I've read before about various technologies being lost over time, either due to war or famine or just time. I'm interested in knowing more about what sorts of things have been lost, and how.
I've read about Damascus steel before, although recently seen places that offer it - apparently the same as the original process.
Bonus points for tech we still haven't regained!
Are there any examples of technologies have been lost over time?
At least four examples spring to mind: Damascus steel, which might have been rediscovered last century, Greek fire, whose composition is still a matter of debate, Roman concrete, whose formula was lost in Western Europe after the fall of Rome and later rediscovered during the Renaissance, and the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient Greek clockwork device that was discovered early last century and only recently established to be an astronomical clock.
There's also the stuff of legends, whose accounts attract the skepticism of modern scholars (like burning glass) or of contemporaries (like the circumnavigation of Africa by Phoenicians).
If you feel like sitting through an hour and a half long video, this example of traditional African iron smelting was nearly lost -- it would have been had it not been for a desire to preserve it. The video will walk you through the whole thing: creating the charcoal, creating the furnace, and then operating it.
The latter video is, I think, interesting in that it hints at how much technical knowledge may have been lost over time without us necessarily realizing -- at times while leaving a trace that can later be rediscovered, and at times not. Iron smelting technology is alive and well, but had it not been for conservation efforts, the above video would never have been created, and how Africans smelted iron in that area would have been lost to time unless later researchers would have succeeded at recreating it through detective work.
In this sense, obsolete technology is comparable to a dying language. At one point there are only a few people left who know it. And then comes a day when the last person who knows it passes away. But their reason for existing stays with us in some form or shape and they simply get replaced.
As a last illustration of the above, consider the (actually Celtic) Roman saddle, which all but disappeared after the introduction of the stirrup:
How they worked was reconstructed last century by Peter Connolly.
Perhaps one of the most famous examples is the Antikythera mechanism. Discovered in 1901, it is believed to date between 205 BC and 60 BC. This ancient analog computer contains
traces of technology that appear utterly modern: gears with neat triangular teeth (just like the inside of a clock) and a ring divided into degrees (like the protractor you used in school). Nothing else like this has ever been discovered from antiquity. Nothing as sophisticated, or even close, appears again for more than a thousand years.
How the Ancient Egyptians built the Pyramids is the first thing which comes to mind. Despite some current discoveries along this area there simply is nothing definitive here. I'd say we have more evidence of how they were NOT built (by slaves, long earthen ramps, levitation chants, etc.) than how they were.
Something to ponder… we are closer in time to the death of Cleopatra than she was to the building of the Great Pyramid.
The ancient Polynesians were master navigators. Believed to have originated in Formosa they spread as far as Madagascar, New Zealand and Hawaii.
They used a combination of specialized canoes, navigation devices and close observation of natural phenomenon (waves, stars, birds etc).
Knowledge of the traditional Polynesian methods of navigation was widely lost after contact with and colonization by Europeans.
Vulcanized rubber is an example. The Mesoamericans had vulcanized rubber by mixing the juice from morning glory (which grew by rubber trees and contains sulfur) with the latex from rubber trees to make rubber balls.
The arrivals of the Europeans saw the loss of this technology for some time.
One very familiar example is the Greek Dark Age, when they not only lost much of their architectural technology but also lost the art of writing for 200-300 years.
Even in something as basic as wood, it is clear we have lost a lot of technology.
Oetzi, found in a melting glacier in the Italian Alps in 1991, can give us a glimpse of what has been lost since his lifetime, around 3200 BC.
The equipment he carried included a copper axe and a flint knife or dagger, showing he lived in an era when both were current.
But the variety of woodwork he carried is quite astonishing - tools or components made from
- yew (axe handle and bow)
- birch (bark for lightweight containers, tar for adhesive, fungus (possibly antibiotic)
- hazel (backpack frame, reinforcing in quiver )
- viburnum and cherry (arrows)
- ash (dagger handle)
- lime (tool handle for retoucher - flint sharpener) and bast (bark fibre for thread and string)
Probably as many varieties of wood products as I carry plastic products around today.
Some of this technology survives - according to the page, birch bark containers are still made locally - but it appears there was a breadth of knowledge about selecting, working and using wood that has fallen out of currency (mainly due to the availability of better materials)
This article describes the loss of technologies in ancient island societies that became isolated from the outside world. In particular, the ancient Tasmanians had bone tools, including tool for sewing, and advanced stone tools; when Europeans made contact with them in the 18th century, they had lost these things, which would still have been valuable to them (they went naked in all seasons, even in parts of Tasmania where it snows in winter). Also, although they had fire, they didn't know how to start fire-- they carried embers wrapped in leaves when they traveled, and if a group's fire went out, they had to make do without it until they met another group that could give them a light.
It appears that when a society is isolated, with a small total population, low population density and no written language, and the speed of communication is human walking speed, ideas can be forgotten faster than they are reinvented.
The Chinese had a period of extensive invention in manufacturing and automation, particularly during the Song dynasty. They had seismographs, odometers, large blast furnaces, drilled for natural gas and even delivered it via bamboo pipes for cooking. All of this was lost after about 1200.
The Saturn V rocket technology has been partially lost. No rockets capable of lifting that much mass currently exist, and some of the manufacturing techniques used for the Saturn V are unknown as documentation was lost, so they could not be built today without modification.
10 Companies That Failed To Innovate, Resulting In Business Failure
It’s crazy to think that 88% of the Fortune 500 firms that existed in 1955 are gone. These companies have either gone bankrupt, merged, or still exist but have fallen from the top Fortune 500 companies. Most of the companies on the list in 1955 are unrecognizable, forgotten companies today. As the life expectancies of companies continue to shrink, organisations must be more vigilant than ever in remaining innovative and future-proofing their businesses.
