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Ancient Astronomical Computer Decoded

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the consult-the-wheel dept.

Science 233

slimjim8094 writes "A mechanical device from 150BC was found in a shipwreck. Upon examination with X-Rays, the device appeared to be a revolutionary computer used to calculate lunar cycles. This device "is technically more complex than any known for at least a millennium afterward." From the article "The hand-operated mechanism, presumably used in preparing calendars for planting and harvesting and fixing religious festivals, had at least 30, possibly 37, hand-cut bronze gear-wheels, the researchers said. A pin-and-slot device connecting two gear-wheels induced variations in the representation of lunar motions according to the Hipparchos model of the Moon's elliptical orbit around Earth."

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I knew it! (5, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045640)

This new evidence clearly proves that the Egyptian pyramids were built by aliens with psychic powers able to time travel using Soviet technology acquired by opening a portal into Nostradamus' talking colostomy bag from the future!

Watch out Wikipedia, here come my edits!!!

Re:I knew it! (1)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045660)

I thought they were built by aliens who used them as space ships... StarGate...

Re:I knew it! (3, Funny)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045924)

That was the idea at first, but they were limited by technology and had to settle on pyramids. It is well known that the best shape for a spaceship is a cube. That's why they never got off earth.

Swi

Re:I knew it! Land that time forgot? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046226)

Yeh, this astrolube, ummm, labe, was probably one that got torpedoed in WW 2.5x10^-15 by the Proto-Soviets, who somehow bombed themselves into the future, but went broke and couldn't go back in time, so maybe this was another "Enigma" machine. Now, wouldn't THAT be, umm, enigmatic?

Wikipedia.... look out Shakra and the Sleetaks might be coming back...

Re:I knew it! (1)

Jerome H (990344) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046452)

You shoudn't have taken those pills...

Re:I knew it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046544)

Whatever the kinds of drugs you are using, I want it, and I want lots of it.

Re:I knew it! (4, Interesting)

Morphine007 (207082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17047132)

I know you're joking, but given the fact that we're finding old stuff based on some pretty intense knowledge, I'm starting to think that Graham Hancock might be right about us being older, as a race, than we think we are. [grahamhancock.com] He attracts a lot of criticisms, but mostly from egyptologists because his interpretations of artifacts found contradict theirs. The book is an excellent read though.

Though aliens would be fun too, I suppose...

Re:I knew it! (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17047364)

According to Steven Wright, he was paid gobs of money by the US government for years to research who financed the pyramids.
After a couple of decades, he told them "It was this guy named Eddie."
Now, I ask you: is Wright an Iron Maiden fan, where Eddie would tie into the whole Egypt/mummy thing, or a Van Halen fan?

Can you imagine? (0, Offtopic)

lecithin (745575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045644)

Can You Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of These? /sorry

Re:Can you imagine? (0, Offtopic)

tom17 (659054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046364)

A beowulf cluster of dupes?

How does that work again?

Re:Can you imagine? (0, Offtopic)

Faylone (880739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046872)

Isn't that what slashdot is? /rimshot

uh huh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17045648)

img-timeline

Not Again (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17045658)

This has already been posted before. Please, slashdot devs, make some system to relate these articles of yours.

Re:Not Again (3, Funny)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045712)

It's not their fault. Their calendar's gears broke, and they keep thinking it's 2005.

Re:Not Again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17045788)

Lunar cycles and Slashdot dupes. It could probably still be used today. Speaking of Lunar cycles, was it found next to a bottle of Primrose oil by any chance? That would explain the builders motivation.

Re:Not Again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17045844)

Many eyes make shallow bug holes! The code is there! Fix it, so the Cowboy can continue to listen to high-fi recordings of 70s grateful dead soundboard bootlegs! If you can't code, document slash! Make live CDs, and give them to impoverished nations! Only you can prevent duplicates! Contribute to slashcode today!

Re:Not Again (3, Informative)

Kremmy (793693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046030)

The initial discovery was posted before. This article, however, is about how it works. They didn't know what it was meant to do before.

