The "Antikythera mechanism" calculated the motions of the sun, moon and planets and predicted eclipses using intricate gear mechanisms created over 2000 years ago. The device was discovered over a century ago and research had been conducted on the ancient device by various agencies, but now scientists are reconstructing the device and finding that ancient Greek technology was far more advanced than previously thought.
Beginning in 2005, x-ray examination brought detailed high resolution to the study. Inscriptions deciphered through collaborative efforts link the device to northwestern Greece or Syracuse, Sicily. The intricacies are amazing.
Nature has provided a video introduction on the discoveries.
Here at Opednews, a few writers have commented on the significance of December 21st and 25th. The Greeks, too. were philosophically concerned with meaning and purpose and the workings of nature. They had their discussions and arguments. The steam engine developed by Hero was likely a physical demonstration to disprove Aristotle's Prime Mover argument.
As pointed out in the New Scientist, "Historians have often scoffed at the Greeks for wasting their technology on toys rather than doing anything useful with it. If they had the steam engine, why not use it to do work?"- But these devices may have been "a way to get closer to the true meaning of things. To what better use could technology be put?"-
Humanity's need for purpose seems universal. Regardless of our belief system, perhaps the beginning of winter is the best time to contemplate meaning and purpose. How affirming and humbling to realize we are still so similar to others from the past.
Happy Holidays and may your days be filled with wonder!