July 5th, 2005


When computers were human

Black plus black is black
Red plus red is red
Black plus red or red plus black, hand the sheets to team 2

Imagine the days when computers were human and usually semi-literate. Mathematicians developed approximation algorithms that were turned over to these people to sum up (subtraction disallowed). Now the story is told from the computed return of Halley's comet to nuclear bomb yield computations in David Alan Grier's book, When Computers Were Human. A review is in slashdot.org and the book can be purchased at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.





Less than a week to go, and I join 8000 other riders this weekend (the 9th and 10th) on a trip from the University of Washington campus in Seattle to Holladay park in Portland Oregon. I think I will break fast at 5AM and then start the ride at 6AM.

The stats:

  • Total distance (miles) 202.25 (actually 210 when you count riding to lodging)
  • Uphill distance (miles) 30.87
  • Uphill altitude (feet) 1,951
  • Maximum altitude (feet) 463
  • In that time I will consume 20 sandwiches, 20 mocha-chocolate brownies, 5 gallons of water (with electrolytes) and still lose weight. Fortunately, there are several places to chow down along the way.

    This might be a wet ride with the weekend forecast predicting a chance of showers along the route.

    Wishing for a smooth ride and no rain, just a gentle shower to knock off the salt.


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