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Recreating a Mysterious, 2,100-Year-Old Clock

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the and-you-thought-modern-gadgets-were-expensive dept.

Science 209

fergus07 writes "Swiss watchmaker Hublot has created a scaled-down working replica of the ancient Antikythera mechanism. The question is — why on Earth would you want to strap one of these to your wrist? It barely tells the time, and it can't take pictures, tweet or connect to your Facebook. In fact, very few people would have the faintest idea what it is, or why you'd want one at all. But for those that do recognize its intricate gears and dials, this tiny, complex piece of machinery tells a vivid and incredible tale of gigantic scientific upheaval, of adventure and shipwreck on the high seas, of war and death."

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209 comments

Rad! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38087736)

That's pretty awesome. I kinda want one...

vanity (4, Insightful)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087792)

> why on Earth would you want to strap one of these to your wrist Because here on earth, we know vanity and use status symbols to impress?

Re:vanity (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38087984)

From TFA/TFS:

The question is — why on Earth would you want to strap one of these to your wrist? It barely tells the time, and it can't take pictures, tweet or connect to your Facebook.

Because fuck you, some of us want to tell what fucking time it is without at least a 1GHz processor with 16GB of RAM, you smarmy Gizmag writer asshole, that's why.

Re:vanity (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088084)

From TFA/TFS:

The question is — why on Earth would you want to strap one of these to your wrist? It barely tells the time, and it can't take pictures, tweet or connect to your Facebook.

Because fuck you, some of us want to tell what fucking time it is without at least a 1GHz processor with 16GB of RAM, you smarmy Gizmag writer asshole, that's why.

Well, keep looking. Said device doesn't do that whatsoever.

Re:vanity (5, Informative)

The Yuckinator (898499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088350)

Actually, yes it does...

From TFA:

Hublot's own working replica of the Antikythera mechanism, scaled down from shoebox size to wristwatch size, and with a built in clock circuit so it can tell the time as well as make its astronomical predictions.

Re:vanity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088364)

Well, my iphone isn't a very good phone either, so I guess we haven't progressed much in 2000 years.

Re:vanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088316)

Mod parent up! I have no interest in a timekeeper that takes pictures, tweets, or connects to Facebook.
My wristwatch is small, waterproof, and cheap--with no Apple tax or Android Dane-geld.
Obviously, I don't want the Antikythera either.

Re:vanity (1)

capt.Hij (318203) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088458)

Obviously, I don't want the Antikythera either.

Probably because it is not a clock? Not even the posters can be bothered to read the article anymore. *le sigh*

Re:vanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088518)

Yourself included? TFA says the designer of the wristwatch-sized version included a clock, so it can do that AND all of its original calculations.

Re:vanity (3, Insightful)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088846)

At any given moment, I can see the current time on:

Office: desk phone, laptop, pc, wall clock, cell phone.
Kitchen: wall phone, wall clock, microwave, stove, cell phone.
Living room: cable box, DVD player, wall clock, cell phone.
Bedroom: alarm clock, weather station, cell phone.
Car: radio, satellite receiver, GPS, cell phone.

So I can't figure out why anybody would wear a wrist watch, unless for fashion. And that makes even less sense.

Re:vanity (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089000)

Same reason I wear McFlys.....

http://www.back4thefuture.com/ [back4thefuture.com] I feel like I am superfly in these monkeys!

Re:vanity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38089008)

On the other hand, I can't figure out why anybody would carry a cell phone, unless for fashion. And that makes even less sense.

Re:vanity (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089238)

So I can't figure out why anybody would wear a wrist watch, unless for fashion. And that makes even less sense.

Fashion is part of it. So I can tell time in meetings if there is no clock. Because it takes 2 seconds to look at my watch, and more to dig out my cell phone, so when I'm walking it comes in handy. Because there's something really beautiful about a mechanical watch with its gears exposed. Because you can get used to wearing a watch, and if you're not wearing one it can feel odd. Occasionally having an alarm comes in handy. Or a stopwatch.

Just because it doesn't make any sense to you that doesn't mean that other people don't have reasons for wearing a watch.

They also make more than one flavor of ice-cream, too.

