|Re: Yes, we're using them for everything|
Message #11 Posted by Reinhard Hawel on 7 Apr 2000, 9:25 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by menno
It makes me go crazy, that most of the calculations are more a test of intelligence than a complicated struggling around with facts and numbers, but some guys don't even get the method.
The guy I mentioned before entered a formula into his calculator. (That's the same example which includes the minutes -> degrees calculation).
It was an error calculation for a wattmeter and he had to think about the transformers to convert voltages and currents into the right range (This is common practice for measuring electrical power or work of some high voltage/current circuits). The error he calculated was 53% (!!!). That was no problem for him. The calculator put it out and so it has to be correct.
If your power station calculates the electrical work used from their customers that way, they are broke in 3 days.
I finally found out, that he made a mistake (forgot entering a zero in a number). After he corrected the input the error was 5.3% (which is correct).
Yes, I'd support the method of guessing the values first. Maybe we should learn to use slide rules again (which brings a great impression of typical values besides the knowledge of logarithms).
Sometimes I don't use calculators for some calculations just for being in training. A big for the people problem seems to be the "shortening" of fractions (is that the right english expression for saying 15/60 = 4/20 =1/4).
Maybe we should only allow calculators without a divide key in schools ?
Then we could try to teach them PI=22/7 or other sufficient representations for very exact values.
That will surely bring more understanding of math and science than getting results like F=0.5347886565446789008...
Fortunately in the universities here the students are colleagues too and not competitors. Seems to be a major difference between the European and American university systems.