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#18304 - 01/16/09 10:54 AM Raise of technology: downfall of humanity?
Dimitri Offline
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A first note: I'm not quite sure this topic has been discussed before somewhere on this site. But from the looks on the past topics I don't see anything related to it.
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Raise of technology: downfall of humanity?
 Quote:
Technology is a broad concept that deals with an animal species' usage and knowledge of tools and crafts, and how it affects an animal species' ability to control and adapt to its environment. Technology is a term with origins in the Greek "technologia", "τεχνολογία" "techne", "τέχνη" ("craft") and "logia", "λογία" ("saying").[1] However, a strict definition is elusive; "technology" can refer to material objects of use to humanity, such as machines, hardware or utensils, but can also encompass broader themes, including systems, methods of organization, and techniques. The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: examples include "construction technology", "medical technology", or "state-of-the-art technology".

This as an average definition of the concept/word TECHNOLOGY.
Now, technology in this modern day has different meanings and forms. We as humanrace invented/discovered new manners to make life more easy. As a humanrace we would like to be renowend for our highly intellectual capacities. With the dawn of the computer-era new ways were discovered to store, share and spraid information across the country at first and afterwards the whole world.
The comming and idea of internet made it possible to communicate
with persons around the globe at any moment of the day (this at least if they are connected and have the possibilty or accesibility). The idea of internet was to communicate with scientists around the world and to share ones discoveries, keep in touch with recent discoveries etc. In the 90's internet became more accesible to the normal group of people. And thus different sites came to life and so on. We all now the stories.

Now internet still has the same purposes as it had when it was founded. It is like one huge library at the tops of your fingertips.
But with these possibilities it has to offer there are some thought-provoking things.
Like the standard questions: "Is this information provided by this site valuable?". "Can I trust this person's experience?". And so on.
But this isn't my intention with this topic.

The internet provides much information, stored on different servers across the globe. As curious as I am, I wonder: with all this information locked tied in an easy accesable thing, isn't there any danger that with a sudden collapse of our society lots of information can be lost? At this very moment I notice people storing information on their computers and on the internet and not within their brain. Is there a slow degeneration happening? Or is this a bit blown up?
Probably something most people will laugh at and will not take seriously. But still... my main question is: does there lie any danger with our advancement were we store our knowledge on a secondary "brain" instead of our own?


Edited by Dimitri (01/16/09 11:02 AM)
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#18306 - 01/16/09 11:17 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Dimitri]
6Satan6Archist6 Offline
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I suppose there could be danger. If the entire internet went down for some reason, and for some equally odd reason the internet was the only place people were stroing important information; that could be bad.

Perhaps if you we're a serial killer and kept pictures of your victims in your e-mail, which subsequently got hacked, that could also be very bad.

Those two instances, and a myriad of others, aside; I don't see too much danger here. I am pretty sure that any important information that would be devestating to lose is not kept solely in one place.
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#18314 - 01/16/09 04:37 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: 6Satan6Archist6]
Dimitri Offline
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Registered: 07/13/08
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 Quote:
Those two instances, and a myriad of others, aside; I don't see too much danger here. I am pretty sure that any important information that would be devestating to lose is not kept solely in one place.

True, but imagine this: you encounter a situation where you need all your knowledge but don't have acces to your "secondary brain". What are you going to do?
Suppose things can go horribly wrong when making a mistake then.
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#18316 - 01/16/09 05:04 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Dimitri]
6Satan6Archist6 Offline
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Well, I suppose I will have to cross that bridge when/if I come to it.

Imagine this: All the nuclear missles in the world detonate at the same time. What are you going to do? I will tell you what you are going to do, you are going to die. My point is that I don't consider what you are proposing as a legitimate fear. Nor do I consider my little "what if" as a legitimate fear either.

I am not sure what you mean by "secondary brain". If you are referring to computers/internet; I am not worried about not having access to them. There are things I store on my computer that I can't store in my brain. Things like movies, music, pictures and school assignments.