Re:vanity (2)

CrispyZorro (1809948) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089364)

So I can't figure out why anybody would wear a wrist watch, unless for fashion. And that makes even less sense.

Because some people do not spend their lives indoors. Have you ever tried to look at your cell phone while riding a bike? But hey, this is slashdot. You might be one of those cell phone holster guys.

This has been done before (0)

Froggels (1724218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087826)

Re:This has been done before (3, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087888)

Yep this is far from the first replica, but it's the first one I've seen made so tiny.

Re:This has been done before (4, Informative)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087962)

The article mentions this, and has a link to it. Replicating the device is not the achievement, doing so it such a small package is. They also threw in a few extra gears so it can tell time in addition to everything else.

Re:This has been done before (2)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088030)

and had you read the article you'd know they even mention the lego one in it

*eyeroll* (5, Insightful)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087844)

it can't take pictures, tweet or connect to your Facebook.

Because THAT'S what's important in a watch.

Re:*eyeroll* (2)

Sardak (773761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087898)

Well, how else are you to let your thousands of "friends" know that you checked your watch?

Re:*eyeroll* (5, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089144)

My solution is just to loudly yell every action as I take it.

Ad for Fossil watches (2)

lauterm (655930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087848)

The ad I see at the top of the page is for Fossil watches. ;-)

Re:Ad for Fossil watches (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087874)

They made some cool PDA-watches that ran PalmOS in the early 2000s. I thought about buying one, but I can never come up with a good use for a computer with a screen literally the size of a postage stamp, while I'm already carrying a regular-sized PDA around...

Re:Ad for Fossil watches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088926)

I'm not an Apple fan, but I really dig these [google.com] .

Re:Ad for Fossil watches (1)

zerro (1820876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087914)

apropos

Obligatory meme butcher (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088168)

The ad I see at the top of the page is for Fossil watches. ;-)

Mother******* Adsense spots, how do they work?

(in other words, in order to read an article about a fancy watch and NOT seen an ad for a watch or watch-related service, you would need to be living in 1998.)

Re:Obligatory meme butcher (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088532)

There are many, many brands of fancy watches in the world. The fact that the article on rebuilding an ancient clockwork device has an ad is for a Fossil watch is neat.

Re:Obligatory meme butcher (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088796)

in order to read an article about a fancy watch and NOT see an ad for a watch or watch-related service, you would need to be living in 1998.

Or be living after 2005...

https://www.google.com/search?q=adblock [google.com]

Or, have the slashdot "disable ads" option available and checked...

I liked the Juggalo reference.

Re:Obligatory meme butcher (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088942)

I modify my hosts file directly. I don't need extra shit using resources.

Re:Obligatory meme butcher (1)

csnydermvpsoft (596111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089318)

I modify my hosts file directly. I don't need extra shit using resources.

I let Adblock do the work for me, even if it does use a few more computing resources. My computer has a lot more spare time than I do...

Re:Obligatory meme butcher (4, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089176)

The ad I see at the top of the page is for Fossil watches. ;-)

Mother******* Adsense spots, how do they work?

Actually, they use a complicated system of 84 gears ...

Well... (2)

esocid (946821) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087876)

Because you can. Obviously.

Antikythera in Lego (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38087904)

Antikythera in Lego [youtube.com]

I want one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38087908)

...because it is totally fucking awesome!

Amazing (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087916)

It's amazing in one respect, and sad in another. The Late Classical Greeks came so close to their own scientific revolution. If it hadn't been for the near culturally fatal effects of the Peloponnesian War, the Greeks may very well have invented science themselves. Can you imagine where we would be now if scientific methodology had fully blossomed 2,300 years ago?

Re:Amazing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38087966)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Amazing (3, Funny)

identity0 (77976) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088048)

They invented this watch, unfortunately they patented it and drove all competitors out of business before collapsing themselves ;-)

Thankfully, 2,100 years later their patents and copyrights have expired, so we can open-source it.

Assuming, of course, Hublot hasn't patented it themselves.

Re:Amazing (1)

badran (973386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088616)

It would be amazing if they can get a patent on that.

Re:Amazing (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089004)

It would be amazing if they can get a patent on that.

True. Prior art of 2100 years might be a small hurdle.

