|Airdate||February 3, 2019|
|Curriculum||Engineering and Tech|
Grace Hopper launched in BrainPOP Engineering and Technology February 3, 2019.
Tim asks Aphasia (a parody on Alexa) for pimple cream and finds out that she is dating Moby.
Transcript and QuizEdit
- Aphasia is a parody on Amazon Alexa, a voice assistant.
- This video shows UNIVAC code translations, including:
- Line: K09 036 C40 150.
- Read: 008 C01 197 024.
Grace Hopper was known not only for her ingenious ideas about computers, but also for her witty remarks and sense of humor. Here’s a selection of her greatest quips.
"Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, 'We've always done it this way.' I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise."
"In pioneer days they used oxen for heavy pulling, and when one ox couldn't budge a log, they didn't try to grow a larger ox. We shouldn't be trying for bigger computers, but for more systems of computers."
"When you have a good idea and you've tried it and you know it's going to work, go ahead and do it—because it's much easier to apologize afterwards than it is to get permission."
“A human must turn information into intelligence or knowledge. We’ve tended to forget that no computer will ever ask a new question."
"Programming requires patience and the ability to handle detail. Women are naturals at computer programming.”
In Practice Edit
Learning computer programming is a great way to develop your problem-solving skills. But the languages used to write computer code can be tough to learn. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools that can help you understand the basics of coding in a visual way. A popular one is Scratch, an online, visual language. Developed by the Media Lab at MIT, Scratch lets you program your own animations, games, and stories.
Instead of typing out code, you drag colored blocks into a sequence. Each block represents a set of coded instructions. For example, one block might tell a character to turn left. Another might change the color of the background. With the code already written, you can concentrate on building a program, step by step!
BrainPOP's new Creative Coding feature can help get your started. Get comfortable with these fun and easy tools, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a programmer!
Way Back When Edit
It seemed reasonable at the time: Every 10 years, government workers would conduct a census, or population count. That’s what the the framers of the United States Constitution decided back in 1787, when about four million people lived in the entire country. But by 1870, the population had ballooned to about 40 million. And census workers were really struggling to keep up with the count.
Before the invention of computers, census workers had to process each census form by hand. In 1872, a device called a Seaton machine helped speed up the process. But it wasn’t powerful enough to keep up with the nation’s rapidly growing population.
The 1890 census actually finished ahead of schedule, with the help of a more efficient counting machine. It was invented by Herman Hollerith, a former census worker—though that didn’t stop him from raising his prices beyond what the U.S. Census Bureau could afford for the next census.
In the late 1940s, when computers were first becoming available for purchase, the Census Bureau was the very first customer. They bought an early computer called the UNIVAC I and put it to work on the 1950 census. The UNIVAC I was able to process 4,000 items each minute—twice as much as the older machines could handle.
The price of the first UNIVAC I was a staggering $169,000, which translates to more than $3 million in today’s dollars! Still, this sale wasn’t exactly profitable. The company that made the computer hadn’t finished building that first UNIVAC I when they set its price. Plus, they had no idea how much installing the massive machine would cost. It turned out to be about $600,000—meaning, the company lost the equivalent of millions of dollars on the deal.
While the makers of the UNIVAC I didn’t profit from this first sale, it was still beneficial in other ways. At the time, most people had never even seen a computer. That made it hard to imagine why anyone would want one. Census engineers estimated that their UNIVAC I saved them about half the cost of doing the work using other available tools. That demonstrated just how useful computers could be. Now, thanks in part to early adopters like the Census Bureau, it’s hard to imagine life without computers!
Binary code is a numerical system composed of 1s and 0s. To communicate with computers, we have to translate our messages into binary code. People usually rely on translator programs calledcompilers to do that part. The resulting series of 1s and 0s will look like gibberish to most of us, but these two humble digits can represent any word or number to computers.
We’re most familiar with the base-10, or decimal system. It uses 10 symbols: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Counting up from 9, we put a 0 in the ones place and start the numerals over in the tens place just to the left. Another way to think about this is that each place is 10 times greater than the one to its right. Cycling through these 10 numerals in each place is how we count and write numbers.
We probably use this base-10 system because we happen to have 10 fingers to count on. Computers, on the other hand, have electrical circuits. And one of the most basic components of circuits is a switch, which has two states: off and on.
So, it makes sense that computers do all of the complicated tasks we ask of them using just two symbols: 0 and 1. In this binary, or base-2, numeral system, each 0 represents the message “off” and each 1 represents the message “on.” As a result, binary counting looks very different from base-10. Instead of the ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands places, binary has ones, twos, fours, and eights places. Each place to the left indicates an increase in value by a power of 2.
A 0 or 1 will look the same in base-10 as in binary. But to represent 2 in binary, you put a 0 in the ones place and start over in the twos place to the left, writing in a 1; the result is 10. To write a 3 in binary, you add a 1 in the ones place: 11. It might look strange, but it's employing the same principles used to count in base-10: Cycle through the numerals until you've reached the maximum, then start over in the place to the left.
It may take a while to get the hang of binary, but once you do, it's as easy as 1, 10, 11!
FYI Comic Edit
There is no FYI Comic.