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Science Section => Science General Discussion => Math and Computers => Topic started by: trdsf on June 21, 2018, 10:51:13 AM

Title: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: trdsf on June 21, 2018, 10:51:13 AM
It was 70 years ago this day that the first stored program computer ran its first program (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44554891).  It had 1K of memory and ran at about 1KHz.

Now compare that to the speed and storage of the phone in your pocket.  Yikes.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on June 21, 2018, 12:25:28 PM
Meanwhile, Grace Hopper was looking for the bug in her Eniac computer.

(https://images.csmonitor.com/csm/2013/12/1209-holberton.png?alias=standard_540x360)
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on June 21, 2018, 12:39:38 PM
Technically, the Z3 being developed by the Germans was first ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Zuse

Americans think they invent everything first, Ensign Checkov can correct that for you ;-)

Germans first, then the Brits, then the Americans.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z3_(computer) by Konrad Zuse

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer by Tommy Flowers (not Alan Turing ... who built the much more primitive Bombe)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENIAC by John Mauchley and J Presper Eckert

All early computer work was funded secretly for the security and military services ... and still are.  Who is spending big bucks on quantum computing?  Guess who.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: trdsf on June 21, 2018, 12:45:09 PM
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Meanwhile, Grace Hopper was looking for the bug in her Eniac computer.

(https://images.csmonitor.com/csm/2013/12/1209-holberton.png?alias=standard_540x360)
Which actually turned out to be a moth (http://www.computerhistory.org/tdih/September/9/):

(https://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2013/12/moth-660x548.jpg)
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on June 21, 2018, 12:53:19 PM
Much harder to debug modern computers, since the IC transistors are so tiny, compared to electro-mechanical relays ... very small moths, smaller than gnats ;-)
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on June 21, 2018, 01:22:10 PM
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Which actually turned out to be a moth (http://www.computerhistory.org/tdih/September/9/):

(https://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2013/12/moth-660x548.jpg)
I got to drive her one day when she came to San Diego to open the new super computer center there. She told me she never thought COBOL would out live her. It was supposed to be something to use until something better came along. Unfortunately, business types are conservative.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: trdsf on June 21, 2018, 02:46:05 PM
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I got to drive her one day when she came to San Diego to open the new super computer center there. She told me she never thought COBOL would out live her. It was supposed to be something to use until something better came along. Unfortunately, business types are conservative.
I tried learning COBOL once and gave it up as a bad job.  Later, while visiting a friend in the engineering computing department at the University of Toledo, I commented that "COBOL isn't a language, it's a bug with syntax."  Next time I was up there, it had been printed out as a banner and hung on the wall, near the door leading to the business computing department.  :D

And I don't have enough green pixels to fully express my envy for having met Admiral Hopper.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on June 21, 2018, 06:43:32 PM
Cobol is a conversation with a compiler.

ETA: In 1998-99 the profs in the business computing department at Purdue were mostly reservists and they were spending their reserve time in DC, helping fix the country's COBOL problem.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on June 21, 2018, 07:33:59 PM
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I tried learning COBOL once and gave it up as a bad job.  Later, while visiting a friend in the engineering computing department at the University of Toledo, I commented that "COBOL isn't a language, it's a bug with syntax."  Next time I was up there, it had been printed out as a banner and hung on the wall, near the door leading to the business computing department.  :D

And I don't have enough green pixels to fully express my envy for having met Admiral Hopper.

Real men do Fortran!

Fortunately the year 2000 bug was a nothing burger ... well maybe because so much code got updated or retired.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on June 22, 2018, 02:57:35 AM
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I tried learning COBOL once and gave it up as a bad job.  Later, while visiting a friend in the engineering computing department at the University of Toledo, I commented that "COBOL isn't a language, it's a bug with syntax."  Next time I was up there, it had been printed out as a banner and hung on the wall, near the door leading to the business computing department.  :D

And I don't have enough green pixels to fully express my envy for having met Admiral Hopper.

After Fortran, I took COBOL and it was the damn dumbest thing I ever tackled.  Nothing made any logical sense, and it was like learning martian.  I even did well enough with that, but decided it wasn't my future.  But if I had gone to C instead of COBOL, I might a rich creep now.  Instead of a middle rich no-one.  LOL!
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on June 22, 2018, 05:35:05 AM
NOthing complicated about COBOL, that's why they sold it to business easily. You just describe what you want to happen. You literally address every single space on the page. Tedious, but not rocket surgery until you get into the serious math modules. And most of them have already been written by now, with instructions on tweaking.

