Apple software engineer Andrew Carol (woman's first name for a last name FTW!) went and built a completely functional Antikythera Mechanism out of LEGO. What the hell's an Antikythera Mechanism? *GW casts copy/paste and goes to toast some Eggos*
The Antikythera Mechanism, is, allegedly, the oldest version of a scientific computer. The Greeks, who used to be so clever that they never endured too much of a financial crisis, built it around 100 B.C.
Somehow, it disappeared into history's cracks, until it was unearthed from a shipwreck in 1901. It took imperfect humans another 100 years to work out that its purpose was to mechanically track the bodies that are in outer space in order to anticipate events up there that might affect life down here.
Carol used 1,500 Lego Technic parts and 30 days to put together the 110 gears and other pieces of the re-creation.
The two wings of Carol's machine, each with four gearboxes, manage to make the same calculations as the original mechanism. Each gearbox makes one mathematical calculation.
It's funny how they call Andrew by his last name in the article and it makes it sound like he's a lady. Also, that falsetto of his. But I'm not here to talk about girly-men, I'm here to talk about 2,000-year old gearboxes. Which -- if the ancient Greeks could make gearboxes, then they must have had cars. The history books are wrong! THIS. CHANGES. EVERYTHING. But mostly just history books.
Hit the jump for a worthwhile video of the device in action.
Thanks to big jerm, Kristina, Lewis, Wendy, Aristotle, Mr. Sausage, meeotch, Rev Dr Dom, and Ludd, who're all convinced they had flying cars in Atlantis. I believe it.