If by some dumb luck I lost access to that information my life wouldn't come to a complete halt. Even with massive communications break downs around the globe, and the loss of all the information one was privy to via that medium; the important knowledge like how to start a fire, how to hunt and skin animals et al. would remain in my brain.
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#18317 - 01/16/09 05:16 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: 6Satan6Archist6]
Dimitri Offline
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Registered: 07/13/08
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 Quote:
My point is that I don't consider what you are proposing as a legitimate fear.

To clearify, I'm not considering/proposing it as a legitimate fear. That's an assumption from your behalf. My only question was if there is potential danger within storing information an a secondary brain.

And indeed with secondary brain I am referring to digital media or other sorts of devices information can be stored on.
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#18318 - 01/16/09 05:56 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Dimitri]
6Satan6Archist6 Offline
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I am well aware that you weren't proposing it as a legitimate fear. However, wouldn't considering something that is interpreted as a legitimate danger eventually become a fear?

 Quote:
My only question was if there is potential danger within storing information an a secondary brain.


Yes there is potential danger. There is potential danger in anything. I wouldn't worry about it though.
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#18320 - 01/16/09 07:06 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: 6Satan6Archist6]
Fabiano Offline
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Posts: 374
Dimitri,

Presenting your only question like that is a bit vague, and appeals quite vague answers like you had from 6Satan6Archist6. What could be added?

That's why I prefer to answer this more specific and concrete formulation :
 Quote:
with all this information locked tied in an easy accesable thing, isn't there any danger that with a sudden collapse of our society lots of information can be lost?


Assuming that such a big disaster happen and we would lost all the digital information, yes indeed it would be a big step backward in the progress of mankind. Imagine the bank accounts suddenly cleared off and the mess in the stock exchanges. The nations would wobble or even collapse.
But is it realistic that such a disaster occurs? On this I don't see what it could be, so I would agree with 6S6A6.

But there are more real dangers, like the security level of IPv4...

Technology enable us to increase our power over the world, the reality. We have to extend our brain to progress as we had to first extend our body for progressing from stone age.
Perhaps one day we'll all have some RAM or ROM implanted directly in our brain. And yes, we'll be more dependant on it.

That's the other side of the coin. Look at the SF book "Dune" from Frank Herbert. In the story, the mankind banish the artificial intelligence. Following this, they learn to use more and more their brain. Some men, the "mentats", are trained for becoming supercomputers...

I don't have a cristal ball, who knows about the future? But that's the world we live in, progress goes on whatever you want it or not...

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#18335 - 01/17/09 12:55 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Fabiano]
daevid777 Offline
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And on a lighter and more personal side of it, how many of your friends phone numbers you actually "know"? Or are they programmed into your phone?

Where are your pictures from this last "holiday season"? Where is your "music" collection?

Do you own an address book, with actual addresses? Do you still use the phone book? When was the last time you got a letter, in the mail, handwritten?

If my technology came crashing down... it would certainly be... a bummer.
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#18349 - 01/17/09 07:26 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: daevid777]
Diavolo Offline
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Indeed, I know people whom, if their car died somewhere and by some bad luck, their cellphone battery too, they'd be into some serious problems because they don't even know their home phone number. How many do even know their own cellphone number and not have to look it up when someone asks?

I know some but admit, if technology fails, I'm going to experience some problems too. In the not so long ago past, I did have a database in my brain with telephone numbers. The very fact that you had to dial those numbers each time reinforced them in your memory but since all you have to do now is select a name, all the other info doesn't get stored.
We live in a society so dependent upon technology, that it became our biggest weakness. Take out technology and our civilization comes to a halt. Things will break down.
The information doesn't even need to become lost, just your access to it is enough.

D.