Here are 10 famous companies that failed to innovate, resulting in business failure.
1. Blockbuster (1985 – 2010)
Home movie and video game rental services giant, Blockbuster Video, was founded in 1985 and arguably one of the most iconic brands in the video rental space. At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster employed 84,300 people worldwide and had 9,094 stores. Unable to transition towards a digital model, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
In 2000, Netflix approached Blockbuster with an offer to sell their company to Blockbuster for US$50 million. The Blockbuster CEO, was not interested in the offer because he thought it was a "very small niche business" and it was losing money at the time. As of July 2017, Netflix had 103.95 million subscribers worldwide and a revenue of US$8.8bn.
2. Polaroid (1937 – 2001)
Founded in 1937, Polaroid is best known for its Polaroid instant film and cameras. Despite its early success in capturing a market that had few competitors, Polaroid was unable to anticipate the impact that digital cameras would have on its film business. Falling into the ‘success trap’ by exploiting only their (historically successful) business activities, Polaroid neglected the need to explore new territory and enhance their long-term viability.
The original Polaroid Corporation was declared bankrupt in 2001 and its brand and assets were sold off. In May 2017, the brand and intellectual property of the Polaroid corporation was acquired by the largest shareholder of the Impossible Project, which had originally started out in 2008 by producing new instant films for Polaroid cameras Impossible Project was renamed Polaroid Originals in September 2017.
3.Toys R Us (1948 – 2017)
Toys “R” Us is a more recent story about the financial struggle one of the world’s largest toy store chains. With the benefit of hindsight, Toys "R" Us may have led to its own undoing when it signed a 10-year contract to be the exclusive vendor of toys on Amazon in 2000. Amazon began to allow other toy vendors to sell on its site in spite of the deal, and Toys "R" Us sued Amazon to end the agreement in 2004. As a result, Toys "R" Us missed the opportunity to develop its own e-commerce presence early on. Far too late, Toys “R” Us announced in May 2017 its plan to revamp its website as part of a $100 million, three-year investment to jump-start its e-commerce business.
While filing for bankruptcy in September 2017 under pressure from its debt of US$1bn and fierce online retail competition, it has continued to keep its physical stores open.
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4. Pan Am (1927 – 1991)
Pan American World Airways (aka Pan Am), founded in 1927, was the largest international air carrier in the United States. The company was known as an industry innovator and was the first airline to offer computerised reservation systems and jumbo jets.
The downfall of Pan Am is attributed to was a combination of corporate mismanagement, government indifference to protecting its prime international carrier, and flawed regulatory policy. By over-investing in its existing business model and not investing in future, horizon 3, innovations, Pan Am filed for bankruptcy in 1991. Pan Am is survived only in pop culture through its iconic blue logo, which continues to be printed on purses and T-shirts and as the subject of a TV show on ABC starring Christina Ricci.
5. Borders (1971 – 2011)
Borders was an international book and music retailer, founded by two entrepreneurial brothers while at university. With locations all around the world but mounting debt, Border was unable to transition to the new business environment of digital and online books. Its missteps included holding too much debt, opening too many stores as well as jumping into the e-reader business to late.
Sadly, Borders closed all of its retail locations and sold off its customer loyalty list, comprising millions of names, to competitor Barnes & Noble for US$13.9 million. Borders' locations have since been purchased and repurposed by other large retailers.
6. Pets[dot]com (1998 – 2000)
Pets.com was an online business that sold pet accessories and supplies direct to consumers over the World Wide Web. Although short-lived, Pets.com managed to find some success during a time when there were no plug and play solutions for ecommerce/warehouse management and customer service that could scale. Pets.com launched in August 1998 and went from an IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange to liquidation in 268 days.
Its high public profile during its brief existence made it one of the more noteworthy failures of the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s. US$300 million of investment capital vanished with the company's failure. Pets.com is a memorable cautionary tale of a high-profile marketing campaign coupled with weak fundamentals (and poor timing). Today, the Pets.com URL redirects users to PetSmart's website.
7. Tower Records (1960 – 2004)
A pioneer in its time, Tower Records was the first to create the concept of the retail music mega-store. Founded by Russell Solomon in 1960, Tower Records sold CDs, cassette tapes, DVDs, electronic gadgets, video games, accessories and toys. Ahead of its time for a fleeting moment, Tower.com launched in 1995, making it one of the first retailers to move online. It seems the company’s foresights stopped short there as it fell prey excessive debts and ultimately bankruptcy in 2004. Tower Records could not keep up with digital disruptions such as music piracy, iTunes and streaming businesses such as Spotify and Pandora. Its legacy is remembered in the form of the movie ɾmpire Records,' which was written by a former Tower Records employee.
8. Compaq (1982 – 2002)
Compaq was one of the largest sellers of PCs in the entire world in the 1980s and 1990s. The company produced some of the first IBM PC compatible computers, being the first company to legally reverse engineer the IBM Personal Computer. Compaq ultimately struggled to keep up in the price wars against Dell and was acquired for US$25 billion by HP in 2002. The Compaq brand remained in use by HP for lower-end systems until 2013 when it was discontinued.
9. General Motors (1908 – 2009)
After being one of the most important car manufacturers for more than 100 years, and one of the largest companies in the world, General Motors also resulted in one of history’s largest bankruptcies. Failure to innovate and blatantly ignoring competition were key to the company’s demise. As GM focused predominantly on profiting from finance, the business neglected to improve the quality of its product, failed to adapt GM to changes in customer needs and did not invest in new technologies. Through a major bailout from the US government, the current company, General Motors Company ("new GM"), was formed in 2009 and purchased the majority of the assets of the old GM, including the brand "General Motors".
