Thursday, September 21, 2017

Time Flies

From this, in 1936...
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To this, in 1944.
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From this, in 1939...
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To this, in 1945.
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Technology can progress at a pretty amazing pace. Wartime sometimes drives that, but what about these things?

IBM Personal Computer, 1981.
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Acer Aspire Laptop Computer, 2012
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I do remember my first IBM PC clone computer, it had a four color monitor, two 5 and a quarter inch floppy drives and, gasp, a 20 megabyte hard drive. Though I bought it used, for $1200, I was the envy of the guys at work.

Well, except for the guy who owned a Mac.

There's always that guy.

The space program is another example of the leaps and bounds technology can make in a free society.

Mercury-Redstone 4, in 1961
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STS-129 Atlantis, in 2009
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One of my favorite examples of the speed of technological development is comparing the latest and greatest aircraft from 1908, the year of my maternal grandmother's birth, to the latest and greatest bird in 2000, the year she died.

Wright Model A, first flight in 1908.
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F-22 Raptor, first flight in 1997.
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So when my grandmother was a child, aircraft were primitive, personal computers and space flight were unheard of, except perhaps in a Jules Verne novel! When she was in her fifties men had walked on the moon. Before she died many people had personal computers, they were practically as ubiquitous as a telephone or television.

She often commented at the changes she had seen in her lifetime.

Amazes me it does.



30 comments:

  1. We went literally from horse and buggy to the Moon in a generation.

    Now we need the Russians to give us a lift to the Space Station that we by in large paid for. Sad.

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    Replies
    1. It only took 8 years to get to the Moon! The Space Shuttle first launched in 1981 so really it was only 20 years from a man on an ICBM to the flying delivery truck.

      Delete
    2. Here's a look at some of what it takes to get it right--

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrn1c6N0phw

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    3. Fascinating to watch.

      If at first you don't succeed...

      Delete
  2. Yes, well, then Socialism checks in. On the AF web site, there's a banner that says "F-15 in service since 1974". Yay! To add an equivalent statement for 1945 "Wright Flyer in service since 1903" At our high school, there's a banner that says "We're a Reading 180 school!" Yay. Reading 180 is a remedial reading program. So, what they're really saying is "Hooray, a significant portion of our students can't read!" Now, THERE's something to brag about.
    If it hadn't been for the next to the last President who was a democrat, you know the one who didn't know the definition of "is", spending the "Peace Dividend" to buy votes, we might have actually had enough F-22's to deal with the emerging threat today. Then again, if it hadn't been for the Second worst President ever, doing the same things in the 70's, Iran might not be one of those emerging threats today. Don't even get me started (ok, too late) on the most abominable president ever and his feckless foreign policy as well as his full bore socialist agenda to spend treasure buying votes.
    Yes. Time flies, and yes, when people are allowed to pursue their own interests with minimal government restrictions, amazing progress can be had. One sincerely prays that time will come again.
    juvat out.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This post started out as one thing and wound up to be something else (that happens a lot).

      I was thinking back on the progress that was made when only winners got trophies, when to get to high school one had to know how to read, when math was taught the way it should be. Ya know, the pre-progressive era. I almost started ranting, then decided to let the facts (and pictures) do the talking.

      I think the post turned out just fine.

      I still hope, but it's tough. I have seen signs of improvement. We shall see.

      Delete
    2. "This post started out as one thing and wound up to be something else..."

      As you know, that has NEVER happened to me! ;-)

      Delete
  3. Remember driving home in my parents car after seeing Star Wars and wishing there were more bells and whistles on the dashboard like in that movie...sigh. Now my cell phone is smarter than me and my vehicle almost so... progress.

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  4. I think about my grandad born before the Wright bros. flew, and even some of his older sisters who were on a stage that got stopped by outlaws and lived to see man on the moon. Talk about seeing some change in a lifetime.

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  5. Kids today expect to see 'new and amazing' technological leaps every year. But they don't want to study STEM courses, work hard, take difficult assignments, and think 'Social Justice' is the end-all, be-all of career choices.

    I have fun reminding them where the tech for their latest and greatest came from, and who is thinking and making it up now. New phones? Go to China or Japan and you can grab something that is twice as good as what is sold in the states. Same with most electronics. We're in second place because we don't have thinkers and engineers like we used to.

    Somewhere in the mid-60's, we as a nation started to stop thinking and creating at the same pace as we as a nation did before. It scares me.

