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However, let us dismiss things ancient.

Seest not? His intention was to combine Pythagorean doctrines with his portrayal of Socrates and take on board subjects that Socrates had scorned. Why did Pythagoras himself cross Egypt, and visit the Persian magi? Why did he roam on foot over vast foreign lands and sail across so many seas? Why did Democritus do likewise? Piso, politician, 1st century B.

Why do we like history so much? We enjoy pursuing the smallest points, worrying over areas we have left blank, and trying to fill in what is incomplete. Cicero, philosopher, On Moral Ends, 1st century B. We are told that their desire for knowledge propelled them to the four corners of the earth. Those who cannot understand this have never loved any great and worthy object of knowledge. Cicero, philosopher, 1st century B.

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For the opinion prevails so much amongst them, that men's souls are immortal, and that there is a transmigration of them into other bodies, and after a certain time they live again For the Egyptian priests, out of their sacred records relate, that Orpheus, Musaeus, Melampodes, Daedalus, Homer the poet, Lycurgus the Spartan, Solon the Athenian, Plato the philosopher, Pythagoras the Samian, Eudoxus the mathematician, Democritus the Abderite, and Oenopides the Chian, all came to them in Egypt, and they show certain marks and signs of all these being there.

Of some, by their pictures; and of others, by the names of places, or pieces of work that have been called after their names. And therefore the Egyptians affirm that letters, astronomy, geometry, and many other arts were first found out by them This is the justice of heaven, which neither you nor any other unfortunate will ever glory in escaping, and which the ordaining powers have specially ordained; take good heed thereof, for it will be sure to take heed of you.

I have seen the most skies and lands, and I have heard of learned men in very great numbers. And in composition no one has surpassed me; in demonstration, not even those among the Egyptians who are called Arpenodaptae, with all of whom I lived in exile up to eighty years.

On this lake they enact by night the story of the god's [Saturn's] sufferings, a rite which the Egyptians call the Mysteries. I could say more about this, for I know the truth, but let me preserve a discreet silence. And in your hearts lay deep these words of mine. And I will tell you why. There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes.

There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Paethon [Venus], the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father's chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals; at such times those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the seashore.

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And from this calamity the Nile, who is our never-failing saviour, delivers and preserves us. When, on the other hand, the gods purge the earth with a deluge of water, the survivors in your country are herdsmen and shepherds who dwell on the mountains, but those who, like you, live in cities are carried by the rivers into the sea.

Whereas in this land, neither then nor at any other time, does the water come down from above on the fields, having always a tendency to come up from below; for which reason the traditions preserved here are the most ancient. The fact is, that wherever the extremity of winter frost or of summer does not prevent, mankind exist, sometimes in greater, sometimes in lesser numbers. And whatever happened either in your country or in ours, or in any other region of which we are informed - if there were any actions noble or great or in any other way remarkable, they have all been written down by us of old, and are preserved in our temples.

Whereas just when you and other nations are beginning to be provided with letters and the other requisites of civilized life, after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to begin all over again like children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves. As for those genealogies of yours which you just now recounted to us, Solon, they are no better than the tales of children.

In the first place you remember a single deluge only, but there were many previous ones; in the next place, you do not know that there formerly dwelt in your land the fairest and noblest race of men which ever lived, and that you and your whole city are descended from a small seed or remnant of them which survived. And this was unknown to you, because, for many generations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving no written word.

Plato, Timaeus, B. Aristotle, On The Heavens, B. Aristotle, Meteorology, B. Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 1st century B. In my view he's the greatest genius that ever lived.

He didn't actually invent anything as far as I could see. Today obviously people would be horrified if previous authors were not acknowledged but I think in those days it was accepted. Now, just take Leonardo Da Vinci for a moment. He suddenly produces, out of the blue, drawings of helicopters, submarines, parachutes, machine guns, bazookas, underwater swimmers, paddlewheel ships, God knows what, as if by magic they appear in his brilliant and wonderful drawings.

Well, as I explain in the book [], there is nothing there original.

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Everything which Leonardo drew were improvements on an earlier Italian, called Francesco Di Giorgio, whose notebooks Leonardo possessed and copied and improved on. And Di Giorgio was not original either. He copied everything from another Italian an earlier Italian called [Mariano] Taccola. Now my book then shows the link between Taccola and the Chinese. So none of of them, Taccola, Di Georgio, Leonardo, not one acknowledged where he got his information from. They all were completely silent on how they got their new information and I think this is most vividly illustrated by Copernicus.

He suddenly produces this new system of the universe, how everything works, but there's absolutely no credit. How on Earth did he suddenly come across this? Whose previous work did he rely on? Completely silent. In the book, the first drawing was of two horses pulling a mill to grind corn, just as Taccola and Di Giorgio had done.

