Video: The fine line between stupid and clever

posted at 4:43 pm on June 23, 2007 by Allahpundit

This guy’s standing right on it.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

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I think I’ll just use a calculator, or my brain. Both are much faster.

pullingmyhairout on June 23, 2007 at 4:49 PM

I’m in awe. I want one.

frankj on June 23, 2007 at 4:51 PM

Wow, math AND woodshop skills. I bet the babes from chess club hound him like no tomorrow,what with that bad boy vibe going.

bbz123 on June 23, 2007 at 4:53 PM

OK now subtract 1

400lb Gorilla on June 23, 2007 at 4:53 PM

As an old-time IT geek, I lean more to the ingenious side of the opinion on this one.

I must have one.

flipflop on June 23, 2007 at 4:56 PM

OK now subtract 1

400lb Gorilla on June 23, 2007 at 4:53 PM

ROFL!

flipflop on June 23, 2007 at 4:57 PM

He must be a big hit at parties…

Zorro on June 23, 2007 at 4:58 PM

Wow, am I the only one who thinks “it would take a MASSIVE one of these to be able to outdo my own ability to add in my head (not to mention subtract, multiply, divide, figure out a tip, create a monthly budget, etc.)”. It is cool to see that kind of thing in action, but isn’t it something that was done thousands of years ago? But am I the only one who does far more advanced math in their head on a daily basis?

RightWinged on June 23, 2007 at 5:00 PM

That is just a wooden replica of a computer processor.
That’s how the memory registers perform addition.

unamused on June 23, 2007 at 5:05 PM

Nice work. He could have made a fortune with that a couple hundred years ago.

My favorite is the wooden mirror:

http://www.smoothware.com/danny/woodenmirror.html

pedestrian on June 23, 2007 at 5:14 PM

The Nerd Factor™ of this web site just rocketed into the Stratosphere.

Mindcrime on June 23, 2007 at 5:15 PM

Hey, I think it’s pretty clever. You can’t use it in every day life, obviously, but in itself it’s cool.

amerpundit on June 23, 2007 at 5:18 PM

Rube Goldberg’s grandson.

csdeven on June 23, 2007 at 5:18 PM

I’m not sure which is more sad–the fact that he built this Flintstone calculator, or that I actually watched the whole video. The lisp mesmerized me.

What until I release my plans for a cinderblock beer cozy.

robblefarian on June 23, 2007 at 5:25 PM

What until I release my plans for a cinderblock beer coz

I’d buy that for a dollar!

Mindcrime on June 23, 2007 at 5:29 PM

OK now subtract 1

400lb Gorilla on June 23, 2007 at 4:53 PM

That’s funny. But if you really want to, place a marble in every bit. Since there is a finite number of bits, the carry over will disappear and it will look like you subtracted.

Apologies for geeking out. I live in a binary/hexadecimal world.

looking4statesmen on June 23, 2007 at 5:33 PM

This is what you get when you combine Norm Abram and Bill Gates.

Hey AP. Maybe the boss will spring for one of these in lieu of an iPhone.

cmay on June 23, 2007 at 5:34 PM

This guys got balls.

Not much else, though.

profitsbeard on June 23, 2007 at 5:37 PM

I wonder if he watches numb3rs?

Drtuddle on June 23, 2007 at 5:37 PM

If you want to see crazy/clever, search in YouTube for “Pythagoras Switch” (not the algorithm marches clips, though those are fun, too).

meep on June 23, 2007 at 5:42 PM

Love it! Good way for someone to learn the concept of binary numbers… :)

rightg33k on June 23, 2007 at 5:47 PM

…and with each thunk of the marble, the mental refrain, “this is why she left”, sounds off over and over again. He crys; the wood is wet; and he holds his binary counting device close to his chest.

Weight of Glory on June 23, 2007 at 5:53 PM

I’ll be he’s buying an iPhone. Maybe he’ll just trade straight up for one.

robblefarian on June 23, 2007 at 5:58 PM

RightWinged on June 23, 2007 at 5:00 PM

Right there with you. When I was between 7 – 10, I’d toss my candy and junk on the checkout counter of the local TG&Y, and figure the total including the 6.5% tax before the cashier could ring it all up, all the while expressing my anger that candy was subjected to sales tax while “real food” wasn’t. When people have a choice between being impressed and getting indignant, they usually select the latter. Soon as I learned that I quit showing off.

Freelancer on June 23, 2007 at 5:59 PM

This is what you get when you combine Norm Abram and Bill Gates.

ROFL

Norm would have made it out of mahogony though.

BacaDog on June 23, 2007 at 6:05 PM

Wow. We really are all geeks.

amerpundit on June 23, 2007 at 6:14 PM

What a great way to get across the idea of binary math. Cheers!

