12 November, 2010

F10 Scavenger Hunt #7: Tech support

You're abroad and to stay in contact with your friends and family at home, of course you use a computer!  Also, exams are on the horizon, which means essays for many classes.  You and your computer are finding yourselves inseparable.  So consider the unthinkable happening.  It's not pretty, but in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics, entropy is a fact of the world.  Nothing lasts forever.  Computers stop working, need fixing, take on minds of their own.  There is never a good time for it to happen, but we all know that it is an inevitability.

Often the phrase 'cut the cord' has to do with people perceived as being overly attached to one another.  And it's a similar principle, though referring to a different type of cord, when it comes to people and their computers.  They are such helpful things that it's hard to remember the days when we wrote letters- not emails, looked up businesses in the phone book- not on Google, saw our friends- not stalked them on Facebook.  My job might be a whole different position if I were not in such frequent contact with the United States.  So when we find our selves in situations of forced cord cutting, i.e. when your computer dies, it's a rough adjustment.  How did work happen before everyone had their own desk top and laptop computers?  Realistically, it's been a long time since the concept of a programmable device created by humans to simplify work first crept into society.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary the first recorded use of the word 'computer' was in 1646.

This week's installment of the scavenger hunt involves finding pre-computer age objects.  I would like you to find some pre-Norman remains.  They arrived in Britain in 1066, and supplanted the Anglo-Saxons, who, themselves, probably supplanted some Celtic peoples.  But have a look around London and you will find their traces.  Church foundations, place names,.... they are actually all around us.  Queen Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch and the last British monarch not to rule Scotland, died in 1603.  As I have decided that the computer age began with the first recorded use of the word in 1646, I would also like you to find something that is either Tudor or Elizabethan.  None of those 20th century buildings that have been made up to look like something out of the 16th century either.  Elsie expects the real deal.

Staple Inn is a rebuilt copy of what it looked like in the 16th century

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