Re:Amazing (2)

linuxwolf69 (1996104) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089316)

But.. but... but... they added a WATCH! So of course they should get the patent

[/sarcasm]

Re:Amazing (4, Interesting)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088154)

Way past the distant memory of peak oil and even "post oil"? Not to mention peak- and post- almost everything else industrially useful.

But that's an incorrect historical take on the matter. To blossom a contemporaneous-like science requires, among other things, an extremely solid logical and mathematical foundation, way past what had been developed back in Ancient Greece, plus a very specific kind of world view that only developed once, under a very specific historical context. The first two aspects were advanced to the point of usefulness only during the three later centuries of (what we now call) the Middle Ages, while the third aspect required two more centuries, building upon the first two aspects. These three simply weren't available at the time.

What doesn't mean considering the possibility isn't fun. There are some quite nice alternate history fiction on the subject out there.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088276)

I was going to complain that that society felt it was ok to live on the work of slaves. but then I remembered what the world was like when the industrial revolution did take place (i.e. the christian church and its inquisition, plus implied slavery of anyone that couldn't fight back), and I calmed down.
to be honest, I assume human history would be more or less the same, except for the temporal displacement. american and australian natives would still have been nearly wiped out.

Re:Amazing (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088284)

The planets would be named Hermes, Aphrodite, Gaia, Ares, Zeus, Cronus, Caelus, Poseidon, and Hades. Not much else would be different, because the Greek empire would have devolved into barbarity just like the roman empire did.

Re:Amazing (5, Funny)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088446)

The Greeks would have known millenia ago that Hades is not a planet!

Re:Amazing (5, Interesting)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088816)

Roman society was born from and thrived upon 'barbarity' (an ironic description considering it is a term whose Latin etymological origin meant persons/cultures who were not Roman). It was not a devolution, it was the impetus and drive of the culture which led it to a leadership role throughout the Mediterranean world. This cold pragmatism led to things like the rape of the Sabines (which was not some aberrant exception to Roman behavior, marriage rites in the earliest Roman society included ritualized kidnapping and 'free prostitution' {citation: Otto Kiefer's Sexual Life in Ancient Rome, which is not in front of me at the moment so I can't give you a page number}). In order for Rome to achieve and maintain its success it had to actively fight against human rights and equality. It fought several wars against its slaves (the Servile Wars), ruthlessly put down several populist movements (the brothers Gracchus among many, most of which probably had anti-populist ulterior motives in the end anyway), and would decimate any population in revolt.

Rome fell not because it was brutal (as it always had been), but because it ceased to be. It had built an empire upon exceptionalism and an inhumane disregard for any opposition, and this simply could not be translated to fit the mindset of the early church as it was instituted as the state religion. It would not be until the Crusades that the clergy would succeed in bastardizing Christianity enough that it could be used as an excuse for further military brutality.

Re:Amazing (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088300)

The Peloponnesian War was not the only thing that was relevant. Keep in mind that Thales was of all the ancient Greek thinkers very arguably the one who was closest to the scientific method (in terms of combining both empirical observation and rational thinking). And Thales was one of the first. So whatever prevented a scientific revolution it was probably more subtle than that.

Re:Amazing (4, Interesting)

InfiniteZero (587028) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088366)

Well the Peloponnesian War predates this clock by about 300 years...

But the ancient Greeks indeed came so close to the scientific and industrial revolution that it makes a fascinating fiction of alternative history. For example they even had working steam engine and railway around the same time period of the clock:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeolipile [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diolkos [wikipedia.org]

Re:Amazing (1, Flamebait)

ks*nut (985334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088392)

What's amazing to me is that we have achieved so much in the area of scientific discovery and we're still pushing to see how far we can go until the home planet makes an "adjustment." Compared to some other species we've been here less than a blink of an eye in cosmic time and yet we've done a splendid job of fouling the nest. And the dark ages wouldn't have been quite so dark if "The Church" hadn't insisted on things like Galileo being wrong about heliocentrism until nine years ago.

Re:Amazing (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088872)

And the dark ages wouldn't have been quite so dark if "The Church" hadn't insisted on things like Galileo being wrong about heliocentrism until nine years ago.

