Science » Technologies and discoveries

Foreseeing the Future

Some historical documents surprise historians so much that they claim these documents are forged.
This happened to many findings contradicting their time, such as footsteps of dinosaurs and men in the artifacts of the same time period. Other examples are technological artifacts in the layers of granite, limestone or coal which age is tens and hundreds million years, the maps drawn by Piri Reis and Orontsi Finnei in 16th century, where Antarctida was drawn hundreds of years before it was actually discovered.
At the end of 70s at the conference a fantasy writer put forward the idea that Leonardo da Vinci was the newcomer from the future who by chance found himself in different epoch. He could not come back to his time and had to adjust his knowledge to the needs of the epoch he arrived at. Another participant of the dispute objected he would believe this idea if the drawing of the car or the radio scheme could be found in da Vinci's papers. His opponent replied with a witty remark: "What if Leonardo arrived at the past from the end of 19th or beginning of 20th century when there were neither car no radio?" "In this case the drawings of the steam machine or bicycle would be found!"
Unfortunately, both the participants of the dispute were just writers and not historians and therefore did not know the biography of the supposed newcomer from another world very well: among his papers there were drawings of a steam machine and a bicycle. Besides, this was the bicycle of the modern design: having small wheels and chain transmission for the back wheel. Such a model appeared only in the end of 20th century. However, the skeptics continue saying again that these drawings are forged.
Interestingly, Leonardo’s drawing of the steam machine has the piston and cylinder, but other important parts of the engine –valves for allocating steam and their driving gear are covered by a think ink spot for unknown reasons.  
Fantasy writers recall Dutch artist Ieronim Boskh (1460-1516), living at one time with Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). In his surrealistic paintings he depicted "flying plates," bathyspheres and night air bombardment of a town and even the tunnel which is passed by the souls of dead people on their way to another world (according to Moudi’s research). Bosch’s paintings have the thing he could never encounter in his life: he painted the man driving aquaplane and holding to its metal handrail!
However, there is no motor boat in this painting, and this allowed skeptics to say the aquaplane could be pulled by a dolphin. Another painting is also of interest: the rope is broken, the aquaplane loses its hydrodynamic ability to stay afloat and sinks, the "aquanaut" has to swim by himself.
In 1837 American writer Edgar Poe was not yet known in his country. A strange visitor came to the writer and offered him the strange thing: "Your friends told me you are working on the novel. I can guarantee your novel will be published if you follow my minor request: put in the novel this description of the liquid without changing a single word in it".
The visitor gave Edgar Poe a piece of paper. For the writer this request seemed strange, but he followed it.  In 1838 in New York his novel "Story of Arthur Gordon Pim's Adventures" was published. Its main character experienced unusual adventures on the island near Antarctida.
He encountered a strange stream whose description greatly surprised readers until recent times. "For me it is hard to give the precise idea of the liquid without giving its detailed description,"- the character says. It cannot be called colorless, but at the same time it has no definite color.  It was iridescent with the variety of shades of purple as silk shades shot.
We put some water into the glass and let it stay there for some time. We noticed it split into a variety of different streaming veins; each of them had its own shade. They were not mixing, and the cohesion energy within the veins was much more than the cohesion energy between the separate veins. We cut streams with a knife, and they immediately closed up, as it happens to ordinary water, and when we took the knife out of the glass there were no more traces of our cutting in the liquid. When we cut the place between two veins with a knife, they got separated from each other, and only a moment later the cohesion energy put the veins close to one another again".
Specialists will see here the precise description of the properties of liquid crystals which were discovered only a century before! Liquid crystals cannot be seen under the natural conditions, and one can be sure Edgar Poe could not have a chance to se them. 

Tatiana Samoilova

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