google-site-verification: googlea33552291e834fff.html Education: A Computational Xmas

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Computational Xmas

Below is a xmas greeting my dad wrote in 1969 on a teletype terminal while he was an anthro professor at Dartmouth College. The photo depicts a scrap of teletype paper. The poem, using words like "GOTO" and "Run" presents itself as a working program written in BASIC which John Kemeny was popularizing at Dartmouth at the time. The program doesn't actually run I don't think. But it's an artifact of the times illustrating how humanists and social scientists were also peripherally getting involved with the use of BASIC.  Here is the poem transcribed in a more readable format:

READY
10 ANOTHER CHRISTMAS COMPUTATION
15 REPROCESSING OUR LIST OF FRIENDS
20 CAN WE AGAIN GET OUT THOSE CARDS
30 BEFORE THE SEASON ENDS?
40
50 IN FACT THE TASK THOUGH ONEROUS
60 IS FILLED WITH JOY AND LOVE
70 DOES IT SEEM MECHANICAL?
80 GO TO LINE 60 ABOVE
90
100 WITH EACH OF YOU WITH WHOM WE SHARE
110 SOME WHERE, SOME PLEASURE AND FUN
130 READ 'MERRY CHRISTMAS'
140 READ 'NEW YEAR'S JOYS'
150 MAY THEY NEVER
END
160 BUT INFINITELY
RUN

And here is the actual poem:

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