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Thursday, May 24, 2012

This Reminds Me of the Great Calculator Scare of the Late '70s/Early '80s

Posted by David Schmader on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 2:44 PM

..when everyone was terrified that the new battery-operated calculators we all hauled around in our backpacks and on our wrists would lead to a scary decline in basic math skills that would eventually lead to Russian domination. Anyway, from the Daily Mail:

Computer spell checks have created an ‘auto-correct generation’ unable to spell common words such as ‘necessary’ and ‘separate’, a survey has found. Only one in five adults out of 2,000 who took a short spelling test were able to answer all five questions correctly. Sixty-five per cent failed to spell ‘necessary’ correctly while 33 per cent struggled with ‘definitely’ and ‘separate.’

I have no doubt that calculators and spell-check have led to the ossification of math and spelling skills, in the same way that commercial dairy production led to the ossification of butter-churning skills. Also, everyone knows the common-use word that's actually hardest to spell correctly is restaurant.

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