Calculating by Slide Rule

Calculating vulnerability

I’m reading Fred Kaplan’s The Wizards of Armageddon. Was struck by a quote from an Air Force colonel responding to projections of what might happen to U.S. bases in the event of Soviet nuclear attack.

I hope none of you are taken in by all this slide-rule razzmatazz.

Remember slide rules? I bet that only a vanishingly few people younger than me know how to use them, but (reading about the Cold War encourages this kind of thinking) it might behoove us to learn, in preparation for the coming bad years when the electrical grid is largely destroyed.

Update 4/21/2017: Last night I went to see Hidden Figures, which I enjoyed thoroughly. My husband pointed out one minor lapse in period authenticity, however: in the movie’s 1960s NASA, there was scarcely a single slide rule to be seen. I count this as evidence that only a vanishingly few people younger than me even recognize them. Or at least, it’s evidence that the movie producers believed that no one would recognize them if they were there, or miss them if they weren’t.

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