snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Non-UL Chat » Techno-Babble » Ancient technology rediscovered

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Ancient technology rediscovered
Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Salamander   E-mail Salamander   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
From Australian IT:
quote:
AN ancient astronomical calculator made at the end of the 2nd century BC was amazingly accurate and more complex than any instrument for the next 1,000 years, scientists said today.
quote:
"It could be described as the first known calculator," said Professor Mike Edmunds, a professor of astrophysics at Cardiff University in Wales.

"Our recent work has applied very modern techniques that we believe have now revealed what its actual functions were."

Hmmm... what will we find next? Giant mirrors used as a form of anti-ship laser? [Big Grin]

--------------------
"victory thru self-deception"

Posts: 2211 | From: Western Australia | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
trollface
The Bills of St. Mary's


Icon 1 posted      Profile for trollface   Author's Homepage   E-mail trollface   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Cool.

--------------------
seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

Posts: 16061 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


Icon 504 posted      Profile for Silas Sparkhammer   Author's Homepage   E-mail Silas Sparkhammer   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm still a little dubious (well, isn't that what first attracted us all to snopes?) From all I've been able to see of it, the Antikythera Mechanism could be anything, from a simple adding machine, to a rope-weaving machine!

I wanna hear what Phil Plait says!

I'd also like to see detailed illustrations, both of the existing salvage and of the restored device per the researchers' extrapolations.

I *want* this to be true... But the truth (bless its black little heart) doesn't care what we want.

Silas

Posts: 16801 | From: San Diego, CA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Salamander   E-mail Salamander   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
I'm still a little dubious (well, isn't that what first attracted us all to snopes?) From all I've been able to see of it, the Antikythera Mechanism could be anything, from a simple adding machine, to a rope-weaving machine!

And this is why I posted it to Soapbox rather than Technobabble.

I'm curious as to what bias the researchers may have had when attempting to solve the function of the device. Like Silas, I would very much love for this to be what is stated in the article -- an incredibly advanced (for its time) mechanical device.

I wondering though if the people involved went into this thinking "Hey... I bet it is some kind of astronomical calculator!" and made things fit together accordingly. I would dearly love to both have access to the full notes of the research and also the knowledge to appraise it for any signs of bias.

--------------------
"victory thru self-deception"

Posts: 2211 | From: Western Australia | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bug Muldoon
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Bug Muldoon   E-mail Bug Muldoon   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The researchers didn't pull their conclusions out of thin air; the reconstruction is based on a study of the mechanism itself and the writing associated with it. I see no reason to just assume they're 'lying' or 'biased' unless you can give a damn good reason for it..

--------------------
All along the untrodden paths of the future, I can see the footprints of an unseen hand.

Posts: 6912 | From: Flanders | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


Icon 504 posted      Profile for Silas Sparkhammer   Author's Homepage   E-mail Silas Sparkhammer   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bug Muldoon:
The researchers didn't pull their conclusions out of thin air; the reconstruction is based on a study of the mechanism itself and the writing associated with it. I see no reason to just assume they're 'lying' or 'biased' unless you can give a damn good reason for it..

The problem is, they bear the burden of proof.

I'm not saying, "They're lying." I'm saying, "Show me all the evidence."

I *want* this to be true; my own bias is *in favor* of their claim! However, I want to know more -- a lot more -- before I celebrate.

(I also wanted to believe in Fleishmann and Pons' "Cold Fusion." Alas...)

Silas

Posts: 16801 | From: San Diego, CA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Brad from Georgia   Author's Homepage   E-mail Brad from Georgia   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Whatever its purpose, I'm sure it functioned by becoming obsolete and requiring an upgrade as soon as possible.

--------------------
"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

Posts: 7581 | From: Gainesville, Georgia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Llewtrah   Author's Homepage   E-mail Llewtrah   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Hmm. As soon as it was up and running, stargazers discovered a new planet, thus rendering it obsolete?

I've seen several reconstructions on TV - both virtual and physical - and it does seem to be an orrery.