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#18354 - 01/17/09 12:08 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Diavolo]
Fabiano Offline
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I'm in the same situation as you 2. But in the past I could memorise maybe a dozen of phone numbers, now I have hundreds of contacts including mail address, etc... in my pocket

We're not using less our brain, we're using it differently. Who doesn't know the google url? Who needs a directory for going to wikipedia or Youtube? I've the impression we're shifting from memorisation/restitution to sefl-organisation/learning, what is not worst to my eyes...

But yes we're dependant on it, and the more you use it, the more you're dependant. That's progress ;-)

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#18367 - 01/17/09 04:42 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Fabiano]
Morgan Offline
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Part of it as Daevil said is the number progression memory. Its for the most part gone in people. If you don't use it, you lose it. I'm included, I don't know my moms' phone number off hand. I think it would be harder for people to try remember numbers if they never had to before. Meaning older people would be able to do it faster than younger ones because at one point, we had to.

As for storing information, books, etc online with no hard copy back up for me is silly. In my opinion, you need to have a hard copy somewhere because computers crash all the time. I also like the feel of a book, the pages. I hate reading shit online and not being able to write notes in the margins.

Yes, we are using our brains differently, more visual cues, less detailed cues. You see a name, brand reconizition, and you know if you like it or not, no matter what language its in.

Yes, we are dependant on things, but I think we still need to be aware enough to survive without it.

Morgan
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#18372 - 01/17/09 08:37 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: daevid777]
ceruleansteel Offline
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Posts: 784
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 Originally Posted By: daevid777
And on a lighter and more personal side of it, how many of your friends phone numbers you actually "know"? Or are they programmed into your phone?

Where are your pictures from this last "holiday season"? Where is your "music" collection?

Do you own an address book, with actual addresses? Do you still use the phone book? When was the last time you got a letter, in the mail, handwritten?

If my technology came crashing down... it would certainly be... a bummer.


You know, email has always rubbed me the wrong way. I'm not sure why. I still write letters. I make my kids write letters (my five year old thinks it's the best thing ever). I do remember most of the phone numbers I call frequently. I make a point to...and I have a hand-written address book.

And I print my pics. Am I a weirdo?

If my technology came crashing down...I'd bitch about the cost of replacing it.

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#18373 - 01/17/09 08:50 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: ceruleansteel]
Octavius Offline
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Ugh. I object to this whole post. What is the point of theoretical doomsaying? Don't you (Dimitri) have anything better to do than worry about what happens IF the internet crashes? Geeze, people, sure there will be a moment or two of inconvenience, but if you're an intelligent person, you'll be fine. Now stop wasting your time and go read a book.

Octavius
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#18374 - 01/17/09 08:52 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Morgan]
Fabiano Offline
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Posts: 374
It's foolish in general to store important information in only one place. Even when I knew phone numbers by heart I didn't dare to not have a paper back-up of it.

The progress lead us to live in a world where we're flooded of information. It's a question of adaptation to learn living in such a world.

And sure, we must stay aware of what we're depending on and reducing dependancy is always an advantage. But on the other hand, we cannot live in the past. I don't think I'll learn to live without fire because I'm dependant of it...

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#18376 - 01/17/09 09:22 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Fabiano]
Jake999 Offline
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I'm using technology not as a crutch, but as an enhancement to life... and there's where we can find a happy medium. If you can create architectural renderings with a pencil and paper, the a CAD program and a computer can enhance your skills. If you can only do it with the CAD program, you are limited by the availability of that computer and electricity to run it.

If you can do your own cost accountings using ledgers and double entries, then a great Excel spreadsheet can enhance your abilities. But if all you know is a1+b4=c2, you're going to be in deep shit with the histroic blackout of 2000 and whatever year it happens.

