Calculate This

Yesterday, I was drawn in by the title of this YouTube video.  “Did Usain Bolt REALLY run 100m in 9.63 seconds?“.  My original thought was this was another conspiracy theory created by some wacko.  It was raining so I devoted the seven and a half minutes to watching it.  From the get go, the math nerd in me really enjoyed the discussion.  The science dummy in me wondered about some of the claims.  Regardless, it was entertaining.

What was most interesting occurred at 5:32 into the movie.  The camera caught this on the screen.

How cool is that?  Amidst all of the high level mathematics discussion, our host uses Google’s calculator as part of his discussion.

Recently, it has had a big overhaul.  You can access it simply by asking Google to solve a mathematics expression.  So, I’ll just type 1+1 to get the answer and the full calculator appears on the screen.

If you live your computer live with a browser open, it’s a quick and easy way to do calculations and conversions.  Certainly, it is easier than poking around looking for the calculator application that came with your computer.  My only beef is that it’s an algebraic calculator.  I grew up using an RPN calculator for my serious stuff.  In fact, my greatest calculator ever was the HP-21.  I’d still use it but the battery has long since expired and the charging cable doesn’t work.

There are electronic emulators though.  I have a Flash version that I use for serious calculations and have downloaded an application for my iPad.

There is a learning curve in the beginning but the power and the time that can be saved using RPN is significant.

I’m hoping this post will bring a reply that shows how to use the Google calculator in RPN mode.  If not, maybe we can start a lobby!

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