Indian science congress hilarity

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Indian science congress hilarity

Post by mr friendly guy » 2019-01-12 01:57am

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/0 ... ntain/amp/
India had planes and test tube babies thousands of years ago, science conference told

Rahul Bedi
7 JANUARY 2019 • 12:27 PM
Top scientists in India on Monday condemned “irrational” claims made at the 106th annual meeting of the prestigious Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA).

The Breakthrough Science Society (BSS), an NGO that campaigns for scientific literacy, held protest meetings across the country against presentations suggesting that ancient Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata contain detailed knowledge of stem cell research, test tube babies, aircraft and guided missiles.


"People must ask the organisers how they allow this," said Rajani KS of BSS.

Professor Nageswara Rao, vice chancellor of Andhra University, told the ISCA's special Children’s Science Congress that according to the Mahabharata, a single mother gave birth to 100 sons via test tube technology.

“The Mahabharata says 100 eggs were fertilised and put into 100 earthen pots” Prof Rao said.

He put it to an audience of teenagers that these were early test tube babies, claiming this proved stem cell research was prevalent in India thousands of years ago.

Prof Rao also claimed that the Hindu god Ram used guided missiles that would chase targets, strike them and then return.

The demon god Ravana, the professor further stated, operated 24 different types of aircraft from several airports in his kingdom.

Another participant, scientist Kannan Krishnan from Tamil Nadu in southern India, challenged Einstein’s theory of relativity and Isaac Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation on the grounds that neither of the two scientists understood physics.

Mr Krishnan declared that the Theory of Gravitational Waves would soon be re-named “Modi Waves’, after the Indian prime Minister Narendra Modi.

ISCA organisers later distanced themselves from these two speakers and resolved to exercise more caution in inviting participants next year.

“We are shocked at the comments made by the two speakers,” ISCA general secretary P P Mathur said.


This is not the first time absurd claims have been made at ISCA meets, with critics alleging the Modi government has debased the organisation.

In 2015 a paper on Indian aviation technology claimed that the ancient native sage Bhardwaja had detailed blueprints for varied types of aircraft.

The year before prime minister Modi buttressed similar logic when he told an audience of doctors and scientists in Mumbai that plastic surgery and genetic science had flourished in ancient India.

He said that was how the revered Hindu god Ganesha’s elephant head was attached to a human body, and how the warrior god Karna was born outside his mother’s womb.

In a similar vein other members of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, in a bid to laud India’s achievements, have claimed that motorcars, space vehicles even the internet existed in ancient times.
This is not satire apparently.

Now its been a while since I had experience with some of the stupid pseudoscience, but I do recall two similar things I want to note.

1. There are people from the subcontinent who disagree with Einstein's theories on relativitiy, because its "Jewish science," so you can most probably guess which group they belong to. Apparently they didn't understand GPS works by relativity, sooo...

2. There are people, again from the subcontinent who try to argue the existence of an advance civilisation with at least nuclear level of technology using Indian epics. It goes along the lines of Oppenheimer described the nuclear testing in the Manhattan project in poetic terms quoting about having the same power as the characters in Indian epics. Even if that was true (I highly doubt it), it doesn't mean these characters exist, no more than if I said we now have the power to match Iron Man, indicates Iron Man is real. But apparently Oppenheimer was not only an expert on nuclear physics, but also archaeology specialising in Indian early civilisations. :lol: A blatant appeal to irrelevant authority if I ever saw one.
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2019-01-12 01:48pm

This isn't exactly a new phenomenon. Hindu nationalists have been saying shit like this for a while now.

It's really dumb, that's for sure. :banghead:
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2019-01-12 04:15pm

I am both relieved and frightened by the fact that weapons-grade stupidity isn't strictly confined to North America.
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2019-01-13 01:51am

Anyone who wants a good laugh should read about the constant belief in "VIMANA that pops up from time to time.
The Vaimānika Shāstra is an early 20th-century Sanskrit text on aeronautics, obtained allegedly by mental channeling, about the construction of vimānas, the "chariots of the Gods". The existence of the text was "revealed" in 1952 by G. R. Josyer, according to whom it was written by one Pandit Subbaraya Shastry, who dictated it in 1918–1923.
A study by aeronautical and mechanical engineering at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1974 concluded that the aircraft described in the text were "poor concoctions" and that the author showed a complete lack of understanding of aeronautics.[14]
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by SpottedKitty » 2019-01-14 08:46am

I remember coming across this sort of thing way back when I was a lot younger, and I got into a phase of reading von Daniken and similar material. I don't think I've ever seen the subject wander into (what was intended to be) genuine scientific discussion, though.

