>> Friday, October 29, 2010
Okay. I do a lot of poking around on Wikipedia, and like many people, I easily (and often) fall down the rabbit hole of hyperlinks, clicking from one fascinating subject to another. A few weeks back I thought it would be fun to start an entire blog of wildly-interesting facts found on Wikipedia, and today's find finally spurred me to action. But rather than start a new blog, I realized, why not post my discoveries on the perfectly good blog I already have?
So today begins "Found on Wikipedia," a feature that will probably be more regular than I would like, as the time I spend surfing Wikipedia always--always--takes away from time I should be writing. Still, stuff this good has to be shared.
The South-Pointing Chariot
The South Pointing Chariot is widely regarded as one of the most complex geared mechanisms of the ancient Chinese civilization, and was continually used throughout the medieval period as well. According to legends it was supposedly invented sometime around 2600 BC in China by the mythical Yellow Emperor, yet the first valid historical version was created by Ma Jun (c. 200–265 AD) of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms. The chariot is a two-wheeled vehicle upon which is a pointing figure connected to the wheels by means of differential gearing. Through careful selection of wheel size, track and gear ratios, the figure atop the chariot will always point in the same direction, hence acting as a non-magnetic compass vehicle. Throughout history, many Chinese historical texts have mentioned the South Pointing Chariot, while some described in full detail the inner components and workings of the device.
Read more about The South-Pointing Chariot here...and good luck getting anything done today.