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Pahavit's Universe

Date: 5-20-2006 10:58 PM
Subject: Today's field trip: Computer History Museum
Security: Public
Tags:computer history museum, field trip
Today's field trip: Computer History Museum

Today D. and I took a tour of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. We viewed the Visible Storage exhibit, which traced the evolution of computing artifacts. The major forces shaping this evolution were business needs and military needs. (Can anyone say "military industrial complex"?) It all began with the abacus and moved through various sectors, slide rules (including some cylindrical slide rules, which I'd never heard of before) and punch cards (no one mentioned hanging chads, though), encompassing vacuum tube technology (ENIAC from the 1940s had 18,000 vacuum tubes and its computing power is now surpassed by your wristwatch!) up through the first Cray supercomputers (one of which had its Fluorinert coolant circulating up into a fountain to look cool as well as literally be cool).

Anyway, it was all really cool, but we came home right away because my back was pretty bad (I've been struggling with a back spasm all week long in addition to some minor arthritis). For dessert D. made a tasty strawberry shortcake using almond meal, agave nectar and fresh strawberries, with some Rice Dream on the side. That's enough to take one's mind off an aching back, at least until the last yummy bite. We also had some wheat-free vegan peppermint carob brownies. Today was a good day for these yummy healthy treats.

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