On July 20, 1969 man walked on the moon.  I remember watching this on TV.  I was in college at the time and remember how little technology we had then compared to today.

Slide rule for calculations

I was in engineering school and using a slide rule for calculations.  There were no hand held calculators or cell phones.  The University of Illinois had only one computer for the use of all students and faculty.

It was an IBM 360 which took up most of the space in an entire building.  In order to use the computer you had to write your own program and type it out on “punch cards”.  You accomplished this with the use of a “key punch machine”.  The machine looked much like a typewriter but punched holes in cards that were fed through the top.


Don’t drop the cards

These cards were then bundled together and fed into the computer.  If even one card got out of order or one hole was not punched correctly the program would fail.  It usually took about 24 hours for you to get your results back from the computer lab.

My kids and grandkids don’t remember any of these tools because they grew up with cell phones and hundreds of other electronic devices.  They punch a button and get an instant answer.  They even use calculators in school. 

Kids have better computers than the astronauts

They have laptop computers and cell phones that are many times more powerful than the computers used on the Apollo 11 mission.  The computer on the landing module which carried the men to the moon’s surface only had 64KB of memory.  Its processor was .043MHZ.

My outdated cell phone has 32GB of memory and a 2.5GHZ processor.  Think about that.  My old phone has about 500,000 times as much memory as the landing module computer and a much faster processor.

What about an old guy’s brain?

Our technology in computers and machines have grown tremendously.  But what about our brains and thinking ability?  In my opinion the people who worked for the space program in the 60’s were brilliant. 

To figure out the answers to complex problems with ancient tools is much more challenging than using modern day computers. 

I have no doubt about the intelligence of the modern day scientists.  But, I often wonder if the average person is allowing himself to regress due to all the current technology. 

Don’t think, just act

People don’t have to think as much today.  Your car’s GPS screen tells you where to turn and when.  The cashier just gives back the amount of change that pops up on the screen.  What if someday we all have to figure something out on our own?

It’s like, if I were stranded on an island with no electronics, how would I get home?  How would I even get through the day?