--------------------
Messybeast Cat Resource Archive
Llewtrah's Soapbox

Posts: 2040 | From: Chelmsford, Essex, England | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
James G.
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for James G.   Author's Homepage   E-mail James G.   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The Nature article has a bit more information:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7119/pdf/444534a.pdf
Or in HTML:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7119/full/444534a.html
(I think this bit is freely accessible, although god knows what cookies lurk on my system)

Those with Nature access should be able to find more here:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7119/full/444551a.html
And the original paper here:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7119/full/nature05357.html

--------------------
This is a public service announcement. The board is moving. Check Announcements Photos[/URL]

Posts: 1302 | From: Edinburgh, UK (Currently Nr. Swindon, UK) | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Andrew of Ware, England   Author's Homepage   E-mail Andrew of Ware, England   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Why is this news? In 1951 Professor Derek de Solla Price of Yale University began research into the mechanism, including x-raying it. He concluded that it was a complex astronomical device for calculating the rising and setting of the sun and moon and there were smaller wheels to show the rising of the most important stars. He drew a detailed plan of the mechanism from his x-rays.

Cicero writes about mechanisms used to show the movement of the sun and stars. Amongst others, he mentions one by Archimedes, which may be the one found in 1901. Similar devices, though less complex, are known from the Islamic world.

The recent research may have added to our knowledge of the mechanism, but its purpose has been known for over thirty years. (Many years ago I remember reading articles about it in archaeology magazines.)

(Reference: 'Ancient Inventions', James and Thorpe, London, 1995, pp 121-123 (and elsewhere))

--------------------
Andrew, Ware, England

Posts: 1709 | From: Ware, England | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Brad from Georgia   Author's Homepage   E-mail Brad from Georgia   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, England:
Why is this news? In 1951 Professor Derek de Solla Price of Yale University began research into the mechanism, including x-raying it.....

Because the new imaging techniques have brought out other inscriptions that previously were unreadable, including one that says "Round and round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows."

--------------------
"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

Posts: 7581 | From: Gainesville, Georgia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bug Muldoon
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Bug Muldoon   E-mail Bug Muldoon   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
The problem is, they bear the burden of proof.

I'm not saying, "They're lying." I'm saying, "Show me all the evidence."

Those damn scientists, withholding all their evidence by publishing it in Nature...

--------------------
All along the untrodden paths of the future, I can see the footprints of an unseen hand.

Posts: 6912 | From: Flanders | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Richard W   E-mail Richard W   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, England:
Why is this news? In 1951 Professor Derek de Solla Price of Yale University began research into the mechanism, including x-raying it. He concluded that it was a complex astronomical device for calculating the rising and setting of the sun and moon and there were smaller wheels to show the rising of the most important stars. He drew a detailed plan of the mechanism from his x-rays.

The BBC article says that de Solla's interpretation of the device is "now largely dismissed". It doesn't say why though.
Posts: 8725 | From: Ipswich - the UK's 9th Best Place to Sleep! | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


Icon 504 posted      Profile for Silas Sparkhammer   Author's Homepage   E-mail Silas Sparkhammer   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bug Muldoon:
quote:
The problem is, they bear the burden of proof.

I'm not saying, "They're lying." I'm saying, "Show me all the evidence."

Those damn scientists, withholding all their evidence by publishing it in Nature...
My goodness, the snark-bird left a gift in your shaving-mug this morning.

Silas

Posts: 16801 | From: San Diego, CA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mr. Furious
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. Furious   Author's Homepage   E-mail Mr. Furious   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Ancient technology?

 -

--------------------
"He's not gonna let me in, I'm Mr. Dirty Mouth!"
- Jeffrey Coho (Craig Bierko), Boston Legal

Posts: 8729 | From: North Carolina | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Methuselah
Happy Holly Days


Icon 101 posted      Profile for Methuselah     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
(I also wanted to believe in Fleishmann and Pons' "Cold Fusion." Alas...)

I really wanted to believe in "X-Ray Specs" technology as advertised in the back of 'Boys Life' Magazine. Alas... [Razz]

--------------------
"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 1514 | From: Wisconsin | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Andrew of Ware, England   Author's Homepage   E-mail Andrew of Ware, England   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, England:
Why is this news? In 1951 Professor Derek de Solla Price of Yale University began research into the mechanism, including x-raying it. He concluded that it was a complex astronomical device for calculating the rising and setting of the sun and moon and there were smaller wheels to show the rising of the most important stars. He drew a detailed plan of the mechanism from his x-rays.

