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Alternative galaxies - WAS Antikythera mechanism

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  • #31
    It may even have been on the ship as a gift from one ruler to another - or perhaps as very highly valuable loot from a battle.

    As to knowledge about it: the ship was sunk around 70 BC. Information about the mech may very likely have been in the Library of Alexandria, which may have been accidentally burnt down by Ceasar around 48 BC (or maybe only an outlying building was burnt down then). Regardless, the Library was also burnt down around 270 AD in a wars between Queen Zenobia and the Roman Emperor Aurelian, in 391 AD at the order of the Patriarch Pope Theophilus of Alexandria, and possibly around 642 AD by an invading Muslim army for reasons of internal religeous disputes.

    Not a lot of records of the Greek philosophers and engineers have survived either. Happens.

    Cheers
    Roger

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    • #32
      Comes to mind that there has always been 'gifted' people. It seems that the lack of tools and machinery, plus manpower at your disposal, is what kept people in ages past from showing or 'recording' their skills in durable form for us to discover today. I don't think there was any lack of brainpower, even dating back to the earliest of human beings- just a lack of a knowledge base. Plus of course the need to spend so much of their time feeding and protecting themselves. Not too many people back then had the time to fiddle with a South Bend- but of course some few of them did do such things, as in studying astronomy and making mechanisms like this one. There may well have been the threat of losing your life if you didn't come up with something like this, so it could simply be another rendition of a survival skill- and probably the king or whoever who subjected the builder to this task was smart enough himself to realize that the particular person was actually able to fulfill this task, and challenged him to it.

      Something does exist in the background, so to say, from which to draw on for enlightenment. I believe this to have been true for early man, as it is true for modern man. My opinion only.
      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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      • #33
        Beyond the actual mechanical art and craft involved, no small thing in itself, the underlying science and engineering must have been well understood and established, and the celestial information documented on paper (papyrus?)

        That would make the actual machine just a convenience or demonstration device, meant to impress or aid the less well informed in understanding or accepting the "magic". Much more impressive than simply reading a table written down on a scroll and pronouncing "tomorrow there will be an eclipse".

        This is not to minimize the mechanism - those of us who have designed and built even a simple clock can perhaps better understand and appreciate the accomplishment.
        Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
        ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Weston Bye View Post
          Beyond the actual mechanical art and craft involved, no small thing in itself, the underlying science and engineering must have been well understood and established, and the celestial information documented on paper (papyrus?)
          I agree, the mechanism could not have been built without all of the empirical astronomical observational data accumulated in centuries past by the Greeks and other cultures (Assyrians). So it’s true that the mechanism technically didn’t tell the Greeks anything that they didn’t already know via the data they had (and was used to build the mechanism). The mechanism was an automated representation of that data, the world’s first known computer.

          But there is another dimension to it. When long lists of raw, tabular data are recorded on a spreadsheet, be it in Microsoft excel or on ancient papyrus, it usually doesn’t lend itself to easy understanding. You need to be a highly skilled specialist to have any reasonable hope of interpreting the information. And even then, comprehending large reams of raw, non-visual data can still be a very daunting task, especially when the data also needs additional calculations to be performed on it as well. In a modern computer spreadsheet, you can very quickly transform large amounts of raw data into 2D and 3D charts and graphs at the press of a few buttons. The conversion from raw tabular data into visual representations greatly enhances the ability of human beings to understand and comprehend the data. Relationships between variables that can't easily be seen by staring at separate stacks of observational data for mercury, Venus, Saturn etc suddenly become clear when presented together in a unified, visual manner.

          The Antikythera mechanism provides the same functionality. It takes all the empirical data, mechanizes it and presents it in a brilliantly visual way. It very directly shows you where all the planets will be in the sky at any given time, including periods of odd planetary retrograde motion, lunar phases and eclipses. And it directly relates celestial events to major known calendar milestones (i.e. the Olympic games). The King himself only needed to turn a knob on a box and play out the coming celestial events directly for himself without the help of any astrologers. It had to be one of the earliest examples of a skilled person losing their job to automation.

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          • #35
            The idea that it would be produced in any significant quantity -- especially compared to simple items like calipers and winches -- is laughable, given its limited use and complexity of construction.
            The astrolabe was common. It was a simple device in terms of the mechanics but not at all simple in terms of the shape and markings as well as the use. It was a very basic analog computer as was the Antikythera device.

