Ada Lovelace, poster girl

If one poster girl, or black poster boy, fake, then all fake, since obviously progressives will run with the best they can find.

From time to time I read people gushing over some poster girl or other. Lately it seems to have become mandatory in every book on computing to announce that they are inspired by the glorious leadership of comrade Stalin all early programmers were women and evil men stole all the credit.

Supposedly the first programmer was Ada Lovelace. This is based on her addendum to Luigi Menabrea’s explanation of Babbage’s analytical engine.

Her notes contain several “computer programs” – or rather walkthroughs, outlines of how a program might be written were Babbage’s engine actually built. However, all of these “programs” were written by Babbage several years previously.

Ada Lovelace had rather ordinary mathematical and scientific skills – which made her already famous as a poster girl long before she met Babbage, not for being good at maths and science, but for being good at maths and science for a woman. This is the dancing bear effect. A dancing bear is famous not for dancing well, but for dancing at all.

Babbage needed publicity because funding running out. He approached Ada Lovelace because she was already famous as a poster girl, because any connection between her and the analytical engine would generate favorable publicity for the analytical engine.

So, far from Ada Lovelace’s contributions being ignored by patriarchal males, they were receiving manufactured publicity before they even existed.

29 Responses to “Ada Lovelace, poster girl”

  1. Alan J. Perrick says:

    Everything women have are given to them by men. Even children, which is why we say that women “bear” children. To bear means to carry, to birth means to give room to, born means to carry across. The children are the man’s the whole time.


  2. […] need walls. Dunbar cascades. The long view on climate. The Ada Lovelace myth. Ludic fallacy. Political confessions. National IQ rankings. Discriminations. A difficult […]

  3. […] From Jim a very incisive formula: […]

  4. mysterian says:

    How can it be a program if it was never compiled, executed, and debugged?

  5. Harold says:

    A while ago I saw a graphic proclaiming: n women scientists you have probably never heard of but should have. One of them was Emmy Noether. Emmy motherf@$#%ing Noether. If you think people haven’t heard of Emmy Noether it is because you don’t give a %$#@ about science or scientists male or female, and are just pretending to score feminist points. It’s not fair that nobody, I assume, knows of these people from a field that I couldn’t care less about! The only male scientists they have probably heard of are Einstein, Newton, Hawkings, and that pet science negro of Americans that I see plastered all over the web (despite noone outside of the US having a clue who he is).

    • Thomas says:

      Yes, who is he?

      • Strelok says:

        Neil deGrasse “private enterprise will never be at the forefront of space exploration because space is dangerous” Tyson

      • peppermint says:

        » Having made certain, in other words, that any moron can be grad u-
        ated from a high school, they are now striving to make certain that
        every graduate will be a moron. Some pupils, they recognize, have
        been denied the benefits of imbecility by birth; but strenuous ap-
        plication of modern techniques for twelve years should correct this
        deficiency. In the meantime the colleges imd themselves inundated
        by an ever-increasing horde of illiterates, and are desperately trying
        to provide the elements of a secondary education in “survey” or
        “remedial” courses – or are cynically consoling themselves with
        the reflection that anything that can stand on its hind legs long
        enough to receive an A. B. is worth at least two thousand bucks
        on the hoof (counting, of course, both what is collected as tuition
        and what is wheedled from aJumni or legislators). The very thought
        of attracting another thousand head of customers suffices to make
        the ideals drool down the jaw of an ambitious diploma-peddler, and
        the land now resounds with singsong cries about “modern needs”
        and “wider opportunities”. And finally, the corruption has inevita-
        bly spread to the graduate schools, in some of which, at least, the
        highest academic degree, PhD, is now being sold to incompetents
        whom their examiners admit to be incapable of original investiga-
        tion or even lucid thought, and who, often enough, cannot write a
        paragraph of correct, intelligible English.

        — Revilo Oliver, America’s Decline, pp. 134-135

        This article was originally published in 1955, and is perhaps a bit unfair, since when Black Science Man was in grad school, his initial doctoral committee dissolved itself rather than give him a PhD (refusing him a PhD was out of the question).

  6. Mister Grumpus says:

    Hot damn hot damn this blog changes lives, man!
    –Mr. Intellekshummal

  7. William Newman says:

    “since obviously progressives will run with the best they can find”

    Not obviously, actually, and less true in practice than you seem to think. The reasons are not entirely clear to me, but probably part of it is that long-running ruling coalitions tend to be at best conflicted about recognizing ability. That, in turn, is probably in part because it is embarrassing and/or annoying how ability is seldom distributed in a way that aligns perfectly with who rises in the ruling coalition or with the claims of the ruling ideology.

