“Hiro!” I just finished reading the letter from the Planetary Science Agency. “Hiro?” He comes from the lab with a concerned expression. He looks at the paper on my hands, then to me, and I smile. He smiles also. His expression speaks of complete happiness.

He wears the lab robe and the goggles we use when we are cleaning samples. The excavation we’re working on is not giving us espectacular results, that is, we didn’t find another watch, but at least we found rotten wheels that appear to have inscriptions on the mysterious language we’re not able to decipher. Hiro is carefully copying all the signs on his notebook and on our blackboard. The blackboard is working as a statistical graph: we add a new symbol when we find it, but if it was already there, we make a mark below. So if the language is human, we may be able to infer some meaning from the frequency of the symbols. Yes, a human language can be reduced to patterns, as far as I know. Up to now, we found only 32 letters, that may mean that the alphabet, when finished, is not pictographic but fonetic, so we will, at one point, have it all. Pity that we don’t have the computers to process all the information on it. Or better said, we don’t have it here.

He comes to me, still without speaking, with calmed steps. When he’s by my side, goggles on his forehead, he tries politely to look over the paper. His movements are smooth, like flowing with hot air that surrounds us at this moment. He goes by my side, to a point he may be able to read it all. I show him the letter, and the stamp of the PSA, but I don’t hand it to him. A professor needs to keep his distance, despite of how good his student is. But Hiro knows how to keep the distances, he seems to be OK with them. I tell him the short version.

“We got it, Hiro. All of it. But we need to pick it up. Prepare your luggage and collect your money, son, we need to go to kernel Rome.”

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The watch

What will be marvelous is to have just a remote idea of how old is our Antikythera watch. Logic dictates it is posterior to the mechanism from Earth. It is much better preserved, but here, with our special climate, I couldn’t say that it was naturally preserved like that. On this paper magazine that we, the scientist on Yellow Earth manage to print from time to time, I read something about anomalous time zones being experienced somewhere close to the Mediterranean Kernel, the place corresponding to the center of Earth’s mediterranean sea. No city was ever existing there, as far as I know, but here you find magnificent buildings comparable to the ones of the continental plate. I should ask Hiro to check that sources, just to cross out that possibility that we’re being cheated by these fancy laws of nature we are not familiar with.

I have two working hypothesis. One is that the people that built Earth’s Antikythera mechanism somehow fell here. This will be already a big discovery: we will have the proof that in former times, people were already falling to this land. This theory will also explain for free all the disappearances ever registered before the massive ones, so it’s quite a candy. My other theory, more fantastic, is that the one from Earth was an imperfect copy of the watches used here. Meaning we earthlings copied something we saw here before. After all, we have the same calendar: on the back of our watch, clearly readable with a magnifier one can read on shining letters ,ΘΟΘ, Thoth, ΦΑΩΦΙ, Phaophi, ΑΟΤΡ,Athyr, and so on until ΕΠ.

The problem is the writings on the additional wheels of our watch. What are they for? We can move them so they form combinations, but the alphabet there doesn’t seem to match anything on Earth. I can only dream about its meaning, but I have a hunch: they are coordinates. Now, what Hiro, my linguistic expert, needs to find out, is simply how to correlate them with ours. Not a standard job of astronomy, archaeology and linguistic, but PhDs are not easy to get, even more, nowadays.

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The doctor and his student

“Doctor Wolfgang?” I look back to find the friendly face of my student, Hiro. He seems to be sad to see me picking up the remnants of the meeting he was not allowed to attend. Usually he will do that, cleaning up. I stop packing up the maps and the small metallic remnants to look at him and hear what he wants to tell me. Hiro is extremely smart, unfortunately, he’s not very good on expressing his ideas in English. After the familiar hesitation, he goes for a simple question. “Do you think we will get the SSD equipment?”

“Yes we will. ” Hiro smiles widely. He’s as involved in my project as myself, so he has the right to know the truth. “Although I’m not sure we will get it all at the same time.”

“Why?” He goes to the box that he knows stores the twin and working copy of the Antikythera mechanism that we found last week on the kernel close to Cadiz. I observe how he carefully takes it and put it over the table. “You didn’t show them this, did you?”

“No.” I look to his reactions. First, he seems angry. Then, impotence, finally, he’s calm. Hiro starts playing with the small levers and handles. This mechanism, that I dubbed the Antikythera watch, seems to be a 4:1 scale model of the original 340 mm x 180 mm x 90 mm, making it small enough to fit in a pocket.

“Why?” I hesitate to answer him. As an old glory, I fought the Academia when I was not a part of the System. I asked for grants, I filled tons of paperwork, for a few cents.

