Re: Information & Power/Alexandria library

Dwayne (
Mon, 10 May 1999 03:28:43 +1000

Billy Brown wrote:

> Dwayne wrote:
> > Are you sure of this? That we can move single objects over
> > ground weighing thousands of tons?
> Absolutely. A single locomotive engine can haul several tens of
> of tons, and you can easily reach hundreds of thousands just by
> several of them together. For that part of the problem it doesn't
matter if
> what you are moving is one big object or a collection of little ones,
> problem is the same either way.

Bzzzzt! I didn't say "hauling" I said "moving"

your railway example requires vast amounts of infrastructure before it will move
an inch.

I'll pose the question again: can we easily move monolithic chunks of rock
weighing thousands of tons?
In fact, I'll be specific: could we move the lower courses of the temple of
Jupiter at Baalbek to, say, Rome?

> You can load a thousand-ton rock onto a carrying platform by building
a ramp
> and using a couple of locomotive engines to drag it (if you want to be

> sophisticated, you can lubricate the ramp or put rollers under the
block to
> make it move more easily). You haul it off the platform and into
> the same way.

Now, do you know this for a fact? That this is how it would be done? I'm

thinking your rock can't flex a lot, so what about the bit where it goes from
the inclined plane of the ramp to the horizontal plane of the carriage? Won't it

I'm not being contrary, I just want to make sure that we are dealing with known
engineering principles here, not lots of people playing "I think" games
based on
spurious theories of modern capability.

> Note, by the way, that this is all 19th-century technology. We could
> probably scale it up quite a bit if we needed to for some reason -
> to millions of tons, and possible to tens of millions.

I'm not aware of how we could lift a million-ton object. You haven't suggested how we could lift a thousand ton object? Anyone know what
the carrying capacity of the largest crane in the world is?

> > Um, please read my reply to Michael Lorry. I mean the foundations
> > extremely square, edges and corners all line up, etc., to a very
> > degree of error.
> OK. Different problem, but the answer is the same - we can shape
matter to
> pretty much any degree of precision you want to pay for. Commercial
> construction techniques aren't up to the job, but that is only because
> one wants to pay for that kind of precision anymore.

Aha. So it is a cost factor, not a doability factor.

> With scientific equipment you can easily measure off your dimensions
with an
> accuracy of a few millimetres, regardless of how big the structure is.

> Measuring exact angles is also no big deal - telescope aiming systems
> routinely point objects in a desired direction with an error of <0.1
> arc-second, which is far bette than the pyramids.
> If you can make the required measurements, actually building to them
is just
> a matter of money. Either you spend extra time carefully placing your
> before pouring concrete, or you come back afterwards and cut away
> that isn't supposed to be there.

Right. Hmmmm. So maybe this engineer was a tame engineer quoted to make the
ancients look mysterious.

> The fact that a TV show dedicated to spreading the "ancient wonder
> meme was able to find someone to quote really doesn't carry much
> You can find *someone* who will agree with just about anything. I
> the Flat Earth Society has a couple of members who are engineers, too.

Um. So much for that bright idea.
I realise that you can get talking heads to say anything, but
I would assume
that a show which is trying to convince people of dubious stuff would make extra
effort to get qualified talking heads.

> The important question is what the general consensus of the experts
is. I
> looked into this several years ago, and what I found was that the
> consensus among archaeologists is that there is no big mystery to be
> explained. In Egypt, Greece and the Middle East they've worked out
> how just about everything was built, and can sometimes even trace the
> of new techniques from one culture to another across the course of
> centuries.

Mind you, archaeologists will frequently come up with explanations which defy
rational analysis should you actually try to attempt what they are saying, as

they have a professional abhorrence of the "we have no idea" response.



"the cricher we kno as dwayne is only the projection
into our dimension of something much larger and wirder."