Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chronological Snobbery

C.S. Lewis coined the term "chronological snobbery" and talking about the myth of progress. In the popular mind, anything older than yesterday is old fashioned and impossibly out of date. In the face of the constant technological flux this may be understandable but it ought to be sobering to realize that we really don't know how the pyramids were made and the columns of the Parthenon are really a wonder. Perhaps the ancients didn't have everything figured out, but they knew a heck of a lot more than we generally give them credit for.

The Antikythera mechanism is a mechanical analog computer recovered from an ancient shipwreck estimated to be from about 150 B.C. and recovered in 1902 from the sea floor near the Greek island of Antikythera. It depicts the locations of the moon and the five planets known at the time. Check out the video below from the New Scientist

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