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(Sky.com)   Deep sea divers are on the hunt for the 2,000-year-old Antikythera mechanism, said to be the world's earliest 'computer,' using a suit called an Exosuit. The ancient Greek analogue device was designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses   (news.sky.com) divider line 44
    More: Interesting, Antikythera Mechanism, antikythera, ocean floors, rushing, Crete  
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3218 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Jun 2014 at 3:38 PM (49 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



44 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-06-11 02:21:28 PM  
kind of cool
good luck on finding more parts
or the rest of a TARDIS.
 
2014-06-11 03:41:47 PM  
Now that we've figured out what it is, it's time to get more so we can build the Antikythera cloud cluster, for massively parallel WTFing.
 
2014-06-11 03:44:09 PM  
farking Exosuit. First time you go in one for its 50 hour long duration test, just make sure your "bestie" hasn't rubbed the inside crotch with cayenne. fark you Mark, you're dead to me now.
 
2014-06-11 03:54:51 PM  
When they finish here, they can take it to the Indian Ocean and look for flight 370.
 
2014-06-11 03:58:01 PM  
What OS does it use?  Baremetal?
 
2014-06-11 04:06:45 PM  
Wait I'm confused, tfa says they are looking for this device, but I remember seeing a history channel documentary about this early computer like 5-6 years ago
 
2014-06-11 04:07:50 PM  
My exosuit has a metasonic locator.
 
2014-06-11 04:09:47 PM  

Comrad36: Wait I'm confused, tfa says they are looking for this device, but I remember seeing a history channel documentary about this early computer like 5-6 years ago


They're looking for more missing pieces-one line of the TFA did say that, though, yeah, the rest of it implied they were looking for the whole thing.
 
2014-06-11 04:15:07 PM  

Comrad36: Wait I'm confused, tfa says they are looking for this device, but I remember seeing a history channel documentary about this early computer like 5-6 years ago


They're looking for more pieces of it since the original was found smashed into little bits. Also since something like that is unlikely to be on a standard cargo ship it's likely there are other equally interesting bits in the shipwreck. It's believed the ship could have been heading to Rome full of valuable loot when it was lost.
 
2014-06-11 04:20:55 PM  

To The Escape Zeppelin!: Comrad36: Wait I'm confused, tfa says they are looking for this device, but I remember seeing a history channel documentary about this early computer like 5-6 years ago

They're looking for more pieces of it since the original was found smashed into little bits. Also since something like that is unlikely to be on a standard cargo ship it's likely there are other equally interesting bits in the shipwreck. It's believed the ship could have been heading to Rome full of valuable loot when it was lost.


It was intentionally destroyed and tossed into the ocean to prevent it from completing its calculations. And now Obama wants to put it back together.
 
2014-06-11 04:24:40 PM  

RoyBatty: It was intentionally destroyed and tossed into the ocean to prevent it from completing its calculations. And now Obama wants to put it back together.


It belongs in a museum.
 
2014-06-11 04:30:59 PM  
I though Manish-Man the Minotaur had the last copy... Or am I thinking of something else?
 
2014-06-11 04:33:44 PM  

WelldeadLink: Now that we've figured out what it is, it's time to get more so we can build the Antikythera cloud cluster, for massively parallel WTFing.


The thing that catches me about the Mechanism is that basically, even though it was rediscovered in 1900, had it been found any earlier that that, we would have simply lacked the science to have the first clue what it was.  it was created almost 2000 years earlier and science was just then catching back up to the level of knowledge needed to create it.
 
2014-06-11 04:40:14 PM  

midigod: RoyBatty: It was intentionally destroyed and tossed into the ocean to prevent it from completing its calculations. And now Obama wants to put it back together.

It belongs in a museum.


top. men.
 
2014-06-11 04:41:09 PM  
imageshack.com
 
2014-06-11 04:45:52 PM  
s3.amazonaws.com
 
2014-06-11 04:47:49 PM  
And queue DARPA making a weaponized version for murdering abroad in 3, 2, 1...
 