Re:Not Again (0)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046298)

The initial discovery was posted before. This article, however, is about how it works

Bullshit.

It was discovered in 1902. Slashdot's search doesn't seem to go back that far. Both Slashdot stories are about the same research results released this week.

Re:Not Again (1)

Kremmy (793693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046738)

Released this week you say?
The article I'm referring to was posted a few months ago.
That means this isn't a dupe of that article, since this information didn't exist at that point!

Re:Not Again (0)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046906)

Released this week you say?
The article I'm referring to was posted a few months ago.


You didn't explicitly "refer to" any article. So one assumes you were talking about this from last week:

Mystery of Ancient Calculator Finally Cracked
On November 24th, 2006 with 240 comments
jcaruso writes, "It's been more than 100 years since the discovery of the 2,000-year-old Antikythera Mechanism, but researchers are only now figuring out how...


This search [slashdot.org] finds that, as well as

New Clues for Antikythera Mechanism
On June 13th, 2006 with 183 comments
fuzzybunny writes "The Register reports that British and Dutch scientists located a previously undetected word on the Antikythera Mechanism which seems to...


Which is probably what you were thinking of.

Re:Not Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17047262)

The initial discovery was posted before. This article, however, is about how it works. They didn't know what it was meant to do before.
They did last week when slashdot posted this story Mr. +3 Informative: Mystery of Ancient Calculator Finally Cracked [slashdot.org] .

Re:Not Again (5, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046290)

This has already been posted before

What was posted earlier was a pre-story. Basically, that this latest research had finished and was going to be presented at the end of the month. It has now been presented, and this story covers the details that were not covered in the pre-story.

Re:Not Again (0)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046340)

This has already been posted before. Please, slashdot devs, make some system to relate these articles of yours.

Interestingly, the Antikythera device had an 'anti-dupe' mechanism, preventing the town crier from proclaiming the same bit of news more than once. Those ancient Greeks are still ahead of us in so many ways.

Re:Not Again (4, Informative)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046382)

I believe the "news" this time is that the internals have recently been imaged in high resolution by non-invasive techniques, thus revealing more detail about its workings and purpose. This BBC article tells more, and mentions a Radio 4 programme to be shown on 12th December.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6191462.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Worse than a dupe (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 7 years ago | (#17047116)

I think this one is even more annoying than a dupe. The Antikythera Mechanism is well known and has been discussed on Slashdot manymanymany times. This is akin to a story about the iPod headlined "Portable mp3 player released". The name "Antikythera Mechanism" doesn't even appear in the posting.

So it's an astrolabe? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17045662)

So it looks like an astrolabe, works like an astrolabe, but it's not, it's a computer?

I'm only in history 101, and I knew what it was from /. summary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrolabe [wikipedia.org]

Re:So it's an astrolabe? (5, Insightful)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045814)

Perhaps you should take some set theory. Astrolabes are subsets of computers, I would think. Perhaps the article is stretching the significance, but it is a device to perform calculations, like gun targeting computers, and Babbage's computational engines.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_Computer [wikipedia.org]

Re:So it's an astrolabe? (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046410)

That's like calling a personal computer the same as a 4 function calculator. While technically correct, it completely misses the point.

Re:So it's an astrolabe? (2, Interesting)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046612)

Or like calling my TI-89 a "calculator". Pshaw!

Probably a prototype (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045668)

Overly complex and tediously designed. It sounds like a prototype.

The production version probably had a sleek plastic case and LED display, but probably only supported lunar cycle calculation and none of the other farming predictors or epicycle calculators.

It was the Greek Apple, so to speak. The Grappa.

Re:Probably a prototype (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045900)

Overly complex and tediously designed. It sounds like a prototype. The production version probably had a sleek plastic...

i-Strolabe
     

Re:Probably a prototype (1)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045986)

It was the Greek Apple, so to speak. The Grappa.


At least it wasn't the Grapple [grapplefruits.com] .

Re:Probably a prototype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046064)

No, you see... The Greeks and Italians have a wine-like drink called 'grappa'. That's what makes the joke funny. The Grapple comes from Wenatchee which is only funny for its sex rings.

