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Science = technology

Still sick. Managed to get about 8 hours sleep. Want more.
Went out yesterday. Ran into the Victoria and Albert museum first, didn't know what it was, went inside. Another giant art museum! Guess I don't need the British Museum anymore. (Later looked at the wikipedia page; it really does seem impressive.) Felt marginal utility was best served by science, moved on. Natural History seemed to have long line and bag checking. Science Museum had checks too. So did British Library. The two art museums don't. I don't get it.

Most of the stuff in the Science Museum is what I'd call technology. Steam engines, space probes, plastics, household goods, locks, Dan Dare And the birth of hi-tech Britain! History of computing, next to history of mathematics. Agriculture.

For whatever reason I got the most out of the locks exhibit. Informative placards plus somewhat useful cutaway models. Nacient Egypt had something like modern pin and tumblers, but world mostly used low-security warded locks after the Romans invented them. China had even lower security barb padlocks. Chubb invented detector locks which would freeze up if someone tried to pick them.

Postwar Britain section introduced the notion of a mobile dental unit, from back in the early days of the NHS.

There was a really bad future of energy exhibit, including hysteria about animal-eating robots.

Computing exhibit had lots of analogue computing, Mills would be happy. Including a harmonic analyser that somehow extracts Fourier components of a recorded graph.

Had more expensive Indian food, lamb balti, which seems to come with naan instead of rice. I had no idea and had ordered rice. I ate all my food anyway. Thinking I should try something really hot, see if burning out a cold really works.

Kitchen cold water had stopped working last night. Seems to be back. Working on pipes? Feh.

Supermarket Thai fish cakes were not very good.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 19th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)
Yeah yeah! I remember being there a few years ago and seeing all the analogue computing equipment...

Hope you feel better soon!
Aug. 20th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC)
Analog computing is such an interesting area. Plus one that never gets mentioned.

Poor poor analogs.
Aug. 20th, 2010 01:21 am (UTC)
IU CS has a prof, Jonathan Mills, who's really into it, and for "the future!" not a retro thing like ProjectRho's paean to some funky navigation/calculation graphs, nomograms. Personally I'm skeptical but I admit of no deep study..

There were also the Differential Engine and Analytical Engine, or parts thereof, on display. Original DE, "original" AE as in first built but a century or more later.
Aug. 23rd, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
The problem with analog computers is controlling the errors. They generally feedback and grow exponentially. Digital computers, of course, use bistable states that have very small chance of switching, and can in principal use redundancy to correct errors that occur in one part (though e.g. floating point in simulations can have similar behavior). Quantum computers, though seemingly analog, can have the errors be quantized, making the same process work for them.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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