I'm of the belief that children's access to computers should be limited until they know the basics of the disciplines of education. A quick look around the internet will quickly show you just how close to illiterate many are, with very little understanding or sentence structure, grammar or correct spelling. Now don't get me wrong... we ALL make spelling errors. I type at 60wmp... I'm bound to screw up from time to time. But how many people have you seen that just have no concept of word usage? Their, There and They're have distinctly different meanings, yet many use them interchangably. Same thing with to, two and too. Learning the basics is key. One has to know the basics of carpentry before they build a sound structure!

And even IF one knows those basics, and one enhances them with technology, it's always wise to back one's own ass up. I trust my bank, as much as anyone can, but as accurate as they've been, and as up to date as my statements might be, I'm smart enough to keep $10K in cash in my safe deposit box. There's also a list of contacts, and insurance policies, my DD214, VA benefits package, etc. Boy Scouts taught me to be prepared... just before I was let go for not believing in God.
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#18379 - 01/17/09 09:53 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Jake999]
Fabiano Offline
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Nothing will never replace intelligence Jack. And dependancy sometimes become stupidity. I recently saw at work poeple using an Excel spreadsheep without understanding it, without knowing what calculations were made automatically. They were just filling numbers and forwarding a sheet. Amazing !
This is unacceptable to me.

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#18385 - 01/18/09 12:20 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Fabiano]
daevid777 Offline
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I remember about 1,000 years ago, while I was in a high school Trigonometry class everybody had "Graphing calculators"... they were expensive "way back then", and I never purchased one. I still had a cheap ass "Scientific calculator".

I remember plotting points using the formula (it was horrible), and by the look of the formula, would know what to expect. I also had a little cheat sheet written out regarding cosine, sine...

Anyway, I remember we had some particular problem to work on... and everybody got out their damned little computer machines, and I got out a blank sheet of paper, and my calculator...

They had become so dependent on it, that when the formula they plugged got all fucked, they honestly didn't know what to do. I sat there like an idiot... drawing an axis and plotting.

I remember trying to help them, but since I never used their technology, and they actually had no understanding of the concept of what we were doing... it was a difficult experience. I had to get an instant crash course in "graphing calculator" to even try to help them understand what was going on.

Anyway, this is boring... the point is, like the Excel point, and Auto-CAD, if you can't "do it" with a piece of paper... technology is only going to get you so far.

Still, it would have been nice to have a graphing calculator...
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#18399 - 01/18/09 07:43 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: daevid777]
Diavolo Offline
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When I was at school those calculators were as ridiculous as the first portable phones, more mass than function. We had to put them aside when doing the tests because it was seen as a negative benefit; you had to be able to do it without that stuff.
Calculating shit yourself was considered normal.

I think about a decade ago, I met the first kid that couldn't calculate shit if his life depended upon it. 17x3 was like asking him the meaning of life, you only got a dumb look and if he didn't type it in his electronic pocket brain, he wouldn't know the answer. It amazed me but what I considered an exception in those days, might be perfectly normal today.
I watched some BBC series some years ago where they stuffed kids from this era in a schooling system of some decades ago with the same material to learn and test. They looked like retards. It probably can be blamed upon the educational system.

D.

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#18403 - 01/18/09 11:13 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Jake999]
Dimitri Offline
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 Quote:
What is the point of theoretical doomsaying? Don't you (Dimitri) have anything better to do than worry about what happens IF the internet crashes?

I'm not complaining when everything which is computerlinked is failing. Just curious about the opinions here of some members and how they think what the effects should be should most virtual and electrical technology fail.
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#18414 - 01/18/09 02:58 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Dimitri]
ta2zz Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 1552
Loc: Connecticut

This is quite an interesting topic, many of this is predicted by the old Scifi writers... When robots are built and they take away the workload of a human, humanity then gets lazy and weak... Scary to realize where we are already with the brain weakening and people already becoming fat and lazy... The robots are barely here on a consumer level yet...

As people need to do less they will, they then want to work even less... I see this even in the tattoo industry... New artists are brought in on artistic skills alone and taught nothing of the craft other than how to make their mentor money... Build or tune the machines they use, make a needle, mix ink, broken clip cord what to do? Macrophage cells, spore tests what's that? Merssa (MRSA) anyone?

