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What was the Antikythera Mechanism?

Is it the world’s oldest-geared driven analog computer? That’s the claim of this admittedly unscientific web site called the “Museum of Unnatural Mystery.” I found the site while helping my 6th grade-level son decide on a topic for his weekly science exploration project at school. What struck his interest was Stonehenge, while my fancy was piqued by the Antikythera Mechanism.

Now, you may be asking yourself – as my wife asked of me – what Stonehenge has to do with science? My response was quick and assured; “The prevailing theory on the purpose of Stonehenge was that it was created by early astronomers to correlate the earth’s seasons with the rotation of the heavens.?

Had I stopped there, everything would have been fine. But, being a child of the 60’s, I couldn’t resist adding what I remembered of Erich von Daniken thoughts on Stonehenge as site of extraterrestrial visitations. Then there was my comment about a Dr Who episode that dealt with Stonehenge (“The Stones of Blood?). Her raised eyebrow was enough to confirm my fear that my services as my son’s science adviser would no longer be needed. C’est la vie!

BTW: Here’s a truly bizzard yet fairly entertaining – thanks to the Enya music selections – Youtube LEGO version of the Dr. Who episode.

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