Tag: bronze

World’s first computer told fortunes just like Big G

antikethera-mechanismeThe world’s first computer was the Ancient Greek IDC or Gartner Group of its day, according to researchers.

The Antikythera Mechanism was once thought to be used for navigation but a decades-long investigation into the 2,000-year-old-device has worked out that it may have been used for more than just astronomy and was a key divination tool.

It had been known that the bronze gears and displays was used to predict lunar and solar eclipses, along with the positions of the sun, moon, and planets.  However, without a user manual, boffins have been trying to work out what it did using the same method that people work out how to programme their video recorders.

The Katerina Laskaridis Historical Foundation Library in Greece had a deeper look into the tiny inscriptions meticulously etched onto the outer surfaces of its 82 surviving fragments. Some of these letters measure just 1.2 millimetres (1/20th of an inch) across, and are engraved on the inside covers and visible front and back sections of the device. To do it, the researchers used cutting-edge imaging techniques, including x-ray scanning.

Mike Edmunds, a professor of astrophysics at Cardiff University said that the original investigation was intended to see how the mechanism works, and that was very successful.

“What we hadn’t realized was that the modern techniques that were being used would allow us to read the texts much better both on the outside of the mechanism and on the inside than was done before.”

There are 3,500 characters of explanatory text within the device.

The researchers described the machine as a kind of philosopher’s instructional device. The new analysis confirms that the mechanism displayed planets, while also showing the position of the sun and the moon in the sky. This was because it was used for divination. The researchers suspect this because some of the inscriptions on the device refer to the colour of a forthcoming eclipse.

The colour of an eclipse was some sort of omen or signal. Some colours might be better for what’s coming than others.

It was not a research tool for astronomers; it was more something you would use to teach about the cosmos and our place in the cosmos.

There is nothing in the Greek to suggest it could be used by an Ancient Version of IDC predicting a downturn in the Antikythera Mechanism, but it could well have been.

Dell rolls out slicker, sexier Vostros

In somewhat cheesy fashion, Dell announced on Tuesday that it “celebrates entrepreneurial spirit with new VostroTM Laptops.” And by celebrates, we assume Dell means “sees a lucrative market for.”

But cynicism aside, the new Vostro 3000 series certainly does look rather tasty for a business lappy, boasting a plethora of performance options and feature flavours.

Core i5s, Core i7s and even mind-blowing Quad Core cor-blimey i7s will be on offer to punters coughing up for new Vostros, which also come in a range of businessy silver, red or bronze colours and screen sizes ranging from 13 to 17 inches.

The basic 13-inch 3300, for instance, comes complete with an Intel Core i5 processor and an inbuilt optical drive in its slimline chassis.

Meanwhile the 14-inch Vostro 3400 purports to offer “a full day of mobile productivity with up to 8 hours of battery life with an optional nine cell battery,” although any business person who is only clocking an eight hour workday is probably not in for promotion any time soon.

Dell boasts that all new Vostros have “embedded webcam and microphone for collaboration through videoconferencing,” or chatroulette if one is bored in a meeting we presume.

All the Vostros come with the option to add a galumphing big GPU from Nvidia and the 3500 and 3700 also offer the option of high definition WLED screens.

Slick stuff, Dell.