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If they act this way for slide rules … what will happen when the chalk truck arrives?

I stepped on the gas and got to CalTech in a few minutes, only to behold a hideous sight. Although it was daytime, the lights in the buildings were flashing on and off. I saw physicists grappling on the lawn, locked in tooth and nail struggles for pocket calculators. It was horrible. Suddenly a caravan of police cars escorting a large truck with “Bob’s Slide Rules” painted on the sides pulled in front of the Physics building. Before they could come to a stop, a horde of people rushed out, turned over the truck, and began looting it, screaming and ripping open boxes of slide rules. The few cops who got too close were quickly mauled. Some of the mathematicians didn’t even try to get away; they just sat down and began doing functions, right in front of everyone. I turned away, retching. My God, I thought. The computers must be on the fritz … and they haven’t used the chalkboards in years … they must be out of chalk. If they act this way for slide rules … what will happen when the chalk truck arrives?

— Wayne Johnson, Excerpt from sci.astro post, 1995

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