My mind has always been inquisitive. I’m an informational reader mostly, though I do fiction binge on occasion. I’ve read upwards of 20 novels during one of these month-long fiction feasts. When I’ve had my fill, I won’t pick up another novel until the urge to binge strikes again a year or so later. Along those lines, I enjoy documentaries far more than entertainment TV. (Inquiring minds want to know!) A great documentary is how I stumbled across the Antikythera Mechanism. Named for the island off which it was found, the Antikythera Mechanism is the most sophisticated machine known from the ancient world.
In 1900, a group of Greek sponge divers diving off the Greek island of Antikythera found a major discovery in an ancient wreck. Among the near-perfect artworks, they also discovered a lump of corroded bronze. Archaeologists and other experts in the field of ancient studies were astonished by it, for under all that corrosion was an analog computer more than 2000 years old. Modern computed tomography imagery (CT scan) revealed a complex machine of small precise gears and fine inscriptions written on the parts. We now know the device was made to track astronomical phenomena and their phases, specifically the cycles of the Solar System.
From this small and complex gadget to the humongous stone walls of Sacsayhuaman, Peru, the know-how these ancient peoples possessed never ceases to amaze. Just imagine what the world would be like today had the ancient libraries, those amazing repositories of knowledge, never been destroyed. It’s said more than 1000 years of knowledge was in the Library at Alexandria alone. As a person who loves to learn things, I grieve that loss.
Here’s a very nice BBC documentary on the Antikythera Mechanism
This clip gives an exploded view. No wonder the experts were astonished!
A historian explains the model he recreated:
There was a time when cards and letters exclusively told friends and family you cared. Vintage holiday postcards and greeting cards were often beautifully done things. That and the sentiment behind them were the reason so many were kept as keepsakes. From now until January, I’ll share vintage holiday postcards for you to enjoy.
Scroll down to see previous vintage postcards and learn how postcards became popular greetings to send, what is cost to send them, and about the big changes made after WWI.
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