Sunday, June 3, 2007

51. Calculation

(human minds, abacus, computer, copper, silicon, superconductors, cynanobacteria, etc.)

Antikythera Mechanism (Short Introduction)

7:52 min.

More than 21 centuries ago, a mechanism of fabulous ingenuity was created in Greece, a device capable of indicating exactly how the sky would look for decades to come -- the position of the moon and sun, lunar phases and even eclipses. But this incredible invention would be drowned in the sea and its secret forgotten for two thousand years. This video is a tribute from Swiss clock-maker Hublot and film-maker Philippe Nicolet to this device, known as the Antikythera Mechanism, or the world's "first computer". The fragments of the Mechanism were discovered in 1901 by sponge divers near the island of Antikythera. It is kept since then at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece. For more than a century, researchers were trying to understand its functions. Since 2005, a pluridisciplinary research team, the "Antikythera Mechanism Research Project", is studying the Mechanism with the latest high tech available. The results of this ongoing research has enabled the construction of many models. Amongst them, the unique mechanism of a watch, designed by Hublot as a tribute to the Mechanism, is incorporating the known functions of this mysterious and fascinating ancient Mechanism. A model of the Antikythera Mechanism, built by the Aristotle University in Greece, together with the mechanism of the watch and this film in 3D are featuring in an exhibition about the Mechanism that is taking place in Paris, at the Musée des Arts et Métiers.

The Two-Thousand Year Old Computer (Antikythera Mechanism - Calculates Many Astronomical Cycles)
58:40 min.

Longer documentary about the Antikythera Mechanism.

Learn to use an abacus:

The Abacus - How to Use This Ancient Wonder
6 min

Or just do it in your head with an imaginary abacus:
1:53 min

Under 'calculation,' I grouped a list of books on other mental math techniques at at this link.

The above clip on a 'mental abacus' possibility in the human brain comes from this longer film about human mental potential. Typically much human analytic potential comes at the price of human socialization capacities. However, it seems that when such a 'mental disturbance' occurs after basic childhood socialization and personality is created (like after age 5) such rewired brains exist with normal human socialization.

The Boy with the incredible Brain
48 min

"In this documentary we see Daniel Tammet undergo many scientific tests. He plays his first game of blackjack in a Las Vegas casino and meets Kim Peek - the real-life inspiration for the film Rain Man - who demonstrates his incredible photographic memory."

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