10. Kodak (1889-2012)‘
At one time the world’s biggest film company, Kodak could not keep up with the digital revolution, for fear of cannibalizing its strongest product lines. The leader of design, production and marketing of photographic equipment had a number of opportunities to steer the company in the right direction but its hesitation to fully embrace the transition to digital led to its demise. For example, Kodak invested billions of dollars into developing technology for taking pictures using mobile phones and other digital devices. However, it held back from developing digital cameras for the mass market for fear of eradicating its all-important film business. Competitors, such as the Japanese firm Canon, grasped this opportunity and has consequently outlived the giant. Another example is Kodak’s acquisition of a photo sharing site called Ofoto in 2001. However, instead of pioneering what might have been a predecessor of Instagram, Kodak used Ofoto to try to get more people to print digital images. Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and after exiting most of its product streams, re-emerged in 2013 as a much smaller, consolidated company focused on serving commercial customers.
10 Mysteries That Hint At Forgotten Advanced Civilizations
Prehistory literally means the time &ldquobefore we had written records&rdquo (roughly the time before the 4th Century BC) and ancient history is the time since our recorded history. Our concept of ancient history was originally firmly determined by the bible. Written from an insular point of view, the histories of some ancient cultures were distorted, badly neglected or even omitted. The existence of inexplicable monuments, certain man-made marvels and archaeological finds pertaining to our ancient- and prehistory, are leading more and more archaeologists to believe long forgotten advanced civilizations existed. As most of our ancient records were lost during the destruction of the great libraries, the following genuine mysteries are the only remnants of their existence.
Ancient knowledge was a lot more refined and developed than we have been taught hitherto. From batteries to planispheres, an assortment of gadgets have been excavated and found. Two notable finds were the Nimrud lens and the famous Antikythera Mechanism. The 3,000 year old Nimrud lens was discovered at the palace of Nimrud, in Iraq. Some experts believe the lens was part of an ancient telescope the Babylonians used, hence their advanced knowledge of astronomy. And the famous Antikythera Mechanism (200 BC.) was created to calculate the movements of the sun, moon and planets to predict celestial events. Unfortunately, we can only speculate on the ways many of these devices were created, used and why the ancient knowledge pertaining to them disappeared for millennia afterwards.
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Despite wars and several invasions, India&rsquos ancient history was largely preserved. Long believed to date from about 500 BC. discoveries in the past century have pushed back the origins of Indian civilization thousands of years. In the Indus Valley, the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro were discovered. The cities were so sophisticated and well-planned, that archaeologists believe they were conceived as a whole before construction on them begun. The Harappa culture also remains an enigma. Its origins and deterioration is hidden, its dialect is unknown and the writing is completely indecipherable. At the site no differences in social class can be discerned and there are no temples or religious buildings. No other culture, including those of Egypt and Mesopotamia, has revealed the same degree of planning and development.
Considered by the Chinese to be the &ldquoNinth Wonder of the Ancient World&rdquo, the origin of the 24 caves thus far uncovered is an unfathomable mystery. Discovered in 1992, no historical record or evidence of the work involved to excavate the almost million cubic meters of stone exists. The chiseling was done in such a way that it left a consistent pattern throughout the caves which some experts believe to be symbolic. The patterns are similar to those found on pottery that has been dated between 500 and 800 BC. Stone carvings and pillars can be viewed in the cave that has been opened up for public viewing. There is also a rumor that seven of the caves have a distribution pattern that matches the seven stars of the Big Dipper.
Off the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia, lies the ancient city of Nan Madol. Built on a coral reef exclusively from colossal basalt rocks (some weighing up to 50 tons), the city is intercrossed by a multitude of canals and connected via submerged tunnels. Its scale has been compared to the Great Wall of China and the Great Pyramid, even though the Pyramid-stones only weigh about 3 tons each. No records exist as to who built the city, when it was built or for what reason. Radiocarbon dating has placed its construction in 200 BCE. The origin of the basalt rocks that make up the city is unknown, as is the methods used to transport them there and stack them as high as 50 feet, and as thick as 17 feet. Human bones uncovered by archaeologists are remarkably larger than the local Micronesians of the area today.
From Scotland to Turkey, underneath hundreds of Neolithic settlements, archaeologists have uncovered evidence an extensive network of underground tunnels. From almost 2, 300 feet (700 m) in Bavaria Germany to 1, 200 feet (350m) in Austria, the fact that these tunnels survived for 12, 000 years is a testimony to the skill of the builders and of the sheer size the original network must have been. Even though they do not all link up, experts believe people used these tunnels to travel safely regardless of which danger they were facing. Throughout the system there also appears to be storage rooms and seating.
Puma Punku is one of four structural arrangements in the ancient Pre-Inca city of Tiwanaku in South America. The age of the megalithic ruins is extremely controversial as they have been prodded, excavated, and looted since they were discovered and as such, experts say they have been contaminated in every way possible. The consensus is that they are older than the pyramids, with claims of up to 15, 000 years. Even the Incas didn&rsquot know its history. The massive stones used in the construction bear no chisel marks and were finely cut to interlock with the others. A lot of the stones were cut so precisely that the builders clearly had an extremely sophisticated knowledge of stone-cutting, engineering and geometry. The city also had a functioning irrigation system, waterproof sewage lines and hydraulic mechanisms. With no record of its inhabitants or their methods, the technologies and processes used during its construction remains an enigma to experts.
Continuing the mystery of Pumapunku at this site as well as those of Koricancha, Ollantaytambo, Yuroc Rumi and in ancient Egypt, metal clamps were used in their largest structures. Evidence of the grooves and holes in which they were used can still be observed. At first archaeologists believed that clamps were brought to these grooves to be placed, but recent scans have revealed that metal was poured into these indentations, which means the builders had portable smelters. It is said that the metals used could only be melted at very high temperatures temperatures the ancients (to our knowledge) were not capable of. One has to wonder why this technology as well as the incredible methods used to build these megalithic ruins became lost in the immediate centuries afterwards. A technology developed continues to fan out, but a less advanced civilization will lose the technology in time if they have not acquired the essentials.
