Posts Tagged ‘Song Dynasty’
Readers will recall The Antikythera Mechanism (“A Connecticut Yankee in King Agamemnon’s Court?…“), the oldest known scientific computer, which was built in Greece probably around 100 BCE. It was recovered from a shipwreck in 1900; but its purpose remained a mystery for over a century, until archeologists and scientists realized its ingenious intent: it’s an extraordinarily-accurate astronomical clock that determines the positions of celestial bodies– an analog computer with over 100 gears and 7 differential gearboxes– accurate to a day or two over its range.
Andrew Carol has rebuilt the device… in Lego:
Read the story and see photos here. And for extra fun, check out Carol’s Lego homage to Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine. As he says of his work,
Having always loved complex mechanical devices, and never having fully outgrown LEGO, I decided to explore where computational mechanics and LEGO meet. This is not LEGO as toy, art, or even the MindStorms® fusion of LEGO and digital electronics. This is almost where Steampunk and LEGO meet. Hand cranked devices that perform complex mechanical tasks.
[TotH to Universe Today]
As we revel in the satisfaction of making round pegs fit, we might recall that it was on this date in 1271 that Genghis Khan’s grandson and Coleridge’s celebratee Kublai Khan renamed his empire “Yuan,” officially marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of Mongolia and China. By 1279, the Yuan army had defeated the last resistance forces of the Song Dynasty, which it succeeded.