# Personal Blogs

## Useful Christmas presents

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Edited by Vicky Fraser, Saturday, 15 Jan 2011, 15:03

My lovely and long-suffering husband, Joe, is marvellous at presents. For our first wedding anniversary, he bought me a 1940s fountain pen because I had said that I was going to revive the ancient art of letter writing. It’s beautiful, it writes smoothly, and it somehow gives weight to the words on the paper. Letters written with love, using a beautiful device.

For Christmas, he bought me a scientific calculator, because I need one for S104: Exploring Science. It’s a fabulous present, one that I really need, and that frightens me just a little bit. Because the manual resembles a medium-sized paperback novel. It’s a Casio Power Graphic fx-9750G with 32KB of memory. Apparently it can plug into a Personal Computer. Crivens.

ScaryCalc

Its name is now ScaryCalc.

So, the first thing I did with it was to write BOOBIES and SHELLOIL, then turn them into a graph. I am not twelve.

Book 1: Global Warming

I’m still working through chapter three. This is good, as I’m a week or so ahead of the schedule, and we’re going away for a week on Friday. I’d like to have begun chapter four before we leave.

I’ve just learned how to input exponentials into ScaryCalc. I actually worked this out on my own, then looked at the manual to check I was really correct. So I can calculate:

2.45 x 105 x 3.2 x 107

And the answer, incidentally, is 7.84 x 1012

This is good. I’ve not got much further than this yet though. It took me ages. This doesn’t bode well. However, I’m now learning about significant figures, and all their uses. I’m not quite sure I totally understand this yet. For example, I’m not entirely sure how you can write 543 to one significant figure. I think it would be 500, and I guess the extreme error would be a reflection of the accuracy of the rest of the data used to get that figure. I’m sure I’ll get there. I’m okay with something like 2.434 to two significant figures (2.4).

Hmm. I find maths really difficult. 1111.1 x 104 + 1.1111 x 104 equals 1.1122 x 107 which I got wrong, but I’m not really sure why. I shall revisit that question in a day or so, and see if I get it correct. I came up with 1122111.0 which is clearly ridiculous.

Anyway, I’m done for the day. We’re off to my mum and dad’s place for a chilli. But first I’m making lemon biscuits and we’re going treasure hunting.

I have a travelbug to place in a cache in the canal. Freddy the Frog is trying to get to Oxford.

And on that note, sayonara sausages.

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## Comments

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I love ScaryCalc. Now scare people by pretending its a Scary Mobilephone and only speak through it in numbers and algorithms!

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I'm not even sure what an alogarithm is. Can you eat them?