Re:Probably a prototype (1)

SpectreHiro (961765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046154)

It was the Greek Apple, so to speak. The Grappa.

Dag nab it. I just spent too much time entering (roughly) correct greek in unicode, only to find out Slashdot won't render it. Grrrr...

Looks like I'll have to reproduce my lame joke in a lame latin approximation -- I think the original model was To Melon, and I seem to remember Stefanos Erga talking big game about how it interfaced with the Iota-Pod. Man, those were the days.

On a side-note, if I ever get around to buying an Apple computer, someone remind me to carve Kallistei into the side.

Re:Probably a prototype (1)

brassman (112558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046560)

>>someone remind me to carve Kallistei into the side.

*splorf!* Okay, Eris.

There but for the grace of God (1)

tdavie (872370) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045672)

and a few hundred thousand dead gauls, we'd all be speaking Latin or Etruscan. Would have been pretty cool if they could have hooked up one up of these as a fire control mechanism to a chieroballista. Tom

Re:There but for the grace of God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046556)

Most of the world is speaking latin, well "sort of", and you also. "Mechanism" is a latin word.
So, they where more succesfull than you espected.

The Antikythera (4, Informative)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045700)

This device is fairly well known by now. Google generates 455.000 hits on the Antikythera and has more than 800 images, including a 2005 X-ray image at Wikipedia.

Re:The Antikythera (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045840)

This device is fairly well known by now. Google generates 455.000 hits on the Antikythera and has more than 800 images, including a 2005 X-ray image at Wikipedia

I find this google news link [slashdot.org] rather informative myself. ;)

Re:The Antikythera (0)

rxmd (205533) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046454)

This device is fairly well known by now. Google generates 455.000 hits on the Antikythera and has more than 800 images, including a 2005 X-ray image at Wikipedia.

And Google generates ">more than 110 hits on the Antikythera on slashdot.org [slashdot.org] .

Re:The Antikythera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046504)

Link is broken, I have no clue what happened here, see other comment for a functioning link.

Re:The Antikythera (3, Insightful)

rxmd (205533) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046466)

This device is fairly well known by now. Google generates 455.000 hits on the Antikythera and has more than 800 images, including a 2005 X-ray image at Wikipedia.

More so, Google generates more than 110 hits on the Antikythera on slashdot.org [google.com] (I hope the link is functioning this time)

erm ... (1, Offtopic)

Eastree (719351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045704)

Can we find a new story to post? Here it is, just with a different news source, and only five days ago: http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/11/ 23/2242225 [slashdot.org]

Re:erm ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046138)

five days ago was thanksgiving weekend. puhleez don't tell me that you were browsing /..

Re:erm ... (2, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17047052)

I know I was. What is this Thanksgiving you speak of? Is it some pagan holiday?

Re:erm ... (4, Informative)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046314)

Here it is, just with a different news source, and only five days ago

That story lacks details, and notes that the research with the details will be presented on November 30th. That's today, and the present story covers those details.

What mysterious tommorow devices from today? (3, Interesting)

JavaManJim (946878) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045718)

NPR radio said that it appeared in Greek literature that other complex devices were used by the wealthy to amuse guests.

Currently I have a Nixie clock for the same 'guest amusement' function. In several millennium when this creation is rediscovered it will seem oddly complex and mysterious. Bill Gates and Scott McNealy, what mysterious technical devices are in your living room?

So whats a Nixie? Forgot already have we? Jeff Thomas and Laurence Wilkins build good Nixie clocks.
http://www.amug.org/~jthomas/clockpage.html [amug.org]

Cheers,
Jim Burke

Re:What mysterious tommorow devices from today? (1)

Przemo-c (1010877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17047076)

We have voltage meters with that kind of display in normall use on our technical university. It'definatly makes classes more interesting ... is it 4 3 9r 5 ... quick take a photo ... ohhh it's blured.... let's say its 4 ;]

Dupe (0, Offtopic)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045724)

It's nearly a week ago. I guess there are those who forget that quickly.
DUPE [slashdot.org]

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17047218)

Actually your post is more of a dupe (suggestion: read previous comments before you post?) than this.

