers is that those who are opposing it believe lots of false things about. But not just about healthcare. Check out this poll on things Republicans believe.

67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.
57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim
45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president”
38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did”*
Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama “may be the Antichrist.”

*Actually, this one is clearly true, if one includes breathing, eating, talking to friends, running a country, etc. But that’s also clearly not what they’re thinking of.

Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

Who was Ada?

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was born on 10th December 1815, the only child of Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella. Born Augusta Ada Byron, but now known simply as Ada Lovelace, she wrote the world’s first computer programmes for the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose machine that Charles Babbage had invented. Ada had been taught mathematics from a very young age by her mother and met Babbage in 1833. Ten years later she translated Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, appending notes that included a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the machine – the first computer programme. The calculations were never carried out, as the machine was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.

Understanding that computers could do a lot more than just crunch numbers, Ada suggested that the Analytical Engine “might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.” She never had the chance to fully explore the possibilities of either Babbage’s inventions or her own understanding of computing. She died, aged only 36, on 27th November 1852, of cancer and bloodletting by her physicians.

You can find out more about Ada Lovelace Day here. A great video for children about Ada is here. An illustrated brief biography is here.

And you can read a very recent piece in the New York Times with the shocking (not really) headline “Bias Called Persistent Hurdle for Women in Sciences” here.