2014-06-11 04:57:50 PM  

Colour_out_of_Space: [imageshack.com image 800x408]


How do you know the Voynich Manuscript is an anachronism if no one knows what it is to begin with?

/Just sayin'
 
2014-06-11 05:00:46 PM  
Why did they drop it back in the ocean?
 
2014-06-11 05:00:49 PM  

Magorn: it was created almost 2000 years earlier and science was just then catching back up to the level of knowledge needed to create it.


And now we make it out of toys.
www.wired.com
I guess it's time for civilization to fall again so that in another 2000 years they can find this one.
 
2014-06-11 05:01:52 PM  

gu1tarjohn: And queue DARPA making a weaponized version for murdering abroad in 3, 2, 1...


ooooh, DARPA is scary!!!!!

avenueedmonton.com
 
2014-06-11 05:02:59 PM  

Magorn: WelldeadLink: Now that we've figured out what it is, it's time to get more so we can build the Antikythera cloud cluster, for massively parallel WTFing.

The thing that catches me about the Mechanism is that basically, even though it was rediscovered in 1900, had it been found any earlier that that, we would have simply lacked the science to have the first clue what it was.  it was created almost 2000 years earlier and science was just then catching back up to the level of knowledge needed to create it.


Civilizations are like that, they peak and learn nifty things, then crash hard.

Think Roman empire roads, Athens, cathedrals... then think of most of the world scratching for a living with their turnip plots.
 
2014-06-11 05:08:37 PM  
It's a man-made artifact. Meaning if they find the rest and assemble it they'll just discover it's some kind of porn.
 
2014-06-11 05:15:59 PM  
img.fark.net
 
2014-06-11 05:29:21 PM  
Get out of the suit. Found it....
The Antikythera mechanism is kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 2 rows over next to the  remnants of Cthulus Palace, under the Holy Grail, right above the beets, yeah right there.
 
2014-06-11 06:13:11 PM  
4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-06-11 06:38:02 PM  

Ego edo infantia cattus: Colour_out_of_Space: [imageshack.com image 800x408]

How do you know the Voynich Manuscript is an anachronism if no one knows what it is to begin with?

/Just sayin'


But it's so obvious!

imgs.xkcd.com
 
2014-06-11 07:24:05 PM  
Here's what they found:
www.age-of-the-sage.org
Here's what they think it looked like and what it did:
weirdworldwonders.com
And watch this just to prove that it is man-made, well within the technological limits of the time, and has nothing to do with aliens.  And this as well.
 
2014-06-11 07:36:32 PM  

Slappy McCynical: Get out of the suit. Found it....
The Antikythera mechanism is kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 2 rows over next to the  remnants of Cthulus Palace, under the Holy Grail, right above the beets, yeah right there.


The one thing I didn't get to see when I visited last fall.  Not open late enough on Sunday at the start of the trip, and rain delayed the trip back at the end.
 
2014-06-11 07:53:45 PM  

SewerSquirrels: Magorn: it was created almost 2000 years earlier and science was just then catching back up to the level of knowledge needed to create it.

And now we make it out of toys.

I guess it's time for civilization to fall again so that in another 2000 years they can find this one.


That is pretty awesome, I'd like to have one
/shutupandtakemymoney.gif
 
2014-06-11 08:23:20 PM  
I dont understand why we always assume that arcane relics from previous eras are for tracking astronomical cycles. It could just as well be a device for calculating interest rates or a version of the slide rule, or an ancient Speak and Spell for all we know.
 
2014-06-11 08:38:57 PM  

WelldeadLink: Now that we've figured out what it is, it's time to get more so we can build the Antikythera cloud cluster, for massively parallel WTFing.


Can't be done.  The Antikythera mechanism is not a programmable computer, so you'd need to completely redesign it in order to take advantage of clustering.

/should be obvious, but I remember an old History Channel documentary tried to compare it to the modern Blackberry
 
2014-06-11 08:39:49 PM  

severedtoe: I though Manish-Man the Minotaur had the last copy... Or am I thinking of something else?


Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun.
 
