Going way back.

For this (perhaps totally superfluous) traditional date tie-in I generally try to find an event related to the ongoing march of communications technologies. If I'm lucky, I'll find something that suggests that it's more of a stumbling crawl, or perhaps simply some sort of anomoly that allows me to make a somewhat flippant observation. Usually these dates stem from the twentieth or the ninetienth century, basically because few people were keeping precise dates before then, and because my chances of finding a technological innovation from around that time is distinctly greater than from before then. I'd love to post a column on the day that Gutenberg first used his printing press, or published his Bible, but those exact dates have been lost to antiquity, and I've got to make do with what I can find.

And once again, most of what I can find doesn't go all that far back. Sometimes, however, I'm sort of lucky. While sifting through my varous sources, I found that one of them notes that April 27 is the day that the astronomer Johannes Kepler calculated as being the date of Creation. To be exact (and why shouldn't we be?) Kepler calculated that it was on April 27, 4977 B.C.E., almost seven thousand years ago, that this took place. This particular source seems to be among the more trustworthy, though it's the only one that mentions this date. (When I built an online calendar of this sort my sources were primarily print sources, simply because I grew up in an era when seeing it in print was believing.) We're not told on what date Kepler did his calculations (or published them) but it was without a doubt substantially later.

It's fascinating to realize that Johannes Kepler, among the most important astronomers of his age who made a significant contribution to the eventual acceptance of the Copernian system, sought to show, even after the earth had been moved from being the center of the universe, that there was still harmony and logic in the movement of heavenly bodies. Then again, that quest for harmony is still the impetus for much scientific investigation, even today.

Go to: Me and Moore's Law.