Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Mystery of Ancient Calculator Finally Cracked 241

Posted by kdawson
from the Curta-had-nothing-on-the-ancients dept.
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 it works." From the article: "Since its discovery in 1902, the Antikythera Mechanism — with its intricate and baffling system of about 30 geared wheels — has been an enigma... During the last 50 years, researchers have identified various astronomical and calendar functions, including gears that mimic the movement of the sun and moon. But it has taken some of the most advanced technology of the 21st century to decipher during the past year the most advanced technology of the 1st century B.C."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mystery of Ancient Calculator Finally Cracked

Comments Filter:
  • slownewsday (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toby The Economist (811138) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @08:02PM (#16968746)
    Absolutely nothing new in this article, except that the latest team are going to be releasing their findings soon. Basically, it's a page filler, some entertainment, not news at all.

    Really, we need a new word, for news which isn't functional information, but just amusing/entertaining.

    I wish they'd bloody well get round to publishing the full translation of the text, though!

  • Re:slownewsday (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cadallin (863437) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @08:06PM (#16968776)
    Yeah, I was really disappointed. I've heard about this device before, and more detailed specifics about it would be very interesting, but this article is just a fluff piece.
  • stupid (Score:1, Insightful)

    by vincpa (646684) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @08:07PM (#16968788)
    Goes to show how stupid we are with the most advanced tech.
  • Re:slownewsday (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kfg (145172) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @08:12PM (#16968820)
    The entire story in a nutshell:

    "No comment."

    Film next week.

    Really, we need a new word, for news which isn't functional information, but just amusing/entertaining.

    "Rupert."

    KFG
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @08:27PM (#16968958) Homepage Journal
    What I find amazing about scientists is their dedication to discover and understand the past.

    If the big business (Sony/MS/Real *and* Apple) get their way all these little plastic discs and memory stones will just be pretty ornaments to our descendants.
    There will be no way to decode the data stored within.

    We will become a black hole in history (no goatse refs).
  • by kfg (145172) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @08:38PM (#16969050)
    The Age of Information Dark Ages. We live at the dawn of an oxymoron. Yay us!

    I can just see 'em sittin' around saying "We don't know WTF they were thinking, because we don't know WTF they were thinking"

    You take F451, I'll take Time Enough For Love. We can pool camping gear.

    KFG
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @08:44PM (#16969092)
    But it has taken some of the most advanced technology of the 21st century to decipher during the past year the most advanced technology of the 1st century B.C.

    To pull out the old quote, "It is twice as difficult to debug a program as to write it. Therefore, if you put all of your creativity and effort into writing the program, you are not smart enough to debug it."

    Without any information even about what it's supposed to do, beyond being a series of gears, without knowing if it's even a fragment of a larger whole - or even knowing if it actually worked for the intended process (or was the ancient equivalent of a buggy program), that makes for quite a challenge.

    I'm guessing, in the future, a massively advanced civilization that came across the ones and zeroes of Internet Explorer, without the O.S., without info about HTTP, without Windows or a computer based off that comical silicon technology they've only found fragments of, they wouldn't be able to figure it out either.
  • by Kadin2048 (468275) <.slashdot.kadin. .at. .xoxy.net.> on Thursday November 23, 2006 @09:17PM (#16969324) Homepage Journal
    "He declines to be specific about what the writing says."

    WTF ... so they figure all this out, and then they keep the writing secret? What's up with that.
  • Re:slownewsday (Score:3, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @09:24PM (#16969372) Homepage Journal
    Don't you just love it when someone posts an article that basically say "hey we have something really interesting to tell you but we're not telling."? Usually being a tease is considered mean.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @09:30PM (#16969404)
    Abacus: millions still in use today.

    Slide rules: very few still in use today, but they were very important from 1620's (when they were invented) until the 1970/1980s -- 350 years.

    Now, a calculator older than 5 years is a historical curiosity (although I still use a 15-year old calculator on a day-to-day basis).

    What we're seeing is a shortened lifetime for calculators, software, etc. which probably makes documentation less important (excpet for historical curiosity). You would not realisticly expect any software / device you design now to be in use 350 or 2000 years from now.

  • Most Advanced? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Thursday November 23, 2006 @11:20PM (#16970186) Homepage

    ...most advanced technology of the 1st century B.C.

    Given that we know only as much about such ancient times by the encrusted ruins we find, how do we know that this was thier most advanced?? Ive read about the roman factories [waterhistory.org] recently that gives me the impression we really don't know much more than what most og us have seen in Spartacus.

  • by xQx (5744) on Friday November 24, 2006 @12:06AM (#16970466)
    Yeah, and that's exactly the excuse we're going to hear over and over in 7,994 years when billions of man-hours are being spent on fixing the Y10K bug.
  • Re:Physical Perl (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2NO@SPAMearthshod.co.uk> on Friday November 24, 2006 @05:39AM (#16972176)
    "All the runes that you will find were written by the ancient giants of Gorfland. They are no use to you since most are simply cooking recipies" -- what game was that from?

    Actually there is still some controversy regarding one of the oldest cookbooks ever found. There is a recipe which was once thought to be for flapjacks. However, another school of thought states that it is in fact a shortbread recipe. The debate is over the meaning of a phrase which was translated as "crushed grains". The original discoverers believed that this referred to rolled oats and when the recipe was carried out the result was indeed a passable flapjack. However, on another inspection it has been discovered that if flour is used for the "crushed grains" in the recipe, then a delicious shortbread results.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday November 24, 2006 @06:18AM (#16972432) Journal
    Damm it, what a screw-up! I already knew from reading Galileo's biography that basically he got in trouble with the pope because the pope interpreted his book as a personal insult, and yet I still managed to paraphrase the "religious dogma" story I was taught ~40yrs ago! Worst still I got the subject matter completely wrong. I also accept that only a fringe element of the church still doubt evolution.

    In short, I stand corrected on both the pope and the evolution comment, and am willing to serve as an example of just how powerfull myths can be.
  • Re:Most Advanced? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by freedom_india (780002) on Friday November 24, 2006 @06:30AM (#16972536) Homepage Journal
    All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

    Democracy, structured standing armed forces kept separate from citizens, the concepts of Senate, Rule of law (although it favored citizens than slaves), engineering (they made bridge engineers stand under the bridges they built when soldiers were crossing to make sure it withstood them), navy, Predecessor to English, the court system, the Police (why do you think we call them cops now).

    If we lived under a Roman Republic now, am sure we would built bases on Moon and colonized Mars instead of struggling in Iraq.

    oh and osama would never have had b*lls to attack, knowing well he would hung by his....

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

Working...