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Matts (1087)

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I work for MessageLabs [] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Thursday March 14, 2002
04:28 PM


[ #3530 ]

I was supposed to be doing AxKit stuff tonight, but I've gotten engrossed in Horizon on BBC2, about the famous Archimedes manuscript. Apparently he used an early form of calculus to discover the volume of a sphere (by dividing it into infinite circles). Calculus wasn't discovered until 1800 years later. Imagine what a world we'd live in today if he hadn't been killed by the Romans and instead his work had continued. Boggling.

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  • I believe it was an Ancient Greek who originally came up with the first working chemical battery (zinc plates, seawater and copper, if my physics is correct). ISTR it was in the Roman era, and he may have been in either Greece or Egypt.

    Nothing became of it because the Romans used it in toys, and they couldn't imagine any other uses for electric charges. Perhaps they hadn't seen enough of the fundemental work on electricity at that point in history...

    • I do also wonder if in 200 years or more they'll be crediting the works of Tesla, and wondering why the hell we had ignored his work...
    • The earliest known battery has turned up in Iraq, actually, the so-called Baghdad battery. []

      If the history of technology is of interest, I recommend Ancient Inventions []. Fascinating stuff about the Antikythera mechanism [], and other, well, ancient inventions. The claim that the ancients used electricity as toys is wrong, incidentally: for example electroplating was a known technology, also the use of lightning rods is ancient knowledge.

      The attitude of "eraism" is quite prevalent, meaning that "the ancients