    One way to see this indifference to “the best they can find” in practice (probably today, certainly several years ago) is to go to the NSA museum and see how prominent Agnes Driscoll is there compared to women with no clear accomplishments.

    (If you don’t know who Driscoll was, see e.g. and note in particular “that same year, Miss Meyer’s career in cryptographic development took a curious turn. She had responded to a publicized challenge to decipher a supposedly invulnerable cipher message produced by a machine. She solved it, much to the chagrin of the machine’s developer, Edward Hebern. Hebern had invented the first cipher machine to use a rotor […]” Not at all bad for basic bragging rights in a field where most accomplishments tend to be secret enough to be ambiguous. And Hebern’s machine was not just some irrelevant curiosity, Hebern was a reasonably important figure in pre-WW2 machine crypto.)

    I have been to the NSA museum twice, visits separated by a few years. The museum exhibits didn’t have much to say about Driscoll. Mostly their go-grrrrl material was about quantity of women of ambiguous quality, e.g., how there had been dozens of women who worked as office managers and such ca. WW2. It’s not like Driscoll is unknown; it is easy to find material like the NSA PDF linked above, and on one visit I also overheard an NSA museum docent telling her tour group about Driscoll. But the professional museum staff decisions about exhibits seem to reflect a clear decision almost exactly the opposite of “run with the best they can find”: downplay Driscoll in favor of far less impressive go-crypto-grrrl-power stuff.

    (And incidentally I’m quite confident that it’s not just that on my visit(s) I happened to overlook some nook where the museum gave more information about her, because I overheard that docent tell the tour group that how the museum exhibits really didn’t tell about Driscoll.)

    There can also sometimes be other nonpolitical nonmeritocratic things going on for prominent women. E.g., I get the impression that it’s considerably more common in women’s sports than in men’s sports for the most attractive contender to be more popular than the most capable contender.

    None of this means there are great numbers of top-achieving women falling through the cracks: standardized tests and semistandardized achievements in technical and similarly sharp fields (playing chess, solving Hilbert problems, discovering sporadic groups…) and no-barriers-to-entry fields (shareware and open source software, technical hobbies and a few technical trades…) pretty consistently support the conclusion that the underlying number is small. But on top of that underlying scarcity, the progressives choose to ignore or misrepresent quite a significant proportion of what achievement exists, likely because they are outright hostile to meritocracy or at least very conflicted about it.

  8. Mister Grumpus says:

    I love you, Jim, but yes indeed, a citation or two would really hit the spot here.

  9. Dr. Faust says:

    Women believe men are oppressing them because that’s exactly what they would do if the situations were reversed. Women cannot understand that men are not women and that they are different and respond differently to circumstances. Solipsism.

    Men are vastly different not just from women but also from other men. There is more variation in the male of the species because evolution experiments with men. In evolutionary terms the male was often the more expendable of the two. This is why females cluster near the mean not just in IQ but also in personality and emotional behavior. So we see a dichotomy in female IQ representative of not only intelligence but nearly all of human behavior and ability. Females are the average and the males are above and below that average.

  10. Dave says:

    Next question: Did Grace Hopper really invent COBOL? Seeing as COBOL is more verbose than writing the same program in assembly language, I think the answer might be yes.

    • Harold says:

      It is amusing when people who know nothing about programming bring up Grace Hopper as the inventor of COBOL as if this were a compliment, to most programming enthusiasts this sounds more like an insult. Sure a woman invented COBOL but that doesn’t mean all women are rubbish programmers!

      • nydwracu says:

        A woman was the inventor of what’s widely accepted as the worst programming language ever, and people trot that out as an argument for more women in computer science…?

  11. “This is the West sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” –Carleton Young in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence”

  12. Also, I don’t entirely believe your first line. Progressives don’t hold any veneration for the truth and might run with a fake poster girl even if real one exists, for example just because they thought it made a better story. In terms of propaganda, a fake but awesomely crafted poster girl or event for that matter probably trumps a real but less photogenic one; and especially if you have total control of the mainstream media.

    • Adolf the anti-White says:

      Agreed. If it’s quasi-illegal to disagree with you, you don’t need to bother telling the truth.