On the Vimanas, I have to admit it's a pretty design — I have a 3D model of it — although the Langley Aerodrome would probably be more stable and aerodynamically sound. :roll:
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Sky Captain » 2019-01-21 04:44pm

Why it is considered impossible that some ancient culture had limited capability of flight? First successful gliders were simple machines made from lightweight wooden frame covered with fabric - materials that were available for thousands of years. It would have little practical application, but someone taking off from a mountain in a homemade glider and riding the thermals could be all that's needed to inspire all sorts of legends and myths about flying machines.

Ancient civilizations were capable of quarrying, transporting and setting up in structures multi hundred ton stone blocks using only human and animal power - an engineering feat far more difficult than a simple hang glider capable of carrying man.

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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-01-21 06:12pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2019-01-21 04:44pm
Why it is considered impossible that some ancient culture had limited capability of flight? First successful gliders were simple machines made from lightweight wooden frame covered with fabric - materials that were available for thousands of years. It would have little practical application, but someone taking off from a mountain in a homemade glider and riding the thermals could be all that's needed to inspire all sorts of legends and myths about flying machines.

Ancient civilizations were capable of quarrying, transporting and setting up in structures multi hundred ton stone blocks using only human and animal power - an engineering feat far more difficult than a simple hang glider capable of carrying man.
I think the problem was twofold, first while kites have been in existance for God knows how long, people really didn't know what made them fly so didn't know how to properly scale them to be big enough to carry a person while still being light enough to fly (well glide), second and related factor is that a lot of ancient engineering was gotten theu testing what worked and with that knowledge then passed down to your apprentices and not gotten thru formal education and research.

That's one the reasons why some ancient and medival structures still stand because they were over-engineered to make sure they would stand rather making them "good enough". That makes building stuff like functional gliders, rather difficult as you have weight limit there that you can't go over.

that said experiments on manned fight have been done since the ancient times and it's not impossible that some of those were successful enough to inspire the myths.

EDIT:One of the reasons early experiments on manned flight failed was that they were trying to replicate exactly how birds flew with very limited observation so not only they got the mechanics wrong, they were trying to do something that is physically impossible for humans.
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Sky Captain » 2019-01-22 03:06pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2019-01-21 06:12pm
Sky Captain wrote:
2019-01-21 04:44pm
Why it is considered impossible that some ancient culture had limited capability of flight? First successful gliders were simple machines made from lightweight wooden frame covered with fabric - materials that were available for thousands of years. It would have little practical application, but someone taking off from a mountain in a homemade glider and riding the thermals could be all that's needed to inspire all sorts of legends and myths about flying machines.

Ancient civilizations were capable of quarrying, transporting and setting up in structures multi hundred ton stone blocks using only human and animal power - an engineering feat far more difficult than a simple hang glider capable of carrying man.
I think the problem was twofold, first while kites have been in existance for God knows how long, people really didn't know what made them fly so didn't know how to properly scale them to be big enough to carry a person while still being light enough to fly (well glide), second and related factor is that a lot of ancient engineering was gotten theu testing what worked and with that knowledge then passed down to your apprentices and not gotten thru formal education and research.

That's one the reasons why some ancient and medival structures still stand because they were over-engineered to make sure they would stand rather making them "good enough". That makes building stuff like functional gliders, rather difficult as you have weight limit there that you can't go over.

that said experiments on manned fight have been done since the ancient times and it's not impossible that some of those were successful enough to inspire the myths.

EDIT:One of the reasons early experiments on manned flight failed was that they were trying to replicate exactly how birds flew with very limited observation so not only they got the mechanics wrong, they were trying to do something that is physically impossible for humans.
There are also soaring birds that can maintain flight and gain altitude without flapping wings using thermal updrafts. It is plausible that by observing those someone could figure out that it is not strictly necessary to flap wings. A rudimentary understanding of aerodynamics could be gained by trial and error using small scale glider models that can be quickly thrown together tested and altered to figure out what works best. It wouldn't be much different compared to modern day garage tinkerers who often build stuff without fully understanding underlying physics.

A lighter than air flight also is possibility, A hot air balloon also can be made from materials available for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese even had sky lanterns - a small scale hot air balloons so the principle was known. They had silk too which is good envelope material.

I just seems strange that while ancient civilizations were capable of building hardware as complex as Antikythera mechanism, had astronomical knowledge that only in 17 - 18 th century were surpassed in Europe, could do some amazing stonework, a relatively simple stuff like glider or hot air balloon would have never been invented.