The archaeological site of Baalbek in Lebanon has some of the most well-preserved Roman ruins in the world. Called Heliopolis in ancient times, the temple ruins are truly amazing to behold. What makes this site mysterious though, is the massive megalithic ruin mound upon which the Romans built. Making the their ruins look pale in comparison, these monoliths that can weigh up to 1, 200 tons each are the largest worked slabs of stone in the world. Some archaeologists believe that the history at the site goes back about 9000 years, as excavations have revealed Middle Bronze Age (1900-1600BC) and Early Bronze Age (2900-2300 BC) evidence on top of each other. Apart from the mystery as to how these stones were brought to the site from where they were quarried given the site&rsquos location and the space available to maneuver, architects and engineers claim that we have no known lifting technologies available to us today, that can lift and position these stones. They are simply beyond the construction capabilities of any accepted ancient or modern-day builders.
Volumes have been written on the mysteries of ancient Egypt. We now know that the Great Pyramid&rsquos construction was so accurate and beyond comprehension that it was probably never meant to house a king&rsquos remains. Furthermore, as it has been proven that the Sphinx&rsquos erosion came mainly from rainfall before the area became a desert, it is at least 7, 000 &ndash 9, 000 years old with some believing it could even be older than that. The sudden rise of the Egyptian civilization in the 3rd millennium BC has lead many experts to believe that theirs were a legacy of an earlier, forgotten civilization. Apart from the Sphinx, further pre-dynastic construction is evident in Khafre&rsquos Mortuary and Valley Temples, and Menkaure&rsquos Mortuary Temple as they were built from limestone blocks excavated during the Sphinx&rsquos construction and has the same evident erosion.
Dating back to the end of the last ice age (12, 000 years ago), the recently discovered temple complex in south-eastern Turkey has been called the most important archaeological discovery of modern times. Predating pottery, writing, the wheel and metallurgy its construction implies a level of sophistication and complexity thus far not associated with Palaeolithic civilizations. With a construction date thousands of years earlier than Stonehenge, the site consists of 20 round structures (4 have been excavated so far) and elaborately carved pillars up to 18 feet tall and weighing up to 15 tons each. Nobody can say with any certainty who created the site, or why, but one has to wonder how these supposed hunter-gatherers had advanced knowledge of masonry and stonework if they were the first civilization&hellip
Hestie lives in South Africa with her husband, 2 children and various other animals.
An estimated six million people are still involved with this hobby that began at the start of the 20th century. HAM radio operators communicate with each other over short wave radio. HAM radios have been featured in many popular movies, including The Shining and Contact.
The first tape recorders were reel to reel and were the preferred technology for professional sound designers until digital formats rendered them obsolete.
3. Revlon: Screwing up badly enough to enrage investors
Cosmetics giant Revlon was another company that found itself needing to integrate its processes across business units after a merger — in this case, it had acquired Elizabeth Arden, Inc., in 2016. Both companies had had positive experiences with ERP rollouts in the past — Elizabeth Arden with Oracle Fusion Applications, and Revlon with Microsoft Dynamics AX. But the merged company had made the fateful choice to go with a new provider, SAP HANA, by December 2016.
Was HANA an undercooked product doomed to fail? Maybe. What's clear was that the rollout was disastrous enough to essentially sabotage Revlon's own North Carolina manufacturing facility, resulting in millions of dollars in lost sales. The company blamed "lack of design and maintenance of effective controls in connection with the . implementation" for the fiasco in March 2019, and noted that "these ERP-related disruptions have caused the company to incur expedited shipping fees and other unanticipated expenses in connection with actions that the company has implemented to remediate the decline in customer service levels, which could continue until the ERP systems issues are resolved." The crisis sent Revlon stock into a tailspin that in turn led to the company's own stockholders to sue.
Essentially, techniques are methods of creating new tools and products of tools, and the capacity for constructing such artifacts is a determining characteristic of humanlike species. Other species make artifacts: bees build elaborate hives to deposit their honey, birds make nests, and beavers build dams. But these attributes are the result of patterns of instinctive behaviour and cannot be varied to suit rapidly changing circumstances. Human beings, in contrast to other species, do not possess highly developed instinctive reactions but do have the capacity to think systematically and creatively about techniques. Humans can thus innovate and consciously modify the environment in a way no other species has achieved. An ape may on occasion use a stick to beat bananas from a tree, but a person can fashion the stick into a cutting tool and remove a whole bunch of bananas. Somewhere in the transition between the two, the hominid, the first humanlike species, emerges. By virtue of humanity’s nature as a toolmaker, humans have therefore been technologists from the beginning, and the history of technology encompasses the whole evolution of humankind.
In using rational faculties to devise techniques and modify the environment, humankind has attacked problems other than those of survival and the production of wealth with which the term technology is usually associated today. The technique of language, for example, involves the manipulation of sounds and symbols in a meaningful way, and similarly the techniques of artistic and ritual creativity represent other aspects of the technological incentive. This article does not deal with these cultural and religious techniques, but it is valuable to establish their relationship at the outset because the history of technology reveals a profound interaction between the incentives and opportunities of technological innovation on the one hand and the sociocultural conditions of the human group within which they occur on the other.
10 Incredible Ancient Technologies that were Way Ahead of their Time
We are yet to uncover so many things of the past. The ancient times were further ahead than we presume them to be. On example is the technology that existed then. They have been many discoveries that determine that the ancient Greeks, Romans, and other civilizations had devised numerous technologies to accomplish day-to-day work. From refrigerators for keeping ice cool in the hot desert to cups that could change color, we bring to you 10 incredible ancient technologies that will just blow your mind.
