First I had a Texas Instruments TI-58C and then I graduated to the TI-59, with magnetic card reader. I think it was nearly $200 in the early 1980s. What a machine. You could store programs onto mag stips and load them into the calc with a satisfying whir/grind.

I remember using the flight computer ROM and showing my flight instructor my overly detailed calculations for our first dual cross-country training flight. He asked: "what's our initial heading after takeoff?" I proudly looked at my navigation sheet and answered "246.4 degrees." We then had a discussion about the compass marked only every five degrees.

BTW, girls are not one bit impressed by even the most awesome calculators, FYI.

Posted by Scott M at August 15, 2012 12:46 PM

This girl was (impressed), mainly because I had such a hard time remembering the sequence of keys. I was a cartographic draftsman, drawing pipeline maps and calculating the farmers' reimbursements for crops damaged in the pipeline right-of-way. My vocabulary was reduced to mostly four-letter words.

Posted by Deborah at August 15, 2012 6:05 PM

British polar explorer and survivor of Scott's 1910 expedition Apsley Cherry-Garrard introduces his own experiences in his account The Worst Journey in the World with the words: "Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised."

Glad to see that polar article ... Interesting stuff. Wonder what AC-G would have made of the watermelon eating tutorial. I like Dr. Kumar's way of stating his observations.

Also enjoyed being introduced to the writings of R. Jay Magill, Jr.
...and that Russian driving video ... pretty amusing stuff. I rarely get to laugh aloud before the first cup of coffee.


Posted by DeAnn at August 16, 2012 3:54 AM

I was teaching civil engineering at a major university when the HP 35 came out. It cost $395, and it didn't have hyperbolic trig functions or any statistical capability. Just logs (base 10 and natural), exponents, roots, normal trig functions and arithmetic and memory.

The faculty was concerned that someone having one of them would have an unfair advantage. And we debated banning them from exams. Laissez faire prevailed (we were civil engineers), and in a few years the fairness problem went away.

Posted by bob sykes at August 16, 2012 4:08 AM

O.K. It's an old joke but:

Do you know the difference between sales and marketing?

The sales department says "If we cut the price we'll sell more units".

The marketing department says "If we cut the price we'll sell more units, and how do you like my new dress?"

Posted by glenn at August 16, 2012 8:28 AM

Just what exactly blogs and forums for the purpose of governmental criticism on earth do you suggest everyone to study?

Posted by Greulich at August 17, 2012 2:37 AM