And in important publication news for silly season: Erik Demaine and Martin Demaine have achieved “the true ideal of an unordered set of equal authors, where every author comes first”. Their paper Every Author as First Author proposes a new standard for writing author names on papers and in bibliographies, which places every author as a first author, with the names all superimposed on top of each other, including details of the \namestack LaTeX command for this purpose. The results are predictably hilarious (see below). (via Nalini Joshi)
Anyway, Stewart Lamb Cromar (an e-learning chap at University of Edinburgh) has proposed a set based on the Analytical Engine and featuring Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage minifigures (including, apparently, spanners). An idea has to get 1,000 supporters in its first year or it will expire; this one has passed that bar in less than two months and has over 2,600 supporters at time of writing.
Anyway, I think it looks quite cool. To support it is free, though you have to sign up for a LEGO ID and answer a short survey: ‘What would you expect this product to cost (USD)?’, ‘How many do you think most people would buy?’, ‘Who do you think this project would be good for?’ and ‘How difficult would you say this project would be to build?’. It only took a couple of minutes (I was supporter no. 2604).
Expect more Ada Lovelace this year as it’s the 200th anniversary of her birth on 10th December. For example, on 17th September at 9pm BBC Four is showing a documentary by Hannah Fry: Calculating Ada: The Countess of Computing.