1. By 400 BC, Persian engineers had mastered the technique of storing ice during summers in the desert.
Yakhchal or icehouse (exterior), Meybod, Iran. Image Credit: Ggia via Wikipedia
During the winters, the Persian people used to bring ice from nearby mountains and store them in pits they created in the middle of the desert. The ice pits, known as “yakhchal,” were one of the most ancient refrigerators known to mankind. They were also used to keep food cool and healthy during the intense summers.
On first glance, the structure looks like a large dome made from mud brick. Some of the structures were as tall as 60 feet. Below the dome lies a large underground space with excess storage area. The underground space was as large as 5,00 cubic meters.
The underground space was connected to a “qanat,” or wind catch. The wind catch consisted of multiple windcatchers that had the ability to bring down the temperature to frigid levels during the summers.
Yakhchal of Yazd province/ Icehouse (interior), Meybod, Iran. Image Credit: Pastaitaken via Wikipedia, Ggia via Wikipedia
The wall of the dome used to be as thick as two meters. Moreover, it was made by a special mortar that was comprised of sand, clay, egg whites, lime, goat hair, and ash in specific proportions. The walls were resistant to heat transfer, thus keeping the insides cool. Also, they were impenetrable to water which helped to keep the ice and food safe.
But what if somehow the ice melted a little bit? For such unforeseen circumstances, a trench was provided at the bottom so that the melted water could be caught and frozen again during the chilly desert nights. The entire structure was really well-thought despite being from an ancient era. (1, 2)
2. The “Archimedes screw” is a hand-operated machine that can move water up using gravity. If reversed, it can generate energy by water moving down.
Archimedes Screw. Image Credit: Amanjosan2008 via Wikipedia
The Archimedes screw was predominantly used for irrigation purposes in the ancient times. The machine was a screw inside a hollow pipe. The screw was initially operated by hand but later, wind energy was utilized.
The technology exists to this day and is operated with the help of a motor. As the shaft starts to turn, the bottom end of the device scoops up water. this water is then pushed to the top of the screw via the rotating helcoid until it comes out from the top end. (source)
3. There is an ancient masonry technology in Mexico that allows bricklayers to build vaults and roof-type domes using only their trowel, without formworks or ceiling mounts.
Tequisquiapan is a town located in the state of Querétaro Arteaga, one of the 32 federal entities of Mexico. The town is home to a generation of masons known as “bovederos.” These masons seem to have a superpower as they can build vaults and roofs of domes with just their trowel! For those who do not know what a trowel is, it is a small hand tool that is mostly used for digging or when applying concrete to bricks.
So, these masons from Mexico do not need the aid of any support and build domes with just their trowels! The video above shows this gravity-defying act in action. These masons do not require any formworks or ceiling mounts. It is said that the technology has been passed on from parents to children from generation to generation. This is one of the ancient technologies that still exists today. (source)
4. The ancient Egyptians invented the ramp to aid construction processes.
Ancient Egyptian ramp. Image Credit: Nano Science
The Egyptians are well known for their massive architectural structures such as pyramids. They normally make their structures quite tall and uniquely shaped. Such massive structures call for the use of ramps during construction. Ancient Egyptians have been known to invent ramps to be used to carry materials during construction.
A ramp is just an inclined plane against a horizontal surface that enables people to overcome resistance. By applying a small force for a longer distance, the load can be carried to a height rather than applying intense force to lift or raise it vertically. The Egyptians were surely ahead in their time when it came to construction. (source)
5. The “Antikythera mechanism” is a 2,000-year-old computer developed by the Greeks. It was used to predict the position of the planets and stars in the sky depending on the calendar month.
Antikythera mechanism. Image Credit: Flickr
One hundred sixteen years ago, divers found came across a shipwreck off the coast of a Greek island. They inspected the site and discovered an odd-looking bronze item. Little did they know that this small discovery would change our understanding of human history.
The structure had a series of gears made of brass and dials mounted on something that looked like a mantel clock. The structure had at least two dozen gears laid on top of one another with perfect calibration. Archaeologists came to the conclusion that this must be some kind of analog clock of the past or a calculating device. A debate went on for years until Princeton science historian Derek J. de Solla Price provided a detailed analysis of the device in 1959.
His study revealed that the device was used to predict the location of the planets and stars taking into account the calendar month. According to Price’s analysis, the main gear would move to represent the calendar year, in turn, would move the separate smaller gears that represent the motions of the planets, Sun, and Moon. In short, when the main gear is set to the current date, the device would point out the location of the celestial bodies in the sky!
In Price’s words, “The mechanism is like a great astronomical clock … or like a modern analog computer which uses mechanical parts to save tedious calculation.” The logic behind calling it an analog computer is that similar to a computer, the user can provide an input and get the desired output based on some calculations. (source)
17 Out-of-Place Artifacts Said to Suggest High-Tech Prehistoric Civilizations Existed
According to the conventional view of history, humans have only walked the Earth in our present form for some 200,000 years. Advanced civilizations appeared several thousand years ago, but much of the mechanical ingenuity we know in modern times began to develop only around the Industrial Revolution a couple hundred years ago.
Oopart (out-of-place artifact) is a term applied to dozens of prehistoric objects found in various places around the world that seem to show a level of technological advancement incongruous with the times in which they were made.
Many scientists attempt to explain them using natural phenomena. Others say such explanations ignore the mounting evidence that prehistoric civilizations possessed advanced technological knowledge that was lost throughout the ages only to be redeveloped in modern times.
We will look at a variety of ooparts here ranging in purported origin from millions of years ago to merely hundreds of years ago, but all said to show advancement well ahead of their time.
We do not claim that all or any of the ooparts are definitive evidence of advanced prehistoric civilizations, but rather attempt to provide a brief glimpse at what’s known or hypothesized about these artifacts. This is not a comprehensive list of all ooparts, but it is a substantial sampling.
