Reminiscing, night school the Fall of 1969

Fall is in the air (somewhere, not noticeably in Malaysia) and the thought of this season reminds of the night classes I was taking 41 years ago. I took a course on land surveying taught by the Army Corps of Engineers in the Fall of 1969. The classes were 3 hours and we took them two nights a week for a semester. We began class at 7:30 and had a break at 9:00. Bonnie and I were dating at the time and, if she was not working, she would bring me a hamburger (a Whopper to be exact) for dinner. A couple of times the instructors taught into the break. Bonnie usually had a few of her girlfriends with her and they would come to the window where my class was being held and call my name. The entire class would turn and stare at me. The instructor would frown and continue teaching. The girls would continue calling and laughing until the class took a break. But, this is not what actually came to my mind when I was thinking about the class. These were incidental things that may have led to my not becoming a land surveyor.
I was thinking about the instructors not allowing us to use calculators in our work. At that time we had calculators like the HP 35 and the TI 58. These calculators had functions that allowed us to figure out any trigonometric calculations necessary in surveying. The instructors made us use the log tables to figure the angles. They were just mean! Not really – their reasoning was that we should be familiar with how to solve problems without anything that needs a battery. They said “what will you do if you drive 3 hours into the countryside and are out in a farm area locating the point from a Sun shot and your batteries are dead? Will you waste the entire day because you do not know how to solve the problem?” This is one of the reasons that we did not allow our children to use calculators in school to help in their math. They needed to know how to use their brains, not farm out their brains to calculator or a computer.
A few years ago, my mother bought a new dictionary for herself and she asked me if I would like to have the dictionary computer program that come with the book. I told her that I already had one. As a matter of fact, everyone that has a word processor has one built in. She was amazed at this. I told her that the word processor had a ‘spell checker’ and that the computer would actually correct spelling and it could also correct grammar. Again, she looked at me with amazement, and said “you mean everyone that is using a computer has one of these?” I told her yes. Most of them do. She said “Oh, that is why people are so stupid!”. That is not what I had expected her to say, but she is right. What is going to happen if the power goes off or the batteries die? Those things that were invented to be tools have become toys. There is nothing wrong with toys, but there is something wrong with a world full of big kids.

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About sjbjburke

I am an evangelist that enjoys Bible study and I look forward to posting outlines and receiving helpful comments. My wife and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in 2010 and we enjoy serving the Lord together.
This entry was posted in Reminiscing - anecdotes and lessons from my youth. Bookmark the permalink.

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