Open Thread: Maru the cat

Today’s open thread is brought to you by Maru the cat, who recently turned 4 and his famous for his love of jumping into boxes.

We have open threads every few weeks so that people can comment on older posts (our regular posts stop accepting comments after 2 weeks), suggest links, or talk about whatever as long as it fits within our comment guidelines. Nothing is off-topic for this thread, so feel free to share more adorable cat videos.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , on by .

About terriko

Terri has a PhD in horribleness, assuming we can all agree that web security is kind of horrible. She stopped working on skynet (err, automated program repair and AI) before robots from the future came to kill her and got a job in open source, which at least sounds safer. Now, she gets paid to break things and tell people they're wrong, and maybe help fix things so that people won't agree so readily with the first sentence of this bio in the future. Terri writes/tweets under the name terriko, enjoys making things and mentoring others and has a plain ol' home page at

14 thoughts on “Open Thread: Maru the cat

  1. Ingrid Jakobsen

    I was just thinking about something that this group might know something about.

    I’m one of the people who thinks of Ada Lovelace as the first computer programmer; I know there are people who dispute that idea (is it just my imagination or are they mainly men?).

    So what I want to know is, if AL is not the first programmer, who is? Are there any plausible alternative candidates for the title, because I’ve not heard of any? Or is the alternative that programming developed so gradually no-one can meaningfully be the first programmer? And would there be as many people who felt that way if Ada wasn’t a woman?

  2. John

    I’m inclined to go for a hybrid answer: “programming developed gradually, but AL’s work is the best candidate for starting to use the term `computer programming’ to describe it”.

    The idea of an algorithm is much older (Euclid’s algorithm, Sieve of Eratosthenes, etc), and so is the idea of a machine for calculation (the abacus). Controlling a machine directly by a sequence of pre-prepared instructions preceded her, but perhaps not by as much (Bouchon loom, Jacquard loom; are there earlier ones?) Ada Lovelace appears to have produced the first combination of these: an algorithm prepared as instructions for a machine, i.e. a computer program. I don’t know to what extent she was drawing on these earlier ideas, but I don’t think she was working in a vacuum.

    I wonder whether acknowledgements of her achievements would have been played down at the time not only because of her gender, but because of who her father was (approximately, I think, the Mick Jagger of that era)?

    1. Meg Thornton

      I’d argue Byron wasn’t so much the Mick Jagger of his era as the Jim Morrison – his early death fighting for Greek Independence from Turkey was as much part of his myth as anything else (and it was at least part of why he became such a powerful mythic figure – as Beerbohm said, he would have been all but forgotten had he lived “to be a florid old gentleman with iron-grey whiskers, writing very long, very able letters to The Times about the Repeal of the Corn Laws.”). But, that minor quibble aside, yes, I do suspect his daughter’s achievements might well have been diminished not only because she was female, but also because of whose daughter she was.

      Then again, her mother was apparently a very able mathematician, who appears to have encouraged her daughter’s talent despite its social ineligibility.

  3. Ingrid Jakobsen

    “programming developed gradually, but AL’s work is the best candidate for starting to use the term `computer programming’ to describe it” sounds fine to me, and not very much like there’s a dispute about her status. I wasn’t getting the impression that was what the people who don’t want to call AL the first programmer meant instead.

    What has working in a vaccuum got to do with it? When did STEM ever make progress by anyone working in ignorance of others’ work?

    I think acknowledgment at the time is irrelevant: Babbage never successfully built anything her work could be implemented on, so it would just have been a curiousity, and no-one at the time could have had much idea how important it would be over a hundred years later (as I understand it, the next significant developments in computing would be at Bletchley Park during WWII).

    1. John

      What has working in a vacuum got to do with it? When did STEM ever make progress by anyone working in ignorance of others’ work?

      Indeed, inventing something not strongly connected with anything that has gone before is extremely rare. I think what had in mind was that there is a difference between creating the first program, and creating programming.

      I was also thinking in contrast to one of the few inventions that seems to have come from nowhere (according to a book I read on the history of that line of engineering): the Laufmaschine, the earliest recognizable form of the bicycle. It seems to have had no specific precedent, as a vehicle with two wheels inline, requiring active balancing that uses the steering. Which reminds me…

      Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.
      (Susan B. Anthony)

  4. Miriam Hochwald

    Super cute Cat video. Thanks for sharing. I was getting all serious until I saw that video. My 20 year old cat is currently adorning on my politically correct posterior whilst I type in my PJs prostate on my bed, as part of my disability associated Chronic Fatigue Syndrome rest day. Any questions?

    1. Terri

      Glad you enjoyed the video! A friend introduced me to Maru a year or two ago when I was super stressed out about something. I still go look for Maru videos when I’m feeling out of sorts; there’s just something about watching him play. Hope you had a peaceful rest day!

      1. Miriam Hochwald

        Hi Terri,

        Thanks for you comment. Made me smile. I usually need to rest just about as much time as I can do activities. This is somewhat frustrating. However, it does afford me the opportunity to enjoy some “internet stalking” – aka: FB, email, blogs and surfing the net. Generally getting lost with all the online communication. Yes, I had a peaceful rest day. The upside is that you get to ploddle around home in your favourite comfie clothes, and venture out at will. Yes, there has usually is an up side, it you look for it!

        The cat. Mine is lovely. She has been in the family since she was 2, and I have had her for about 10 years. Often my neighbours wish to abscond her – little princess that she is. Your cat video was really quite amusing. I can see how it cheers you up when you are stressed. I am currently in Brisbane, and they have pretty much been stressed here since January. We had a massive flood here which whipped out the city, suburbs and country regions. The last time they had one, was when my dad lived here in his early 20s. People have been on the back foot and disoriented since the flood. Brisbane is a much more densely populated area. Some people literally lost everything, and either had no insurance, or the insurance companies found some clause to evade the pile up of claims (probably would have bankrupted them!). Basically everyone has been suffering. My car went under, though my flat managed to escape.


  5. MarinaS


    I’m the new comics editor for the fledgling-and-not-quite-live-yet comics section of the UK based feminist webzine The F-Word. (

    I’m really excited to be kicking off this new venture for the site, and am greatly in need of female comic fans to contribute good reviews from a feminist or feminist friendly perspective.

    I’d love it if you or some of your readers were to be interested in writing some reviews of DC or other comics. Please contact me on the email address provided with any reviews, or even just ideas on how to reach a potential reviewer pool.

    Thanks :)

    1. Terri

      MarinaS: I tried to get in touch with you regarding potentially doing a guest post about your new comics section and the call for reviewers, but your email bounced claiming “all relevant MX records point to non-existent hosts.”

      I’m going to be offline for a couple of days, but I’ll try to get in touch again when I get back. If there’s an alternate email address I can use to contact you, let me know!

  6. Eva

    EFF is writing a blog post about social media sites and pseudonymity online and we would like to include Anti-Pseudonym Bingo. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything on this site indicating bloggers’ preferred licensing terms. Would you be okay with our using the image with credit?

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