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An article in The New York Times in December 1990 told how a group of 50 Japanese engineers held a religious ceremony at a Buddhist temple to pay their respects to ‘old computer chips’. The chief priest dressed in purple robes, bowed low and chanted as a large tray covered in used parts was placed before a statue of the Buddha, waiting to be taken up to heaven. The priest, Shogen Kobayashi, said that he had “no doubt that revering the chip will pay off for the Japanese people”. As well as performing these annual ceremonies, the engineers said that in time they intended to put up a monument to these loyal but now defunct computer components.

(Illustration adapted by Simon Coupland from a book by Russell Chandler called Racing towards 2001)

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