Greek geek showmanship... (5, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045770)

"My gears outnumbers your gears, loser!" from the ancient scroll recently found called "Gears of War".

A note (-1, Troll)

azav (469988) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045774)

Slashdot editors should be required to READ SLASHDOT BEFORE EDITING.

I stand on the mountaintop, valiantly looking forwards to that one day in the distant future when technology shall have advanced far enough that slashdot's submission system actually automatically rejects the articles that are dups. Let the children sing their praises of that day; that day in the very distant future; that day when we are finally shall be free.

Dupe-A-Tron Contest (0, Offtopic)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045846)

I know it is off topic, but being a dupe I think this is fair game.

Slashdot should hold a dup-finder software contest. Scripts are submitted in one of a few preselected languages, and the script that identifies the most dups with the fewest false positives in 18 months wins a prize of some sort.

Re:A note (0, Offtopic)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046160)

why do people always complain about this. Slashdot isn't perfect, what is? You'd rather get your tech news from msn? Yeah, that'd be great.

Re:A note (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046832)

> why do people always complain about this.

Because it could be fairly trivially fixed, and would make Slashdot a lot better.

> Slashdot isn't perfect, what is?

Bach's "The Art of Fugue".

Re:A note (0, Offtopic)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046866)

perhaps trivially fixed, but such would be the task of the people who operate it. Its very easy to say something should be improved, not so easy to be the one doing it.

And yes, Bach does rock, although I've always thought Mussorgsky was under-rated.

Re:A note (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046962)

As previously stated, there's an easy fix for this.
Have the Slashdot editors read Slashdot.

Re:A note (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046444)

"Read slashdot before editing" -- easy for you to say, but have you checked out what that site is like? It's full of badly edited stories, dupes, misinformation, barely disguised marketing and I haven't even mentioned the cesspool that is the comments section yet. I wouldn't read it even if it was my job. So, what I'm saying is that I can understand why the editors refuse to read it.

Another surprising feature... (1, Funny)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045784)

It also accurately predicts the frequency of dupe posts on Slashdot. Currently, the predicted dupe rate is 2.314x10^6 Hz, or, a period of 5 days. Remarkable accuracy.

        Brett

Re:Another surprising feature... (1)

tygt (792974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045960)

Now now, let's give them some credit, and *hope* it doesn't get that bad, and give that exponent a negative:
2.315x10^-6 Hz
---------^

Re:Another surprising feature... (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046090)

It also accurately predicts the frequency of dupe posts on Slashdot. Currently, the predicted dupe rate is 2.314x10^6 Hz, or, a period of 5 days.

Hmm, 2.314x10^6 Hz would give 1.99x10^11 dupes per day, or 9.99x10^11 every five days. I don't think there are that many.

Re:Another surprising feature... (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046246)

I would say that's proof that it was a beta version. As was my post...

        Brett

Oh oh...up next.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17045808)

Microsoft Corp has filed a lawsuit against the Ancient Greeks, asserting IP violations stretching as far back as 2100 years ago.

Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer was quote as saying 'Microsoft reserves the right to protect its intellectual property for the benefit of innovation. Essentially, if you as a company CEO were to ask me if you had a balance-sheet liability for using the Antikythera Mechanism, my answer would have to be yes'.

Hipparchos, the alleged creator of the Antikythera Mechanism, could not be reached for comment.

Re:Oh oh...up next.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17047252)

ANAL, but technically, it could happen. The point is that nobody published the technical specifications so many thousands of years ago. If someone had published the specs, then the patents could be overturned with prior art.

But, if people invented it and kept the invention a secret, the patent can be upheld. So yes, it may be possible to uphold existing patents for this. I wonder whether it is possible to file patents right away - before the Antikythera team manage to publish their findings and have it upheld.

Imagine if that ship hadn't wrecked (4, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045838)

We might be 100-1000 years ahead of ourselves technologically by now...

*looks outside* Darn, still no flying cars!