People were really excited when they started selling compilers for PCs. No more sending the program to the mainframe and waiting your turn to get the error messages back. A co-ed friend used to borrow my computer and do her homework naked. It was worth it.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on June 22, 2018, 06:59:11 AM
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After Fortran, I took COBOL and it was the damn dumbest thing I ever tackled.  Nothing made any logical sense, and it was like learning martian.  I even did well enough with that, but decided it wasn't my future.  But if I had gone to C instead of COBOL, I might a rich creep now.  Instead of a middle rich no-one.  LOL!

C was for the next generation ... but you could have been a trendy European back then, done Algol or Pascal.  Oui?

C and other modern languages allow pointers and strings ... which are necessary to have a dynamic execution of the program.  Fortran and COBOL were static, meant for IBM punch cards.  But there is no free code.  Pointers and strings also allow all the dysfunction and hacking we now have.  There was no hacking Fortran or COBOL.  Fixed length arrays, and carefully specified floating point numbers.  Strings were just fixed labels for human convenience.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on June 25, 2018, 09:01:00 AM
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NOthing complicated about COBOL, that's why they sold it to business easily. You just describe what you want to happen. You literally address every single space on the page. Tedious, but not rocket surgery until you get into the serious math modules. And most of them have already been written by now, with instructions on tweaking.

People were really excited when they started selling compilers for PCs. No more sending the program to the mainframe and waiting your turn to get the error messages back. A co-ed friend used to borrow my computer and do her homework naked. It was worth it.

"JJ" from Doonesbury?

My point was that Fortran made positive sense in equation terms and Cobol was so highly structured and didn't make any specific sense reading it.  You could look at Fortran and understand in real terms what was going on.  Cobol needed so much structure that you couldn't follow the logic without a lot of work.  A comma out of place in Cobol didn't stand out.  Any symbol error in Fortran just jumped out at you. 
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on June 25, 2018, 10:21:46 AM
Never did Fortran, so I can't comment on relatives.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on June 25, 2018, 12:58:45 PM
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Never did Fortran, so I can't comment on relatives.

There are two kinds of programmers, those who do binary and those who don't ;-)
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: trdsf on June 25, 2018, 01:56:30 PM
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"JJ" from Doonesbury?

My point was that Fortran made positive sense in equation terms and Cobol was so highly structured and didn't make any specific sense reading it.  You could look at Fortran and understand in real terms what was going on.  Cobol needed so much structure that you couldn't follow the logic without a lot of work.  A comma out of place in Cobol didn't stand out.  Any symbol error in Fortran just jumped out at you.
Well, the whole idea behind COBOL was that it should approximate "natural" language and would have greater portability between machines; of course, since it was designed by a US DoD committee, it's exactly as clunky as you think something designed by a DoD committee would be.

I'd still kind of like to learn FORTRAN or ALGOL or one of the old hoary ones (other than LISP, which I picked up in college).
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on June 25, 2018, 05:08:02 PM
COBOL got businesses around the world into computing.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on June 25, 2018, 09:16:01 PM
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COBOL got businesses around the world into computing.

Business majors did COBOL.  Engineers did Fortran.

trdsf - so you did Lisp in school?  So sorry for you.  Pascal was a really nice educational computer language.  Algol is almost a predecessor of Pascal.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on June 26, 2018, 08:25:59 PM
What programmers are like today ...

https://medium.freecodecamp.org/coding-explained-in-25-profound-comics-8847ea03819c

I thought the comic version would be at the right level for most of you ;-)
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on June 28, 2018, 04:47:08 AM
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Never did Fortran, so I can't comment on relatives.

Fortran is entirely equational.  You write a line and it either works or it doesn't.  And I loved the GOTO subroutines where repeated operations were used. 

Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Jason78 on June 29, 2018, 04:20:22 PM
Babbage did it with steampunk.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Unbeliever on June 29, 2018, 04:45:41 PM
Babbage couldn't've done it at all without the help of Ada Lovelace (https://www.biography.com/people/ada-lovelace-20825323).
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on June 29, 2018, 06:12:16 PM
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Babbage couldn't've done it at all without the help of Ada Lovelace (https://www.biography.com/people/ada-lovelace-20825323).
Ada done better with a computer. Honestly.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on June 29, 2018, 07:01:52 PM
http://www.computerhistory.org/babbage/engines/

Why did the British government fund this?  Babbage had successfully broken ciphers during the Crimean War ... something kept secret a long time.

Of course this is why modern electronic computers were developed in WW II.  That and calculating artillery firing tables.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 02, 2018, 03:02:27 AM
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Babbage couldn't've done it at all without the help of Ada Lovelace (https://www.biography.com/people/ada-lovelace-20825323).