17. 2,000-Year-Old Batteries?
Right: An illustration of a Baghdad battery from museum artifact pictures. (Ironie/Wikimedia Commons)
Clay jars with asphalt stoppers and iron rods made some 2,000 years ago have been proven capable of generating more than a volt of electricity. These ancient “batteries” were found by German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig in 1938 just outside of Baghdad, Iraq.
“The batteries have always attracted interest as curios,” Dr. Paul Craddock, a metallurgy expert at the British Museum, told the BBC in 2003. “They are a one-off. As far as we know, nobody else has found anything like these. They are odd things they are one of life’s enigmas.”
16. Ancient Egyptian Light Bulb?
The light-bulb-like object engraved in a crypt under the Temple of Hathor in Egypt. (Lasse Jensen/Wikimedia Commons)
A relief beneath the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, Egypt, depicts figures standing around a large light-bulb-like object. Erich Von Däniken who wrote “Chariot of the Gods,”created a model of the bulb which works when connected to a power source, emitting an eerie, purplish light.
15. Great Wall of Texas
A historic photo of the “wall” found in Rockwall, Texas. (Public Domain)
In 1852, in what is now known as Rockwall Co., Texas, farmers digging a well discovered what appeared to be an ancient rock wall. Estimated to be some 200,000 to 400,000 years old, some say it’s a natural formation while others say it’s clearly man-made.
Dr. John Geissman at the University of Texas in Dallas tested the rocks as part of a History Channel documentary. He found they were all magnetized the same way, suggesting they formed where they are and were not moved to that site from elsewhere. But some remain unconvinced by this single TV-show test and ask for further studies.
Geologist James Shelton and Harvard-trained architect John Lindsey have noted elements that seem to be of architectural design, including archways, linteled portals, and square openings that resemble windows.
14. 1.8-Billion-Year-Old Nuclear Reactor?
Nuclear reactor site, Oklo, Gabon Republic. (NASA)
In 1972, a French factory imported uranium ore from Oklo, in Africa’s Gabon Republic. The uranium had already been extracted. They found the site of origin to have apparently functioned as a large-scale nuclear reactor that came into being 1.8 billion years ago and was in operation for some 500,000 years.
Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, former head of the United States Atomic Energy Commission and Nobel Prize winner for his work in the synthesis of heavy elements, explained why he believes it wasn’t a natural phenomenon, and thus must be a man-made nuclear reactor. For uranium to “burn” in a reaction, very precise conditions are needed.
The water must be extremely pure, for one. Much purer than exists naturally. The material U-235 is necessary for nuclear fission to occur. It is one of the isotopes found naturally in uranium. Several specialists in reactor engineering have said they believe the uranium in Oklo could not have been rich enough in U-235 for a reaction to take place naturally.
13. Sea-Faring Map Makers Before Antarctica Was Covered in Ice?
A portion of the Piri Reis map of 1513. (Public Domain)
A map created by Turkish admiral and cartographer Piri Reis in 1513, but sourced from various earlier maps, is thought by some to depict Antarctica as it was in a very remote age before it was covered with ice.
A landmass is shown to jut out from the southern coastline of South America. Captain Lorenzo W. Burroughs, a U.S. Air Force captain in the cartographic section, wrote a letter to Dr. Charles Hapgood in 1961 saying that this landmass seems to accurately show Antarctica’s coast as it is under the ice.
Dr. Hapgood (1904–1982) was one of the first to publicly suggest that the Piri Reis map depicts Antarctica during a prehistoric time. He was a Harvard-educated historian whose theories about geological shifts earned the admiration of Albert Einstein. He hypothesized that the land masses shifted, explaining why Antarctica is shown as connected to South America.
Modern studies refute Hapgood’s theory that such a shift could have taken place within thousands of years, but they show that it could have happened within millions of years.
12. 2,000-Year-Old Earthquake Detector
A replica of an ancient Chinese seismoscope from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 A.D.), and its inventor, Zhang Heng. (Wikimedia Commons)
In 132 A.D., Zhang Heng created the world’s first seismoscope. How exactly it works remains a mystery, but replicas have worked with a precision comparable to modern instruments.
In 138 A.D., it correctly indicated that an earthquake occurred about 300 miles west of Luoyang, the capital city. No one had felt the quake in Luoyang and dismissed the warning until a messenger arrived days later requesting aid.
11. 150,000-Year-Old Pipes?
Baigong Cave, with photo of pipe in the bottom left
Caves near Mount Baigong in China contain pipes leading to a nearby lake. They were dated by the Beijing Institute of Geology to about 150,000 years ago, according to Brian Dunning of Skeptoid.com.
State-run media Xinhua reported that the pipes were analyzed at a local smeltery and 8 percent of the material could not be identified. Zheng Jiandong, a geology research fellow from the China Earthquake Administration told state-run newspaper People’s Daily in 2007 that some of the pipes were found to be highly radioactive.
Jiandong said iron-rich magma may have risen from deep in the Earth, bringing the iron into fissures where it may have solidified into tubes. Though he admitted, “There is indeed something mysterious about these pipes.” He cited the radioactivity as an example of the strange qualities of the pipes.
10. Antikythera Mechanism
The Antikythera Mechanism is a 2000-year-old mechanical device used to calculate the positions of the sun, moon, planets, and even the dates of the ancient Olympic Games. (Wikimedia Commons)
A mechanism, often referred to as an ancient “computer,” that was built by Greeks around 150 B.C. was able to calculate astronomical changes with great precision.
“If it hadn’t been discovered … no one would possibly believe that it could exist because it’s so sophisticated,” said Mathematician Tony Freeth in a NOVA documentary. Mathias Buttet, director of research and development for watch-maker Hublot, said in a video released by the Hellenic Republic Ministry of Culture and Tourism, “This Antikythera Mechanism includes ingenious features which are not found in modern watch-making.”