Re:Imagine if that ship hadn't wrecked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046334)


Not only that, 10,000,000 channels and still nothing to watch on 3DTV. :(

Re:Imagine if that ship hadn't wrecked (4, Insightful)

replicant108 (690832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046762)

We might be 100-1000 years ahead of ourselves technologically by now...

Why would you assume that this was device was unique?

It seems much more likely that this kind of object was rare (ie, difficult and expensive to build) rather than unique.

It is important to remember that the ancients were just as intelligent as we are. In many cases they were also civilised and well-educated.

Re:Imagine if that ship hadn't wrecked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046976)

*looks outside* Darn, still no flying cars!
I used to bitch about this all the time until someone pointed out that flying cars have been around for years: they're called helicopters. What, you expected cheap, safe, quiet flying cars? Where's your sense of adventure?

That's why there's a Search button on Slashdot (-1, Redundant)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045872)

What do the editors think the Search function is for? How hard is it to type 'antikythera' in and hit Search? The dupes are out of control here. Jeez.

I think I figured out how to get more stories accepted on Slashdot -- just re-submit stories from 4-7 days ago!
1. Read Slashdot
2. Re-Submit Stories
3. ???
4. Profit!

Re:That's why there's a Search button on Slashdot (1)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046818)

"3. Relink to a copy of the story on your own advertising supported blog"?

Sophistication - Math or machine? (3, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045876)

It is not clear to me if the sophistication label given to it is due to the mechanics or the math. It appears to be in the math rather than so much the mechanics. But that is not surprising since the ancient greeks put more stock in math than mechanics. They didn't need mechanical devices because they had slaves.
     

Slaves were good mathematicians? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17045938)

They didn't need mechanical devices because they had slaves.

Since we all know the root word for Slave is the same as the that for the Slavic peoples, and we know those white eastern european guys are pretty good at math...

Are you saying the ancients didn't need computers because they had mathematicians?

Re:Sophistication - Math or machine? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046400)

"But that is not surprising since the ancient greeks put more stock in math than mechanics."

The term "Archimedes screw" has nothing to do with Greek orgies.

"They didn't need mechanical devices because they had slaves."

I suppose next you will tell us that no slave was ever given a plough to work the fields. Slaves must be caught, bought, domesticated, fed, watered, clothed, housed, ect, they are not without cost, they are mearly the cheapest form of labour. Today's slaves are called "factory workers" or sometimes "hospitality workers" or some other euphemisim, the same economic equation is as relevent today as it was in ancient Greece.

Moo (3, Funny)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045880)

Post: A mechanical device from 150BC was found in a shipwreck. Upon examination with X-Rays, the device appeared to be a revolutionary computer used to calculate lunar cycles. This device "is technically more complex than any known for at least a millennium afterward."

Translation: Some crank ex-programmer was gearing up for a raise with the loony idea of cyclic checks, and was ready to ship the classy object in C when it began to wreack havoc and the whole thing sunk. A new developer tried to insert a byte to handle the Y1K bug.

In related news... (3, Funny)

jtorkbob (885054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045942)

archaeologists also discovered: hyroglyphs depicting a story called 'The Antikythera Mechanism is for Porn'.

Re:In related news... (1)

heretic108 (454817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046532)

archaeologists also discovered: hyroglyphs depicting a story called 'The Antikythera Mechanism is for Porn'.
Well, yes - in fact if you put a quill into the angled hole in the smaller cog next to the main one, and turn the handle, it inscribes the goatse.cx image...

...well, it was aimed at the Greek market!

Finally, we can start using it! (1)

stoneycoder (1020591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045992)

The article hints that the fabricators of this device were slightly ahead of their time:

"...the mystery finally unveiled, we found the purpose of this device is finding duplicate articles on slashdot then preventing them from being posted, saving the editors much embarassment and nay saying. In addition to saving thousands of people having to compose lengthly dupe messages in high hopes it will get modded '+5 Insightful'"

Yeah, yeah, I know its already been stated, but I couldn't resist.

It wasn't actually bronze! (1, Funny)

Trespass (225077) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046024)

It was made of petrified GRITS!

