Tuesday was Ada Lovelace Day, a day when we celebrate women in science and remember the contributions of Augusta Ada Byron, later the Countess of Lovelace, who wrote devised an algorithm for Charles Babbage's analytical engine. Cartoonist Sydney Padua celebrates Lovelace in her webcomic 2D Goggles, or The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, imagining an alternate history in which the two early computer scientists team up to fight "crime" in all its forms—economic collapse, vampire poets, and the curious evils of street music.
We first mentioned Padua's comic a few years back, but it's grown since then into a deeply funny spin on the history of the Victorian Era. "Lovelace and Babbage vs. The Economy" follows the Panic of 1837, which bears a striking resemblance to a more recent economic crisis. In "Lovelace and Babbage vs. The Client," Queen Victoria asks Babbage his actual least favorite question about his engine. "Lovelace and Babbage vs. The Organist" combines Babbage's hatred of street musicians with Lovelace's theories that the analytical engine could be used to compose music, with bizarre and destructive consequences. "Lovelace and Babbage vs. The Vampire Poets" involves the Brontë sisters and the Countess of Lovelace's Byronic blood. Each installment is heavily footnoted with links to the primary resources on which Padua builds her smart but silly stories.