Cambridge Cybernetic Society Mascot:
The Eureka Pocket Calculator
Figure 1: "Our machine, the Eureka, supplied also with Corinthian
and Ionic supporting pillars. If dismantled by removing all thumbscrews
(a) fits easily into pockets. Compass (b) as required for navigation. Keyboard
(c) for numbers (0 to 9) and operations (+ - * /). Useful display of results
(d). Electric motor to aid manual crank-action (e) with starting capacitor.
Advanced design reflected in auxiliary solid-state display (f) and integral
random number generator (g) may be scrutinized through inspection port (h).
Weather vane atop the equipment provides further and independent source
of random numbers."
(c) Gordon Pask1980
[Comment: The notion of a Pocket Calculator of such size and style sets
the tone of Pask's conceit, but the Eureka is more than a simple satire
on calculators. It is a jab at all digital computing engines of the current
era, whether or not they provide a compass "as required for navigation."
For example, Eureka's Classical accoutrement imply that despite the
wonderous capabilities of plus, minus, times and go-into, today's calculating
engines retain more in common with vintage furniture than cognitive processing
--- just as early radios appeared more like diningroom sideboards than electronic
hardware. Even the "advanced" features of solid-state display
are merely "auxiliary." Eureka's multiple-sources of truly-random
random-numbers point up the deterministic constraint of digitial engines:
of themselves computers can only generate pseudo-random numbers.
Hence, try as they might to innovate, they can only compute the expectable.
Eureka's random number sources are thus, at minimum, an advance. And, although
difficult to see clearly in this low-resolution rendering, a component of
myth in Our Eureka may be witnessed in the inspection port, labelled (h).
If your browser makes it hard to see, it might be a little clearer here.