“One needs to know when to keep an ace up in your sleeve. One needs to know when the battle is over, or when it is necessary to withdraw your troops.” He shows understanding. And more important for me, complicity. “Besides, I don’t want them to take it away from us. First, I need to know what this baby here really does, and what are the functions of all those extra gears. ” A preliminary analysis showed us that our watch had 120 gears, 4 times more than the one on Earth. “Pity that we can’t run simulations here, therefore we will be forced to make experiments. Or even better, how about this: you do the experiments, I write down the results.” Hiro smiles, and seems to repress his impulse to come to me to hug me.

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“So what you try to tell us… is that the Romans built up this city?” Over the table, a bunch of map of the Northern Hemisphere, showing all the river branches, and the main population kernels, dubbed after the corresponding cities on Earth. Around it, the funding group.

“Yes, Mr. President. The romans built it, or at least, they started to build it. We found clear coincidences on building techniques. The basic street planning, saving the non-euclidean parts, matches the one of the Low Roman Empire. And then you have Rome, and the Artifact there.”

“We are aware of the Artifact there, Doctor. What we want to know is how the romans, or whoever built that, came here, and why they left.”

“I have some theories… I need technology to prove them, unfortunately. I need C14 dating, to be more precise.”

“How the hell you want to make C14 dating work on a different quantum regime? Even I know that the speed of light is different here, and that the electronic devices don’t care to work as in the System.”

“Well, they can be adjusted…I could make correlations. I have my ways, I simply don’t have the tools. That’s why I want you to call for a transport of them. What I offer you, dear committee, is to know, precisely, when everybody here left before we arrive. Maybe, if my tools work, I will be able to tell you where they left, and how long it took them to empty the City. Maybe even why they did that. To leave, I mean.”

“Are you kidding us, Doctor? Are you telling us that you can deduce all that information from the trashes that are accumulated around the kernels?”

“Sorry, but I’m not crazy, it was done before. I’m a serious person, Mr. President. I don’t make jokes. The question I have for myself is, am I able to tell you with enough precision when they left, and where? For that, I need an SSD equipment.”

“The question here, Doctor, is not if we give you the SSD equipment, but if we can trust your theories. As you know, things are going a little bit tight at the other side. If you ask for something like that, we do need to give them an excuse to produce it. Or more than an excuse, a hope. That’s the point of this meeting, to find that hope.”

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I am your father


It looks like cassettes are coming back. Also Star Wars, so I decided to recycle this old joke. Although I don’t miss the cassettes, I think MP3 killed the feeling of uniqueness you were having when hearing one 90-minutes tape on my walkman. You knew there was no way back, that that was your mix, and that was it. I remember also exchanging tapes: I’m sorry but I don’t get the same when I record your MP3s.

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Blog Stats

I’ve been researching a little about what’s the current world’s usage of this tool called WordPress. (WP from now on). I want to know who’s using it, and who’s developing on in. I know it from long time ago, but I didn’t have time (as usual) to do the digging. I start with my findings of usage. Last year there was a post about WP usage. I will keep from it two numbers: 26.4% as the number of webs powered in some way by WP CMS (Content Management System) and 449 people as the number of workers of it. I don’t believe of course the first number that appears on Google, so I will try to cross check it later. Then you have this article about surprising statistics of WP that states on point 7 that employs only 229 people. The article is from 2014, meaning they almost doubled the number of workers in 2 years. Both articles unfortunately come from the same source, something called ManageWP that most probably is a spin-off of the main company, so let’s assume that this doubling of the number of workers can happen. To cross check the usage of WP on the internet (the 26.4%) I need to go to an independent source. That can be difficult if the number is true. If you go down the results, you can read on Torque (unfortunately one WP site) that WP domination is of 26.9%. So far so good.

Let’s try googling Joomla usage stats. I know drupal is also a popular CMS, but I don’t know drupal myself, so I will ignore it. The plot shown on this link seems to confirm the mystic number, and so do the pie chart here. I’m then convinced that 30% of the Internet cake is for WP.

And all of this research why? you may ask yourself, kind reader. The question is very legit, and the answer is also very easy. I have a clear dip on my readers during the weekend. I do post during the weekends, but I tend not to do it, if I have something else to do, like going out or watching a movie. I was wondering what kind of readers I have. If it is a professional or a personal blogger, like me. My followers, I follow, so I know more or less. The problem is the others. But I’ll take it easy, now I know I’m protected by the massive 30% of the internet. Therefore, have a nice (rest of) the day 🙂

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