2014-06-11 11:10:20 PM  
 
2014-06-11 11:29:35 PM  
Heraclitus:

I dont understand why we always assume that arcane relics from previous eras are for tracking astronomical cycles. It could just as well be a device for calculating interest rates or a version of the slide rule, or an ancient Speak and Spell for all we know.

We know it's an astronomical device because THAT'S WHAT THE WRITING ON IT SAYS IT IS.  Of course, it's in Ancient Greek, but some people can read that.  Also, there's nothing mysterious abut it.  It encodes eclipse tables that were well-known at the time.  All it does is encode those tables so that any moron can operate it by turning the crank.  It was the Ronco Eclipse-O-Matic of its day, and was probably advertised by one of Billy Mays' ancestors, and overpriced.
 
2014-06-12 12:41:50 AM  

anfrind: WelldeadLink: Now that we've figured out what it is, it's time to get more so we can build the Antikythera cloud cluster, for massively parallel WTFing.

Can't be done.  The Antikythera mechanism is not a programmable computer, so you'd need to completely redesign it in order to take advantage of clustering.

/should be obvious, but I remember an old History Channel documentary tried to compare it to the modern Blackberry


But the mouse in step 7 is programmable.
 
2014-06-12 04:25:01 AM  
i.imgur.com
 
2014-06-12 09:12:57 AM  

Creepy Lurker Guy: Heraclitus:

I dont understand why we always assume that arcane relics from previous eras are for tracking astronomical cycles. It could just as well be a device for calculating interest rates or a version of the slide rule, or an ancient Speak and Spell for all we know.

We know it's an astronomical device because THAT'S WHAT THE WRITING ON IT SAYS IT IS.  Of course, it's in Ancient Greek, but some people can read that.  Also, there's nothing mysterious abut it.  It encodes eclipse tables that were well-known at the time.  All it does is encode those tables so that any moron can operate it by turning the crank.  It was the Ronco Eclipse-O-Matic of its day, and was probably advertised by one of Billy Mays' ancestors, and overpriced.


Was there a  practical use for an eclipse-o-matic?  My best guess is that it's something the priests used to terrify the local rubes with their ability to blot out the Sun on command.
 
2014-06-12 10:48:59 AM  
Was there a  practical use for an eclipse-o-matic?

Since it encoded calculations that were well-known to scholars at the time, my theory is that it made these calculations trivially easy for anyone who could afford one.

So imagine this:  Greek Billy Mays travels around selling these to all the rich nobles and kings.  The kings say:  "Hey, I can do my WON astrological calculations now!"  They fire their court astrologers, mages and wizards.  The astrologers, mages and wizards are now all out of cushy jobs, and track down Greek Billy Mays, kill him, and systematically track down and destroy every one of these calculators, hence the only surviving one is at the bottom of the sea.

You've seen this exact scenario play out in the modern tech-world many times.  The ancient Greeks were just more successful at destroying them.  Imagine what it would be like if the music industry had destroyed every IPod, and future archeologists found one in a cave somewhere and said WTF?

A couple notes:  The Antikythera Mechanism is mechanically perfect.  There are no trial-hole, adjustments, shims or corrections.  It is NOT a prototype.  The gears very in size and number of teeth, but the teeth-per-inch on each of them is the same.  This speaks of common tooling.  Even eorder, each gear attaches to its shaft with a different spline.  One is square,one is triangular, one is bigger.  It is impossible to assemble incorrectly.  It was designed to be mass-assembeld by untrained morons.  This looks like the product of an assembly-line, not  a lone craftsman working late at night. Also, there are tow engraved pates with it, with the instructions.  It was designed for use by someone unskilled in astronomy, and it wasn't well-known or it wouldn't; need instructions.  It really smells to me like it was intended to put the court-astrologers out of a job.

Also, it is named "Antikythera", after the island where it was found.  Imagine if it had been found off the coast of Lesbos, and was known as "The Lesbian Mechanism".
 
2014-06-12 11:26:01 AM  
I highly recommend the book about it. I forget the author, but its all about the machine, the various theories about it, how it was found, etc.
 
