| 7:02 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Whoops! New page. We'd got as far as baud vs. bps...
I went over and looked it up at w###. It gave me a headache, but along the way I was reminded of two other things my son has probably never heard of:
-- "soft bits" (I'm not sure I remember the term right) --copy protection that involved giving parts of the disk a sort of half-hearted charge so each time your device reads the sector it gets different values. If it's always the same, someone has copied the disk.
Not to be confused with read/write protection, which involved either cutting a notch in the side of the floppy disk-- no, no! its CASE! --or covering up an existing notch with a metallic stick-on thingie. Depending on whether you wanted to lock or unlock.
-- compression utilities that got rid of the 8th bit-- only on ASCII files, obviously-- so the end result was 7/8 the size it would be with ordinary compression.
Come to that, I remember the Apple //e had an 8th-bit switch. A physical switch somewhere at the back of the computer that let you use the bottom half of the 1-byte range (128 through 255).
| 11:05 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Surely I'm not the only person here that still has a dialup connection service as a backup?
Both my fixed line providers scrapped dialup years ago. It was brilliant to be able to flick between providers so easily, its the one thing that I hate about broadband. Now the backup is a mobile connection which usually involves hanging the dongle out of an upstairs window.
| 6:30 pm on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)|
OK, I'll let everyone off the hook, the BAUD RATE is the number of signals sent per second which in the case of the older modem, was one signal/tone/bit so BAUD and BPS were identical. When you get up to 1200/2400 they're sending multiple tones/bits so 1200 BPS might be 400 or 600 BAUD, can't remember which. But basically that's how the faster modems work is increasing the size of the data sent by using more signals/tones at the same time.
| 6:43 am on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Is a brass chisel or bronze chisel more effective in carving stone tablets? Does the mallet/hammer matter?
| 7:02 am on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Sit tight another millennium. People in Anatolia have been reporting terrific results with this new stuff called iron.
| 12:14 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|Is a brass chisel or bronze chisel more effective in carving stone tablets? Does the mallet/hammer matter? |
Brass chisel = waste of time..take forever..
Bronze chisel = better..( depends how you mix your bronze )..Mallet and hammer types definitely matter..Horses for rock paintings..
Iron..better still..just as long as they don't leave it on my lawn..and the noise of all the smelting and hammering doesn't disturb my knap..
| 12:58 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
In related ( returning to the topic :) news..
|The chief of a charity dedicated to helping Britons learn digital skills has claimed handwritten exams could be hampering boys' academic success. |
Graham Walker, CEO of tech skills charity Go ON UK, demanded that political parties drop their obsession with handwriting and set a date when all exams will be taken online.
| 4:00 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
There you have it, the end of civilization.
It took thousands of years to perfect language and writing and only a single generation to get rid of it.
Technically writing is a form of drawing, it's hand-eye coordination, it's also art when done properly so if this is to become the norm we're about to have a new generation that not only won't know cursive, but probably won't know how to write, draw, etc.
The upside is that unless you're in 2nd life graffiti will probably cease to exist :)
|brotherhood of LAN|
| 4:06 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Doubt it'd happen anytime soon... people write at a broadly similar speed, but typing rates vary wildly.
Saying that, perhaps teens of this decade are all typing 100+wpm.
| 6:21 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|It took thousands of years to perfect language and writing |
I would have to take issue with the word "perfect".
People around the world speak different languages and write in different alphabets.
None of these are universally understood.
Perfection still seems a long way off.
| 7:53 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Since when does "perfect" (the verb) = "standardize" or "homogenize"?
I might also take issue with the word "alphabet". You probably mean "script" or "writing system", which may or may not be alphabetic (1 grapheme = 1 phoneme, with no distinction between vowels and consonants).
| 9:21 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
^ I rest my case.
| 10:22 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
It took thousands of years to achieve hieroglyphics used by the Egyptians. They didn't just wake up one morning with a large vocabulary or words in common usage, with associated symbols, and stone masons capable of engraving them in massive monuments built using advanced math and engineering skills. **
My point is we're working hard to unravel a basic skill that has obviously been a cornerstone of human civilization to the point our grandchildren won't know what to do with pens and pencils and a fountain pen would blow their mind and might do so of the current generation as my schoolmates found them off the wall so who knows.
