[TUHS] The most surprising Unix programs

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Sat Mar 21 00:03:08 AEST 2020

    > From: Paul Guertin

    > I teach math in college ... Sometimes, during an exam, a student who
    > forgot to bring their calculator will ask if they can borrow mine I
    > always say "sure, but you'll regret it" and hand them the calculator
    > After wasting one or two minutes, they give it back

Maybe I'm being clueless/over-asking, but to me it's appalling that any
college student (at least all who have _any_ math requirement at all; not sure
how many that is) doesn't know how an RPN calculator works. It's not exactly
rocket science, and any reasonably intelligent high-schooler should get it
extremely quickly; just tell them it's just a representational thing, number
number operator instead of number operator number. I know it's not a key
intellectual skill, but it does seem to me to be part of comon intellectual
heritage that everyone should know, like musical scales or poetry
rhyming. Have you ever considered taking two minutes (literally!) to cover it
briefly, just 'someone tried to borrow my RPN calculator, here's the basic
idea of how they work'?


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