Babbage

My partner just read the following to me, from the wikipedia entry for Charles Babbage, who is considered the father of the computer:

Babbage once contacted the poet Alfred Tennyson in response to his poem “The Vision of Sin”. Babbage wrote,”In your otherwise beautiful poem, one verse reads,

Every moment dies a man,
Every moment one is born.
 … If this were true, the population of the world would be at a standstill. In truth, the rate of birth is slightly in excess of that of death. I would suggest [that the next version of your poem should read]:
Every moment dies a man,
Every moment 1 1/16 is born.
Strictly speaking, the actual figure is so long I cannot get it into a line, but I believe the figure 1 1/16 will be sufficiently accurate for poetry.”

I had to share this, as it tickled my fancy; as did this picture of him:

What do you suppose he’s thinking? “Damned poets, inaccurately representing the population growth rate! I’ll write him a letter, I will!”

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