Mojave Mark on June 23, 2007 at 6:28 PM

Right there with you. When I was between 7 – 10, I’d toss my candy and junk on the checkout counter of the local TG&Y, and figure the total including the 6.5% tax before the cashier could ring it all up, all the while expressing my anger that candy was subjected to sales tax while “real food” wasn’t. When people have a choice between being impressed and getting indignant, they usually select the latter. Soon as I learned that I quit showing off.

Freelancer on June 23, 2007 at 5:59 PM

I’m just glad it isn’t (wasn’t) just me.

By the way, I did the same thing when buying candy as a kid… and I do a variation today when buying fast food. Try this if your order ever comes to something like $5.XX or $10.XX (I’m sure you already know where I’m headed). Say your food was $5.76, and you had only tens and ones on you. You’d (like any normal person who made it through elementary school) give them $11 (a ten and a one). More often than not, they’d look all confused and sort of awkwardly, without words, ask you to explain what you were doing, sometimes after trying to hand you the single back. Occasionally they don’t believe you, even after you explain that you simply want a $5 back with your change, so you have to say “look, I promise, just punch it in to your computer!”. The best is when that cashier stands their stunned at how you just worked magic on their machine. (*BONUS* – In Nashville this was even more fun, as the majority of these encounters were with Mexicans, most of whom spoke poor English at best. Oh wait, did I say fun? I meant obnoxious!)

RightWinged on June 23, 2007 at 6:29 PM

Yeah, the math skills are not strong out here in CA either, I always want to get quarters back for the parking meters, so the looks of confusion when I give the cashier,say,$6.07 to pay a bill of $5.32 is just priceless, bless their hearts…..

bbz123 on June 23, 2007 at 6:45 PM

Sort of looks like the processor in my old Compaq, only much faster…

repvoter on June 23, 2007 at 6:51 PM

Do you think they will make a Mac version for that?

CharlestonCritic on June 23, 2007 at 6:55 PM

Kinda cool…would be hard to sneak one of these into math class and cheat with it…need a pocket-sized one!

Funny with all the computer technology we have, it is kinda nice to see a “basics innovation”…Abacus redux

JetBoy on June 23, 2007 at 7:09 PM

3 minutes and 32 seconds of my life that I will Never.Get.Back.

Jaibones on June 23, 2007 at 7:27 PM

It’s a great visual way to explain binary. When you go into computer classes, its a difficult concept.

lorien1973 on June 23, 2007 at 7:30 PM

So cool.

Tanya on June 23, 2007 at 7:41 PM

What is the Energy Footprint for that? Maybe we can manufacture it and sell it to the liberals

Ropera on June 23, 2007 at 7:52 PM

Fantastic…It awakens my inner geek and woodworker…

The appreciation is not for what it does but for what it takes to make it (think it’s stupid? Try making one). IMHO, because Americans don’t make anything anymore, they have lost the ability to appreciate what it takes to make things like this and get things done in general. Too many people today believe everything is done by PFM – Pure F’in Magic.

TheBigOldDog on June 23, 2007 at 7:56 PM

Definitely agree with it as an EXCELLENT way to teach binary, computer concepts, etc. Those switches really are a physical manifestation of how silicon switches work, and can help deal with lots of the more complex issues in computers as well as getting your head around some of the weird implications.

It’s only stupid if you’re not a programmer or an engineer!

BTW things like this were the original computers. Industrial revolution machines did computational work in the physical realm (census machines, looms…) and people programmed them and did the first computer science with this kind of equipment. Punch cards for mainframes aren’t all that old!

libertarianuberalles on June 23, 2007 at 8:17 PM

Yeah, I can imagine this on a parody of Numb3rs. I can imagine Charlie Epps seeing somebody paying for candy and imagining this in his head…

amnistitio delenda est

apostle26 on June 23, 2007 at 8:56 PM

Speaking of geeks, I actually had a guy at my bar playing with one of these. I thought I was back in the 70’s.

Capitalist Infidel on June 23, 2007 at 10:18 PM

Norm would have made it out of mahogony though.

And “biscuits”, lots of them.

rokemronnie on June 23, 2007 at 10:20 PM

Allah, you go from the iPhone & touchscreen windows to this?

Joshua P. Allem on June 23, 2007 at 10:55 PM

This makes no sense??!?!?!?

benrand on June 23, 2007 at 10:59 PM

Oh my GOD!

benrand on June 23, 2007 at 11:00 PM

A two dimensional gravity operated abacus is really cute except that every time he uses it, he loses his balls.

