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Return of Abacii

When a Presidential candidate noted that he suffers from "self-admitted computer illiteracy," New York Times columnist Frant Rich wrote: "Perhaps he'll retire his abacus by Election Day."

In a defiant response, Eliot Camaren wrote a Letter to the Editor: "I must say, I resent that aspersion cast upon a venerable computing device. I use an abacus daily for everything from simple addition and subtraction to multiplication and long division."

"It has some advantages over a computer/digital calculator. It is lightweight, completely portable, needs no batteries...and one big plus: after some experience, the user can visualize the rows of beads and move them around in the mind doing all the calculations mentally, rendering the physical abacus superfluous."

"This is much like the person who can play chess without a chess set, but much less taxing on the nerves."

"I say we should bring back the abacus. They are not just for Luddites. Thanks...Now I have to finish blending my ink for the week, then get out my penknife so I may sharpen my quills."

Your opinion?...Luddites need not respond.

Source: New York Times, July 20, 2008