Historians no longer use the term "Dark Ages" and haven't for decades. Late antiquity and the early medieval era was considerably more complicated than that oversimplification. Also, blaming Christianity for societal collapse in the Western Roman Empire ignores the fact that the Eastern Roman Empire went on for another thousand years, and if anything, it had an even greater bond between church and state.

Re:Amazing (2)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089010)

Slavery is another reason. There was no need to automate because they had slaves. It was a double-edged sword: slaves freed-up enough people to ponder the universe, but it also meant less value in automation. Greeks excelled at "thought science", but not so much at empirical science that required rolling up your sleeves.

Re:Amazing (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089016)

The world might have eventually ended up with a pan Greco-Mayan-Oriental culture going to the moon in the 1500s. Terrence McKenna describes such an imaginative sequence of events:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRC4GboGAno [youtube.com]

Re:Amazing (2)

bodland (522967) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089040)

Yes and thankfully the rise of Christianity's mysticism in the western world...that pretty much guaranteed a large portion of humanity would maintain a firm distrust of science...to this day.

Re:Amazing (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089046)

Nothing would have happened.

They needed all the modern tools such as heavy slave labor and better knowledge of metals such as aluminum, titanium, or even high carbon steel. Science achieved on the back of regular people that figured things out. The first high carbon steel swords were not made by scientists that were thinking about it. they were made by a uneducated swordsmith who had worked in a dirty forge for all his life.

Science rides on the backs of the common man.

I love the bit of snark in the article (4, Funny)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087928)

It was such a technological leap that no doubt the "History" channel has already run a series of "documentaries" showing how it was built by aliens.

It's funny because its true.

Who cares if it... (0)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087960)

Who cares if it can't take photos or connect to facebook.

It sill has enough wait to make a pig disgruntled if you throw it at one.

That's how the ancients used to play angry birds.

Re:Who cares if it... (0)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087988)

ughhh,

GrammEr nazis will have a field day with that post! :(

Re:Who cares if it... (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088138)

Wait, did you mean weight?

Re:Who cares if it... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088786)

Ever make a pig wait? it gets very disgruntled.

And since time flies, his sentence makes perfect sense.

Re:Who cares if it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088844)

I thought it was clever. Clock:wait......get it?

What I'd like to see (2)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38087978)

is a kit to build a working replica of the mechanism.

RepRap Map needed (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38087982)

If it can be done in LEGO, surely we can create the RepRap CAD files to make one?

Re:RepRap Map needed (1)

Mr. Protocol (73424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089386)

I wonder if anyone's done an Antikythera mechanism in Minecraft?

Oh noes a watch without a camera we're all doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38087986)

It barely tells the time, and it can't take pictures, tweet or connect to your Facebook

So? It's a watch, not a camera or a PC. Many people use watches, you know? It's much more practical than a cell phone, and if it's self-winding you don't have to worry about the battery.

It is truly a shame Ancient Greece was destroyed, we'd probably have spaceships piloted by nude dudes if they were still around.

Re:Oh noes a watch without a camera we're all doom (2)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088244)

Are you mad?!?! You like the idea of naked oiled youths zipping through the aether in astervarka, possibly meeting psychic aliens and bringing them home?

Do you really want to meet the nude dude with the Ood?

Re:Oh noes a watch without a camera we're all doom (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088654)

Or if Sulu was captain instead of Kirk.

You can't have one (5, Informative)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088026)

Per TFA:

The watch is a concept piece only, and will be presented at the Baselworld watch show in 2012.

Maybe if enough people begged, they might make a production run.

I wouldn't mind having one, but I'm not holding my breath.

Re:You can't have one (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088170)

You do know this watch would not cost under 5 digits right? I wouldn't be surprised if they charged $30k for it.

Re:You can't have one (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088530)

What are you? Part of the 99%?

Re:You can't have one (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088542)

There are lots of ridiculously expensive watches in the world. None are this awesome.

Re:You can't have one (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088690)

You're off by about two orders of magnitude. Check the price of the much less complicated Patek Celestial [jomashop.com] . Hublot sells watches for six digits that only tell the time.

