Copyright laws change every time the limit runs out on Mickey Mouse but at least we can sing “Happy Birthday” now.

Listening to: Gustavo Dudamel and Yuja Wang slay a Rachmaninov Concerto
Watching: Masters of None

Back in the early 1990’s Louis C.K. did a comedy bit where he said if he was a billionaire he would do something crazy like go to a town like Portland and buy all of the pants. There would be a crisis and no one could buy pants. If you wanted pants you would have to go to him. He would be king of the pants.

“You want pants? You will come to me. I am the king of pants”.

Something like this (but very different) actually happened. Only it happened 420 years earlier and it didn’t involve pants or Portland. The year was 1575 and Queen Elizabeth, arguably the greatest of the monarchs just bestowed a very generous and unusual gift to Thomas Tallis and William Bird. For the next 21 years these two were given exclusive rights, an absolute monopoly for polyphonic music and a patent to print and publish music.


The patent was so protected that they were the only people allowed to use the paper that was used at that time to print music. What, what? You say. You read that right. If you wanted printed music of any kind, secular or religious, you had to go to them. Imagine that scenario in today’s world if only one musical artist or novelist were given exclusive rights to publish pop music or fiction. Thankfully the patent ended, because let’s face it English Cathedral Music of the mid-renaissance could really only swing so hard.

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Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Listening to: Eagles of Death Metal
Watching: Fargo

Today is Ada Lovelace Day;  an International annual event to celebrate the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Her day is a great day to celebrate the inspirational women currently working in ‪#‎STEM‬ and increasing their visibility so they can inspire a future generation.


“Who is Ada Lovelace?” you might be asking.   And why does she have a day?

Ada Lovelace was a British mathematician and writer in the 1800s, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.

Her notes on the engine include what is recognized as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Because of this, she is considered as the first computer programmer.

According to the official Ada Lovelace Day page the reason today is chosen to be Ada Lovelace Day is rather boring yet entirely pragmatic;

“Why October 13?
People often ask why Ada Lovelace Day is the day that it is. The explanation is rather mundane: the date is arbitrary, chosen in an attempt to make the day maximally convenient for the most number of people. We have tried to avoid major public holidays, school holidays, exam season, and times of the year when people might be hibernating.
So, we use the second Tuesday in October, which is 13 October 2015.
Why not just used Ada’s birthday? Well, Ada was born on December 10 and  in the UK where Ada Lovelace Day  is based, December is swamped by Christmas parties, making venue hire tricky and putting us in competition with traditionally un-missable employee booze-ups. Given her tragically early death at just 36, it would feel inappropriate to celebrate her deathday on 27 November.”

So in the spirit for which Ada Lovelace Day is intended we would also like to highlight a couple of  women who are changing science, technology, engineering and math today.

Great architect:




Check out some of the mesmerizing,  neo-futuristic architecture and design of one of the greatest living architects Zaha Hadid.



Great engineer:   “Maker of things- notably Mars Rovers. Past IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year. Space Geek, Engineering Evangelist”

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