Monday, November 26, 2007


Well, the last puzzler apparently wasn't all that puzzling: everybody who answered was at least close. If you're interested in the story of the cargo ship SS Mayaguez, you can read about it here.

Meanwhile, here's a new puzzler:

As long ago as the late 1600s, Europeans were using a straight piece of material (usually wood, sometimes ivory or brass) much like a ruler with special markings to make all sorts of calculations, including multiplication, division, trigonometry, and logarithms. This device was normally used in conjunction with a pair of dividers (a compass with two metal points). It was as ubiquitous amongst the engineers and scientists of the day as computers and calculators are today – but today it is virtually unknown and unheard of. What was this device called?

1 comment:

  1. Hi whatever it was, it was the precursor to the slide rule.