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October 16, 1955 - Image 10

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Michigan Daily, 1955-10-16
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Page Twelve


Sundav. October 16_ 1955

Sunday, October 16, 1955


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Sunday, October 16, 1955 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

The Popular Orchestra From Boston

How GoodIs A Brain Machine?
Half a million dollars for a high-speed automatic computer
also purchases human-like problems


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Daily Feature Editor
FOR ALMOST'three quarters of
a century, the Boston Sympho-
ny Orchestra has represented the
rich musical stature and tradition
of New England.
To the historian, New England
is the birthplace of a "workable
democracy." To the. vacationist,
New England means the Atlantic
Ocean, summer theatres, moun-
tains and sightseeing. To the mu-
sic lover, New England means the
Boston, Symphony and its con-
trasting programs throughoutnthe
As one of the busiest orchestras
in the country, the Boston Sym-
phony maintains a 46-week sea-
son. Concerts include the regular
series of about 50 concerts, "pops"
programs, Esplanade concerts on
the Charles River Embankment (a
state park), and the famous Berk-
shire Music Festival at Tangle-
wood, Mass. in July and August.
AT THE HEAD of this prolific
organization is 64 year old
Charles Munch, the orchestra's
conductor since 1949, who brings
a workman like musical back-
ground to his position.
Born into a musical family in
Alsace, Munch studied violin with
his father and later with Lucien
Capet in Paris. After a tenure as
concertmaster of the Strasbourg
Orchestra, he then joined the Ke-
wandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig.,
He was associated with several
small orchestras in Paris until
1937 when he was made conductor
of the Paris Conservatory Orches-
Twelve years later he gave up
his post to join the Boston Sym-
phony. He had previously appear-
ed in Boston in 1946 as the group's
guest conductor.
Munch has brought a new fresh-
ness to the idea of conductors'
egos. He feels that there are two
sides in the relation of conductor
znd orchestra. To reconcile the
two is the problem. You can Hf

ELECTRONIC computing mach-
ines, developed during World
War II to process large amounts
of data, proved a spectacular suc-
Before the War most of the
larger computing machines had
been slow and unreliable mechani-
cal devices. During the War, the
use of electro-mechanical systems
instead of gear trains greatly in-
creased the speed, reliability and
flexibility of the large computors.
By 1942 MIT had its Differential
Analyser No. 2 in operation and
by 1944 Harvard's Mark I was also
in action.
All electronic computors prov-
ed even better than the electro-
mechanical ones. The Eniac, at
the University of Pennsylvania,
was the first of the high-spieed,
all-electronic computors.
Automatic computors in many
ways are superior to human cal-
culators. They are faster and more
reliable. They are "tireless." In a
few hours they can devour
amounts of data that would keep
a man busy for years.
BUT THE large electronic com-
puting machines have their
problems too. Not just quaternions
or Rieman integrals or long divi-
sion. A computing machine may at
times behave in patterns analag-
ous to those of neurotic humans,
and the "cure" for erratic elec-
tronic behavior is startingly sim-
ilar to methods of therapy em-
ployed in mental hospitals.
When humans and machines get
a neurotic "one track mind," the

treatment is the same. The prob-
lem is "got out in the open." The
machine, after it is cleared of the
disturbing problem, is given a test
routine. Humans are often given
simple tests designed to bolster
their self confidence or define the
area of worry.
If the machine or human con-
tinues to "go in circles," there
are several courses still open.
The human may be "put away,"
"kept quiet." But although this
is often done with humans, the
big computors are too valuable
to leave standing around un-
used. Another stenographer or
college professor can be ob-
tained in a few hours; it may
take months to build another
In "therapy," a sort of shaking
and scrambling treatment may be
used in the belief that no new ar-
rangement of mental circuits could
be worse than the present inac-
tivity or inaccessibility of the
machine or human. In the case of
the machine, unusually large elec-
trical currents are often passed
through the system in an attempt
to "unstick" the offending part.
,For the human there is the elec-
tric or insulin shock treatment.
IF THE shock treatment fails, all
is not yet lost. The operator-
psychiatrist may decide that the
offending portion of the machine
or human brain must be removed.
Most of the recent large com-
putors (including Illinois' Illiac
and Michigan's Midac) have been
built up out of packaged plug-in
parts and the faulty unit is easily
removed. If the unit is not essen-

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THE UNIVERSITY'S mechanical brain MIDAC has made good
high-speed computer machines. Developed originally to solve ceri
MIDAC has proved itself an all-purpose computer in the bargain
gan Digital Automatic Computer, it has the distinction of being
the Midwest. It is one of about twenty large-sc ale digital cor
Housed at the Willow Run Research Center, MIDAC'S units are o
ical solution to many scientific and engineering problems. Pict
metic control unit, with a back view of the same

tial to the solving of the
at hand, it is left out. If
sental, it is replaced by

it is es-

"Hunter's Horn"

It would seem then, that the
machine possesses great advan-
tages the human does not. The
machine is usually better cared
for, it has replaceable parts,
and can solve problems amaz-
ingly fast. But it is a miscon-
ception that huge electronic
computing machines somehow
think "bigger" thoughts than
most humans.