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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Jub » 2019-01-22 03:35pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2019-01-22 03:06pm
There are also soaring birds that can maintain flight and gain altitude without flapping wings using thermal updrafts. It is plausible that by observing those someone could figure out that it is not strictly necessary to flap wings. A rudimentary understanding of aerodynamics could be gained by trial and error using small scale glider models that can be quickly thrown together tested and altered to figure out what works best. It wouldn't be much different compared to modern day garage tinkerers who often build stuff without fully understanding underlying physics.

A lighter than air flight also is possibility, A hot air balloon also can be made from materials available for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese even had sky lanterns - a small scale hot air balloons so the principle was known. They had silk too which is good envelope material.

I just seems strange that while ancient civilizations were capable of building hardware as complex as Antikythera mechanism, had astronomical knowledge that only in 17 - 18 th century were surpassed in Europe, could do some amazing stonework, a relatively simple stuff like glider or hot air balloon would have never been invented.
The issue is this; one can easily see where the techniques for architecture, computing, science, philosophy, math, etc. came from and why they were or weren't passed on. However the same cannot be said for ancient flight flight as there is, at best, circumstantial evidence for flight and even that is generous. Nothing passed down or built upon, no continued legends describing new events over that civilization's lifespan. It's unlikely that manned flight, in any age, wouldn't have been widely remarked upon and attempted by others.

The other thing is that flight in any form is not at all simple. For a simple glider you need a solid understanding of why the shape works as well as how that shape, as well as wing length, width, thickness scales in relation to the mass carried. Plus even once you do know that you need to build such a shape lightly enough to wok and still strong enough to fly.

A hot air balloon, requires a staggering scale of fabric production and sealing before it becomes possible to fly that way. It also takes the desire to break the mold and use principles for things not yet associated with them. Otherwise the Chinese would have had manned lighter than air flight and yet they never did in spite of using unmanned balloons for centuries.

It takes more than possibility to cause a new technology to emerge and without evidence it's far safer to say that a thing didn't happen than to say it did.
Last edited by Jub on 2019-01-22 03:37pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-01-22 03:36pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2019-01-22 03:06pm
Lord Revan wrote:
2019-01-21 06:12pm
Sky Captain wrote:
2019-01-21 04:44pm
Why it is considered impossible that some ancient culture had limited capability of flight? First successful gliders were simple machines made from lightweight wooden frame covered with fabric - materials that were available for thousands of years. It would have little practical application, but someone taking off from a mountain in a homemade glider and riding the thermals could be all that's needed to inspire all sorts of legends and myths about flying machines.

Ancient civilizations were capable of quarrying, transporting and setting up in structures multi hundred ton stone blocks using only human and animal power - an engineering feat far more difficult than a simple hang glider capable of carrying man.
I think the problem was twofold, first while kites have been in existance for God knows how long, people really didn't know what made them fly so didn't know how to properly scale them to be big enough to carry a person while still being light enough to fly (well glide), second and related factor is that a lot of ancient engineering was gotten theu testing what worked and with that knowledge then passed down to your apprentices and not gotten thru formal education and research.

That's one the reasons why some ancient and medival structures still stand because they were over-engineered to make sure they would stand rather making them "good enough". That makes building stuff like functional gliders, rather difficult as you have weight limit there that you can't go over.

that said experiments on manned fight have been done since the ancient times and it's not impossible that some of those were successful enough to inspire the myths.

EDIT:One of the reasons early experiments on manned flight failed was that they were trying to replicate exactly how birds flew with very limited observation so not only they got the mechanics wrong, they were trying to do something that is physically impossible for humans.
There are also soaring birds that can maintain flight and gain altitude without flapping wings using thermal updrafts. It is plausible that by observing those someone could figure out that it is not strictly necessary to flap wings. A rudimentary understanding of aerodynamics could be gained by trial and error using small scale glider models that can be quickly thrown together tested and altered to figure out what works best. It wouldn't be much different compared to modern day garage tinkerers who often build stuff without fully understanding underlying physics.

A lighter than air flight also is possibility, A hot air balloon also can be made from materials available for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese even had sky lanterns - a small scale hot air balloons so the principle was known. They had silk too which is good envelope material.