Space:1999 Anyone? (1)

wolverine1999 (126497) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046056)

They had computers on the moon too...

Obligatory (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046080)

Yeah...but does it run Linux?

Re:Obligatory (1)

CagedBear (902435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046888)

only if you re-compile under 53 bit

But ... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046098)

Does it run linux?

television old (0)

loomis (141922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046116)

This is so old I've actually seen television documentaries about it!

Re:television old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046384)


In Korea?

Maybe time to add a few more gears (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046162)

Just think...maybe if they add 5 or 10 more gears to the device, it will then also be able to predict dupes on Slashdot...

They decoded it? (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046256)

A thing that counts lunar cycles? A lunatic. Decoded. Maybe I've been spending too much time alone reading /.

Too sophisticated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046276)

That's why the ship sank !!!

Ancient Problem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046326)

No doubt these ancient peoples used the most sophisticated technology available to them to attempt to predict when their women would start PMS-ing.

Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046328)

Yeah, but can I run Linux on that one? :)

The agelessness of intelligence (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046622)

Re being a dupe: The article from a few days ago was about a team claiming to have discovered the purpose, and announcing it would be disclosed in a few days. This looks to be the disclosure.

I think the best insight you could gain from this is that human intelligence is pretty much ageless. You have brilliant people who 'know a lot' today - but a thousand, two thousand, several thousand years ago they were not the least bit less intelligent, just building on less of a foundation. In terms of literature, technology and law many of them were quite brilliant.

Computer? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046648)

Somewhere along the lines, I thought the definition [google.com] of a computer required programmability and executing a sequence of instructions, and not just cranking a few gears

Ancient Slashdot article reposted. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046736)

And in a suprising discovery, they did it again!

Commentators of the time were aghast shouting words like "duplicate" and "post".

Math wise, simple yet briliant (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046956)

Just make a search on De Solla Prices diagram of the antikytheras.

Simple math that we all can understand.

The sun gear has 64 teeth.
It meshes with the smaller of a 38,48 gear pair.
The 48 meshes with the smaller of a 24,127 gear pair.
The 127 meshes with the 32 teeth of the moon gear.
The ratio of angular speeds can then be calculated as (64/38) x (48/24) x (127/32)=(254/19) = 13.36842..

which is an excellent approximation of the astronomical ratio 13.368267..

This corresponds with the Metonic cycle, in which 19 solar years correspond exactly with 235 lunations,and therefore with 254 sidereal revolutions of the Moon.

Thus. for every 19 (direct) turns of the main drive wheel; this produces 2,356/2 revolutions of the whole differential turntable, and all the gears mounted upon it.

This is just awsome. You can pin point where the moon will be located, just by turning one wheel a certain number of time, according to what year is it. Thus, you can tell what the tide will look like days, weeks, months ahead of your trip at sea.

How come this device died and disapeared for centuries? Given the Egyptians knowledge of the earths equinox, this was the key to discover America way before Colombus did.

Re:Math wise, simple yet briliant (3, Funny)

Himring (646324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17047334)

How come this device died and disapeared for centuries? Given the Egyptians knowledge of the earths equinox, this was the key to discover America way before Colombus did.

Someone found it could also play music, and they lost all interest in finding america....

Ancient Computations (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17047094)

The last time this research was mentioned, in a post was linked a mathematical analisis of a predictive maya table of Solar and Lunar Eclipses in the Dresden codex

http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?threshold =0&mode=nested&commentsort=0&op=Change&sid=208132& cid=16971732&pid=16971732 [slashdot.org]

After reading the linked paper, i got the impression that our culture falsely asumes that our common view of mathematics its the best one to use... and thats the first obstacle when trying to fully understand ancient maths practices

Re:Ancient Computations (fixed link) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17047122)

I dont get why some people never learn to preview their post to test their linked urls

Dogfood (1)

YourMoneyOrYourDuck (1033800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17047166)

It's an amazing achievement, but it was on a boat that crashed. Makes you wonder really.

The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17047406)

will it run Vista?
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