[Noisebridge-discuss] Charles Babbage

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Sun Apr 8 02:13:53 PDT 2012


Appeal to authority.

   --Wikipedia.

On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 1:50 AM, Jake <jake at spaz.org> wrote:
>
> I have sacrificed time, health, and fortune, in the desire to complete
> these Calculating Engines.  I have also declined several offers of great
> personal advantage to myself.  But, notwithstanding the sacrifice of these
> advantages for the purpose of maturing an engine of almost intellectual
> power, and after expending from my own private fortune a larger sum than
> the government of England has spent on that machine, the execution of
> which it only commenced, I have received neither an acknowledgment of my
> labors, nor even the offer of those honors or rewards which are allowed to
> fall within the reach of men who devote themselves to purely scientific
> investigations...
>         If the work upon which I have bestowed so much time and thought
> were a mere triumph over mechanical difficulties, or simply curious, or if
> the execution of such engines were of doubtful practicability or utility,
> some justification might be found for the course which has been taken; but
> I venture to assert that no mathematician who has a reputation to lose
> will ever publicly express an opinion that such a machine would be useless
> if made, and that no man distinguished as a civil engineer will venture to
> declare the construction of such machinery impracticable...
>         And at a period when the progress of physical science is
> obstructed by that exhausting intellectual and manual labor, indispensable
> for its advancement, which it is the object of the Analytical Engine to
> relieve, I think the application of machinery in aid of the most
> complicated and abstruse calculations can no longer be deemed unworthy of
> the attention of the country. In fact, there is no reason why mental as
> well as bodily labor should not be economized by the aid of machinery.
>                 -- Charles Babbage, "The Life of a Philosopher"
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