Tuesday, February 2, 2016

BBBC #2

2. An everyday item in your house

I looked long and hard for an unusual item around the house. This is not the slide rule that I used through high school but one that I purchased in my first year of college. It got regular use until I broke down and purchased a HP scientific calculator in my second year of college.

I was originally looking for my abacus which has been in my office for the last 25 years or so and it got regular use. I think that it is packed in one of the boxes from my office at the university. Not regularly used for adding strings of numbers but keeping my fingers busy while thinking of another problem. The finger exercise that I have used since elementary school days is repeatedly adding 12345679 over and over again. Every nine times will have all of the columns showing the same number. This is a Japanese abacus or sorobon and I once used to know not only how to add and subtract but also multiply, divide and do square roots on it. Now, just add and subtract.

The slide rule, on the other hand, I can still use and know what most of the scales are for and how to use them. Does this qualify as an everyday item?

I guess I may as well include the other challenge as well. Here is PBC #51


11 comments:

ToadMama said...

Bravo! You decided to choose a unique everyday item. Or two. I would have no clue how to use either of those, by the way. I am not mathematically inclined. Hubby, Mike, probably knows how to use the slide rule (he's an engineer).

Good idea meeting both challenges in one post. I have to come back to watch the videos when I have more time (waiting for a meeting to start, now).

Steve Williams said...

Gee, I figured you for a Keuffel & Esser slide rule not a Pickett. I walked to many classes in college with my K&E. In the science and engineering world slide rules were everywhere. My mother used to bring them home from work -- companies would give out branded versions like pens and pencils. Thanks for the reminder!

RichardM said...

I just saw it in the dining room sitting on the counter. That seemed as close enough to an everyday item. I used the abacus and slide rule through high school and into college. And continued to use it even after calculators took over.

RichardM said...

Pickett was what they sold at the college bookstore. The K&E stuff was for the truly dedicated...

I used to carry a circular slide rule in the glove compartment all the time for fuel mileage and metric conversions. My son saw it in there during a road trip and learned how to use it during the summer. He did a presentation in 3rd or 4th grade that year on it's use. His teacher had no idea how to use one.

redlegsrides said...

Only slide rules I ever was taught to use were the ones used in "Charts and Darts" or manual calculations for artillery fire.

RichardM said...

I think it's a lost skill in these days of the smart phone. But it's not subject to emp failure nor does it need it's battery recharged. Seems like the military would still be teaching it's use...

SonjaM said...

I remotely remember having used an abacus in preschool, and lively recall the relief I felt when electronic calculators were invented ;-)

Trobairitz said...

Confession time - I don't think I've ever seen a slide-rule in person and would have no clue how to use it.

ToadMama said...

I probably wouldn't even know enough to say, "Oh, look. A slide rule!" :-)

RichardM said...

In preschool, eh? Okay, I can take a hint... ;-)

RichardM said...

See above reply to Sonja... ;-)