Monday, June 12, 2006

Life in the technological fastlane

Back in the Dark Ages (I remember having a slate in what we called Standard 1)(yep, that long ago) a little "country" school (it's now an outer suburb of Perth, but then it was the back o' beyond) (yep, that long ago)
...Grades 5 & 6 had a single teacher and shared a schoolroom and we kids shared twin desks which were nailed to the floor. Yep, that long ago.
The teacher was a madman from hell, whose idea was to terrorise everyone into learning. We started the day with something called "mental arithmetic". He went around the class asking everyone in turn things like: if you paid tuppence for one apple, how much were 28 apples going to cost you in shillings and pence? (Yep, that long ago.)
Boys were sometimes caned for not being able to answer; girls were simple terrorised. (Yep, gender discrimination.)

I was not much good at mental arithmetic, but I was better than the friend I sat next to, so I used to make marks on the desk with a finger to tell her the answer. All this did have one good effect: I grew up not needing a calculator. I wouldn't advocate the method for today's kids - but sometimes I do wonder...

Today I bought 10 lightbulbs. I asked the shopgirl how much they were. She said, $1.80 each (Malaysian ringgit).

She then proceeded to use a calculator to tell her that 10 x 1.80 = $18.00.


Kendall said...

Reminds me of paying for things & giving odd amounts of money, to get back larger coins instead of smaller ones. E.g. giving $8.06 when the bill was $7.81, to get back a quarter, instead of paying $8 and getting back a dime, a nickel, and FOUR PENNIES, YUCK! When this gets a confused look, I fear for civilization.

Comedian Carlos Mencia has a short diatribe about this, as do, I suspect, many comedians...his particular beef was something like, "You have a register--just punch in the numbers & you'll see!" ;-)

Glenda Larke said...

Lol, Kendall - we don't even have quarters here to complicate matters...just as well with that shop assistant, I think. Unless the cashregister calculates the change, I think she would really be in trouble.

bibliobibuli said...

That's progress! I also had to do mental arithmatic every morning and am glad for it now.