Monday, July 7, 2008

Daily One Inch Button - Calculator

When I was a kid we once went to a fast food restaurant and the cashier's register wasn't working at all. The person working could not for the life of her figure out how much change to give us and it took one of my parents to tell her how much was due to us. As we drove off my father marveled at how inept the cashier must have been in the field of simple mathematics that she could not handle a simple matter of subtraction without the aid of her mechanical friend.

I think it has something to do with these small friendly devices - the calculator. Whether powered by the rays of the sun or not, the calculator has simultaneously made us a little faster and yet a little bit dumber; or has it? The bigger question is how does the ancient abacus feel about its successor? For that matter, how does one incorporate decimal points into an abacus? I guess if you eat at a restaurant that has menus with no decimal points, it doesn't matter.

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