Re:You can't have one (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088756)

Oh holy shit 8-(

And I thought the $30k watches were crazy...

Re:You can't have one (2)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089236)

There's one thing about that watch that really bothers me: it's only water resistant to 25M (~82ft). If you're going to try selling me a watch that costs more than I make in a year I'd better be able to drop that fucking thing in a volcano before it breaks.

a tempting online purchase.... (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089370)

That was a hilarious link.

Like people are going to be all, "Oh, I can't be bothered to go down to the jewelers. I'll just buy this $200,000 watch from a website."

Seth

aw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088130)

*Apple rushes to patent the antikythera mechanism*

Because you can (5, Insightful)

djl4570 (801529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088166)

"why on Earth would you want to strap one of these to your wrist?" Because it's twenty percent cooler than a Rolex.

Re:Because you can (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38089276)

EVERYTHING is cooler than a rolex. Rolex is worn by douches who likes to show off. Someone wise once said the only thing worse than a fake rolex is a real one. Calling this 20% cooler than a rolex is actually an insult.

Why on Earth would you want to strap one of these (3, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088178)

to your wrist?

It's obvious! So that you're ready for when the evil Kythera Mechanism shows up!

Lawsuit Coming (-1, Redundant)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088180)

Expect Apple to be suing them for patent, look & feel, trade dress, and anything else they can think of any time now.

Prior Art? What Prior Art?

Re:Lawsuit Coming (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088224)

You know, it's always assumed that the Antikythera mechanism's housing looked something like this:

http://images.gizmag.com/inline/hublot-antikythera-mechanism-first-computer-watch-14.png [gizmag.com]

But who says the corners couldn't have been rounded?

The ancient Greeks will have some serious royalties to cough up after all this time...

Re:Lawsuit Coming (1)

Freelancealchemy (1522623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088260)

Expect Apple to be suing them for patent, look & feel, trade dress, and anything else they can think of any time now.

Prior Art? What Prior Art?

Especially with: "Turning a single input knob.."

Yea, no wonder Greece is financially dead.

Shame on the Author (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088212)

If you have to ask "Why?" when talking about this project, I pity your lack of intelligence and creativity.

A lot of nerds don't get horology... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088262)

A lot of nerds simply don't get horology. They'll consider hand-crafted masterpieces as "junk" that your el-cheapo thinkgeek-powered watch renders useless...

But not all nerds are like that: quite some of them also recognize true craftmanship and fine horology when they see some. I do certainly see the appeal of such a watch for people into pure mechanical watches...

Re:A lot of nerds don't get horology... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088840)

The Patriot missiles ability to function declined over time because it is very difficult to to keep accurate analogue time in decimal format meaning the longer you did not reset the more inaccurate it got. A lot of nerds simply don't get horology.

Re:A lot of nerds don't get horology... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088964)

Stop saying "horology". It sounds like the study of whores.

Because let me tell you, the study of whores is nothing that needs a special name. That's just daily life around here.

Really, it is. I'm... I'm really popular. With girls. Yeah.

As I saw it... (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088272)

...here in an "extra" magazine to a local centrist daily newspaper, I watched dreamily through the train window and caught myself thinking: "Darn. This piece's price prolly exceeds the amount of my savings by some 100% or so. Darn...." How great it would be to carry such a thing on your wrist, and to casually explain its function - never mention its workings & innards - to fellow humans, e.g. on a party !!

Really cool ... (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088376)

So I'm suddenly imagining an alternate "steam punk" timeline in which we had mechanisms and gears 2000 years ago. It's always amazing to see what was really known back that far.

That's absolutely cool.

As someone with a lot of watches, that Hublot wrist watch is a really cool timepiece. A skeleton watch with 2000 years of history to it.

Though, as other people have pointed out, I bet this would cost a pretty penny.

Re:Really cool ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088536)

...it's just a leftover piece of technology from TerraNova...

Re:Really cool ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088842)

Does anyone actually watch that show?

Re:Really cool ... (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088770)

So I'm suddenly imagining an alternate "steam punk" timeline in which we had mechanisms and gears 2000 years ago. It's always amazing to see what was really known back that far.

Turns out it's actually mechanisms and gears, which means it's not so alternate.

