Nom Nom Nomogram
A variety of older technologies fascinate me, but I am particularly fond of slide rules. I believe my fascination follows this course of reasoning: Suppose Y2K did shut down all of our computers and computer automated processes, with a slide rule we wouldn’t be sent back to the Iron Age, but rather the 1940s or 1950s. If you ignore the second World War and fear of communism – those times did not seem so bad. Among other things, slide rules were most helpful in landing on the Moon and returning a crippled space craft safely. Quite simply, I am impressed by the wide range of what a slide rule can do.
I have recently become intrigued with another analog computation device called the nomogram. A slide rule is a general calculator, while the nomogram is a graph which provides a quick answer from a complex calculation.
In nursing & medicine we use nomograms frequently for tracking and calculating weight & height & BMI, medicine administration, and more. I was not aware of their varied calculations until I came across this 2010 calendar and a website, Dead Reckoning, featured on Make. The blog is very fascinating and I can only hope there is a 2011 calendar featuring elegant-but-lost math. I’m tired of looking at my pin-up girls calendar. That’s not true.