Computer dependence issue

3/31/2005 Further to the computer dependence issue... I heard a great story the other day. It seems that the student pilot was in the cockpit, waiting to take off on his final check-ride before his solo. The instructor noticed some items missing from the student's kit. "Where is your ruler and chart book?" the instructor said. The student pilot pulled out a pocket GPS and said, "Don't need those anymore, I've got this." The instructor asked to see it, looked it over, and then removed the batteries and handed it back. "Okay," he said, "your GPS batteries just died. What are you going to do?" I had that same sinking feeling when I heard a few years ago that the Navy and Coast Guard were going to stop teaching celestial navigation to officers and petty officers. I don't even own a slide rule any more, and I haven't got a clue where I could lay my hands on a table of natural logarithms. Yet any decent engineer thirty years ago had memorized the first 10,000 logarithms. Machines and software are wonderful, yes. But what do we do when they break down and nobody remembers how to do it the old fashioned way? Comments?

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