2014-06-12 12:47:36 PM  
All you antikythera people make me sick.

Me, I'm prokythera.  It's a smarter way to live.
 
2014-06-12 01:14:48 PM  
The antikythera mechanism is quite obviously a power calculator and director used to focus the celestial energy of the cosmos. First developed by Ktesibios of Alexandria, ca. 250 B.C., it was an appliance that plugged into the energy collected by the Pharos of Alexandria in order to channel it into multiple useful directions.

See, the orginal pharaohs had long known how to collect and direct the celestial energy of the spheres. However, their first efforts were bulky, time consuming, and were essentially single purpose. The necromantic spells cast by the pyramids couldn't be redirected by later users towards more useful things, like spells for empowering armies or growing crops. This limited their usefulness dramatically, which led to their lack of maintenance and the eventual dissolution of the spells.

However, with the arrival of Alexander the Great in Egypt, interest in controlling and directing celestial energy was reborn. Alexander had observed many great metaphysical feats during his conquest of India and the Far East, and brought back with him many methods that had been lost to the Egyptians. His assassination was directed by the occult forces intending to prevent the rebirth of Western magic, but his secrets had already been communicated to the community he founded in his name, at his chosen location: Alexandria.

In Alexandria, the construction of the Pharos was intended to provide a new collector and source for celestial energy. Unlike the Pyramids, however, this collector would be capable of being diverted to multiple uses, instead of being "hard wired" towards a single spell. The antikythera mechanism was developed to calculate power levels and direct them to the appropriate locations. It's unclear as to how the mechanism redirected the power exactly, as those pieces were undoubtedly destroyed and lost, but the calculations necessary to balance the load are still visible in the face of the device. First, the available amount of power must be evaluated, then the amount required for the spell must be calculated. Somewhere within the now-destroyed mechanism was a gate that prevented surges and probably evened the flow of power so it could be handled by the adept performing the spell. Too much power and you'd blow out your adept's mind; too little, and the spell would fizzle. Calculating stresses and loads was obviously a very dangerous and delicate task which must be carried out by experts - mess up the math, and boom goes your head.

Obviously, Ptolemy III and Ctesibius were the right kind of experts, as their success can be seen in the results. Ptolemy III, who first was able to take advantage of the fully operational system, conquered essentially the entire eastern end of the Mediterranean, all the way around to Greece and up into what is now Bulgaria. With the death ca. 220 B.C. of both Ctesibius, the mystical engineer and wizard who built the mechanism, and Ptolemy III, the sorcerer king who used it, the Ptolemaic kingdom faced a crisis in its magical corps. Ptolemy IV had not been trained in operating the antikythera to direct the energy collected by the Pharos. The Ptolemies fell into disaster without the magical support they had previously counted upon.

Eventually, however, the workings of the mechanism were rediscovered by Cleopatra, who, instead of directing the celestial energies into warfare and combat, used it towards more subtle ends. She corrupted Julius Caesar with its power and brought him under her sway. Indeed, the mechanism discovered in the Mediterranean was a copy she had had made to send to Rome to aid Caesar in his struggle to bring about an empire. The fact that it ended up on the bottom of the sea instead of in Caesar's hands is what resulted in his death by assassination.

Cleopatra still had her remaining mechanism, however, and she used it to repeat the same plan, this time ensnaring Mark Anthony. She had no talent to direct the mechanism towards warfare and this lack cost both her and Mark Anthony dearly. It appears that she attempted a ritual to aid Anthony in his war against Octavian, but this ritual was unsuccessful, resulting both in her death and Anthony's defeat. It's unclear what happened to the remaining mechanism at Cleopatra's death - it might've been destroyed in the same ritual that destroyed her.

Anyway, hope this clears some things up.
 
2014-06-12 04:21:52 PM  
phyrkrakr:

Needs moar aliens.
 
2014-06-12 06:04:58 PM  

anfrind: phyrkrakr:

Needs moar aliens.


DAMMIT. Knew there was something missing. Um...the Pharos was built out of cannibalized Stargate parts left behind by the aliens after they decamped from the Giza plateau?
 
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