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My backup computers

The below was part of a "Year 2000 Emergency Kit" that I displayed in my office in 1999. It was a commentary on all the hype suggesting that the "Y2K Problem" would cause the collapse of modern civilization on January 1, 2000.

My backup computers

If, as some suggested, my computer was going to crash permanently with the onset of the year 2000, I might need to be rescued by some really old and reliable computing technology. Obviously for addition and subtraction, I can always fall back on a Chinese abacus.

The other computing device shown might be less familiar to a modern reader of this entry. It's a slide rule, its moving parts marked with a logarithmic scale that allowed it to be used for multiplication, division, square roots, and similar operations. When I was in college, there were no small and inexpensive electronic calculators, and slide rules were much used for calculation. Some MIT students (the more nerdy types) carried slide rules strapped to their belts. A song written by some MIT coeds contained the chorus:

I am a tech coed,
Mother dropped me on my head.
I wear a slide rule at my belt,
Man oh man, do I look svelt.

Return to the Entry "Y2K (bis)".

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© 2012 Lawrence J. Krakauer   Click here to send me e-mail.
This page was posted February 23, 2012

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