Tuesday, September 25

Leonhard Euler

Mathematician Leonhard Euler, who can go fuck himself. He thinks he's so great. I'll rot in hell before I ever call natural log base "e" the "Euler Number". I guess John Napier didn't discover "e" in 1614, right? Yeah, you tagged value 2.718281828459045 as "e" - 120 years later. Dipshit. God you are such an asshole.

Tuesday, September 4

Half glass full - 52% cracker?!

Your Score: Cracker Alert!!

You are 52% White

Theres no hiding how white you truley are. But thats nothing nessicarily to be ashamed of, UNLESS you actually arent white... then you should bow your head in shame.

Link: The How White Are You Test written by alleyandbrandon on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Wednesday, July 18

Bananas are good for you

A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression "going bananas" is from the effects of bananas on the brain. Read on:

This is interesting. After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again. Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose, and glucose combined with fiber.

A banana gives an instant, sustained, and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. The banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood. Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school (England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system. Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!" For quality reasons, never, put your banana in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, July 11

The Friden Calculator

Reposted Text and images Copyright © 1997-2007, Rick Bensene.


Friden Model STW-10 Electro-Mechanical Calculator
Updated 11/28/1999
A machine identical to this has a special place in my personal history. Back in the early '60's, when I was just a child living in Seattle, Washington (my birthplace), one of our neighbors owned a business which involved use of a calculator to generate dairy tank calibration charts. My parents were very good friends with these neighbors, and in fact, they were named my Godparents when I was born. The calculator that was used to grind through the interpolation process to generate these dairy tank charts was a Friden STW-10. My Godmother would take the worksheets generated by her husband in the field and use the Friden to perform the math necessary to generate a final chart giving the total number of pounds of milk in the tank based upon a 'dipstick' reading. When my Mom had errands to do, my Godmother would regularly babysit me and my little brother. Many times, during the time she was watching us, my 'Auntie', as I called her, would be hammering away at the Friden, working on generating the charts. To this day I can still vividly remember the spinning numbers and wonderful mechanical noises that machine made in operation. I credit the time spent watching her operate that machine to sparking an interest in Mathematics and numbers that set the stage for my career working with computers.
An old (Early 1950's) Friden ink-blotter advertisement, showing a Friden Model ST-W
The Friden Calculating Machine Co., Inc., was founded in the 1930's by Swedish-born Carl M. Friden. Once customers purchased and started using the machines, Friden calculators quickly gained the reputation of being the 'Cadillac' of calculators. In fact, early Friden advertising literature self-proclaimed the machines as the "Aristocrat of Calculators". The precursor to the STW-10 was the model ST. The ST could automatically perform all four math functions. Friden, the perfectionist that he was, was personally involved in the mechanical design aspects of his machines. As a result of his skills and dedication, along with other gifted mechanical engineers that he hired on at Friden, they ended up with a machine that was fast, extremely durable, reliable, and easy to use. The ST was a very successful seller, and enjoyed a long production run which lasted through World War II. After the war, a refined version of the ST was created, and re-introduced as the STW-10 in 1949. There were some feature and cosmetic changes (most notably changes in colors used to minimize user fatigue) from the ST to the STW-10, but the internal workings were virtually the same as the ST. The STW-10 was immensely popular, and because of its popularity, it remained in production through 1966. In 1965, Friden introduced the world to all-electronic, transistorized calculators with the Friden EC-130 which marked the beginning of the end of Friden's mechanical calculators.
Front Cover of the Friden STW-10 Operators Guide
Back in the days where electronic computers were in their infancy, the common method of performing large scale mathemetics was to have large rooms full of 'computers' (back in those days, a 'computer' was a person who's job it was to perform math operations), each having their own mechanical or electro-mechanical calculator. Insurance companies were one of the biggest users of these hybrid human/machine 'computers', generating the actuarial tables that determine the rate paid by policy holders for life, auto, and business insurance. Friden electromechanical calculators were a common fixture in such installations because of their rock-solid reliability.
The Carriage
There are three major parts to the STW-10. First, the carriage. The carriage is like that of a typewriter, being able to move to the left and right. On the carriage are two rows of mechanical number displays. The 'top' row is the accumulator, which can accumulate results up to 20 digits long. Just above the accumulator number windows are small dials which the operator can use to manually adjust the numbers in the accumulator. This manual adjustment feature was commonly used to do 'round-off' operations, which the calculator didn't have the brains to do itself.