When I was leaving high school in 84 the younger classes already had kids who couldn't read an analog clock anymore... Today we see young people everywhere who work a cash register who cannot count back change to save their lives... Of course I must admit I do enjoy getting handed back $18 out of $25 for a $21 item...

Here in CT some stores such as Walgreen's have now gone back to a register that kicks out the coins itself... Stores like Dunkin Dognuts ;\) will not accept anything over a $20 bill anymore, is this because their are more counterfeit $50's and $100's? No not at all, it is because employers realize this dumbing down of their employee base...

Something that me and my best friend had talked about over 20 years ago... As the population grows those who lead would want a dumber population as they are easier to predict and/or control... After all with the current political structure the people in power want only to keep that power for themselves and their own... An educated intelligent person craves power him or herself and can therefore become a threat...

The groundwork for the latest change in public schooling happened in 2001 with the no child left behind act...

But to get back on topic, the answer is yes... By us relying on these "external brains" we are clearly losing as a species, the ability to do simple math as well as remember phone numbers...

What lies in the future?

~T~

P.S. The threat of technology failing in a massive way is reality... Google EMP attack... On that note disregarding the loss of brain function, should most virtual and electrical technology fail, life as we know it will change forever...


Edited by ta2zz (01/18/09 03:02 PM)
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#18431 - 01/19/09 12:02 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: ta2zz]
daevid777 Offline
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Posts: 951
Loc: Hell's Pisshole, Texas
Just think if electricity went off for more than a week...

Think of the mayhem, the paranoia, think of how we get our food these days...

I think I'll bring my dog and cats indoors for that... and maybe go a huntin' for some fresh meat...
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#18434 - 01/19/09 08:09 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: daevid777]
spiderbreeder Offline
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Registered: 11/29/08
Posts: 300
Loc: Sydney,Australia
Back when I was in High School, we had calculators but were rarely allowed to use them, and the computers were only accessible to the kids who took the home computer elective class, which I never did.

I was really quick at doing basic adding and subtracting etc in my head, and didn't have to think much at all when I had to hand peoples change back to them in my younger years, but I've gotta say that ever since the micros cash registers started popping up all over the place about 10 years ago, my math skills have really faded.

Having a computer to think for me might have been attractive in the short term, but in the long term,my mental agility and powers of deduction concerning all things mathematical leave much to be desired.
I've started to count in my own head at work instead of relying on looking at the monitor for visual cues, and my brains slowly sharpening up again.

I think Jake is correct when he said that the new way of doing things can be beneficial if you already know the way of old...

But the kids that are born in to a situation where everything they need to know is just effortlessly provided to them at the touch of a button are missing out on an important part of their mental development.It's healthy for the brain to think out the "whys" and the "what fors" without punching a problem into a calculator and numbly accepting the answer that appears on the screen.

I'm still awesome at remembering phone numbers and people's names though, all is not lost!
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#18439 - 01/19/09 09:39 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: spiderbreeder]
Jake999 Offline
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Posts: 2230
I know it's going to be hard to believe for some of you, but calculators didn't exist when I went to school... well, not electric ones anyway. There were some little mechanical gizmos that you can find in antique shops these days, but when I did math in class, you had to do it with a pencil and paper and show the teacher how you arrived at your solution to the problem.

Texas International came out with the first personal calculator (T1) in 1967. I received one as a gift in 1969, just prior to leaving on my first military assignment. The thing just did rudementary math functions... cost about $85, which was a lot of money then. I was making $63 every two weeks, most of which went to my young wife while I was overseas, so an $85 was an extravagance that I would have never had, without the generosity of my parents.
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#18440 - 01/19/09 10:32 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Jake999]
Dimitri Offline
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Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 3151
 Quote:
I know it's going to be hard to believe for some of you, but calculators didn't exist when I went to school... well, not electric ones anyway. There were some little mechanical gizmos that you can find in antique shops these days, but when I did math in class, you had to do it with a pencil and paper and show the teacher how you arrived at your solution to the problem.

