The Lounge is rated Safe For Work. If you're about to post something inappropriate for a shared office environment, then don't post it. No ads, no abuse, and no programming questions. Trolling, (political, climate, religious or whatever) will result in your account being removed.
Both the Greeks and Romans knew of the steam engine* for example, but they didn't use it (except to make the gods look more exciting) as slaves did a better job, cheaper.
They lacked the metallurgy needed to make the large pressure vessels needed for steam engines with useful power densities. At best they'd've been limited to low pressure models with performance ratings of IIRC less than a ton/horsepower that used so much coal they were only capable of being ran onsite at coal mines.
And the industrial revolution began using water wheels, so arguments pointing to the ancients not taking advantage of steam power are totally blaming the wrong thing to begin with.
Did you ever see history portrayed as an old man with a wise brow and pulseless heart, weighing all things in the balance of reason?
Is not rather the genius of history like an eternal, imploring maiden, full of fire, with a burning heart and flaming soul, humanly warm and humanly beautiful?
Training a telescope on one’s own belly button will only reveal lint. You like that? You go right on staring at it. I prefer looking at galaxies.
-- Sarah Hoyt
I think so. It came from India. Can you imagine the speed of light represented in roman digits?
Is is philoshopically interesting that an item devoid of existence, in fact it represents the opposite of existence, has such importance:
"Please, add some zeroes to my wage !!!"
"No,no the opposite side"
One of the things that seems to have made the industrial revolution so successful was developing machines to create machines.
It seems that if you can do this, you can then start to miniaturise and mass produce products with a similar quality.
Also the prior invention of the printing press meant that accurate information could be shared fairly easily.
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
If you're referring to "1" and "0", at low levels computers don't actually use ones and zeros, that's simply a modern mnemonic for representing two states. It is actually on or off, high or low, and can be represented by anything we want. They could have used "1" and "2", or "A" and "X", or even "+" and "-".
I think that's not the point, but a numerical system with or without zero.
For example. You can calculate the volume of a pool, or the weight of a rocket oxidizer easily in binary, hexadecimal o decimal system, both in metric or imperial, using a computer or a dirty piece of paper buy try to the same thing with romans. In you withdraw the zero from a numerical system, you wipe out all engineering, I think
Romans were pretty good engineers. There are aqueducts that maintain a steady 4 degree angle, even through tunnels. Not to mention things like the 100 foot unreinforced concrete dome over the Pantheon in Rome, which is still the largest of its kind, some 2000 years later.
I think if we were still using roman numerals, we would still be fine. We seem to be able to manage the calendar and all its weird and wonderful attributes. Speaking of which, Julius Caesar was able to reform the calendar in 46 BC, to within 99.99% of the tropical year. That's pretty good calculations for a number system without a zero, I'd say.
They pushed its numerical system to its limits, no doubt, and got got incredible things.
But if you withdraw the zero of many of out engineering fields things like the Fourier Transform get really complicated.
As another example, it is predict the planets position with the middle ages earth centered system. but if you place the sun in the center, things became simpler.
the Romans knew the concept of "nothing"; it just didn't have a char to denote it.
They did not apply the concept "zero" to its numerical system, hence the lack of symbol; so, they could not handle too big or too little numbers and operate with it. It is impossible to develop chemical novelties, radio antenae, iron ships, major metal structcures without strong math.
An math-less industrial revolution would have been anchored in the steam engine and the alchemy, and would not have headed to place a man alive on the moon.
"The Void" is an indian concept. In fact the have ancient texts about it.
Zero was invented by the indians, brought to Europe by the moors via Spain (Al-Andalus)promoted by Fibonacci and widely used in Europe in the 16th century. Shortly after some mathematicians started their work and made technology possible.
Having concepts is not necessarily the same as having written symbols. In our culture, we are able to handle different degrees of infinity without each having a distinct symbol. In the computer and database world, we are to varying degrees able to handle variants of zero/empty/unknown/null/void/...
I was surprised when I many years ago learned that there was (maybe still is) a 4-value standard code for sex, from long before the Pride age, each represented by a single digit, none of the alternatives being zero: Male, female, irrelevant and undecided. It was used e.g. by railroad transporters' reservation system: For an ordinary coach with seats, the sex was irrelevant. For a sleeper reservation not yet sold, the sex was undecided. In the old days, with three bunks per sleeper compartment, you could buy a single bunk, and the two others were marked in the database as male or female, according to your sex. Railroad companies managed to handle it, even if there were no specific symbol to represent the four sex alternatives.
I am 100% convinced that the Romans had a concept of "I owe you nothing!" or "We have reached the destination - there there is no remaining travel", even if they did not have a mathematical symbol for it. We don't have a symbol for an unspecified value, unless we introduce an indirection concept, a pointer to a value and give that pointer a void/null value. It doesn't exist in our number system; yet we are able to cope with it.