2,100-year-old gadget tracked Olympics

July 30, 2008 By DEREK GATOPOULOS , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- An astronomical calculator, considered a technological marvel of antiquity, was also used to track dates of the ancient Olympic games, researchers have found.



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DoctorKnowledge
2.5 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2008
It's amazing what new discoveries keep coming from the Antikythera Mechanism. In other circumstances, you'd start suspecting the whole thing is a hoax (which it isn't). As many people have pointed out, such a sophisticated device could not have been unique -- there's a lot of technical know-how that would have to have been gained by experience. That caused me to wonder...this device must have been famous, probably was in use for decades. Are these new words just found part of the original device? Or something added decades later by other than the original designers?
nilbud
1 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2008
"It is perhaps not extravagant to see the mechanism as a microcosm illustrating the temporal harmonization of human and divine order."
Oh it's a bit extravagant all right, just a tad.
robbor
not rated yet Jul 31, 2008
an amazing machine. here's a link to a fine article published in the New Yorkerin 2007 regarding the Mechanism - http://www.newyor...seabrook
DoctorKnowledge
2.5 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2008
Yes, nilbud, my reaction was the same. Then I thought, wait, maybe that's true in a quite literal sense. I mean this: Why would what is probably the most sophisticated device in the ancient world be marked to keep track of the Olympics? If the only deciding factor for the Olympics was that four winters had passed since the last one, that determination wouldn't take a technical marvel to figure out. So, then, what would have been so important as to need the device? Ok, so we're talking superstition. But maybe the motivation behind the device *was* largely superstition.

It might explain one thing very neatly: Why would such advanced technology not have been perpetuated? Brought into other disciplines? Answer: Whatever cult or superstition put value in it became discredited. The device seen as "hocus-pocus". I.e., from the broader perspective, the rational perspective, it would have been an irrational decision.

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