I just seems strange that while ancient civilizations were capable of building hardware as complex as Antikythera mechanism, had astronomical knowledge that only in 17 - 18 th century were surpassed in Europe, could do some amazing stonework, a relatively simple stuff like glider or hot air balloon would have never been invented.
Well you're thinking this from a modern scientific PoV, aka if something doesn't work test to see why it doesn't work and then adjust. In ancient times if something didn't work it could have just as well seen as the god(s) not willing you to fly and telling you to stop.

Essentially it's only strange if you assume people looked things from the same point of view as you do.

EDIT:Also what Jub stated.
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Sky Captain » 2019-01-23 05:35pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2019-01-22 03:36pm
Well you're thinking this from a modern scientific PoV, aka if something doesn't work test to see why it doesn't work and then adjust. In ancient times if something didn't work it could have just as well seen as the god(s) not willing you to fly and telling you to stop.

Essentially it's only strange if you assume people looked things from the same point of view as you do.
I try to look at it as someone who likes to tinker with stuff may look at it. If manned gliding flight were invented at some point in the history and later lost it probably was by someone who was good at observing things like how large birds fly, how large light surfaces react when exposed to wind at different angles and such, then making experiments based on that, trying various configurations, slowly migrating to larger scale models. That is only plausible way how flight could have been developed by trial and error without fully understanding underlying physics.

Jub wrote:
2019-01-22 03:35pm
A hot air balloon, requires a staggering scale of fabric production and sealing before it becomes possible to fly that way. It also takes the desire to break the mold and use principles for things not yet associated with them. Otherwise the Chinese would have had manned lighter than air flight and yet they never did in spite of using unmanned balloons for centuries.
Getting materials in large enough quantities could have been an obstacle. I have no idea at what scale production of various fabrics light enough for balloon were. In any case a would be ancient balloon of glider builder would have to be reasonably rich and also have lots of free time to develop his contraptions and be smart enough to not die while doing some stupid experiment.

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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-01-23 06:09pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2019-01-23 05:35pm
Lord Revan wrote:
2019-01-22 03:36pm
Well you're thinking this from a modern scientific PoV, aka if something doesn't work test to see why it doesn't work and then adjust. In ancient times if something didn't work it could have just as well seen as the god(s) not willing you to fly and telling you to stop.

Essentially it's only strange if you assume people looked things from the same point of view as you do.
I try to look at it as someone who likes to tinker with stuff may look at it. If manned gliding flight were invented at some point in the history and later lost it probably was by someone who was good at observing things like how large birds fly, how large light surfaces react when exposed to wind at different angles and such, then making experiments based on that, trying various configurations, slowly migrating to larger scale models. That is only plausible way how flight could have been developed by trial and error without fully understanding underlying physics.
the thing is that the mindset needed for such experimentation is actually fairly recent (well in large scale at least), since it essentially demands one to except their flawed nature. Modern experimentation based research into things would be outright athema to their whole world view.

Also there's the fact that people with time and resources to spend on "idle" experimentation would not have the know-how on how to build things as the crafters would be too busy making a living to ponder the anything like how could men fly.

After all in the pre-industrial era everything had to be hand made, even the tools and thus your typical member of the upper classes would not have knowledge or tools to build anything as complex a glider by themselves and they would more likely then not be too arrogant to consider that maybe they shouldn't start with full scale model after few casual observations.

Now gliders made in ancient times did exist but pretty much every single one them were fundamentially flawed in one way or another and also more often then not killed their "pilot" on the first test flight.
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-01-24 01:31pm

I think you are being too harsh. Plenty of people tinker and try ideas out, fix the failed bit, try again.

Its not really the scientific method. No control of other factors, no strict hypothesis. Its just fuzzy story telling about each trial. Good enough for most things.

The flipside of Sly Captains argument is it suggests everything should have been invented all at once.

I strongly agree with Jub. Huge amounts of knowledge and examples of things have been passed down. The fact we have nothing for glider flight suggests strongly there was never much to pass down.

I am wondering why china never developed manned balloons though. The confluence of wealth, tech and interest was present.
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2019-01-25 04:48pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2019-01-23 06:09pm
After all in the pre-industrial era everything had to be hand made, even the tools and thus your typical member of the upper classes would not have knowledge or tools to build anything as complex a glider by themselves and they would more likely then not be too arrogant to consider that maybe they shouldn't start with full scale model after few casual observations.

Now gliders made in ancient times did exist but pretty much every single one them were fundamentially flawed in one way or another and also more often then not killed their "pilot" on the first test flight.
Yeah the upper class literally can't do anything, and nearly every culture would emphasis that they shouldn't be getting their hands dirty except possibly for warfare.

