Booting-Up for fun and profit
Returning to my roots as I never really liked political "science".
When listening to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talk about the "Changing the Poverty Line Calculation" legislation she included these words:
… this idea and this metaphor of a boot strap started as a joke because it is a physical impossibility …
As I listened to her, I flashed back to the good old days then few people had any experience with computers. And, those that did, truly understood what it meant to "boot up a machine". Sadly, most that use computers have no real understanding of the technology they use so ubiquitously.
First: " … started as a joke because it is a physical impossibility …" is a so very important point because it is so cruel to suggest anyone has ever succeeded financially as a result their own isolated efforts. Financial gain, id est becoming prosperous only occurs in the context of a given social milieu. So, the old lie of the "self-made man" became the lie that an individual could "lift themselves by their own bootstraps" as a metaphor for "just stop being poor". The economic lie is replaced with the physical lie to make it sound more ridiculous because we all can visualize the absurdity of the impossible physical act. Everyone knows this is impossible … right …
So, what does this have to do with a computer "booting up" when it is turned on? The term was chosen as an ironic comment on the actual process. I remember it most vividly from the time I watched Dr. Marzke's graduate student boot up a PDP-11 that was connected to the various detectors and controllers of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance contraption that filled a large volume of the laboratory. I watched as the student toggled the switches representing the address and the code for the binary instruction set that the CPU would use to "recognize and control" the paper tape reader. Having "strobed" the "tape reading routine" into the first block of the "boot" blocks, the student then set the PDP-11 machine start address to the initial address of the aforementioned painstakingly toggled binary instructions. After the paper tape's instructions were loaded the student then set the PDP-11 machine start address to the initial address of the aforementioned paper tape's instruction set. FYI: This instruction set comprised the PDP-11's operating system. This then allowed anyone to use the keyboard, CRT monitor, and other assorted peripherals to do computer stuff.
Being the smart-ass of the group: I said, "You know, Dr. Marzke, you could just burn all this onto an EPROM and eliminate this tedious process by hardwiring it to the computer's main circuit board." He didn't do that because, as we all knew, it wouldn't be more than about four years for the first desktop personal computers to become available.
The only reason computers are able to boot-up with such ease is because the system is prepared carefully so that as entropy increases the machine setting between a "hot spot" and a "cold spot" cascades into series of states we as operators find advantageous. That is the "toggled" routine is loaded on a ROM chip set, and the "tape" routine resides as a "program" on the Hard Drive. As an aside, did you know you can modify your computer's operating system to do some really funky stuff?
As an analogy with the economic boot-strap lie. A carefully constructed economic system would allow the rest of us real access to economic stability, and an equitable share of the monetary system so many presently exploit for their own nefarious activities.
Elect Bernie Sanders, and maybe, just maybe we all can have nice things. … Oops, I slipped on a big pile of steaming political …