Re: Humanity!


The human perspective is one of my big interests! Coming from social
sciences, this should be no wonder:-)

I see several lines within this perspective, in random order:

Slide rules needed to be sold, so vendors introduced new models with
'more' all the time. Any collector of Aristo 0903 models can see that
they don't differ that much;

Customers -- even mathematicians -- can be seduced easily, so they
bought newer 'better' models, maybe even wanted them and asked for a new
scale. A FC 2/83 is 'better' than a 2/82, and a 2/83N is even better.
Higher type-numbers are always 'better', and adding a capital letter to
it is a booster. The Audi 100 got a better version named 200, and US
cusomers wanted an even better model and got the same cars but with an
extra trailing 0 on the trunk;

And the same time Einstein and Von Braun seemed to have used a Nestler
23R. Maybe more complex slide rules weren't avaliable, but they did a
rather nice job on a basic rule. Science is about inspiration, not about

Advertisement probably got 'space high'. The Omega Perpetual Oyster and
in our world, the Pickett N600-ES are legendary. But were they _really_
needed on the moon? To know when dinner is ready? Would it _really_ be
possible to get back to the landing spot 10^5 kms away just on a half
size slide rule? New motorcycles are demonstrated in the Dakar Rallye,
but largely used for a Sunday afternoon trip -- with 'genuine rallye
experience feeling'. Marketing...

Slide rules can also be used politically. Artur Ewert from the GDR
analyzed lots of Western slide rules and came to the conclusion that
with four different models and some nifty scales, the People could
calculate all. Apart from a permanent shortage on resources, this also
is a statement on the commercialized spillings of Western society. In
the mean time, all GDR school children got an aluminium Reiss 3223
Progress. With the nifty scales, but also from the same material that
was used for premium Pickett models in the USA.

Complexity is also a geographical cultural thing. The Bundeswehr M109G
slide rule set is far more complex than the Graphical Firing Tables the
Dutch used on the same gun. A Dutch gunner I spoke stated that "Germans
always want to calculate up to the last millimeter; we [NL artillery]
just _shoot it out_, third shell is always a hit. And we were always faster".
Both sides tell a lot about culture, and less about 'modern artillery'.
A basic Diwa school slide rule has a far more basic layout than its
German and French counterparts. A sign of

Corroborating thoughts ;-)


On Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 06:54:18AM -0700, Rod Lovett wrote:
Hi All,

They are a glorious mine of information and they all have the same thing in common.  They're about slide rules!

But with one exception* they all lack the same thing.  To a great extent they lack humanity - the human side of the story.

But a book that would appeal to the non-slide rule enthusiast; to the "general public", needs humanity.

Think about making timepieces more accurate.  Be honest! Fairly boring!  The problems with making such timepieces more accurate whilst at sea. Still fairly boring.  Insert the reasons why this is important.  Much less boring.  Insert a self-taught genius and his battle against the establishment and you have "Longitude" and a best seller.

Perhaps that is what is required to keep the slide rule flame alive and interest a new generation of collectors; to tie real people into some real life problems with their use of the slide rule.

Just a thought.


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