The women who contributed and didn't get the recognition should be recognized posthumously. 
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on July 02, 2018, 05:55:31 AM
Introduction to Computing at Purdue included all relevant people and their contributions. Not the first time I'd heard of her, but it was news to some younger people.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 02, 2018, 06:04:20 AM
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Introduction to Computing at Purdue included all relevant people and their contributions. Not the first time I'd heard of her, but it was news to some younger people.

I learned of her and other ladies from Cosmos.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on July 02, 2018, 06:53:24 AM
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The women who contributed and didn't get the recognition should be recognized posthumously.

They are ... or nobody would know about them.  The movie about Nasa though, was a bit ... distorted.  Men also did Fortran on mainframes.  Why when a woman gives a shit, does anyone else care?  Guys trying to pick up girls by complementing their hair, or their IBM cards?
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on July 02, 2018, 06:55:31 AM
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Introduction to Computing at Purdue included all relevant people and their contributions. Not the first time I'd heard of her, but it was news to some younger people.

Young people, by definition, are immature, inexperienced and ignorant.  But they are the hope of the world.

Bet you didn't hear about Enigma, or Babbage's secret agent work.  The reason for all the computing power really is spam email and video porn.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 02, 2018, 07:01:55 AM
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Introduction to Computing at Purdue included all relevant people and their contributions. Not the first time I'd heard of her, but it was news to some younger people.

Were you older than the other students?  I took some college classes where I was twice the age of most of the other students.  It was "interesting".
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on July 02, 2018, 07:17:49 AM
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Were you older than the other students?  I took some college classes where I was twice the age of most of the other students.  It was "interesting".

I am twice the age of most people where I work ... it is interesting indeed.  The youth are energetic.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on July 08, 2018, 07:36:39 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6Aqv4vOo7A

See, young people are so oppressed!  Well, some of them are.  But what a great time to be a young programmer at a conference in Cadiz Spain ;-)

I got to go to a couple conferences back in the day ... at UCLA back in 1985, for IJCAI.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: PickelledEggs on July 08, 2018, 10:58:56 PM
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Technically, the Z3 being developed by the Germans was first ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Zuse

Americans think they invent everything first, Ensign Checkov can correct that for you ;-)

Germans first, then the Brits, then the Americans.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z3_(computer) by Konrad Zuse

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer by Tommy Flowers (not Alan Turing ... who built the much more primitive Bombe)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENIAC by John Mauchley and J Presper Eckert

All early computer work was funded secretly for the security and military services ... and still are.  Who is spending big bucks on quantum computing?  Guess who.
How in the hell is Manchester an American location
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on July 09, 2018, 12:13:28 AM
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How in the hell is Manchester an American location

Look at the dates the Manchester experiments were after WW II.  Yes, Manchester is in England.  But then ... Americans are just half-breed English.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 09, 2018, 03:55:18 AM
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How in the hell is Manchester an American location

Don't respond to Baruch.  Mostly, he just wants to get a response he can joke about...
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on July 09, 2018, 01:33:43 PM
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Don't respond to Baruch.  Mostly, he just wants to get a response he can joke about...

You are my biggest joke ;-)
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on July 09, 2018, 05:09:26 PM
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Were you older than the other students?  I took some college classes where I was twice the age of most of the other students.  It was "interesting".
I started Purdue after I retired from the USN. I was 40 when I started my first class there.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 09, 2018, 05:25:40 PM
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I started Purdue after I retired from the USN. I was 40 when I started my first class there.

Never too late!  I got my BS in 1995 when I was 45.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on July 09, 2018, 06:05:10 PM
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Never too late!  I got my BS in 1995 when I was 45.
Bachelors in Psych and Soc in '98, Master in History in '04. I was going part time, only when a class interested me.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 13, 2018, 04:38:04 AM
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Bachelors in Psych and Soc in '98, Master in History in '04. I was going part time, only when a class interested me.

That's good!  I stopped at a BS in Political Science because that was all I needed to continue my career, and more wouldn't have helped any.  After that it was really just OTJ training.  Out of curiousity, what did your History Masters specialize in?
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on July 13, 2018, 06:55:44 AM
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That's good!  I stopped at a BS in Political Science because that was all I needed to continue my career, and more wouldn't have helped any.  After that it was really just OTJ training.  Out of curiousity, what did your History Masters specialize in?
"Misinterpretations in the MAGIC documents in the last quarter of 1941."
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 13, 2018, 07:02:41 AM
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"Misinterpretations in the MAGIC documents in the last quarter of 1941."

You need to be more factually detailed that that.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on July 13, 2018, 07:16:48 AM
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You need to be more factually detailed that that.
Okay. OP-20-G and S.I.S. were intercepting Purple code messages from Gaimu Daijin and interpreting them for the President and eleven other officials (the "Twelve Apostles"). They routinely gave three interpretations to ambiguous words, "soft", "medium", and "hard", with "hard" being the most bellicose. They then chose which option would be used in the English translations shown to the people eligible to read them. In about 95% of the cases they used "hard" versions of words, giving a belligerent view of the original message.