Anyway, if we as a race get to the point that if the grid goes down and there's no battery backup, hopefully the web will be all self-contained running off solar to prevent such a catastrophe, that writing a simple order in a diner would be beyond their skills, let alone writing a book using paper vs. the computer, or taking notes without a tablet.
FYI, I didn't mean '(pûr-fikt)' as in flawless, I meant 'per-fekt' as in bring to completion as we've just gotten it to a really useful point.
** A fun point I've made since a kid recently proven correct that there had to be other advanced archaeological finds out there that seriously predates the Egyptians just now being found because the math and engineering needed in Egypt obviously took thousands of years to evolve and the archeologists are finally finding things that proved what was obvious to a 10 year old. Neener neener. See Gobekli Tepe as one example: [smithsonianmag.com...] and it's obvious those stone cutting skills were around quite some time, so you can easily pre-date the skills needed a thousand or more years. Not to mention they've found 30K year old settlements underwater off the coast of various continents that disappeared when the ice age ended and the melting ice covered them in 30' of water. Do the math, problem is it's mostly likely under water, all fodder for another thread.
| 11:40 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|I meant 'per-fekt' as in bring to completion |
Do you think anyone in this thread thought otherwise? That wasn't my impression.
Incidentally, "bring to completion" is the original meaning of the word. The "flawless" sense is later.
:: detour to OED and business with magnifying glass ::
I'll be darned. That's way earlier than I thought. (Not one of those semantic shifts like "discover" that only happened the week before last.)
|the math and engineering needed in Egypt obviously took thousands of years to evolve |
Obviously? Really? Sometimes it's a long slow progression. Sometimes it's a single light bulb. As it were.
|the archeologists are finally finding things that proved what was obvious to a 10 year old |
In the mid-20th century, quite a few adults were able to say something similar about continental drift :)
|a basic skill that has obviously been a cornerstone of human civilization |
Mmnn, yes and no. There have been VERY few times and places where most of the population was expected to be literate. What we've got here is something different: a disjunction between use and production. You can read a book-- or read words on a screen-- but you have no idea that you yourself can physically produce material that someone else can read.
Urk. Got a nasty feeling there's a story by Isaac Asimov or someone like him playing with this very premise. There usually is.
| 12:02 am on May 12, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|There have been VERY few times and places where most of the population was expected to be literate. |
The masses didn't need to be educated in order to have civilization, they only needed to do what in the heck they were told to do in order to make it function.
My point was when the power goes out the grand kids won't know what in the heck to do in order to make the world keep turning because they probably won't even have pens and paper.
I know I'm mostly guilty of that already as my phone is my pen and paper, it's how I take all my notes and if needed share it with the desktop later.
The only thing that's awkward is when someone is on the phone with you and you're trying to use that same phone to take notes of the conversation. Since we already have a service that translates your voice mail to text, I'm assuming the next big thing will be to translate the conversation to text so you don't even have to bother taking notes.
Taking notes will probably be outmoded for the grand kids as they'll just cut and paste quotes from the transcript.
There's a not-so-far-fetched thing that all conversations on all phones will be automatically transcripted which will make it easy for the cops to collect evidence for court cases!
| 12:59 am on May 12, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|Taking notes will probably be outmoded for the grand kids as they'll just cut and paste quotes from the transcript. |
Whee. Cliff Notes for real life :)
| 7:23 pm on May 12, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|It took thousands of years to perfect language and writing... I meant 'per-fekt' as in bring to completion |
I had no difficulty discerning your meaning.
But the proposition that "language and writing have been brought to completion" is nonsense on stilts, and only a complete airhead (or a Mountain View lawyer) would support it.
| 9:26 pm on May 12, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Come to think of it, "language and writing" is an odd locution. But, ahem, there are times when one tries to find a more definitive source than wikipedia. Remember how your grade-school teachers told you not to quote from the encyclopedia? Elementary school didn't --and still doesn't-- run heavily to primary sources. But they did at least try for secondary rather than tertiary.