            I find all the suppositions we are making very entertaining. Many things were possible. So very unfortunately we will never know the truth.
            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Evan View Post
              "The idea that it would be produced in any significant quantity -- especially compared to simple items like calipers and winches -- is laughable, given its limited use and complexity of construction."

              The astrolabe was common. It was a simple device in terms of the mechanics but not at all simple in terms of the shape and markings as well as the use. It was a very basic analog computer as was the Antikythera device.

              I find all the suppositions we are making very entertaining. Many things were possible. So very unfortunately we will never know the truth.
              Sure, the astrolabe was common. Compared to the antikythera, however, it was much simpler in construction. More importantly, it was more useful than the antikythera, as it was a navigation device.

              You seem to still be trying to make an argument that antikytheras existed in substantial quantities. Common sense says it likely did not.

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              • #37
                Wes is that your creation??? if so you Sir are a talent.

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                • #38
                  You seem to still be trying to make an argument that antikytheras existed in substantial quantities. Common sense says it likely did not.
                  Not at all, it may well have been the only one ever made. However what does not make sense is that there is no evidence of simpler, much simpler devices using similar technology.

                  Think in terms of the development of microprocessors.
                  Last edited by Evan; 01-30-2017, 04:18 PM.
                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                  • #39
                    I did watch an special on the Antikythera mechanism recently --- it was in relation to the first water clocks, when water clocks started getting popular they were "cutting edge technology" imagine having a way of accurately gauging time and not just by the day but hour/minutes and seconds...

                    special little buildings were built to house them close to civilizations --- people from all around would go to them to then gauge meetings and events,,, they theorized that perhaps there were several or dozens of Antikythera mechanisms housed in the same way, a stamp of advancement for any civilization of the time to be proud of, a way in sorts of predicting the future of the heavens...

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                    • #40
                      The way the mechanism works very much lends itself to there being similar but simpler mechanisms with fewer features but still very functional. In that respect it is very much like mechanical clocks.
                      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                      • #41
                        I'm convinced they used some type of late and dividing mechanism.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by A.K. Boomer View Post
                          Wes is that your creation??? if so you Sir are a talent.
                          Yep, mine. The back story is here:
                          http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...ArtPrize-entry
                          Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                          ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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                          • #43
                            Why only ONE ever made?

                            Of course we will likely never know....

                            But one really good reason for there to be just one is that only one person felt like paying to have one of them made. How many folks would need one? If anyone else had one made, they would no doubt have wanted something else added, it's no fun to a ridiculously rich person to just have a "me too" piece of art, etc.* They pay for unique, and get it. Might even have strangled the maker to be sure nobody else would ever have one.

                            They had fewer constraints on them in those times, and the actual maker would not have been an important person, just a slave, most likely, just "property". The person who explained to the worker how to make it so it would do the right things would likely have been a higher status person, but he would not have himself known how to physically manufacture one, even though they knew the principles.

                            * Mr Bye alluded to this in the other thread....

                            Originally posted by Weston Bye View Post
                            I started the project with no intention of reproducing it, out of respect for a potential buyer. After all, who wants to spend large money on something that will be too easily copied by every Tom, Dick & Harry?
                            Last edited by J Tiers; 01-30-2017, 07:32 PM.
                            CNC machines only go through the motions.

                            Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                            Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                            Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                            I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                            Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

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                            • #44
                              One of the things I think about is the fact that it was on a boat to begin with --- if there were only one why the risk? sure maybe because it was being sold to the highest bidder, all kinds of pristine goodies where found in the same wreck but if only one existed it's more than a novelty - it's a powerful tool, a guide to the heavens meant allot more to those people then it does to us - generally,,, it was half their world - they had nothing else to base "change" of off - it was their living "movie theater"

                              could see there being only one if it was for some kind of ruler/kingdom/dynasty but in that case you would think it would have just stayed put - the person or persons building it would have been part of the mix or captured and enslaved to build it but indeed build it "on the spot"

                              so -if there were more of them - plenty more, then I could see them being distributed to outreach projects and or sold to wealthy individuals hence the reason on the ship...
                              Last edited by A.K. Boomer; 01-30-2017, 07:50 PM.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by A.K. Boomer View Post
                                One of the things I think about is the fact that it was on a boat to begin with --- why the risk?
                                Look at a map of Greece...

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