The “good ol’ days” really sucked

Every once in a while, someone complains about modern life and speaks wistfully about the “good old days.”

I’m so over the “good old days” – because they really weren’t good at all.  In fact, they were, for the most part, pretty sickening.

Don’t take my word for it.  Consider the current refugee crisis in Europe; thousands of refugees are trying to enter Europe because their lives are absolutely miserable in their countries of origin.  But this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened.  There was the case of the Vietnamese “boat people” back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Listen to this archival radio program from CBC.  It’s only about an hour long, but if you are really pressed for time, then skip to minute 31.

If you’re a decent human being, you will be red-faced with shame by minute 35.  The appalling ignorance, isolationism, and sanctimony of some of the speakers should be enough to turn your stomach.

Please note that this radio broadcast is from 1979, two years after the first Star Wars movie came out, 10 years after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and 18 years after I myself was born.  When I think that I lived in a time of such disgusting inequality and racism, I thank my lucky stars that I no longer live in the “good old days.”

And so should you.

So, you think your computer is slow and expensive? HAH!

A GFLOPS (i.e., a gigaFLOPS), is a billion floating point operations per second, and is a standard measure of the speed of calculation of computers.

These days you can put together, made from off the shelf parts, a computer that will run at almost 7 TFLOPS (teraFLOPS) – that’s 7,000 GFLOPS.  That amounts to $0.16 per GFLOPS.

Now, the year I was born, 1961, you would have had to spend $8.3 trillion (in 2013-adjusted U.S. dollars) to generate just 1 GFLOPS of speed.  That means that in the last 50-ish years, the cost of computing has decreased by on the order of one hundred trillion times.

So.  Stop complaining that your computer is too slow.  Instead, complain about how bloated modern software is.