Speakup on June 23, 2007 at 11:04 PM

Oh I could have built that. Its only a cross between an abacas and a pachinko machine.Besides I worked at Joe Robbie Stadium the entire inaugural season of the Marlins in 1993. We worked 5 wide at a consession selling the usuall peanuts popcorn dogs beer and soda ect. After the second week I consistantly made more tips than even the good looking ladies working there. Although we charged no sales tax we also did not have a cash register. When I tell you we grossed 5000 per 3 hr game its true. Thats a whole lot of 1.00 sodas and 2.50 hot dogs. Super Dogs here! Get your Red Hot Super Dogs here!

sonnyspats1 on June 23, 2007 at 11:49 PM

Once more with felling. Pachinko Machine

sonnyspats1 on June 23, 2007 at 11:51 PM

Um, didn’t the Chinese already do something similar?
Binary shminary, dude needs a girlfriend.

SouthernDem on June 24, 2007 at 12:02 AM

Wow, am I the only one who thinks “it would take a MASSIVE one of these to be able to outdo my own ability to add in my head (not to mention subtract, multiply, divide, figure out a tip, create a monthly budget, etc.)”. It is cool to see that kind of thing in action, but isn’t it something that was done thousands of years ago? But am I the only one who does far more advanced math in their head on a daily basis?

RightWinged on June 23, 2007 at 5:00 PM

Imagine fitting THAT in your nerd bucket!

91Veteran on June 24, 2007 at 12:10 AM

Punch cards for mainframes aren’t all that old!

libertarianuberalles on June 23, 2007 at 8:17 PM

Uh…yeah they are.

91Veteran on June 24, 2007 at 12:17 AM

Imagine fitting THAT in your nerd bucket!

91Veteran on June 24, 2007 at 12:10 AM

lol, do you mean to imply I’m a nerd? I was bragging about math skills… I was just saying that compared to what I think we all do (at least I do) on a regular basis, this thing is pretty weak. Sure, when they invented stuff like this hundreds of years ago, it was great. And it’s still cool I guess, but not as impressive as it is apparently supposed to be.

RightWinged on June 24, 2007 at 12:32 AM

Bah. I taught my daughter to count to 255 on her fingers. And she thought it was cool.

Yes, I know there will soon come a day when I can no longer impress my children with my geekness. But I’ll enjoy it while I can.

Hack Ptui on June 24, 2007 at 12:33 AM

LOL

Norm would have made it out of mahogony though.

And “biscuits”, lots of them.

rokemronnie on June 23, 2007 at 10:20 PM

I’m a bit of a computer geek, and do calculations in my head all the time…still kinda cool though.

What made me snicker to myself as I watched–I said to myself, “Man, this guy sure has a lot of marbles!”

RedCrow on June 24, 2007 at 1:23 AM

My favorite is the wooden mirror:

http://www.smoothware.com/danny/woodenmirror.html

I knew I’d regret watching the video. I knew it! Great. Now I’m going to have nightmares about that creepy thing.

JinxMcHue on June 24, 2007 at 1:30 AM

I clicked on the embed, saw the running time was ~3 1/2 minutes, and immediately recognized that watching wooden binary marble math on YouTube is as fun as pellet gun to the balls.

>scoffsgo watch Doug Giles and take notes.

ScottMcC on June 24, 2007 at 2:16 AM

OK, haters. I’ll grant you that the presentation / production values here are pretty low. But grant me this… if this vid had more personality, it would cease to be a filthy animal. Am I right?

Kadnine on June 24, 2007 at 4:07 AM

There’s no zero listed on the machine.

ISLAMOPHOBES!!!!

Shy Guy on June 24, 2007 at 4:13 AM

Hey, if you get here Sat night after drinking and check Hot Air…

THIS IS FACINATING!

Ah, Gostling’s Black Seal and 7.

Mazztek on June 24, 2007 at 4:50 AM

Just what I was needing: a spice rack that can do my taxes.

SailorDave on June 24, 2007 at 8:26 AM

Is this from SNL ?

Wade on June 24, 2007 at 8:58 AM

lorien1973 on June 23, 2007 at 7:30 PM

I thought that was what light switches are for.

Jaibones on June 24, 2007 at 9:10 AM

More fun than numbers

Coronagold on June 24, 2007 at 10:32 AM

Yeah, I rather carry that around instead of something that fits in my hand.

moonsbreath on June 24, 2007 at 11:13 AM

I wish i had as much free time as these people to devote towards making useless crap and posting videos of it on the internets.

Neo on June 24, 2007 at 11:17 AM

Oh my GOD!

benrand on June 23, 2007 at 11:00 PM

Redux!

Guardian on June 24, 2007 at 11:30 AM

51% clever, 49% foolish.

major john on June 24, 2007 at 12:05 PM

Let’s export this amazing technology to North Korea and China.

paulsur on June 24, 2007 at 12:11 PM

As the saying goes, there are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

LagunaDave on June 24, 2007 at 1:12 PM

Subtract?

Isn’t that done by adding the “ones complement”?

Now if I could remember what it is.

Mark was here on June 24, 2007 at 5:29 PM