Why did the Soviet fail to develop a computer industry

HIST: Discussions about the last 4000 years of history, give or take a few days.

Moderators: Thanas, K. A. Pital

User avatar
Kingmaker
Jedi Knight
Posts: 523
Joined: 2009-12-10 03:35am

Re: Why did the Soviet fail to develop a computer industry

Postby Kingmaker » 2016-10-25 02:01pm

about 14% of the U.S. population is functionally illiterate (though I don't know precisely how they define that in this instance)


'Functionally illiterate' necessarily vague, since it just means you lack the necessary literacy to manage routine tasks that require reading skills. That means what qualifies as functionally illiterate will vary over time (for an extreme example, a medieval peasant has a low bar to clear, while a resident of a modern nation has to deal with an enormous amount of paperwork and literature) and space (I am functionally literate in Anglophone nations, but if I immigrated to Japan I'd be functionally illiterate despite having lost no proficiency).
In the event that the content of the above post is factually or logically flawed, I was Trolling All Along.

"Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful." - George Box

User avatar
Ziggy Stardust
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2603
Joined: 2006-09-10 10:16pm
Location: Research Triangle, NC

Re: Why did the Soviet fail to develop a computer industry

Postby Ziggy Stardust » 2016-10-25 04:23pm

K. A. Pital wrote:I did not just post the graph, you know, but also a link to an article.


Yes, you posted a news article. Note that my post was referring to the original scholarly article that the news article is citing. You of all people should understand why you should be cautious taking the interpretations of newspaper stories at face value, without reference to the source material.

K. A. Pital wrote:I think if the same age cohort demonstrates lowering skills, this is not just simple ageing. This is the newer generations being less proficient.


Yet, that quote you just posted also notes that the drop among 30 year olds was less dramatic, indicating an age effect in the direction I was talking about. Note also it doesn't say what happens in 20 year olds or younger. Thus, that doesn't invalidate the potential age effect that I talked about. In any case, as my post made clear, there IS a literacy problem in America, but we need some more numbers to really investigate where the problem is concentrated.

User avatar
Ziggy Stardust
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2603
Joined: 2006-09-10 10:16pm
Location: Research Triangle, NC

Re: Why did the Soviet fail to develop a computer industry

Postby Ziggy Stardust » 2016-10-25 04:28pm

Kingmaker wrote:'Functionally illiterate' necessarily vague, since it just means you lack the necessary literacy to manage routine tasks that require reading skills. That means what qualifies as functionally illiterate will vary over time (for an extreme example, a medieval peasant has a low bar to clear, while a resident of a modern nation has to deal with an enormous amount of paperwork and literature) and space (I am functionally literate in Anglophone nations, but if I immigrated to Japan I'd be functionally illiterate despite having lost no proficiency).


But if we are just talking about literacy over the past decade, do you really think the definition of functional literacy has changed so dramatically as to make all comparisons worthless? If we are comparing literacy between citizens of developed modern nations, what does it matter that the required literacy for a medieval peasant is different?

As for your other point, yes, people won't be literate in languages they don't speak. Not sure that this invalidates the numbers, or any comparison between the U.S. and other developed nations. Why would it?

User avatar
Elheru Aran
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11140
Joined: 2004-03-04 01:15am
Location: Georgia

Re: Why did the Soviet fail to develop a computer industry

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-10-25 05:10pm

As for older people having less literacy: I suspect there's probably a strong correlation between that and rural areas. For a long time it wasn't uncommon in farming areas for the kids to only go to school for part of the normal school year in order to help their families with harvest and other farming work. We've largely moved past that now, but I would not be surprised at all if these senior citizens' education suffered back in the day due to precisely this reason.
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.

Swindle1984
Jedi Knight
Posts: 973
Joined: 2008-03-23 02:46pm
Location: Texas

Re: Why did the Soviet fail to develop a computer industry

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-11-06 02:40pm

As an aside, in the late 80's to early 90's, my dad (ex-navy comms specialist) ran one of the first civilian BBS'. One of his members was a Russian. Nobody was ever quite certain what Ivan did for a living or how he got a computer and access to the early internet, but he did something that specialized in computers and he was a pretty cool guy. After the iron curtain came down, he actually visited the US to hang out at one of the monthly pizza parties the computer club threw and was surprisingly young.



The thing that always intrigued me about Soviet computer development was their ternary computers, such as Setun. They built 50 Setuns between 1959 and 1965, then built several Setun-70's starting in 1970. They used ternary computers for decades, but it seems like they never really went anywhere, and we sure as hell didn't do anything with ternary programming. They even continued development of the machine code into the late 1980's/early 90's.
Your ad here.

