Monthly Archives: August 2013

Did the ancient Peruvians fly hot-air balloons 1500 years ago?

This is one of those speculative technology ideas that I find fascinating, the possibility that ancient civilisations may have had the technology to fly.

The lines and designs on the Nazca plains appear to have been drawn to be visible from the air and this has given rise to many “ancient astronaut” type of theories but it is possible that the inhabitants may have flown themselves using what are sometimes referred to as “smoke balloons”.

These are essentially hot air balloons where the fabric weave is sealed by using a smoky fire to deposit soot on the cloth. This same method was used by the Montgolfier brothers in their early balloons where they reportedly used old boots and rotten meat to create a smoky fire before launching.

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Reading Machine

This medieval mechanical reading desk was designed to save space while allowing a number of books to be perused without getting up from one’s chair.

The inset to the illustration shows the gearing that made it work, the centre gear is designed to be stationary so that the planetary gears keep the books facing the same way as the whole wheel is rotated.

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What this blog is about

Do you find yourself looking for info on one subject and half an hour later you’ve found yourself immersed in something totally unrelated?

Have you walked into a secondhand bookstore and come out with an armful of books on subjects that “might be interesting”?

Have you dipped into an encyclopaedia at random just to see where it might lead?

If so, then the chances are, that you’re a scanner!

This blog will explore an eclectic range of interests and as I add more material, I encourage you to comment and explore with me, I should point out that I’m new to the blogsphere so please be patient as initially at least, I’ll only be posting about once a week.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy your visit. Click here to comment.

Cheers
Greg