Unless you're lucky enough to hit one of those wikipedia articles that's cribbed directly from the 1911 EB, written by assorted authorities who were allowed to draw on their own knowledge. I tend to suspect the 1911 EB did not have an article containing the word "google".
| 11:34 pm on May 12, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Whew, enough parsing. Back on topic please.
| 12:43 am on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|But the proposition that "language and writing have been brought to completion" is nonsense on stilts, and only a complete airhead (or a Mountain View lawyer) would support it. |
Arg. That wasn't my point.
My point was our kids view of the world will be lacking a lot of stuff as everything is switching to digital including the fact that certain manual skills that we currently all rely on like cursive and now handwriting in general are being downplayed in the sad excuse for what we call an educational system.
I guess add that to the list, we got a well rounded education, our grand kids already aren't and their kids most certainly won't.
Case in point, they keep dumbing down science books as I've got an antique from the 30s that teaches you how to extract raw elements and make <gasp> gunpowder, thermite, maybe even nitro and all that stuff was censored out by the 70s and I'm sure it's very censored today because if you teach them too much they can actually do things with it.
[edited by: incrediBILL at 2:24 am (utc) on May 13, 2013]
| 1:05 am on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Funny you should say that, because only yesterday-- really-- an unrelated search* led to to a page on, I think, cracked dot com that rattled off a long list of things kids used to be able to buy. Never mind home chemistry sets; you could get atomic energy kits complete with miniature Geiger counter and sample-sized nuggets of uranium and radium. (Was going to say plutonium, but repeat visit to site tells me my memory was wrong on this detail.)
Now, if you're going to complain about dumbing-down of textbooks, you can find a ### of a lot more serious causes of complaint than that your children no longer learn how to make bombs :( otoh, I think history books are no longer quite so relentless about equating "famous" and "good" (i.e. 100% virtuous and having no character flaws). But I get the impression children are still being taught that Columbus was trying to prove the world was round. Sigh.
* Prolonged poring through browser history suggests that I started out investigating a Firefox extension and got derailed.
| 1:19 am on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|Never mind home chemistry sets; you could get atomic energy kits complete with miniature Geiger counter and sample-sized nuggets of uranium and radium. (Was going to say plutonium, but repeat visit to site tells me my memory was wrong on this detail.) |
They may have been being less than honest about what you'd actually receive..remember the x-ray specs ads..
I actually knew a guy who fell for that..each "lens" in the cardboard "specs" was dark plastic sandwich with a scraggly chicken feather stuck in the middle to give the illusion ( to the near blind ) that they were seeing bones in their hand..and not the "see through jumpers and skirts" that he thought he was getting..:)
In later school years I won a great deal of lunch money off him playing cards and various other ways ..he was not the sharpest knife in the drawer..but apparently there were many others like him that wrote away to small ads in DC or Marvel comics..or delivered "Grits"..or bought "sea monkeys"..or "1000 super powerful magnets" etc..
Last time we met ( over 30 years ago ) he was an oil tanker captain for BP..( Hi Sean )..and still easily scammable[sic?] if I had been so inclined..
| 3:14 am on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I'm sure all you get these days is vinegar and baking soda and they probably don't even include the little rocket anymore because someone might put an eye out or <gasp> get vinegar in their face. I was a bit extreme, I started with the chemistry set and ended up with gallons of acids, all medical grade, like hydrochloric, phosphoric, etc. and an actual big chunk of sodium (fun story of how I disposed of it) and all sorts of hazardous materials that would alarm all the neighbors and Homeland Security if I were a teen owning the same thing today as knowledge is dangerous. I'm also sure some pranks I pulled back in the day would've landed me in serious legal trouble today.
Kids are being turned into mindless sheep because smart people are dangerous and shouldn't be allowed to play with things that can be used for good OR alternative purposes.
It's sad as I see a lot of lost opportunity for a lot of kids and we end up importing the talent as they can still learn these things in other places but I digress, again...
