Ancient history

Here are some interesting facts in this field that I have read about over the years:

In a book about Mastermind I read that in 1130 B.C. Brutus, the grandson of Aeneas of Troy, became the first king of Britain. He was the first of a line of kings including Cymbeline, Old King Cole and Arthur.

The base-ten numbering system emerged four times independently: in Babylon, China, India and Central America.

The Latin (ie English) alphabet originated in the sixth or seventh century B.C. Y and Z were added in the second century A.D., and W was added in the eleventh century A.D.

In the third century B.C. Xu Fu sailed from China to Mexico.

Archimedes discovered how to calculate the volume of a sphere.

Euclid proved that there are only five regular polyhedrons.

Pythagoras proposed that Hesperos and Phosphoros, the evening and morning stars, were the same planet, i.e. Venus.

In 129 B.C. Hipparcus divided stars into the six magnitudes in use today.

In about 1900 an astronomical calculating machine from the first century B.C. was found in a sunken ship. Nothing like it is known from the following thousand years.

According to rock art in North Italy Iron Age houses were like Tudor timber-framed houses with overhanging upper stories.


I have always been intrigued by ghosts because it is impossible that they exist, and yet many people claim to have seen them. The people who claimed to have photographed fairies and the Loch Ness Monster admitted in later life that they used models, and yet I have never heard of people claiming to have seen ghosts and admitting in later life that they hadn’t. I recently read that there are ghost stories in all the ancient cultures, including Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Incan. How can that be if there are no such things as ghosts?

More about Venus

If it is confirmed that bacteria have evolved independently in the atmosphere of Venus it means that bacteria must be common throughout the Universe as Fred Hoyle maintained. It does not mean that advanced life is found throughout the Universe: the number of planets is vast, but the evolution of eukaryotic cells from bacteria is so unlikely the odds against it happening again may well exceed the number of planets.