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When I studied the history of science in college, we were taught that Ancient Greek and Roman technology was long on theory (and concrete) and short on machinery. This turns out to have been a provincial misconstruction of an admittedly spotty archeological haul. In 1900, fisherman recovered the remains of an elegant little planetarium, a construct of fine-toothed gears that, almost seventy years later, I would learn couldn't have existed.

John Seabrook on the Antikithera Mechanism, in The New Yorker.


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