Thursday, December 11, 2014

Charles Babbage, in a letter to Alfred Tennyson:
In your otherwise beautiful poem "The Vision of Sin" there is a verse which reads – "Every moment dies a man, Every moment one is born." It must be manifest that if this were true, the population of the world would be at a standstill. In truth, the rate of birth is slightly in excess of that of death.

I would suggest that in the next edition of your poem you have it read – "Every moment dies a man, Every moment 1 1/16 is born."

The actual figure is so long I cannot get it onto a line, but I believe the figure 1 1/16 will be sufficiently accurate for poetry.

I am, Sir, yours, etc.,

Charles Babbage
Sounds a lot like the method of interpretation used by many in regards to the Bible to convict it of "error", only with the difference that Babbage was presumably kidding. :-)