Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yeah, you can find cool stuff on old ships. Even sunken ones.

My sister once gave me a "Day-Night-Moon-Phase-Date-Watch" as a Christmas/Birthday gift. It was manufactured by a well-known watchmaker and it was bee-yootiful and --of course-- nautical. That watch was the pinnacle of wrist technology. Until a couple of years ago when I heard about this Antikythera Mechanism, which the NY Times informs us is "technically complex," as reported in today's Nature Journal. Its amazing motion is documented in this presentation by the American Mathematical Society.

I would've used it as a navigation device, since the bronze cogs and wheels gave accurate information about planetary placement, lunar orbits, and other celestial timing. That is, before it became a twisted rusted chunk of unfortunacy on the ocean floor off the coast of Greece.
Oh, did I happen to mention that it had been lying there since the Second Century B.C.?
Yeah, I know. They haven't found the Second Century B.C. iPod or Internet yet. But I'm guessing the ancients were probably better off without getting to put Apollo and Demeter on "shuffle." Has your urn got any "up-toga" shots of Helen of Troy?

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