A Close-up of Number Dials on the Carriage
Mechanicals Underneath the Carriage
The 'bottom' row of digits is the counter register, which serves as an item counter when doing addition and subtraction, and performs counting operations during multiplies and divides. The counter register has a capacity of 11 digits. Just below the counter register is a set of numbered pushbuttons that are used to set the decimal point position for division operations. To the right of the carriage are two 'slider' type controls which allow the accumulator and/or counter registers to be cleared manually.
The main keyboard
The next major part is the main keyboard. In contrast to calculator keyboards that people are used to nowadays, where each digit of a number is typed in sequentially, digits are entered 'in parallel' on the main keyboard. Sequential digit entry would have required much more complex mechanisms, which would have made the machine more expensive. Rather, each digit is entered in a separate column of keys ranging from 1 through 9 (zero was implied by having NO key pressed in a column). The 'blank' keys at the bottom of each column 'clear' the column of any entry (the digit keys lock down once pressed) in case of entry error, and a "K B CLEAR" key releases all of the keys in the main keyboard.
The multiplier keyboard
The last major part of the calculator is the multiplier keyboard. This zero-through-nine keyboard is serial entry like today's calculators. It is only used for entering the multiplicand in multiplication operations. A small window above the keyboard shows the multiplicand as it is entered digit at a time. Numbers up to 10 digits long can be entered into the multiplicand register.
Multiplier Display Register Workings
The STW-10 can perform the four basic functions completely automatically. Addition and subtraction are very strightforward -- enter a number on the 'big' keyboard, and press the '+' key to add to the accumulator, and the '-' key to subtract from the accumulator. Negative results, or overflow of the machine, causes a bell to ring to warn the user.
Left Side Sans-Cover
Multiplication is a little different. The multiplier is entered in the 'big' keyboard, and the multiplicand is entered digit at a time into the multiplication keyboard at the left side of the machine. Then, the "MULT" key is pressed, and the machine proceeds to carry out the multiplication, working right to left, by doing repeated adds and shifts of the carriage to result with the product in the accumulator, and the multiplicand ending up in the counter register. An extension to the multiply operation is that the product can automatically be added to the number already in the accumulator.
Right Side View
Division is a bit more complicated, but still automatic. One oddity is the appearance of two divide keys on the keyboard. Apparently this was a result of another calculator company having a patent on a 'single key' divide function, which Friden's lawyers were concerned enough about to insist that the machine not have a single key for division. In fact, the 'left' division key is what actually triggers the division to take place, but, if actuated by itself, the resultant quotient will be the 10's compliment of the expected result. The 'right' divide key switches the mode of the counter register (where the quotient is accumulated) so that it increments instead of decrements during the repeated subtraction process that makes up division. So, in order to get the expected answer, both divide keys must be pressed at once.
Rear View
To perform division one must first press a small button on the carriage which indicates where the decimal point should be situated in the quotient. Then, the dividend is entered on the big keyboard, and the "ENTER DIVD" button is pressed. This shifts the carriage over to the position indicated for the decimal point, and enters the dividend into the accumulator. Then, the keyboard is cleared (if the "ADD" key is on, the keyboard clears automatically, however, if it is off, the keyboard must be cleared manually with the "K B CLEAR" key), and the divisor entered into the big keyboard. Then, BOTH divide keys are depressed simultaneously, and the machine begins a process of shifting the carriage to the right to find a point where the divisor can start to be subtracted from the dividend. Once that point is found, then successive subtractions of the divisor occur until an overdraft (IE: the accumulator goes negative) occurs, and each subtraction is counted in the counter register. A single addition of the divisor corrects for the overdraft, and then the carriage shifs to the left, and the process repeats until the quotient is left in the counter register, and the remainder is left in the accumulator. By the way, the 'overdraft' bell is inhibited during division...the machine is noisy enough as it is without the bell ringing during a division.
A video clip of the STW-10 in operation is available for download. To check out the video, click HERE.
An interesting place to visit to learn more about Carl Friden, his company, and his calculators, is Frank Rauck's "Fridenites Web Page".
Many thanks to Nicholas Bodley, former Friden Employee, for helpful input and facts contained in this document

Hey Woody!