Monday, February 27, 2023

When the mechanics go crazy

You probably learned it in college: it is absolutely impossible to divide by zero. Dividing by zero is like trying to beat your grandmother at Scrabble, it can't be done, and you won't be able to do it anyway.

Yet, like any teenager with a contradictory mind, you have surely already committed this transgression on your Casio or Texas Instruments calculator. And, of course, you were disappointed when the machine gave you an old “DIV0 ERR.” or other similar error message.

This is because this calculator contains electronic components and therefore has a kind of “computer” fuses that prevent you from tiring the machine by playing with the rules of arithmetic.

But what if the calculator is mechanical, so does not have this safeguard, and we dare to divide by zero?

The answer is… loud, very loud. A roar of mechanical hits that could almost be sampled for a Berlin club DJ set. The machine races and goes completely crazy.

These mechanical calculator models were particularly popular in the 1950s, mainly in the United States. They revolutionized the business world and began the arrival of computers in the daily lives of Americans.

When the mechanics go crazy

You probably learned it in college: it is absolutely impossible to divide by zero. Dividing by zero is like trying to beat your grandmother at Scrabble, it can't be done, and you won't be able to do it anyway.

Yet, like any teenager with a contradictory mind, you have surely already committed this transgression on your Casio or Texas Instruments calculator. And, of course, you were disappointed when the machine gave you an old “DIV0 ERR.” or other similar error message.

This is because this calculator contains electronic components and therefore has a kind of “computer” fuses that prevent you from tiring the machine by playing with the rules of arithmetic.

But what if the calculator is mechanical, so does not have this safeguard, and we dare to divide by zero?

The answer is… loud, very loud. A roar of mechanical hits that could almost be sampled for a Berlin club DJ set. The machine races and goes completely crazy.

These mechanical calculator models were particularly popular in the 1950s, mainly in the United States. They revolutionized the business world and began the arrival of computers in the daily lives of Americans.