This is epitomised in the horizontal water powered turbine used in the blast furnace.

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Every type of powered transmission described by Taccola and di Giorgio is shown in the Nung Shu. His mechanical drawings of flour and roller mills, water and saw mills, pile drivers, weight transporting machines, all kinds of winders and cranes, mechanised cars, all manner of pumps, water lifting devices and dredgers were developments and improvements upon di Giorgio's Trattato di Architettura Civil e militare and his rules for perspective for painting and sculpture were derived from Alberti's De Pictura and De Statua.

His parachute was based on di Giorgio's and his helicopter modelled on a Chinese toy imported to Italy circa Leonardo's work on canals, locks, aqueducts and fountains originated from his meeting in Pavia with di Giorgio in Leonardo's three-dimensional illustrations of the components of man and machines are a unique and brilliant contribution to civilization -- as are his sublime sculpture and paintings. He remains the greatest genius who ever lived. However, it is time to recognise the Chinese contributions to his work.

Without these contributions, the history of the Renaissance would have been very different Universal wisdom. Kircher truly, I think, believed that, as he says in one of his books on magnetism, 'The world is bound by secret knots.

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  5. In other words, there are these kinds of hidden connections among all the things of the world, that, with the right understanding you might eventually discover. These Chinese sailing instructions, essentially a manual of the arts of seamanship and naval warfare, somehow escaped the purges of the mandarins. There were instructions, inscribed on a long, thin strip of paper, for each regular voyage they made, giving detailed directions including star positions, latitudes, bearings and the physical description of islands, prominent headlands, bays and inlets that would be clearly visible along the route.

    By studying these sailing directions, it is possible to deduce not only the course the Chinese had steered but the accuracy of their navigation and their ability to set a course by the stars. It is an invaluable document. Zhu Di took a personal interest in astronomy, and in the means by which he could build on the wonderful legacy he had inherited in this field. Chinese astronomers had well over two thousand years of experience of recording events in the night sky. They had noted the appearance of a new star in BC, had charted every arrival of Halley's comet since BC, and by were describing the remnants of the supernova explosion known as the Crab Nebula These revelations were both astounding and horrifying.

    The deeper I dug, the more bombshells I uncovered. I was astonished to find that Patagonia and the Andes had been mapped a century before the first Europeans sighted them, and Antarctica had been accurately drawn some four centuries before Europeans reached the continent. The east coast of Africa was shown on another chart, with longitudes that were perfectly correct -- something Europeans did not manage to achieve for another three centuries.

    Australia appeared on another map, three centuries before Cook, and other charts showed the Carribean, Greenland, the Arctic and the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of both North America and South America long before Europeans had arrived. Our science of the past flowered in the fullness of time into philology and archaeology, as learned volumes on ancient philosophy have continued to pour forth, to little avail.

    A few masters of our own time have rediscovered these 'preliterate' accomplishments. Now Dupuis, Kircher and Boll are gone like those archaic figures, and are equally forgotten. That is the devouring way of time. The iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppies. Darwin, naturalist, February 10th " Darwin, naturalist, July 11th " Darwin, naturalist, April 28th "Alexander von Humboldt has been some hours with me this morning. What a man he is! Long as I have known him, he ever surprises me anew. One may say he has not his equal in knowledge and living wisdom. Then he has a many-sidedness such as I have found nowhere else.

    On whatever point you approach him, he is at home, and lavishes upon us his intellectual treasures. He is like a fountain with many pipes, under which you need only hold a vessel, and from which refreshing and inexhaustible streams are ever flowing. He will stay here some days; and I already feel that it will be with me as if I had lived for years.

    Von Goethe, naturalist, December 11th "I consider him [Von Humboldt] the most important scientist whom I have met. Ancient Technology "The ancients apparently used the telescope long before Pythagoras's time. Radka, historian, The idea of finding tools from this early time period on Crete was about as believable as finding an iPod in King Tut's tomb.

    Childress, author, The technology I have discovered is optical.

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    Temple, author, Forbidden Technology, It looks like the search for the earliest programmable robot is far from over. It is hard to believe that there were no earlier designs. How he managed this feat remained a mystery until , when US robotics expert Mark Rosheim came to a surprising conclusion. Pulling together fragments of notes and drawings, Rosheim worked out that the lion was almost certainly powered by a clockwork cart illustrated in da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus. Intriguingly, Rosheim suggested that the crat's steering mechanism was controlled by arms attached to rotating gears.

    With this design it would have been possible to control the automaton's movements simply by changing the position of these arms - in other words, Rosheim argues, da Vinci's lion was not only clockwork, it was also programmable. This astonishing idea raised some intriguing questions: was da Vinci influenced by an earlier design? And if so, how far back in history can we trace programmable robots?