Like the mathematics ruler? --> http://www.vallei.net/pleinen/leefomg/hobby/rekenlat/saristo1.gif Or however it is called in English..
I've still got one of those. Despite everyone of my age uses a calculator I've learned myself some old "tricks" to calculate. You never know when it might come in handy. And mostly in my opinion: most "older" techniques are still the best.
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#18442 - 01/19/09 11:27 AM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: Dimitri]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Sliderule in English...those were still in use well into the 80's. Used to have those to calculate the moments of longitudinal line for loading aircraft for correct weight and balance. Gets toooooooo complicated to do with just a pencil and paper, and could take you all day!

Here's an example of a "simple" one. Military cargo is HEAVY and requires quite a bit of computation.

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#18448 - 01/19/09 01:30 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: daevid777]
ceruleansteel Offline
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Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 784
Loc: Behind you
 Originally Posted By: daevid777
Just think if electricity went off for more than a week...

Think of the mayhem, the paranoia, think of how we get our food these days...

I think I'll bring my dog and cats indoors for that... and maybe go a huntin' for some fresh meat...


I don't know...we seemed to do pretty well during the last ice storm and some people were without power for close to a month. Maybe it's just the area that I live in...there are still loads of people around here who go off the back porch and shoot their dinner, can their homegrown veggies, and stockpile like devils.

I got pissed at the electric company once and shut my power off at the breaker. I got five weeks of protest in before I turned it back on. Of course, I didn't even own a computer then so it may have been different...

I'm not worried about myself and my family should it all go to hell. My home is defensible, I have almost three years of dry and canned goods, I can hunt/fish and prepare what I kill PLUS I know what I grows around here that can be eaten and where it grows...I know every square inch of ground for about five miles around me. I know how to purify water and make enough power to cover the bare necessities...etc.

The real problem is not in that people are letting machines think for them, it's in that people are RELYING on those machines and society in general for their very survival. Only a dumbass fails to have a contingency plan. To go through life expecting that everything is always going to be as you expect it to be and as you NEED it to be is utter folly. To DEPEND on it to be that way is suicide.

My "city friends" get a giggle out of me because I take my kids out to the middle of nowhere and "make" them eat wild food and learn about tracking/hunting/clean water/stockpiling/storing/etc., but when our famous tornadoes hit, or we get those hellish ice storms like we got in 2000, we're snuggled up cozy in our home just waiting it out (not a care in the world) while others are fistfighting in the dark at wal-mart for the last can of spam.

There is no shame in being self-reliant. And there is no shame in enjoying the best while planning for the worst. You could drop my five year old off in any terrain in the country and a few days later she would walk out with a full belly and an ass chewing for whomever was responsible for it.

So if 2012 means it all crashes down around us, meh. It'll give me an excuse to break out the platt maps. And forgive me for tying the two threads together, but that's what it looked like was happening anyway.


Edited by ceruleansteel (01/19/09 01:35 PM)
Edit Reason: realized I had tied the two threads together....had to apologize.

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#18449 - 01/19/09 02:05 PM Re: Raise of technology: downfall of humanity? [Re: ceruleansteel]
Diavolo Offline
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Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 4997
Yeah, the fact that you can't use the computer and have to calculate yourself isn't the biggest problem should technology fail en masse. The whole food chain comes to a halt and it'd be pretty hard for the ones that rely on it.

I'm one of those oldtimers that at an early age was taught what weed is eatable and how to home grow your own vegetables. I admit that I'd get rather skinny when having to live of what I can shoot in the wild here but in times of despair, I think cats or dogs might make a good meal too. Being self-reliant is an art but because there is no need, it is quickly forgotten or stops being passed on.

D.

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