9. Drill Bit in Coal
John Buchanan, Esq., presented a mysterious object to a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland on Dec. 13, 1852. A drill bit had been found encapsulated in coal about 22 inches thick, buried in a bed of clay mixed with boulders about 7 feet thick.
The Earth’s coal is said to have formed hundreds of millions of years ago. The Society decided that the instrument was of a modern level of advancement. But, it concluded that “the iron instrument might have been part of a borer broken during some former search for coal.”
Buchanan’s detailed report did not include any signs that the coal surrounding the instrument had been punctured by drilling.
8. 2.8-Billion-Year-Old Spheres?
Top left, bottom right: Spheres, known as Klerksdorp spheres, found in the pyrophyllite (wonderstone) deposits near Ottosdal, South Africa. (Robert Huggett) Top right, bottom left: Similar objects known as Moqui marbles from the Navajo Sandstone of southeast Utah. (Paul Heinrich)
Spheres with fine grooves around them found in mines in South Africa have been said by some to be naturally formed masses of mineral matter. Others have said they were precisely shaped by a prehistoric human hand.
“The globes, which have a fibrous structure on the inside with a shell around it, are very hard and cannot be scratched, even by steel,” said Roelf Marx, curator of the museum of Klerksdorp, South Africa, according to Michael Cremo’s book “Forbidden Archaeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race.” Marx said the spheres are about 2.8 billion years old.
If they are mineral masses, it is unclear how exactly they formed.
7. Iron Pillar of Delhi
An inscription from about 400 A.D. by King Candragupta II on the Iron Pillar of Delhi. (Venus Upadhayaya/Epoch Times)
This pillar is at least 1,500 years old, but could be older. It remains rust-free and is of an astounding purity. It is 99.72 percent iron, according to professor A.P. Gupta, head of the Department of Applied Sciences and Humanities at the Institute of Technology and Management in India.
In modern times, wrought iron has been made with a purity of 99.8 percent, but it contains manganese and sulfur, two ingredients absent in the pillar.
It was made at least “400 years before the largest known foundry of the world could have produced it,” wrote John Rowlett in “A Study of the Craftsmen of Ancient and Medieval Civilizations to Show the Influence of their Training on our Present Day Method of Trade Education.”
6. Viking Sword Ulfbehrt
An Ulfberht sword displayed at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany. (Martin Kraft/Wikimedia Commons)
When archaeologists found the Viking sword Ulfbert, dating from 800 to 1000 A.D., they were stunned. They couldn’t see how the technology to make such a sword would have been available until the Industrial Revolution 800 years later.
Its carbon content is three times higher than other swords of its time and impurities were removed to such a degree that the iron ore must have been heated to at least 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
With great effort and precision, modern blacksmith Richard Furrer of Wisconsin forged a sword of Ulfberht quality using technology that would have been available in the Middle Ages. He said it was the most complicated thing he’d ever made, and he used methods not known to have been used by people of that time.
5. 100-Million-Year-Old Hammer?
A hammer was found in London, Texas, in 1934 encased in stone that had formed around it. The rock surrounding the hammer is said to be more than 100 million years old.
Glen J. Kuban, a vocal skeptic of claims the hammer was made millions of years ago, said the stone may contain materials that are more than 100 million years old, but that doesn’t mean the rock formed around the hammer so long ago.
Some limestone has formed around artifacts known to be from the 20th century, so concretions can form fairly quickly around objects, he said. Concretions are masses of hardened mineral matter.
Carl Baugh, who is in possession of the artifact, has said the wooden handle has turned to coal (evidence of its great age) and that the metal it is made of has a strange composition. Critics have called for more, independent testing to verify these claims, but thus far no such testing has been conducted.
4. Prehistoric Work Site?
Workers at a stone quarry near Aix-en-Provence, France, in the 18th century came across tools stuck in a layer of limestone 50 feet underground.
The find was recorded in the American Journal of Science and Arts in 1820 by T. D. Porter, who was translating Count Bournon’s work, “Mineralogy.”
The wooden instruments had turned into agate, a hard stone. Porter wrote: “Everything tended to prove that this work had been executed upon the spot where the traces existed. The presence of man had then preceded the formation of this stone, and that very considerably since he was already arrived at such a degree of civilization that the arts were known to him, and that he wrought the stone and formed columns out of it.”
As stated in the case of the hammer above, limestone has been known to form relatively quickly around modern tools.
3. Million-Year-Old Bridge?
Adam’s Bridge, also known as Rama’s Bridge, or Ram Setu, between India and Sri Lanka. (NASA)
According to ancient Indian legend, King Rama built a bridge between India and Sri Lanka more than a million years ago. What appears to be remnants of such a bridge have been seen from satellite images, but many say it is a natural formation.
Dr. Badrinarayanan, former director of the Geological Survey of India, studied core samples from the bridge. He was puzzled by the appearance of boulders on top of a marine sand layer, and surmised that the boulders must have been artificially placed there.
No single natural explanation has been agreed upon by geologists. Dating has been controversial, as some say any given part of the bridge (such as coral samples) cannot give a true picture of how old the entire bridge is.
2. 500,000-Year-Old Spark Plug?
In 1961, three people were out searching for geodes for their gem and gift shop in Olancha, Calif., when they found what appeared to be a spark plug encased in a geode. Virginia Maxey, one of the three discoverers, said at the time that a geologist examined the fossils around the device and dated the device at 500,000 years or older.
The geologist was never named, and the current whereabouts of the artifact are unknown. Critics of the claim, Pierre Stromberg and Paul V. Heinrich, only have x-rays and an artist’s sketch of the artifact to analyze. They think it was a modern spark plug encased in a quick-forming concretion rather than a geode.
