[IAEP] [squeakland] [NaturalMath] KIds from around the world measuring the Circumference of the Earth

Alan Kay alan.nemo at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 29 09:16:09 EDT 2011

Hi Jason

I finally chased it down via "Alan Kay Kyoto Symposium"


This is likely to be very frustrating because they gave me a bad wearable microphone -- it is barely understandable when I'm at the podium, and not at all when I'm moving around away from the podium mike.

However, I might be able to find the material (it was done entirely using Etoys as both the presentation and demo media).

The talk was sneakily about thinking ... via how the Greeks were able to transcend our messed up genetic brains and minds. To me, how they were able to get the first really accurate picture of our situation in the universe, not just of a round Earth of a certain size, but of the Earth's relation to the Moon and the Sun -- quite bypassing normal commonsense and cultural reasoning -- is one of the most thrilling episodes in our intellectual history. And, it was just there for an instant, roughly during the Alexandrian Greeks period.



>From: Jason Rogers <jacaetevha at gmail.com>
>To: Steve Thomas <sthomas1 at gosargon.com>
>Cc: Alan Kay <alan.nemo at yahoo.com>; iaep <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>; squeakland <squeakland at squeakland.org>; "naturalmath at googlegroups.com" <naturalmath at googlegroups.com>
>Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 4:51 AM
>Subject: Re: [squeakland] [IAEP] [NaturalMath] KIds from around the world measuring the Circumference of the Earth
>Where is the link?
>Jason Rogers
>On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 12:40 AM, Steve Thomas <sthomas1 at gosargon.com> wrote:
>> Here is a link to Alan's talk, his reference to Eratostenes starts at around
>> 51:50.
>> Alan, do you still have a copy of the presentation?
>> Stephen
>> On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 12:18 AM, Alan Kay <alan.nemo at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>> But consider a flat Earth and a low small sun directly over the well. This
>>> will yield exactly Eratosthenes' result. The key here, which I've never seen
>>> mentioned in any books for children, is that the Greeks had to have a very
>>> good set of reasons for thinking the Earth round and the sun large enough
>>> and far enough away (and they did).
>>> I gave a talk on how they did this in the Kyoto Prize lecture followups in
>>> San Diego in 2005. Aristarchus was one of several key figures.
>>> The shame of it is that for both math and science learning, the important
>>> heuristic of trying to identify all the possible cases for a result is never
>>> encountered by the children (or most adults) who have read about
>>> Eratosthenes.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Alan
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: Steve Thomas <sthomas1 at gosargon.com>
>>> To: naturalmath at googlegroups.com; iaep <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>;
>>> squeakland <squeakland at squeakland.org>
>>> Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:06 PM
>>> Subject: [NaturalMath] KIds from around the world measuring the
>>> Circumference of the Earth
>>> The Goal of the Noon Day Project is to have students measure the
>>> circumference of the earth using a method that was first used by
>>> Eratosthenes over 2000 years ago.
>>> Students at various sites around the world will measure shadows cast by a
>>> meter stick and compare their results.
>>> From this data students will be able to calculate the circumference of the
>>> earth. Click here to get to their site and register.
>>> Watch the Carl Sagan video, its a treat.
>>> Thanks to Ihor Charischak for pointing this out.
>>> Stephen
>>> --
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