I'm doing a bit of research for a talk, could you send me anything relevant to paper computing, diy punchards machines, graph-paper coding, vedic mathematics, mechanical programming, and other things you have stumbled upon that you found interesting related to computerless computing?

@neauoire oh! i’ll see what i’ve got in my analogue cyberpunk tag

@neauoire macbee quicksort cards (generic name: edge punch cards. used for computerless computing)
aperture cards: punch cards with a microfische in the middle- the punches are used for indexing and retrieval of the content on the film.

@neauoire the drum on this electromechanical balistic comouter encodes a 2d function, with inputs fed in by the intrumentation of the bumber plane. the function determines the exact moment to drop the bomb to hit its target


@neauoire a series of gifs demonstrating various logic gates as rope and pulley systems

@neauoire MONIAC is a water based computer that models the world economy as a set of columns of water and differential pressure systems stablizing at a equilibrium pressure.

Terry Pratchet based a discworld book on it.


@neauoire more about water computers, with speculation that those lavish eurpean royal gardens with huge labyrinths and water fountains may have been secretly used as computers for political and military strategy.

@neauoire The wikipedia article only says "ancient india" and doesn't say how far back it could go.

but, the vedic game known to us as "Snakes and Ladders" is structurally equivalent to a finite state machine, so you could, in principle, implement regular expressions and program language parsers as games of snakes and ladders.


@neauoire an aperiodic tile pattern in a 12th century islamic temple, using "girih" tiles, was found to be mathematically equivalent to the penrose tiling. I could go on for hours on this topic, but to relate it to THIS One, Roger Penrose used this aperiodic tiling in a mathematical proof that computers can't replicate human intelligence.



@neauoire Spiders offload some cognitive tasks and memories into the design of their webs.


· · Web · 2 · 5 · 9

@zens Zens you've been killing it with these links, so good! @neauoire

@yhancik @zens no kidding!! this is such an amazing thread. Thank you so much!

@neauoire this one time, in the 1990's, NASA's jet propulsion library filled a jug with jello, stuck electrodes into it, and somehow coerced it to behave like a neural network. I have no idea how this worked.

@neauoire And even though, as a sailor, you very likely know aaaaalll about these, I figure I should add these because it turns out my analog cyberpunk tag was empty, and I've been building this list up from memory.

1. Antikythera Mechanism
2. Sextant
3. Astrolabe
4. John Harrison's H4 Marine chronometer, the world's first clock accurate enough for longitudinal position calculation.

@neauoire a bit more mundanely, I used to use a proportion wheel back when I was studying to become a printer.

real growth industry that one. That career move really panned out.

@neauoire the first machine to actually be called a “computer” (previously, it was a job description) was something like a very big fancy gun. it even has three pistol grips.

@neauoire these tracks and carousel of pins implement the timing and sequence program and selection memory of a wurlitzer jukebox. pressing a buttton to select a record pushes a cooresponding pin up. as the drum spins, a metal brush arm closes a circuit with the 5 tracks to switch on and off the robotics motors at appropriate moments, and the selection pins stop the drum spinning at a soecific point in the cycle.

it’s explained in detail here youtu.be/o1qRzKuskK0

@zens I usually call that vedic multiplication :D But that's exactly what I'm looking for more examples of!

@zens yeah I think so, that's just multiplication tables right?

@neauoire Not exactly no. It was these thick books ships navigators used to bring along, along with a confusingly named companion "log table book".
the idea is you could do multiplication very quickly by taking your two input numbers, finding the corresponding logs, ADDING those together, and then finding the antilog of the result.
similarly division could be accomplished with subtraction.

errors in these books is what motivated babbage to try and invent a computer machine.

@zens Oh wow, like a dictionary of multiplication tables!

@neauoire well sort of, yeah.
there was a whole field of human computers whose job it was to compute by hand the figures in these books.

@neauoire the principle of the sliderule was essentially the same.

If you take a ruler and space the numbers apart according to a logorithmic progression, you can sorta offset the two halves by some amount and get a dynamic multiplation/division calculation.

@zens Do you happen to know other games like tictactoe that can be played on paper using a paper interface?

Hangman comes to mind.
For some reason I can't think of any others.

@dozens @zens woah, I had never seen this but it's going in the talk.

@neauoire i just remembered a similar trchnoque for computing percentages- e.g. numbers between 0-1 multiplied by each other.

where you kinda draw two rectangles in w box and the area they overlap is the answer.


@zens Trying to find a source for this on Wikipedia led me to a different multiplication method I hadn't heard before: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_

@zens @neauoire Oh god, you too! Damn, I had one of those too. Used them when working on stat cameras. Compugraphic typsetting machines (with punched tape teletype and film cartridges). Paste-up. AB Dick and Ryobi offsett presses. Christ. Did that for money in college and afterwards.

@bamfic @neauoire i was just slightly late, never made a dime.

plus there’s this thing where a certain kind of person will take an instant dislike of me. turns out that most printers are that kind of person.

@zens @neauoire Most printers are functional alcoholics, IME.
Sign in to participate in the conversation

Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.