It's a prime example of why our grandkids won't be interested in such things because they aren't even allowed the opportunity, even under school supervision, to experiment with stuff as even in the 70s our school labs were being dumbed down.
As far as the kit with the uranium goes, someone probably just painted a rock with a little glow in the dark paint that was used in those old watch dials that had radioactive stuff in them which would make your Geiger counter tick.
Of all the things we've discussed, I'm hoping a-bombs is something our descendents DON'T have to live in fear of as it all made me a little nervous hearing about the nuclear proliferation, the treaties, etc. Then the Berlin Wall came down and it looked like it was all over but hell no, more wackos trying to arm themselves. Makes me wish Marie Curie had died before she figured out what was killing her TBH.
Was reading up on the Google Brain project and the President's new BRAIN initiative and I do hope I live long enough to see the real AI that our grandkids will no doubt interact with as I'd love to converse with an alternate life form at least once, even if it's artificial as I don't think the 'little green men' are stupid enough to ever show their faces to this wacko planet as people would panic like little idiots.
| 3:48 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I purchased my chemistry kit with my own money when I was 12, back in 1971. Back them, it still came with Sodium and Potassium Cyanide, straight from the Sears Catalog.
I still envy not growing up in the 50's, where I could have easily get Uranium 238 by mail order.
[orau.org...] Gilbert U238 Atomic Enegy Laboratory
I blame all those product liability lawyers for taking the fun out of childhood:)
[edited by: lgn1 at 3:57 pm (utc) on May 13, 2013]
| 3:52 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)|
There's a lot that could be invented over the next decade or two that could make this one pale in comparison. Think Google Glass, 3D Printers, self driven cars, holidays to Mars/Moon, mood altering drugs, cures for Cancer, HIV etc. There may be easy gene manipulation. There may come a time when we may be able to eat as much as we want and not put on weight or be as tall as we want to be at any age or determine the talents we want our kids to have or know their health vulnerabilities the day they are born. Kids today will get nostalgic about today's times when most of this is in the pipeline or a fantasy. Some of them will make these things happen!
| 4:19 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|Some of them will make these things happen! |
But only the ones who still know how to write. And who know that all those nifty pushbuttons are the end result of reams of code ... in words that are constrained in vocabulary and follow a rigid syntax.
Come to think of it, there's an Asimov story about that too. I think of it as "The Olympics" though that is not its actual title.
| 4:46 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|But only the ones who still know how to write. And who know that all those nifty pushbuttons are the end result of reams of code ... in words that are constrained in vocabulary and follow a rigid syntax. |
I know what you mean! Yet, every generation thinks it is smarter than the one that came before it and than the one coming after it. That's how it has always been.
| 5:09 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Skills for today's world are different from yesteryear, and next year they will be different, once again.
It's an interesting comparison when you take a snapshot over the last 200-years, and certainly in the last 100, whne developments came on stream faster. Some of the skills of 100-years ago are lost because there is little need/demand. 1000 years ago I expect just about everyone was able to get a fire started without a match. I doubt that most of us today have those skills. We could probably do it, but it'd be challenging.
Times change, and skills change, and I don't think it's about being smarter. I know some very intelligent people that have very little common sense. Does that make them smarter? No, it doesn't.
I wonder how the skill set of a child or adult will look in 100 years from now.
| 9:37 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I have one of those I liberated it from school as it was so fun ! I even tried making plastics once.
|I've got an antique from the 30s that teaches you how to extract raw elements |
I think the problem, and I think it is a problem, that young people expect everything done for them as they are not allowed to do anything.
I even had a friend ask 'where are some woods my children can play in.' So sad really.. the woods are all housing estates.
| 6:32 am on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Perhaps you can enlighten me on the difference between command line prompts and brass/bronze chisels.
Or perhaps we acknowledge these are things that future generations don't need to know.
That's a couple of minutes I'll never get back.
| 6:29 pm on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Today's society would continue functioning if not one person, anywhere, know how to shoe a horse.
If not one person anywhere knew how to write logically and grammatically, then nobody would be able to write code-- which adheres to far stricter rules than any natural language-- and society would grind to a screeching halt.
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