Monday, October 30, 2006
School's been quite hectic lately, and I just had a visit from my Mom...And I've been hanging out lately...Robbie had a reading for his book that came out in Sepember, at The Half King on W. 23rd, where I learned about megachurches...I also learned that Tammy Faye Baker and Jim Baker's son has a church at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn on Sunday that's non-denominational, trying to break away from his parents...www.revolutionnyc.com. My Mom spent some time trying to get me to join the United Methodist Women's Church...She said they have a prime piece of property right in front of the U.N. building with a big eye in the front of it...Hmmm....Not for me...All this talk of churches balanced out by a bit of Halloween...Friday, I hung out in Greenpoint and Bushwick with Boston heads, the train ride home was excruciatingly long...Saturday I went to Sunset Park for a school chum's son's (born on Halloween) two year birthday party...They played that cruel, cruel chair game where a chair keeps getting taken out as everyone tries to sit first.... And also pin the acorn sticker on the pumpkin's nose game (like pin the tail on the donkey)...She had cooked up some of the best Puerto Rican food I've had in a long while...then headed out to the West Village to Tracy's vet clinic where there was a fog machine, alcohol brimming over the surgery table and nice people, Ollie, the dog was dressed as Gorton's Fisherman minus the slicker...there were horror movies playing in all the surveillance cameras...Tracy and Joan dressed as Gomes and Morticia...I wish I had taken flicks...Happy Halloween!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
The First Computer
A mysterious device found in Greek waters was not brought by aliens, but it was used by ancient Greeks to track distant stars.
By Stephen Ornes
DISCOVER Vol. 27 No. 10 | October 2006 | Technology
In 1901, divers recovered a shoebox-size, gear-filled box from a 2,000-year-old shipwreck on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea. Ever since, the enigmatic box—known as the Antikythera Mechanism—has spawned its share of bizarre theories. "Some people thought it came from outer space," scoffs Athens University physicist Yanis Bitsakis. "And since the mechanism has Greek writing on it, the other ridiculous story is that Greeks themselves came from outer space and brought the mechanism with them." More sober minds suggested the box was a clock or a navigational device, but even those interpretations rested on skimpy evidence.
Now an international team of researchers claim they have found the answer. Three-dimensional scans of the machine's innards, taken last year by an eight-ton "microfocus" X-ray machine built around the mystery object, revealed ancient inscriptions and complicated gear trains that gave away the machine's purpose. "It's an all-in-one astronomical device," says Bitsakis, who spends up to 15 hours daily deciphering the inscribed text. "In a single machine, the designer tried to put all the knowledge he had about astronomical phenomena."
The 30-odd bronze gears and 2,000 inscribed Greek characters in the Antikythera Mechanism helped ancient Greek scientists track the cycles of the solar system and calculate the motions of the sun, the moon, and the planets. According to Cardiff University astrophysicist Michael Edmunds, the box technically qualifies as a computer. "To build one of these is not trivial," he says. "It shows how technically advanced the Greeks were."