    I know why I didn't go far in STEM, as my brain looked like a lovebug on a car window after it hit Differential Equations, and Physics just didn't make sense (at the time) to me (look, really, why worry about the variable pressure of pumping out a tank from the top, I mean, just build one big-arsed pump to pump from the top to a secondary small tank and one pump to pump from the smaller tank at a constant pressure, duh, really, I mean, really, one pump bad, two pump good, mongo stupid pump for heavy grunt work, and fine delicate pump for precise work (which, as I found out, is what they used to do.)) So, yeah, I feel the blame, but...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hhmm, I had to fish your comment out of the spam filter, which happens from time to time.

      But your points are all well made. The 60s hurt the country in many ways, still not sure why.

      Delete
  6. Both of my grandmothers were born in 1903 before the Wright brothers flew their plane. They lived into the 1980s. The technical progress they had seen was amazing. I am glad that they got to miss out on most of the societal decline that has manifested itself in the last 50 years. They didn't like the hippies. One set of grandparents had as good friends a male homosexual couple. Those two guys didn't shove it in ones face and they never made a show of it in front of me. My, how times have changed.

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    1. Not for the better in some ways, but for the better in others.

      As always, progress is a mixed bag.

      Delete
  7. I would add that what we have seen from Star Trek and Star Wars coming about to relaity:
    -personal communicator/datapad becoming smartphone/tablet
    -Luke's bionic hand becoming reality, to many veterans of todays wars, amongst others
    -laser weapons coming close to operational use after 60 years of "decade into future"

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  8. Reminded of the benefits of technology every time I feel the pacemaker under the skin of my chest.

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  9. We were promised so much. But the Democrats in the Congresional Class of 1972 thought that the money would be better spent buying votes with the Great Society, so the manned space program went away.

    When I was 10, in 1971, I had a Sgt Storm action figure, part of the Major Matt Mason line. I thought it was fantastic! It seemed like this sort of thing would be what my generation would be doing in 20 years or si, and I would be a part of it, joining Kirk, Doctor Smith, and Sgt. Storm in SPACE!

    In 1999, I bought my then 7 year old niece a CY Girl action figure. The CY Girls were international law enforcement agents, sort of Women from U.N.C.L.E. One of the CY Girls was equipped with a space suit. Codenamed AURORA, she handles crime in space, on Earth Colonies, and space ships. My thought was that AURORA might just be the second coolest action figure of all time, ( right after the Emma Peel action figure ), but she will never happen, as long as funding can be diverted to vote buying social programs that actually harm the ones they claim to help.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Sigh...

      Excellent points Scott. Dangerous times, idiot politicians, what could possibly go wrong?

      Delete
  10. When it comes to technology I am reminded of the time Alan Shepard was asked what he was thinking just before his launch. His reply is classic, I was sitting on top of a million pieces all made by the lowest bidder.

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    1. I remember hearing of that. Truth, right there.

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  11. I got my first computer, an Atari 800XL, in 1983. It had 64K of memory, about the most you could get at the time. The cassette tape drive I bought with it took about eight minutes to load a program, if it worked. Sometimes you had to retry two or three times to get the program into the computer. Of course, you also could use memory cartridges: PacMan and the like.

    The monitor was our TV set, which only allowed (due to the TVs limitations) 40-character text displays. When we first got it, my kids and I typed in the three programs printed in the manual, but they ALL had typos and wouldn't work. We figured out two of them but couldn't get that third one just right. I used to buy computer magazines and type in the programs in there as well, which eventually turned me into a pretty good typist--which used to be woman's work in most people's eyes.

    Ten years ago, I bought my first iPod. It had 8 gigabytes of memory. I did the math and figured out that if I had bought an Atari 800XL every hour of every day for 25 years, all those computers would have had as much memory as the iPod. Hmmmm...

    And lets not forget that when we were kids the word processor of the day was the manual typewriter: electric models were few.

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    1. Sorry Bruce, I had to pull your comment out of moderation (which is default for posts over a week old due to spam).

      My very first computer (before the PC-clone) also used a tape cassette to load the OS. Took forever, when it worked.

      I remember typing in programs from magazines and then trying to debug them, Most of the errors were mine, quite a few had the errors "built in." Not sure if that was the typesetter's issue or the programmer's.

      But yes, we did learn. Things are almost too easy these days. Program too slow, buy a faster processor or more memory. Actually fix the code to be more efficient? Now that's a lost art.

      Sigh...

      Delete

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