“Perhaps the most famous story attributed to Archimedes’ defensive genius – his use of sunlight reflected off parabolic mirrors to burn approaching Roman ships – is most likely apocryphal.”
Actually, the whole history of ancient world is more or less apocryphal, but I believe that the most apocryphal part of this claim is that the mirrors were parabolic. It is much more likely that Archimedes used plain mirrors arranged into an array. The early references to that can be found in Tzetzes, 11th Century historian who discussed the technicalities. But, this is not what I wanted to show you here. Further we read:
“Proof that Archimedes achieved such a feat is lacking, but the legend lingered long enough for Leonardo [Da Vinci] to try it himself.”
I am not aware of Leonardo Da Vinci trying to reproduce burning mirrors of Archimedes (think about it – the first beamed weapon was used in 214 BC!), but the strangeness is here: the same issue of NGH contains an article with massive reference to Athanasius Kircher and his role in translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs (Javier Martínez Babón, The Hieroglyphics Puzzle, p.18).
Athanasius Kircher, a German Jesuit of XVIII Century, among other achievements, like being called Father of Egyptology, had actually demonstrated the feasibility of Archimedes’ burning mirrors. He used an array of plain mirrors to kindle a pile of wet wood. Neither article mentions that historical fact.
I find it more than just ironic and even less coincidental, that both men were featured in the same magazine. And so I am asking myself – is it a sort of cognitive echo which occurs on a bit different plane, a plane of thought, perhaps? What else Father of Egyptology and Father of Beamed Weaponry (and Mechanics, and Space Geometry) have in common?
World of Illusion; Literature, Art, Music, Culture and Nature
COGNITIVE ECHO OR SYNCHRONICITYThis masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci emerged before my mind’s eye and then just ran me into a corner (figuratively speaking). So I was sitting in the corner of the dorm and cudgeling my head trying to recall the name of the painting. It wasn’t the “young lady” part I was after, but that little beast on her lap. What was the name of it?
COGNITIVE ECHO II OR HUMMINGBIRD
This event had happened just two days ago: H. came to me and asked if I have any photos of hummingbirds. He needed it for a painting which he was commissioned to do and he wanted to see a photo for the right colors. I’ve looked through the high-resolution cache I have, but the nearest bird I could find was bird of paradise.
LILACS OUT OF DULL BRAIN or COGNITIVE ECHO III
I’ve lost a word. And this was so embarrassing – I’ve lost a pretty common word, not an opisthoproct or cosidoron (those are coming wherever I need them). It was a good word, a name of that pretty common shrub with purple or white clusters of flowers. You know what I am talking about?