The big machines are quit
stupid. Their brainpower is a bi
more than a flatworm and les
than a moth. They can swiftly pic
out the differences between plu
20 volts and minus 10 volts (th
electrical equivalent of a yes or
no, or a zero or a one in the bi
nary number system.) If "big
problems can be reduced to ,
series of small "yes-no" problems
the machine may be able to handl
the job. (And a large number o
human problems do in fact re
duce to yes and no, this and that


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the level of the orchestra, but you
cannot demand the impossible.
His approach is "let us make
music together," rather than "you
play as I say."
THE ORCHESTRA to which he
has fallen heir is not the coun-
try's oldest. It was founded in
1881 by Henry L. Higginson, a
Boston banker and music lover,
39 years after the New York Phil-
harmonic began functioning. But
the Boston Orchestra is the sec-
ond oldest of symphonic organi-
zations, and Munch is a descen-
dant of a distinguished line of
permanent conductors.
Founder Higginson believed that
"the essential condition4 for a great
orchestra is stability." For more
than 68 years, only nine men (such
as Pierre Monteux and Serge
Koussevitzky) had shaped and
polished the Boston Symphony
The group has extended their
performances for musicians and
music lovers. They have made
extensive tours throughout the
country and in Europe.
Local audiences will have a
chance to hear the Boston Sym-
phony when they perform at 8:30
p.m. Oct. 24 in Hill Auditorium.
Tickets for the 34th local appear-
ance of the- Orchestra are on °sale
at the offices of the University
Musical Society in Burton Tower.

(Continued from Page 4)
next so that the end might be
brought about. She builds slowly
and her structure is strong. When
you have finished you have come
to know these persons better than
you know your friends. You have
lived in the hill country. It is
good writing and good story tell-
IF THERE is any quarrel with
the book it could be contained
in two aspects. The first is minor,
and not influenced by comparison
with "The Dollmaker." As im-
portant as the event of birth is
in the hill country, there seemed
an undue description and pre-
occupation with it. In Laureenie's
death there is some of the most
powerfull writing contained in
"Hunter's Horn:" an almost un-
bearable realism and emotion.
Everything that could be said
about birth, death or burial of
these people is said in Laureenie's
efforts. There is a reluctance
after such a depth is reached to
read the further incidents that
deal with birth and death.
The other criticism goes deeper
and lies less, in possible personal
prejudice, It is also where com-
parison of "Hunter's Horn" to
"The Dollmaker" becomes partic-
ularly interesting. Here the pos-
sibility arises that the strength
of "The Dollmaker" is there be-
cause "Hunter's orn" preceded it.
"The. Dollmaker.," despite the
,number of characters and the full-
,tness of their characterization, al-
-ways remains 'Gertie's story. This
is not so with Nunn Ballew in
"Hunter's Horn."
After the death of King Devil
you know that Nunn Ballew will
.build his farm again in the tra-
dition. of the Ballews. Ironically,
it -is his son Lee Roy who will see
to this even better than the father
-will: Milly Ballew, the wife, will
go on, secure in her love, of Sweet
Jesus if not always understanding
His ways and women's sorrow.
The degree of her real happiness
?will rest upon whether the year'
was a good one and her fruit jars'

are filled. The to smallest child-
ren remain unaffected.
W ITH THE affect on Suse Bal-
lew, the oldest child, however,
a division of the book occurs.
Suse, not Nunn, emerges as King
Devil's real victim at a time in her
life when she is most vulnerable.
It is a way that could not be
more cruel, for Suse contains the
past and the promise of the
Ballews to their greatest degree.
When Nunn Ballew substitutes the
hearthstone for the dead King
Devil he creates a final havoc
more terrible than his pursuit of
King Devil . He turns what had
seemed his strength into a weak-
ness, and what had been his weak-
ness into a strength to bring
about the final destruction of
It is at this moment that there
is the complete shift for the read-
er, despite the subtle building to-
ward Suse's tragedy from the time
of Laureenie's death. Suse has
progressed in the story ever more
importantly. Nunn Ballew is real,
but Suse emerges the more real.
Nunn Ballew is important to you,
but as you close "Hunter's Horn,"
and long after the reading is -over,
it is Suse whom you remember -
Suse and the- hill country --.
though it was Nunn that you
avidly followed, through it, in pur-
suit of the. red fox., "Hunter's
Horn" fails in this respect as
suit of King Devil. "Hunter's
"The Dollmaker" doesn't.
A COPY of this booc is now
difficult to 'obtain, 'except
through the -library. It Is well
worth, the- search to read it, and
better yet, to own it. Harriette Ar-
now is a writer who can -be read
and re-read. She gives the
pleasure of revisiting those you
have come to know and under-
stand, a, place where you have
been and would like to go again.
It 'is a compliment that cannot
always be given a writer, no mat-
ter how':enjoyable the;, story at
first reading. It is, a. compliment
that cannot be denied Harriette
Arnow in "Hunter's Horn" any
less than in "The Dollmaker "
The two books are entirely differ-
ent. It is a gain to have .read
them both.



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