The BBC article says that de Solla's interpretation of the device is "now largely dismissed". It doesn't say why though.
Interesting article, Richard. It does specifically say that Solla Price's interpretation of the mechanics has been dismissed, hinting that his interpreation of its use is still accepted. Perhaps he didn't have advantage of the other 81 pieces of the device that have been found since.

Anyway, that BBC Radio Four documentary looks well worth listening to. I will set my computer to record it.

--------------------
Andrew, Ware, England

Posts: 1709 | From: Ware, England | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
evilrabbit
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for evilrabbit   E-mail evilrabbit   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Mr. Furious: My thoughts, exactly. [lol]

--------------------
"My sandwich choice is uncertain, until I actually order. It's like Schrodinger's Sandwich."
"Is plutonium involved in this sandwich in any way?"
"Maybe."

Posts: 496 | From: Whitby, ON, Canada | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Nion
We Three Blings


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nion         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I remember seeing a show in the technology of ancient Rome a few months back. It mentioned that they were on the very cusp of discovering steam-driven power.

Can you imagine what the world would be like today if the industrial revolution started centuries bfore it did in reality?

--------------------
It can't rain all the time.

Posts: 1102 | From: Iowa | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Andrew of Ware, England   Author's Homepage   E-mail Andrew of Ware, England   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The Greeks had developed steam 'power' even before the Romans. It was a mounted metal globe, filled with water and bheated from below. Two nozzles emitted jets of steam which revolved the globe. Amazingly, considering how good the Greeks were at innovation, the globe was regarded as little more than a toy for children.

ETA: Just looked up some details from 'Ancient Inventions' by James and Thorpe and it was Heron of Alexandria and it has been speculated that Heron or others tried to develop the idea. Dr. Landels of Reading University, England made a working replica of the globe and found it turned at 1,500 RPM.

--------------------
Andrew, Ware, England

Posts: 1709 | From: Ware, England | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The greek design don't give much power, and requires more work to keep running than it generated.

A working, practical steam engine would also create a problem with unneeded slaves, which would be a disaster for the economy. There is little incitament to invent when you have a working solution already (slaves).

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cure the Blues
We Three Blings


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Cure the Blues     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, England:
The Greeks had developed steam 'power' even before the Romans. It was a mounted metal globe, filled with water and bheated from below. Two nozzles emitted jets of steam which revolved the globe. Amazingly, considering how good the Greeks were at innovation, the globe was regarded as little more than a toy for children.

ETA: Just looked up some details from 'Ancient Inventions' by James and Thorpe and it was Heron of Alexandria and it has been speculated that Heron or others tried to develop the idea. Dr. Landels of Reading University, England made a working replica of the globe and found it turned at 1,500 RPM.

They had a documentary on Heron on the Hitler (*cough* History) Channel where they showed working replicas of Heron's devices, including his automated "theater". Very impressive stuff for the era.

--------------------
"Of all the Daliesque tourist traps in the world, we had to walk into this one."

Posts: 1186 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Andrew of Ware, England   Author's Homepage   E-mail Andrew of Ware, England   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
The greek design don't give much power, and requires more work to keep running than it generated.

A working, practical steam engine would also create a problem with unneeded slaves, which would be a disaster for the economy. There is little incitament to invent when you have a working solution already (slaves).

Both points are quite correct. As the old saying goes, 'Necessity is the mother of invention.' They had no need of steam power so they did not develop it. However, heron's device was just a start. If they had needed steam power (or could find a use for it - say, in war) then I am sure they would have developed it.

--------------------
Andrew, Ware, England

Posts: 1709 | From: Ware, England | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Logoboros
We Three Blings


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Logoboros   E-mail Logoboros   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
There is little incitament to invent when you have a working solution already (slaves).

Tell that to Eli Whitney -- cotton gin, patented 1794.

--Logoboros

--------------------
"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

Posts: 1025 | From: Memphis, TN & Columbia, MO | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
tagurit
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 505 posted      Profile for tagurit   E-mail tagurit   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I received these links this morning in an email and hadn't bothered to look at them right away. Here's CNet's news article with some nice computer-generated recreations.

Interactive Relighting of the Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project

It's all fascinating to me, regardless.

--------------------
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
---
AAMAH

Posts: 8532 | From: Michigan | Registered: Mar 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2