Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lost arts

I'm not *that* old, doggone it. But even over my time things have changed so much with the way things are done mathematically and otherwise, I have to wonder what most people would do without calculators and canned software.

Then again I went to engineering school, so what I thought of as normal turned out to be unrealistic for most people. Sheesh, a couple of days ago I told someone what the sine of a certain angle was off the top of my head and you would have thought I'd performed a miracle.

Even technical people are deteriorating because calculators are inescapable. Can you still do math in your head? If you want to see where you stand with impromptu mental calculation, try this. How did you do?

And then there are simple graphical constructions. Do people still know how to use a straightedge and compasses nowadays? I haven't talked into any newly minted engineers lately, but it wouldn't surprise me if they knew much about how engineering graphics were produced before the CAD era.

Or would they even know what a nomogram is? And slide rules - we don't even speak of slide rule calculators any more. But surely they still use Moody diagrams and psychrometric charts.

Nomograms and lots more are to be found at Dead Reckonings - Lost Art in the Mathematical Sciences, which is such a great find I have no idea what to link in particular.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Snark today, science tomorrow

I was being sarcastic on an earlier post referring to removing tonsils rectally. But it could be closer than we think.
Appendix Removed Through Vagina: U.S. First
Appendix removed through mouth
Gall Bladder removed through vagina
Kidney Removed through Navel
And on a more depressing note, remember that little girl who got stuck on a pool drain and had her insides yanked out rectally? She died recently


Remember Josh Steiner? He's the young Clinton aide who was said to have "lied to his diary". He allegedly regretted that his diary was not "more accurate".

Now along comes another diary that Hillary Clinton won't like. It seems that one Jerry Zeifman recalls HRC's work on the Watergate investigation and wrote of problems with her. (You have to follow that link - it's not too long).

For instance, she didn't get a recommendation afterwards. Why?
"Because she was a liar," Zeifman said in an interview last week. "She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality."
As shocks go, finding documentation that HRC is a liar doesn't rank too high. But what got me were the details. She took some files from the committee and hid them in her office, then proceeded to work as if they hadn't existed. Hmm, Hillary hiding files? Where have we heard that one before?

Yes, believe it or not the fact that Hillary Clinton lies and hide things is well precedented. But what makes this priceless is that on that particular occasion she was trying to show that there was *no* precedent for something - that Richard Nixon was entitled to counsel during an impeachment proceeding. The files that she hid that time showed how William O. Douglas was granted counsel when he faced an impeachment attempt in 1970. (Of course Douglas was a liberal. He couldn't be held to the same standards as a Republican like Richard Nixon.)

As for her own defense, she might try to cite the case of Steiner. How vast a right-wing conspiracy must be to get a lifelong Democrat to lie about her in his diary over 30 years ago!

Was this pettifoggery? Mr. Zeifman didn't think so -
The brief was so fraudulent and ridiculous, Zeifman believes Hillary would have been disbarred if she had submitted it to a judge.

I haven't seen a response from the Hillary camp yet. Can she dodge another bullet?

Original link from Powerline.