      • peppermint says:

        people still need a justification to lie. Spandrell thinks the only justification people need is venality, because he views people as basically venal, because he’s been spending too much time around riceniggers.

        Things Whites will lie about today include, for example, because six million Jews were gassed in camps, it doesn’t matter how many Jews were killed or where. That’s not motivated by venality.

        Today’s Whites will also lie about transhumanism, because they want transhumanism, not because they want to change their own sex. Whites don’t need a burning of books and burying of scholars. What Whites really need is to be able to see through hoaxes.

        • Nobody cares how many Jews died in the Holocaust, except for Jews. And they only care that the “suffering Jew” narrative is preserved.

          Criminalizing and sanctioning holocaust denial is a way of criminalizing Nazi entryism.

          Most people don’t care if Jews died. Progressives pretend to care, because White people are evil, and showing pictures of White people murdering others is a good way for propaganda to demonize White people.

          Holocaust deniers are trying to make Nazism acceptable to progressives. By pretending the Holocaust didn’t happen, they make Nazism more acceptable to progressives. Of course, a genuine anti-Semite would probably exaggerate the number of murdered Jews, to emphasize the destruction of his hated enemy.

          Which is why holocaust deniers are crypto-nazis, who are trying (and failing) to appear acceptable to progressives.

          • peppermint says:

            White people really do care that millions of Jews were killed. They believe that millions of Jews were killed because they believe that Nazis viewed themselves as the master race and tried to wipe out everyone else. They believe that because, well, as Darwin said,

            » Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago, of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilised so-called Caucasian Races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world.

            They disagree that that elimination should take the form of mass murder. They would disagree about the way the Soviet Union went about liquidating the upper and middle classes. White people would be shocked by the British strategy of bombing German cities with no military presence so that the Germans would retaliate thereby convincing British civilians that Germans really were as evil as the British government was claiming and supporting the war. White people would be shocked by the mass rapes of Germans. If they knew, if they knew. but, the only people who talk about these things are anti-Semites, who want to kill six million Jews in inhumane ways.

            They also disagree with factory farming, and there are bills every so often in European parliaments banning inhumane methods of slaughtering animals. African voodoo cults can suck the blood out of the necks of chickens, and hornless goats, thereby spreading AIDS. The Chinese are knows for eating any animal, including long pig.

            But in the soul of Whites, animals need to be cared for properly. It’s easy to understand why: a farmer in the frozen north who mistreats his animals isn’t going to be able to support as many children.

            You would know this if you talked to normal people off the record sometimes.

    • nydwracu says:

      Has there been a better poster corpse for the Trayvon/Mike Brown/Garner narrative than Trayvon, Mike Brown, or Garner in the last few years? If so, that demonstrates the posters aren’t the best cases. If not, well, how likely would it be that Trayvon, Brown, and Garner are the best poster corpses out there, out of all the minorities who got shot by white cops or guys who are sort of whitish and vaguely coplike?

      • jim says:

        No. Some race realists went systematically looking, demanded that progressives produce a better example.

        It is a curious and remarkable fact that though thousands of white people are convicted of murdering blacks every year, the blacks are with very rare exceptions engaged in felonies at the time – about one black man per year killed by a white man while not engaged in a felony.

        Whereas most white people killed by blacks were minding their own business.

        This odd fact suggests that the vast majority of convictions of white people for killing black people were wrongful convictions of people engaged in self defense – that justice is indeed implemented in a one eyed race conscious manner, but the victims of unequal enforcement of the laws are whites, not blacks.

      • Trayvon and Mike Brown were awesome choices as poster corpses. The point of both propaganda exercises was to divide and conquer, to keep the whites and the blacks at loggerheads so that they can’t unite to find more effective leadership. Its no accident that the Brown verdict came down right after Obama announced his amnesty.

        As I see it, Garner wasn’t a choice. The narrative got a little out of the control.

        • To make it clear: it helps that the poster corpses are guilty, because the blacks, knowing they are victimized in other cases and knowing this is their chance with the media spotlight on them, protest anyway.
          But the whites watching at home on TV, see the blacks protesting a case in which a guilty man was righteously prevented from causing further damage.
          Not knowing or feeling their daily oppression, they see the blacks as dangerous and call for more help from the government to protect them.

          This is optimal for the divide and conquer strategy.

  13. While this makes perfect sense, do you mind revealing a source or sources for your information so that we can cite it more confidently?

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