But, Stromberg and Heinrich have said, “There is little hard evidence that the original discoverers intended to deceive anyone.”
1. Prehistoric Wall Near Bahamas?
A wall of rock in large, thick block shapes was found off the coast of the Bahamas in 1968. Archaeologist William Donato has conducted multiple dives to investigate the wall and hypothesizes it is a man-made structure some 12,000 to 19,000 years old built to protect a prehistoric settlement from waves.
He’s found it to be a multi-tiered structure including prop stones that appear to be placed there by human hands. He’s also found what he believes to be anchor stones with rope holes in them.
Dr. Eugene Shinn, a retired geologist who worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, has said core rock samples he took show a dip toward deep water. If all the cores show a dip toward deep water, this would prove the rock formed where it is and did not form elsewhere later to be transported by humans to its present location.
His later writings said that all of his samples showed this dip, seeming to prove it is a natural formation. But his earlier study stated that only 25 percent of his samples showed a dip.
Dr. Greg Little, a psychologist who has taken an interest in this structure, confronted Shinn about this discrepancy and Shinn admitted he didn’t really take his study seriously and, “I got a little carried away to make a good story.”
The article ‘ 17 Out-of-Place Artifacts Said to Suggest High-Tech Prehistoric Civilizations Existed ’ was originally published on The Epoch Times and has been republished with permission.
In May 2017, a large ransomware attack called WannaCry (also known as WannaCrypt0r and WCry) hit NHS England and various organisations in the UK and around the world.
The attack was due to vulnerabilities found in Microsoft operating systems installed in millions of computers around the world.
According to Microsoft, the Windows versions that were vulnerable to the attack were versions which were no longer supported by Microsoft such as Windows 8 and Windows XP, which the NHS trusts and affected companies seemed to be running.
Impact: 500 million customers
Details: Marriott International announced in November 2018 that attackers had stolen data on approximately 500 million customers. The breach initially occurred on systems supporting Starwood hotel brands starting in 2014. The attackers remained in the system after Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016 and were not discovered until September 2018.
The attackers were able to take some combination of contact information, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest numbers, travel information, and other personal information. The credit card numbers and expiration dates of more than 100 million customers were believed to be stolen, but Marriott is uncertain whether the attackers were able to decrypt the credit card numbers. The breach was eventually attributed to a Chinese intelligence group seeking to gather data on US citizens, according to a New York Times article.
We live enshrouded by an atmospheric greenhouse of gases and water vapor that has maintained life-supporting conditions for hundreds of millions of years CO2 is part of that mix. But over the past three million years our greenhouse system has been highly unstable. The record of CO2 trapped in polar ice reveals that over the last 800,000 years, during dramatic swings between ice ages and warm periods, CO2 has oscillated between 180 and 280 ppm. In the last rapid warm-up from the most recent glacial period, CO2 jumped to 260 ppm, and then oscillated around 275 ppm. Since then, for about 9,000 years, our climate has been relatively stable. Agriculture, civilizations and states emerged, and global population grew from several million at the end of the last Ice Age to 1.2 billion in 1850.
Since 1850, industrial emissions have driven atmospheric CO2 levels from about 280 to 410. Human populations are now surging toward eight billion. A doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels, which is projected by 2075 &mdash due to the combination of industrial emissions and huge volumes of ancient greenhouse gases rising from melting permafrost &ndash will put the earth at CO2 levels not seen for 35 million years, the last time that Antarctica was ice-free. A quadrupling of CO2 would put us into the extreme hothouse conditions of the Jurassic era.
Because CO2 traps heat, our industrial emissions of greenhouse gases have launched a sudden and rapid shift in global temperature and climate. For over a century we have unconsciously been playing with the delicate controls of our planet&rsquos unstable climate system. We did not understand what we were doing until recently, but we do now.
Fortunately carbon in the atmosphere isn&rsquot the only thing that can grow exponentially. Technological rates of change provide a ray of hope. Fossil-fueled economies emerged in a geological instant&mdashthe past two hundred years&mdashbut over the last decade, renewable energy systems have developed even more explosively. With strong governmental action supported by a broad popular consensus, we might yet find a way through.
We need to act just as &ldquoexponentially&rdquo to reset these global controls and to accelerate through a new global energy transition.
The means are at hand. Solar and wind renewable technologies are surging in the market place. Driven by technological advances and economies of scale, renewable energy is already a prudent financial investment. Coal power generation persists thanks to national subsidies across the United States, investment in coal is stalled and collapsing. Widespread gas leaks undermine the possible benefits of natural gas as a &ldquotransition fuel.&rdquo Indeed, power generation by natural gas may be at what some analysts see as a tipping point toward unprofitability.
Over just the last decade alternative energy markets have moved well into the exponential transition phase. The current transition to renewable energy systems creates massive employment opportunities just as past energy transitions have over the last two centuries. As in the past, and as described by researcher Carlota Perez, this transition faces a profound political struggle with entrenched, fossil fuel interests.
We cannot promise a panacea. There is no hope that we can suddenly and magically return to our era&rsquos old norms of climate and atmosphere. The effects of residual enhanced CO2 will take centuries to work out under the best of scenarios. But our planet&rsquos relationship to carbon dioxide has changed drastically before it can change again. There is hope that we can avert a fundamental civilizational crisis&mdashbut only if we take immediate and &ldquoexponential&rdquo action.
Historians’ perspectives on how the past informs the present
John Brooke, Michael Bevis and Steve Rissing teach History, Geophysics and Biology at The Ohio State University, where they team-teach a general education course on climate change.
Correction, Sept. 23, 2019
The original chart that accompanied this story misstated the multiplier for the Gross Domestic Product line. The chart shows GDP in $10 billions, not $100 millions.