Swindle1984
Jedi Knight
Posts: 973
Joined: 2008-03-23 02:46pm
Location: Texas

Re: Why did the Soviet fail to develop a computer industry

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-11-06 02:57pm

Elheru Aran wrote:As for older people having less literacy: I suspect there's probably a strong correlation between that and rural areas. For a long time it wasn't uncommon in farming areas for the kids to only go to school for part of the normal school year in order to help their families with harvest and other farming work. We've largely moved past that now, but I would not be surprised at all if these senior citizens' education suffered back in the day due to precisely this reason.



My grandmother never got beyond a 5th grade education, and her only job prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom (which was more typical back then) was a brief stint as a dental assistant. She dropped out of school when her father died to help raise her younger siblings. My grandfather got as far as 8th grade and grew up on a cotton farm in the middle of nowhere, and other than being a comms specialist in the army during WW2 he spent his entire adult life as a telephone worker and wood carver (I still have his 'self-portrait' he carved of himself climbing a telephone pole). He dropped out of school to work on the farm, precisely the scenario you suspect is responsible for lower literacy in seniors.

Going by education, neither was particularly 'advanced', but both were extremely literate and well-informed, and both put a high value on knowledge. They had both a World Book Encyclopedia and an Encyclopedia Britannica, when either set cost nearly as much as a car, and both they and my parents made a habit of reading one volume per month, partly for fun and partly to be informed. I inherited the Britannica, my aunt got the World Book and tossed it out. :roll:

So I would say being from poor families (my grandfather got his first pair of shoes when he was 10, and didn't see his first electric light until he was 6... and he'd been picking cotton since he was 4) in rural areas definitely impacted their education, but it certainly didn't affect their literacy.

In point of fact, most older people I know (and I've always hung with a crowd 20 to 30 years my senior, just because there wasn't anyone my age to be around) are far more literate and have a broader vocabulary than the current generation. My younger siblings don't read anything more complicated than the tv guide or a fashion magazine and on more than one occasion at family gatherings I've had to stop my conversation to explain a word or phrase they didn't understand. My poor niece is growing up in the age of texting and has difficulty reading words with more than one syllable. :roll:

So going by that, I suspect that older people and literacy may not fit within a neat box of "they grew up with less access to information and poorer educations".
Your ad here.

User avatar
Elheru Aran
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11140
Joined: 2004-03-04 01:15am
Location: Georgia

Re: Why did the Soviet fail to develop a computer industry

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-11-07 12:27pm

Swindle1984 wrote:So going by that, I suspect that older people and literacy may not fit within a neat box of "they grew up with less access to information and poorer educations".


Of course not, there are always exceptions and I was speaking broadly.

As for the younger generation... yeah, it's fucked up. There's major reasons why I don't intend to let my kids spend much time on their phones or computers when they get old enough to be concerned with such things.
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.

User avatar
Sea Skimmer
Yankee Capitalist Air Pirate
Posts: 36967
Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
Location: Passchendaele City, HAB
Contact:

Re: Why did the Soviet fail to develop a computer industry

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2016-11-07 11:39pm

Yes get old, complain today's kids are worse, wonder why technology keeps advancing so rapidly..back to the Age of Hero's I say!

I'd suggest if you want your kids to love reading you should forget about screen time concerns and just make sure you keep reading books to them until they can read themselves.
"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
— Field Marshal William Slim 1956

User avatar
Elheru Aran
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11140
Joined: 2004-03-04 01:15am
Location: Georgia

Re: Why did the Soviet fail to develop a computer industry

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-11-08 10:28am

Sea Skimmer wrote:Yes get old, complain today's kids are worse, wonder why technology keeps advancing so rapidly..back to the Age of Hero's I say!

I'd suggest if you want your kids to love reading you should forget about screen time concerns and just make sure you keep reading books to them until they can read themselves.


Oh, I'm already on that. It's probably her favorite activity.

I just hear all kinds of horror stories from other parents. Stuff like how their 10-year-old won't look up from their phone like at *all* even when addressed directly, babies not knowing how to turn a page of a magazine in front of them but they can scroll through a tablet, that kind of thing... yeah. Which admittedly is as much a matter of parenting as it is technology, but I do think it's *easier* for kids to be distracted these days, especially in their formative years when they're already easily distracted anyway!
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.


Return to “History”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest