Moral panic article from 1984 about the demise of slide rules

But if the children punch buttons instead of slide sticks to do the math, their brains will liquefy and dribble out their ears!

That seems to be the sentiment of the instructors interviewed in this article about the war on slide rules in the early 1980s.

"It's a tool to illustrate the relationships between numbers and to show what exponents really are." said John Strack, 42, a physical science teacher at Arlington.

"You can program a computer to perform a certain task," Strack sald. "then you can train anybody to punch numbers into it. But if you don't teach him the concepts, how will he learn to program the computer himself?

"The slide rule is a good tool for teaching those concepts. It'a not the only one, but it works well," he said. "Besides, what are they going to do when tbeir calculator batteries run out?"

Uh, replace the batteries?

[via Pessimists Archive Newsletter]