Saturday, December 02, 2006

Old computer

ATHENS, Greece - Imagine losing a top-notch laptop into the sea, leaving scientists from a foreign culture to scratch their heads over its corroded remains 2,000 years later.

A Roman shipmaster inadvertently did something just like that 2,000 years ago off southern Greece, experts said Thursday.

They have identified a handful of metal wheels found in a shipwreck as the earliest known mechanical computing device, which pinpointed astronomical events.

A team including British, Greek and U.S. scientists used specially developed X-ray scanning and imaging technology to analyse the corroded bronze, revealing hidden machinery and a form of written user's manual.

"We have used the latest technology available to understand this mechanism, yet the technological quality in this mechanism puts us to shame," a professor of astronomy said.

"If the ancient Greeks made this, what else could they do?"

"And why was this kind of advanced work stopped."

"It seems that when the idiot early Christians subverted Rome they inhibited all forward thinking until the renaissance."


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