Friday Fun: July Poll - Clueless, Yes or No?

On July 19th, Clueless turns 20. Can you believe it's been 20 years? I can't. Clueless was my first introduction to Jane Austen, and at the time I didn't even know it was based on Emma. I learned about that in college, when we were assigned to read the novel in a history class. After reading the book I went back and watched the movie again and wow, I thought it was even better with this new knowledge. - Amelia


Regency Man Monday - Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage, FRS (26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage is best remembered for originating the concept of a programmable computer.

Considered a "father of the computer", Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex designs. His varied work in other fields has led him to be described as "pre-eminent" among the many polymaths of his century.

Parts of Babbage's uncompleted mechanisms are on display in the London Science Museum. In 1991, a perfectly functioning difference engine was constructed from Babbage's original plans. Built to tolerances achievable in the 19th century, the success of the finished engine indicated that Babbage's machine would have worked.

While doing the research for this post I had so many tabs open that it got to be a bit confusing. I really find this man fascinating. I'm going to focus mostly on the Regency years but I highly suggest you follow some of the links at the bottom of the page to get more information on Babbage.

1810: Babbage starts his schooling at Trinity College at Cambridge and is disappointed to learn that he knew more about advanced math than his teachers. Along with some friends he founded the Analytical Society.
1812: Babbage transferred Peterhouse, Cambridge where even though he was considered the best mathematician. It was also around this time that he got the idea for a adding machine that would reduce human error in calculations.
1814: He didn't graduate with honors but received his degree with out having to take the requisite exam. That same year he married his wife, they would have eight children with only three of them living to adulthood.
1815-1819: Babbage spoke regularly but found it hard to find a job, this is believed to be due to his dissertation which was considered blasphemous.

Further Reading: Charles Babbage - Wikipedia Who Was Charles Babbage? - Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota The Babbage Engine - Computer History Museum Charles Babbage - Charles Babbage - Britannica Charles Babbage - BBC History


Friday Fun: Poll Results - Austen v. Davies

The results are in on Austen v. Davies and the general opinion is:

No! 78% of voters felt that Austen wouldn't have cared that Andrew Davies showed the private lives of the men in her novels.

We had one "Other" response that I would like to address here.  I'm sharing my personal views on the matter and invite others to either email us or post a comment on the topic.  The "Other" vote read: It's weird that people think that she could live with her father, brothers, her father's students, her brothers' children, and know nothing of men's lives. We are told that Jane only wrote about what she knew. She knew about the general outward lives of men, and we can assume she knew this because of her father and brothers.  What she didn't know about was what men did in private. I'm sure she didn't know what her brothers talked about among themselves, just as her brothers wouldn't have known what her and Cassandra would have talked about when they were alone. It was this private side that Davies shows. He shows a conversation between Darcy and Bingley, something that Jane could have probably imagined but never would have really known what was being discussed.