Cons and Pros of Technology

Yesterday, I was holding up the door of a store when it opened.  I had traveled almost twenty miles to buy a sweater while they still had what I wanted in stock.  (Have you noticed that stores don’t carry nearly as much stock as they used to?)  Anyway, sweater in hand, I walked to the cash register only to be told that their computers were down and I couldn’t buy.  I couldn’t even pay cash because there is no longer a form on which the salesperson could write an official receipt.

Today, I had to take the sixth and seventh roots of numbers in order to prepare for my math class, and I was stymied.  Enter the graphing calculator.  I have always had just your basic calculator, although we bought scientific calculators for the kids when they were in high school.  Calculators were just coming in when I was in college the first time, 1969-73.  When I took my stats class, you only had half the time to complete the test if you had a calculator.  Few people did; I took my test without.

That said, though, I was amazed at what the graphing calculator can do.  It can take the nth root of a number that is raised to a fractional power like 1/2 or 1/3.  It can square numbers or take square roots (at least it could after I found the right button to push).  I bet there is even a way to work with variables on those calculators, although I have not discovered it yet.

We’ve gotten used to all of this technology and, I have to admit, today I was really grateful.  I still wonder, though…if the system crashes and the batteries run out, will we be able to function as a society, or will things be  confused like they were at the Tower of Babel?  Once all the Baby Boomers retire, who will even know the old ways?

3 Responses to “Cons and Pros of Technology”

  1. 1 Carol J. Garvin January 19, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    We do take technology for granted, don’t we? I think it’s a bit scary how dependent we’ve become on it. Dave Ebright also mentioned in his blog that cyberspace is allowing us to become very impersonal by replacing face-to-face conversations and old-fashioned letter writing with e-mail and tweets. I think today’s “advance” in technology is wonderful if we blend it with common sense, courtesy and knowledge instead of replacing them with it.

  2. 3 amy February 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Yeah, I think the schools ought to teach it the by hand so the kids will know how; the algebra students rely a lot on the graphing calculators. Those calculators still carry a hefty price tag, like they did when you & I were in school.

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