Something to remember as well is that in ye olden times before good soap, before decent medical care, before we understood much of anything, being a craftsman is risky. A minor injury + infection can turn into death. Wounds disfigure and scar. Being a blacksmith means getting lots of random burns. The incentive to tinker with stuff if you have lots of money to blow on it is pretty low for people in that position. Certainly folks did it but the overall scale has many self limiting factors behind it.

As far as building a glider goes, making a light wing out of wood and fabric is incredibly hard when you've got a blacksmith hammering out your nails, no real screws and less then amazing glue for joining large scale pieces. Even if you had a proper theory of lift, which is a very complicated idea to figure out, making the damn thing light enough is a huge challenge. And since your only practicable means of launching is off a steep hill or similar, a bonus problem exists concerning ever launching and flying the thing, and surviving to tell anyone it worked. To be light enough to work the glider sure won't be safe in a crash. Thus why people who could even get to the point of attempting flight tend to die.
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Sky Captain » 2019-01-26 04:48pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2019-01-25 04:48pm
As far as building a glider goes, making a light wing out of wood and fabric is incredibly hard when you've got a blacksmith hammering out your nails, no real screws and less then amazing glue for joining large scale pieces. Even if you had a proper theory of lift, which is a very complicated idea to figure out, making the damn thing light enough is a huge challenge. And since your only practicable means of launching is off a steep hill or similar, a bonus problem exists concerning ever launching and flying the thing, and surviving to tell anyone it worked. To be light enough to work the glider sure won't be safe in a crash. Thus why people who could even get to the point of attempting flight tend to die.
This may be biggest problem. Even a modern day hang glider is easy to crash if pilot don't know what he is doing. It is plausible that ancient people who attempted to fly with some sort of glider generally died in crashes if their contraption was successful enough to actually take off from mountainside
madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-01-24 01:31pm
I am wondering why china never developed manned balloons though. The confluence of wealth, tech and interest was present.
That's good question. During 18th and 19th century balloons were used for observation so there would even be a practical application. A balloon would be more useful than glider. If we go by history of ballooning in 18th and 19th century much safer too.


Historically we know various ancient civilizations undertook projects that consumed huge amounts of resources like pyramids and various temple complexes that do not have direct practical application. Thousands of people needed to work for decades to build those projects are people who at the same time will not be working in agriculture, building irrigation systems, building fortifications protecting borders and the like so there is some significant opportunity cost there. It means there were enough accumulated wealth and free manpower that undertaking those projects were not crippling to a civilization. For comparison resources needed for balloon would hardly register on that scale. Someone moderately rich hiring craftsmen who make sails for ships could have made hot air balloon without too much difficulty. From a resource perspective it is less than building a small ship.

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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2019-01-26 11:39pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2019-01-26 04:48pm
That's good question. During 18th and 19th century balloons were used for observation so there would even be a practical application. A balloon would be more useful than glider. If we go by history of ballooning in 18th and 19th century much safer too.
Importantly you can carry out many unmanned tests with a balloon first.... and if you do go up in a hot air balloon you've basically got a fail safe mechanic to at least get you low to the ground before you crash, which really helps everything. On the other hand as long as armies were small and fortresses small with siege weapons limited to short ranges the military value of a balloon is very low. By the 18th century, or really this became a thing in the 17th century, you had high caliber mortars that could lob shells over walls, making spotting useful, and armies were fairly big and threw up huge amounts of smoke at ground level. So an observer in the sky could potentially be a major advantage.

It's just not the same if you are in some 100 years war battle where 10,000 men is a huge army, smoke a non issue and road networks far less developed then they would be even in the 1550's in Europe, let alone anywhere else. basically before advanced gunpowder weapons the practicable applications are slight except perhaps a short term amusements. But rich people generally don't want super risky amusements.
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Jub » 2019-01-27 01:09am

Sky Captain wrote:
2019-01-26 04:48pm
Historically we know various ancient civilizations undertook projects that consumed huge amounts of resources like pyramids and various temple complexes that do not have direct practical application. Thousands of people needed to work for decades to build those projects are people who at the same time will not be working in agriculture, building irrigation systems, building fortifications protecting borders and the like so there is some significant opportunity cost there. It means there were enough accumulated wealth and free manpower that undertaking those projects were not crippling to a civilization. For comparison resources needed for balloon would hardly register on that scale. Someone moderately rich hiring craftsmen who make sails for ships could have made hot air balloon without too much difficulty. From a resource perspective it is less than building a small ship.
None of those require nearly the knowledge or forethought as building anything that flies would be. Pyramids, as impressive as they are, are basically artificial hills with very little internal structure. You can make any glider in those times with even skilled labor, it would literally take a one of a kind level genius and the right series of pressures and ideas to make it work and survive using it. Even for a balloon you need to understand that hot air can provide a lift to things even after the heat source is gone, and without experiments, you're unlikely to discover that by accident.

