Ada and Anne

29Mar10

By Szczurek

What do Anne Applebaum and Ada Lovelace have in common?


Did you answer that they both had their day last week? Anne Applebaum made one of her rare appearance on Polish TV. She gave a very guarded interview about the possibility of becoming Poland’s First lady. Meanwhile Ada Lovelace had her very own day in the blogsphere. Yet both women – in spite of their immense importance – have such a low profile in Poland as to be almost invisible.

So for our Polish readers here is a quick summary. Ada Lovelace, née Augusta Ada Byron, was a British mathematician who at the age of 17 met the eccentric mathematician and inventor, Charles Babbage, 24 years her senior. Babbage was so impressed that he decided to invent the computer just so that he could ask her to write its instruction manual. She did so, and added a computer program of her own, so becoming the world’s first computer programmer. It took a little longer for the world’s first programmable computer to be constructed – some 120 years! The USA Department of Defense has named one of its programming languages after her.

Anne Applebaum was a writer based in London employed by the Economist magazine which advocated a tight fiscal policy and a liberal regulatory regime as the panacea for all of Poland’ s problems. She met Radek Sikorski when he lived in London and wrote occasional pieces for the Times and a book, Dust of the Saints, about his experiences with the mujahideen fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Radek was so impressed that he swapped Olivia Williams, his girlfriend of four years standing, for Anne.

Radek is often tipped as a future Polish president or prime minister. Olivia plays Ruth Lang, in the recent released film adaptation of Robert Harris’s book, The Ghost Writer. Ruth Lang is the CIA agent under deep cover who was the real power behind the throne of former British prime minister, Adam Lang. Now I ask you, what kind of crazy conspiracy story is that?

(With a hat tip to Island1 on The Polandian blog, for the link between Radek and Olivia.)



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