Lovelace and Babbage Vs. The Economy, Pt 2

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Economy

Warning: this is MASSIVE. It’s not proofread. It may well not make any sense. The pacing is weird because I kept coming up with gags halfway through. I didn’t get around to the model sheets so Babbage looks different in every panel. Also, may contain nuts.

More after the jump INTO HYPERSPACE.. lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy lovelace vs economy


Historical Notes of Interest

–The Difference Engine: Is a very cool thing indeed, but of course it was not meant to be anywhere near that big. The biggest model in the Science Museum is roughly the size of a van. In theory, you could keep connecting together engines to have more and more functions– Babbage’s later obsession, the Analytical Engine, was based on this idea. The machine in the comic is, properly speaking, an Analytical Engine as it runs on punchcards; but ‘Difference Engine’ sounds way cooler. This should have been explained to Babbage and then maybe he could have gotten his funding!

Someone utterly devastated me by informing me that the Giant Difference Engine has already been done, in “The Difference Engine” (which I haven’t read) no less. I hate it when people from the past travel forward through time and steal my ideas!! In my defense I should say the idea is pretty irresistibly suggested to anyone pressing a camera up against the glass to take reference photos. In any case now I’m stuck doing at least one other episode because I want to draw Ada climbing around in the engine to fix a bug, like Scotty in the Jeffries Tubes:

–The Gaussian Cupola is apparently the formula that devastated our present economy; I read about in Wired like everyone else. It is not, of course, Babbage’s!

–The economic model was inspired by the crazy MONIAC machine, a water-based economic model located almost directly across from the Difference Engine in the Science Museum. Terry Pratchett fans might recognize it from “Making Money”– it is, in fact, an actual thing. This comic does not take any stance on actual economic policy; I don’t know anything about economics. Of course, it seems neither do economists, HAH!

What else… I’m worried I’m poking a little too much fun at Charles Babbage, a brilliant man who did in fact know a great deal about economics. He did though have an outsized personality and if nothing else, I’m glad doing this comic gave me a chance to meet him.


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  1. Bliss on October 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Marvelous! It’s amazing how you put spiral PU and history in an awesome comic! Being a history geek myself, I’m so in love with this!

  2. JonH on January 18, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Only 23 comments?! Does that mean only 23 people enlightened enough to enjoy your madness can be bothered encouraging you or is it just that nobody knows this is out there. Keep it up, I’ll make repeated comments of little content to improve your strike rate so that “a well known search engine” can find you.

  3. Dan on February 8, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Hmm.. That looks like Wallace Shawn, Fizzinni in “The Princess Bride”, saying “Inconcievable…”

    amazing site.. I was visualizing something like this site today, myself.. except, of course MY site idea was SERIOUS and EDUCATIONAL… hee hee..

    Thanks so much..

  4. Daniel on May 30, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    This comic is amazing! I give a year and a half from now before Adult Swim comes knocking. In addition, the notes at the end are as much fun to read as the comic! (That really was meant as a compliment!) My only request would be to keep with the scroll down approach rather than the click through. Otherwise, I look forward to reading the rest!

  5. […] CLICK FOR PART 2 […]

  6. Simon on October 9, 2009 at 6:19 am

    Curse my early reactions; I should finish reading before I nitpick.

  7. Simon on October 9, 2009 at 6:17 am

    First off, love the comic, total brilliance. But a tiny nitpick: Babbage, according his autobiography, despised puns, saying they were a low form of humor. But i must admit “Sterling Engine” was quite clever.

  8. gilbert wham on October 5, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Wasn’t there a mechanical computer similar to their ‘runaway model’ built specifically for buggering about with stock-marked numbers?
    Also, you are awesome. More please.

  9. Kenny on October 5, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    I love the differences in Ada’s and Babbage’s self-importance. Good comment on how we get into these messes.

  10. crastination on July 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Just in case you don’t mind fan proof reading: 8 rows of panels from the bottom, in the right panel Babbage says “he interest rate”. Should be “the interest rate”. Keep up the great work!

  11. Jiggy on June 9, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Fan that I am of Byzantine architecture, the formula is actually a copula not a cupola.

  12. […] book heroes we’ve been long awaiting.  Over at 2D Goggles, they’re working on “Lovelace and Babbage“!  I see some serious T-shirt moments ahead for the […]

  13. Simon Landmine on May 11, 2009 at 12:30 am

    These are brilliant – the content, the writing, the graphical style, and the interesting notes at the bottom of and between each strip post. Thank you for letting your imagination run away like the economic model … and then documenting that fact and sharing it with the rest of us!

  14. Alan De Smet on May 10, 2009 at 5:50 am

    These are most awesome! I hope you continue to make more. And along with others, I would love to purchase print versions.

  15. Ceridwen on May 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    To answer Ada’s question, or to add to the confusion – the two best poets in our creative writing class were among the worst punsters. However, the girl who was also taking a poetry workshop won the pun contest and a Speed Racer pinata.

  16. Longshot on May 7, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Also, when Babbage called it a “Sterling Engine”, I’d assumed you had in fact read The Difference Engine and was making a play on the name of co-author Bruce Sterling :)

  17. Damien Warman on May 7, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    This is just wonderful.

  18. Terence Eden on May 7, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Fantastmic! You may be interested in this story from New York Magazine. It describes how Michael Osinki created the algorithm which caused our current woes.

  19. Emma on May 7, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I have this problem (and it’s a big problem) where with every panel you draw of this series I want to fling myself bodily at you and offer you sexual favors. This is just — FANTASTIC.

  20. Ghigau on May 7, 2009 at 1:25 am

    This is quite possibly the most awesome thing on the internets (today, at least!) I salute you!

  21. Marion on May 6, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    A friend linked to this, and I’ve read all of them so far; am now eagerly anticipating the rest.

    I’m sure that if you put Lovelace in a tube inside the machine, then somebody will *have* to say: “The Engines canna take it!”

  22. David Harmon on May 6, 2009 at 7:12 pm


  23. Jackie on May 6, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    A friend linked to your original Ada Lovelace comic as well as this one and I just wanted to say thank you! Both strips are awesome and made me snicker uncontrollably.

    Plus, Ada and Babbage as science heroes? That is the best ever.

  24. Robb on May 6, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    The comics on photos was fun to see, but I have to say that I like your exclusive drawn style better. Great pic of Lovelace in the Diff-Tubes. I’d like to see more, such as what creatures she finds investing its insides…

  25. bob on May 6, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    BRAVO! Thanks for a great comic. I will buy the book when it is published.