[Humanist] 23.412 devices prior to uses

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Nov 4 08:01:18 CET 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 412.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 03 Nov 2009 11:27:18 -0500
        From: Hope Greenberg <hope.greenberg at uvm.edu>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.409 devices prior to uses
        In-Reply-To: <20091103075515.39A593F98D at woodward.joyent.us>

1) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, designed as part of early 20th century 
attempts to study atoms, then biochemistry, then adapted to medical use 
in the 1960s-70s, esp. to detection of cancerous tissue by integrating 
with computer calculations of tomography (see Raymond Damadian, MRI, 1971).

2) Generally, many computer programs. A program is usually designed in 
response to a specific problem, but then adapted, sometimes happily, 
sometimes not, to other uses. Frequently, those other uses then reshape 
the design and intentions of the original program, with legacy issues 
causing trouble. (word processing: print to wysiwyg to desktop 
publishing and now we deal with all those artifacts of coding when 
trying to use a word processor to create web pages; the web: sharing 
structured documents to making documents 'pretty' to the constant 
struggle between the two; spreadsheets used as databases; standalone 
applications retooled as collaborative applications; etc.)

- Hope

hope.greenberg at uvm.edu, Academic Computing, Univ. of Vermont

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