I was working with a gentleman at Tokyo U. to provide all three options for the uncertain terms when I was a grad student. Unfortunately he died and I had no means of getting the Japanese versions. So I just settled for a Masters and went to work for the Navy.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 13, 2018, 07:54:36 AM
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Okay. OP-20-G and S.I.S. were intercepting Purple code messages from Gaimu Daijin and interpreting them for the President and eleven other officials (the "Twelve Apostles"). They routinely gave three interpretations to ambiguous words, "soft", "medium", and "hard", with "hard" being the most bellicose. They then chose which option would be used in the English translations shown to the people eligible to read them. In about 95% of the cases they used "hard" versions of words, giving a belligerent view of the original message.

I was working with a gentleman at Tokyo U. to provide all three options for the uncertain terms when I was a grad student. Unfortunately he died and I had no means of getting the Japanese versions. So I just settled for a Masters and went to work for the Navy.

That was MUCH better.  Thank you.

But you still didn't detail your Master subject in history.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on July 13, 2018, 08:00:25 AM
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That was MUCH better.  Thank you.

But you still didn't detail your Master subject in history.
Oh. "Undecided."
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 13, 2018, 08:55:10 AM
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I am twice the age of most people where I work ... it is interesting indeed.  The youth are energetic.

Maybe it is time to retire.  If you are doing anything unmeaningful...
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on July 13, 2018, 01:15:27 PM
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Okay. OP-20-G and S.I.S. were intercepting Purple code messages from Gaimu Daijin and interpreting them for the President and eleven other officials (the "Twelve Apostles"). They routinely gave three interpretations to ambiguous words, "soft", "medium", and "hard", with "hard" being the most bellicose. They then chose which option would be used in the English translations shown to the people eligible to read them. In about 95% of the cases they used "hard" versions of words, giving a belligerent view of the original message.

I was working with a gentleman at Tokyo U. to provide all three options for the uncertain terms when I was a grad student. Unfortunately he died and I had no means of getting the Japanese versions. So I just settled for a Masters and went to work for the Navy.

Other historians have noted, that the Japanese took a hard line to what they saw as US policy toward occupation of China by Japan.  It wasn't as hard nosed as they thought, but being violent people, they basically wanted to kill all the gaijin anyway.  They needed an excuse to be intransigent, an to further fuck Japan over by trying to conquer China, and then the rest of SE Asia.  The Japanese military doubled down, like the Soviets in Afghanistan.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on July 13, 2018, 01:17:51 PM
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Maybe it is time to retire.  If you are doing anything unmeaningful...

As an anti-nihilist, I find everything meaningful.  The opposite of a nihilist like Unbeliever or a semi-nihilist like MikeCL.

Sitting on my ass is meaningful to me, no need to retire to do that ;-) I love my work, wish I was younger so I could do more of it.  It is so wonderful, I would do it for free, if they would let me.  This causes the heads of mid to young adults around me, explode.  The journey is the reward.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Unbeliever on July 13, 2018, 01:32:58 PM
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As an anti-nihilist, I find everything meaningful.  The opposite of a nihilist like Unbeliever or a semi-nihilist like MikeCL.
As a nihilist, I don't think there's no meaning at all, just that we give meaning to things, not the universe.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 13, 2018, 01:40:55 PM
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Other historians have noted, that the Japanese took a hard line to what they saw as US policy toward occupation of China by Japan.  It wasn't as hard nosed as they thought, but being violent people, they basically wanted to kill all the gaijin anyway.  They needed an excuse to be intransigent, an to further fuck Japan over by trying to conquer China, and then the rest of SE Asia.  The Japanese military doubled down, like the Soviets in Afghanistan.

So they slavishly copied us right down to baseball as a sneaky way to lure us into deceit in um, the 2050 World Series?
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Gawdzilla Sama on July 13, 2018, 06:24:01 PM
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So they slavishly copied us right down to baseball as a sneaky way to lure us into deceit in um, the 2050 World Series?
This was 1941.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on July 13, 2018, 07:19:45 PM
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As a nihilist, I don't think there's no meaning at all, just that we give meaning to things, not the universe.

Not even that, if you can't be bothered to give meaning to things yourself.
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Baruch on July 13, 2018, 07:20:31 PM
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This was 1941.

Cavebear was alive back then, and could have whipped the Axis single handed, if FDR had let him ;-)
Title: Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
Post by: Cavebear on July 17, 2018, 04:47:05 AM
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This was 1941.

That was sarc...