Even the one place that did discover this never attempted a manned balloon for a myriad of reasons.

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Lord Revan
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-01-27 05:35am

Jub wrote:
2019-01-27 01:09am
Sky Captain wrote:
2019-01-26 04:48pm
Historically we know various ancient civilizations undertook projects that consumed huge amounts of resources like pyramids and various temple complexes that do not have direct practical application. Thousands of people needed to work for decades to build those projects are people who at the same time will not be working in agriculture, building irrigation systems, building fortifications protecting borders and the like so there is some significant opportunity cost there. It means there were enough accumulated wealth and free manpower that undertaking those projects were not crippling to a civilization. For comparison resources needed for balloon would hardly register on that scale. Someone moderately rich hiring craftsmen who make sails for ships could have made hot air balloon without too much difficulty. From a resource perspective it is less than building a small ship.
None of those require nearly the knowledge or forethought as building anything that flies would be. Pyramids, as impressive as they are, are basically artificial hills with very little internal structure. You can make any glider in those times with even skilled labor, it would literally take a one of a kind level genius and the right series of pressures and ideas to make it work and survive using it. Even for a balloon you need to understand that hot air can provide a lift to things even after the heat source is gone, and without experiments, you're unlikely to discover that by accident.

Even the one place that did discover this never attempted a manned balloon for a myriad of reasons.
We should also remember that while they have no practical purpose from a rational irreligious point of view, those pyramids and temple complexes were very important to the local population in a way that hot air balloon might not.

We should also remember that material were much, much more expensive in the pre-industrial era since everything had to be hand made. Then there's also the fact the in most civilizations craftsmen would part of guild or equilevant who would deside what was and wasn't proper use of the communal resources.

Those guilds served an important function of helping craftsmen do their jobs too by securing supplies of material and buyers for the final products, someone working outside the guild system would find that much harder to do, which probably why such systems formed in many places independent of each other.
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Re: Indian science congress hilarity

Post by Sky Captain » 2019-01-27 08:45am

Jub wrote:
2019-01-27 01:09am
None of those require nearly the knowledge or forethought as building anything that flies would be. Pyramids, as impressive as they are, are basically artificial hills with very little internal structure. You can make any glider in those times with even skilled labor, it would literally take a one of a kind level genius and the right series of pressures and ideas to make it work and survive using it. Even for a balloon you need to understand that hot air can provide a lift to things even after the heat source is gone, and without experiments, you're unlikely to discover that by accident.

Even the one place that did discover this never attempted a manned balloon for a myriad of reasons.
Montgolfier brothers built their balloons after observing drying clothes lifting up over fire. Nothing fancy there. Every step at scaling things up to full size balloon was success. Nothing of their accomplishments needed bleeding edge technology of the time or was particularly difficult to construct, it was mostly clever use of materials available for a long time.
Lord Revan wrote:
2019-01-27 05:35am
We should also remember that while they have no practical purpose from a rational irreligious point of view, those pyramids and temple complexes were very important to the local population in a way that hot air balloon might not.
They also took orders of magnitude more resources and manpower to build than a balloon would. A balloon would be at most comparable to a small ship and those were built by thousands. Ship sails also needed large amounts of mass produced fabric although you probably could get away by using heavier lower grade stuff than balloon would need.
Lord Revan wrote:
2019-01-27 05:35am
We should also remember that material were much, much more expensive in the pre-industrial era since everything had to be hand made. Then there's also the fact the in most civilizations craftsmen would part of guild or equilevant who would deside what was and wasn't proper use of the communal resources.

Those guilds served an important function of helping craftsmen do their jobs too by securing supplies of material and buyers for the final products, someone working outside the guild system would find that much harder to do, which probably why such systems formed in many places independent of each other.
Why would this cause an obstacle to hire few sailmakers? People belonging to upper middle and higher class most likely hired craftsman for various reasons all the time.


If archeologists discovered a remains of hot air balloon in some dry desert cave, or ancient text describing manned ballooning I wouldn't find it surprising or particularly impressive at all.
Stuff like this I find far more impressive from an engineering perspective. Making and transporting those precisely fabricated multi ton blocks with only simple stone and bronze tools must have been damned hard.

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