SUMMARY: Press the correct buttons and the ATM spits out the cash you need for the weekend's jaunt. Lying behind the machine's panel, cables connect the ATM to computers that process millions of such transactions every second. Before this nano-age, people kept track of numbers using paper, pencil and an unfailing eye that looked at one item then the next. These human computers supported financiers and as George Johnson tells in his book, Miss Leavitt's Stars, they were also the backbone of early 20th century astronomy.

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