Re:Really cool ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088878)

Turns out it's actually mechanisms and gears, which means it's not so alternate.

Funny, but I meant where they had been in continuous usage for all of that time. Not something which got lost and only rediscovered "recently" (by historical measures).

But if we'd had clockworks gears for 2000 years, I can only imagine how many cool things would have been invented centuries ago.

Re:Really cool ... (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089320)

Just imagine what we lost when the idiot Christians burned the Library of Alexandria.
Just imagine how much was lost in ideas because if stupid laws or traditions in a certain islam bible.
Just imagine how many scientists were killed in early society in general because their ideas or understanding was greater than some monarch, and we cant have that!

Humanity has gone out of it's way to destroy knowledge in the name of hating change. Organized political Religion (Catholic church, Radical Islam, Moonies, David Koresh, Church of the Latter Day saints, Scientology, etc....) is simply a powerful tool to help spread hate and control. None of these religions have ANY use other than to keep certain people in power and rich at the expense of others.

Knowledge levels the playing field, therefore heads of powerful organizations go out of their way to SQUASH knowledge as it threatens their power and might.

Not all religion does this, but the ones that have a few that benefit greatly over the control of a large group of followers does.

It supposedly shows Olympics time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38088582)

It supposedly shows Olympics time schedules. Sadly, not London Games included, too many missiles pointed at this device. More at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

I'd have to tell the whole story every time (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088614)

And people would get annoyed..

The 'Mysterious' part. (4, Insightful)

leftover (210560) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088686)

Chuckle at the "made by aliens" silliness as we all do, there really is a mystery to this device.
Archimedes was more than brilliant enough to work out the math for this orrery, also to work out the design for gear tooth profiles. He had the position and influence to have access to materials and the best crafts-people of the time. But how did they actually build that thing?
In theory an astonishingly good watchmaker could hand-file all those gears. In practice, I'm not so sure. Gears are finicky things, every single tooth must have the correct angular position, pitch diamerter and involute profile. A gear can look very pretty but simply not work with another gear. (I have made several such.) If you don't believe it, just go to a hardware store, buy a riffler file kit and some brass washers, then have at it. No microscope, no computer, no plotter. Any tools you hypothesize have to be built using the same starting conditions. It will be an educational experience. One of your observations will be that you can not see well enough to get the profile to adequately match the math for two gears to mesh smoothly.
So the greatest mystery, for me, is: How did they make the measurements required for this work?

Re:The 'Mysterious' part. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38088904)

"Gears are finicky things, every single tooth must have the correct angular position, pitch diamerter and involute profile"

no. The more accurate those things are, the better it measurs time. And this think wasn't very accurate. By today's standards.

"No microscope, no computer, no plotter." Modern tool might be dampening you imagination.

Can I use math, and pencil and a ruler? Then using that get a master gear maker to make them? because that's probably how it was designed.

Or even better: Imagine making a watch. Now imagine its all you had to do during daylight for months, refines and measure and test. You would end up with a pretty good device.

It's just time, motivation and patience.

To answer you last question. Make a slight change, test, rinse repeat.

Re:The 'Mysterious' part. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089340)

IF a man in the same time was able to draw a perfect circle, I guarantee that they could figure out how to draw the figures to map out simple gears that do not need to mesh tightly. this was a hand cranked device that moved pointers, excessive lash would not be a problem.

Soon to be a Dreamworks film (0)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089034)

But for those that do recognize its intricate gears and dials, this tiny, complex piece of machinery tells a vivid and incredible tale of gigantic scientific upheaval, of adventure and shipwreck on the high seas, of war and death."

Which will be turned out as a Dreamworks film because Spielberg will have always wanted to make a movie like this - it'll be 300, but with some yucks and absolutely no suspense as Steve finds it so enjoyable to have characters blather on about things to the point there's no mystery left.

come on people (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#38089106)

don't ruin the plot of the next dan brown book/ the next nicholas cage national treasure movie

this sort of speculation does not belong in the halls of science. it belongs rightly in the realm of populist lowest common denominator pulp fiction with paranoid conspiracy theories studded throughout

fris7 pSot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38089252)

May disturb ot4er notwithstanding,
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