I’m not a computer geek. I don’t fear them but I don’t trust them either. They are one hell of a teaching aid. Back in school, Hewllett Packard was just getting knocked off the throne as the king of programmable calculators. I heard horror stories about programming the HP’s. The early computer languages were not user friendly; you had do know a lot about how computers worked before you could speak their language.
My dream machine was a SHARP (are they still around?) and I basically put myself through school with it. It removed the need for math from engineering. But you could only program the calculator if you knew how to solve the problem. That meant more work but I thought it was fun; I finished midterm exams in as little as 15 minutes and that was because I had to show my work and write everything out. One of the games they used to play was to throw us problems with incomplete data - and we’d have to derive the missing info, and plug that into the main problem to solve it. The way they set that up was diabolical; it sounds simple but the way they worded the problem confused and hid the trap. Once you were on to what they were doing, it was all quite easy. Or so I thought…once they left out the problem parameters, and I had to derive the variables needed to solve for variables needed to solve for the variables in the main problem. Most people would learn the material and chug through the problems…but I took extra time to teach it to my calculator … and teaching is one of the best ways to learn.
Which kinda puts this lady in perspective. She had no easy-peasey computer languages like I did. She had to learn how her machine worked and “thought”. Then she had to understand real world problems and develop ways to present them to the computer in order for the machine to work. Digital technologies would have been in their infancy in those days.
The problem with such copious learning is that it is possible for humans to be educated beyond their intellect. Like a computer, they have the hardware to grind through the problem, but the software gets buggy and poop-loops set up as contrary semantic operations start up, and they struggle with real world paradoxes that can’t be solved by limited their hardware or methods. Impossibilities, irrational numbers and operations are invented to accommodate them but the system crashes as all these asymmetric inputs and operations only produce more gobbledegook.
We end up with stuff like warble gloaming, fake pandemics, 72 genders, institutionalized racism, and
peer review consensus science. We end up in a world where anything goes except God and common sense. The woman in the pic above is truly an astronaut. She understood the limits of her tools, and used them in a Godly way. When they were inadequate to the task, she would have to set them aside, and do the thinking required to make new ones. Nowadays we try to make our tools and concepts do things they were never intended to… and we are driving ourselves insane because we don’t get the results we want.
One of the few things our ruling class gets right is that we need a reset. Of course, they don’t understand that they will be part of the dead wood detritus that has to be swept away. I dunno which is worse: faith without science? Or science without faith? Like the scientists, our faith leaders are going off the deep end too.
Find your tribe, and prepare.
My tribe is scattered to the four winds. NY, Edmonton, Philly, Oregon, all over creation...ReplyDelete
Oh, and an imaginary number in math is interesting, but you can measure it in electronics. It's been too long for me to remember when I found it and where....
Alternating current is all about complex numbers. The imaginary numbers represent phase shift (rotation).Delete
Ok. I bought an HP85 in 1972 for about $400. An insane amount of money back then. And lost it when our house was burgled while we were all at school. I took Fortran IV and set our programs up in shoeboxes of IBM punchcards. I didn't carry my slide rule on my belt, but I could have; it's leather case had a snap loop for it (and I still have it in my desk drawer).ReplyDelete
But I also learned then that science is a tool, and only a tool, like a gun is a tool and can be used for good or evil. The worship of science becomes scientism, and produces results like the idiot "-ologies" you note above. And the most important tool any of us can sharpen is the one between our ears. I've met far too many people who are "all brains and no sense at all."
The woman in the picture above is much more than a astronaut.ReplyDelete
Astronauts are fake and ghey. They lie. They Are terrible actors at best. Oh and the earth is flat.
I still have calculator from my junior college days--ReplyDelete
So now it qualifies as a museum piece. So do several of my guns.
I used to tell war stories. These days I teach history.
.At some level, war stories and history are the same thing...Delete
Somewhat tangential. What are your thoughts on Wolfram Alpha? Calculators were forbidden in many school test environments as cheating. Sister Keller believed in computers as teaching devices and intelligence magnifiers, as Mr Filthie seems to agree above. So what of Wolfram Alpha? I could not grasp boolean. Just curious your thoughts and your readers thoughts.ReplyDelete
I dunno what to make of wolfram, Jeff. When I was going to school we simply had too many formulas to remember. One of the few books I wish I still had was my binder on formulas and physical properties. It was a 3 inch binder that had steam tables, ASME and API extracts, chemistry reference materials - just knowing where to find everything in it was a job unto itself. Memorizing that volume of data just didn’t make sense.Delete
If Wolfram is used properly as a tool and a force multiplier I have no problem with it. If one were to let that tool do his thinking for him… then yeah, it’s a problem and best avoided.
The first calculator I ever saw was in shop class in seventh grade. It could multiply and divide. I predicted that eventually such a device would fit in my shirt pocket. My shop teacher was a bit skeptical; the rest of the students said it would never happen.ReplyDelete
My laptop has many times the storage and computational power of any computer in the 1960s.
Programmable calculators were at the stratospheric end of the best calculators list, but they did exist. When math/science professors put their slide-rules down long enough to find out what the little box would do, the programmable model was banned from class during exam time. The given reason was that the students didn't have to work the problem. No one had made the leap to understanding the formulae well enough to program the calculator.
Initially, I rejected computer science as a viable career due to punch cards, paper tape, and bread boards. Once the dumb terminal became prevalent, I got a job writing COBOL code. And that was that.
I remember standing in long lines for the hole punch and the card reader back in school. I'd try to sneak into the geology building after hours to use theirs but others had the same idea and the wait was only slightly less.ReplyDelete
I remember using my calculator to spell Shelloil using numbers and thinking I was HOT stuff
Does anyone know what is on the top of her habit? Am I the only one who noticed this? I am casting no aspersions on this lady's accomplishments, but it makes her look like a conehead.ReplyDelete
Sister Mary Kenneth was in the order of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Their original headress was very flat across the top, and ironed into squarish corners around their faces. This is the headdress that came in later years, it did have the ironed-in arch in the white part of the veil.ReplyDelete
It used to be that you could tell where a nurse graduated from by the shape of her cap, the colors and placement of any thin ribbons sewn onto it, things like that. Catholic nuns' habits were the same - you could tell which order they belonged to by the type of habit and headdress they wore. This is just the shape of Sister Mary Kenneth's order.
(Glad I could answer one question here!)
Hey, thanks! I learned something today.Delete
You are welcome!Delete
My high school mentor told me about a geology class he took in college. They had a field trip and his partner was a nun. His wife said she didn't mind as long as he didn't get in the habit. :)ReplyDelete