Another Thing About Which I Have Been Wrong
by Craig Good
July 21, 2011
this review of Brain Bugs (which looks like a great book) on Maria Popova's engaging Brain Pickings site. The lead quote got my attention.I have long been spreading the story that computer "bugs" got their name from the famous moth that was found between some contacts in an early computer. Today I saw
"It has been just so in all my inventions. The first step is an intuition — and come with a burst, then difficulties arise. This thing gives out and then that — 'Bugs' — as such little faults and difficulties are called." — Thomas Alva EdisonSo Edison coined the term "bug"? Well, that made me look up the moth.
The operators affixed the moth to the computer log, with the entry: "First actual case of bug being found". They put out the word that they had "debugged" the machine, thus introducing the term "debugging a computer program".So they knew what a bug was, and their joke was that this was the first one you could actually touch and tape into a log book. And the term that got coined there was debugging.
Back to Brain Pickings for a moment: If you have FlipBoard on your iPad, tune it in to @brainpicker. You can also just follow her on Twitter. Not everything there is skeptic-related, but enough is about science and the brain that you may really enjoy it.
by Craig Good
@Skeptoid Media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit