The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion®

The Engineer's Notebook

The Engineer's Notebook is a shared blog for entries that don't fit into a specific CR4 blog. Topics may range from grammar to physics and could be research or or an individual's thoughts - like you'd jot down in a well-used notebook.

 Previous in Blog: Working on the Railroad: Instruction Car Next in Blog: How Long Would You Wait For A Marshmallow?

Subscribe to Discussion:

CR4 allows you to "subscribe" to a discussion
so that you can be notified of new comments to
the discussion via email.

The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

Posted October 03, 2012 10:48 AM by HUSH

While I don't think it would have helped save my Gotham High School math grades many years back, I think having another 6 degrees in every circle would mean more handshakes! (See what I did there?)

Do I think I know Will Smith--or at the very least, do I know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone who knows Will Smith? The skeptic in me says, "No, I do not."

I digress, sort of.

It's easy to remain skeptical of absurd claims like "I'm best friends with Will Smith," especially in the face of a deconstructive argument. Yet, when the tables are turned and an affirmative argument is presented, it's easy to be led astray.

How many times a day do you deductively evaluate something? How often do you slap on your gumshoes and take a brain walk? Since you're reading this on CR4--with an emphasis on engineering and sciences--probably more often than most people.

I present to you a reason to maintain that skepticism.

A 366° circle, upon its outset, sounds bizarre. Yet that is exactly what some radical archeologists contend is true based on Scottish engineer Alexander Thom's discovery that ancient, circular, megalithic sites in Britain and France are all based on the same unit of measure: the megalithic yard.

A megalithic yard lies at 2 feet, 8.64 inches. Thom spent the latter half of his life surveying large rock structures in the British and French countryside, but was puzzled as to how primitive people were able to build 120 ton structures-to precision, but hundreds of miles apart. The answer Thom sought laid above him the whole time.

These ancient people realized that there were two days a year where shadows from the rising sun and the setting sun aligned, and those days would be the autumnal and vernal equinox. With 366 days a year, these ancient Britons and Gauls inscribed the Earth with a circle divided into 366 parts. Monitoring the translation of the night sky within one degree of this circle provided a basis for monitoring the Earth's rotation. Swinging a pendulum 366 times between two uprights set at 1 degree apart-within the time span of 1/366th of a day (or, 3 minutes, 56 seconds), results in a pendulum distance of 1 feet, 4.32 inches. And so readers, we have finally arrived at the distance of the megalithic yard. If we take the 180° oscillation of the pendulum, we come to the megalithic yard: 2 ft., 8.64 in. AHHHHHHH!

So far we've confirmed that the megalithic yard exists. So what is the significance? There is speculation that 366 degrees is the basis of many of our current measurement systems today.

And this is where things take a Number 23-esque turn, but with significantly less Jim Carrey. I'll warn you now, if you thought the megalithic yard was a bunch of BS, it's about to get much smellier.

Alan Butler and Christopher Knight are pseudoarchaeologists-meaning they draw less reasonable conclusions from the same scientific data as their peers, and they are often admonished for some of their proposals. They've drawn the conclusion that units such as the pint, the avoirdupois pound, and the human body temperature in Celsius are all based on some form of the number 366. The claims of 366° influence grow more flagrant, as Butler believes that ancient cities like Thebes, Babylon, and Athens were situated on intervals with 366 meridians and 183 parallels, with the Jordan River serving as Prime Meridian.

Oh, but wait, there's more.

French author Sylvain Tristan believes that it was the people of Atlantis that spread the use of the 366° circle. He argues that many prehistoric civilizations didn't have the capacity to communicate this information accurately, and that an advanced race with seafaring skills would have to be responsible for the 366 credo. He further states that Atlantis was never an island, but part of a peninsula that connected Europa to the Britons. Finally, in July 2012, Doggerland was confirmed to have stretched from Scotland to Denmark, uniting the European continent more than 8,000 years ago.

So, does this actually prove anything?

Hardly. Though fun to think about, this is speculation at its best. Clearly the only way to prove this is with a big budget Indiana Jones blockbuster.

This is just a pimple in the rash of pseudoarcheology and sensationalism that has captivated bored minds in the past decade. On par with The DaVinci Code and the Kensington Runestone, 366 degrees in a circle should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism, and a pairing of your favorite alcohol.

And, for the record, apparently I do know someone, who knows someone, who knows Will Smith. The mathematical notion of collaboration distance says 90% (with the remaining percent children) of the world's people are linked by an average of 6.6 interconnections.

Image credits, in order: Funny Junk, World Mysteries Blog, Tech Power Up, The Epoch Times, TV Tropes, Sportress of Blogitude

Resources

Ancient Wisdom - Prehistoric British Geodesy

World Mysteries - Atlantis, First European Empire

Robert Lomas - The Mystery of the Megalithic Yard Revealed

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Panama
Posts: 4298
#1

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/03/2012 11:14 PM

So, who is Will Smith?

Guru

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1091
#2

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/03/2012 11:49 PM

I'm just intrigued by the idea of a 91.5 degree right angle.

__________________
If there's something you don't understand...Then a wizard did it. As heard on "The Simpsons".
Guru

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1091
#3

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/03/2012 11:51 PM

While there're at it could someone tidy up π (pi) it would help a lot if it was rational (say 3.2).

__________________
If there's something you don't understand...Then a wizard did it. As heard on "The Simpsons".
Guru

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Ketchikan, AK, USA
Posts: 13055
#4

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/04/2012 2:02 AM

In a beehive, π = 3.

__________________
In vino veritas; in cervisia carmen; in aqua E. coli.
Power-User

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: N38º3', W085º3'
Posts: 328
#5

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/04/2012 5:59 AM

In a beehive, π = 3.

Close enough for community work.

__________________
There's a theory stating if anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for & why it is here, it will instantly disappear & be replaced by something even more bizarre & inexplicable. There's another theory stating this has already happened.D Adams
Commentator

Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 80
#6

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/04/2012 6:14 AM

Allready 400 degrees in circle is used quite frequently - in the whole world!

-So you can "shoot" your ideas more correctly (suppose....)

Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 557
#7

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/04/2012 6:23 AM

Reminds me of when a friend in college asked why 2π x 60 hz =˜ 377 rad/sec and the impedance of free space =˜377Ω.

Guru

Join Date: May 2005
Location: In the Garden
Posts: 4581
#8

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/04/2012 6:11 PM

Good ol' Robert Lomas

__________________
Chaos always wins because it's better organised.
Power-User

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Kentucky Lake
Posts: 330
#9

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/05/2012 8:15 AM

HUSH, you might like "The Charlemagne Pursuit" by Steve Berry. A mixture of fact and fiction, the premise is that an ancient civilization was scientifically advanced, navigated the seas, used the Megalithic yard, and interacted with cultures around the world.

"The Ancient Masters were subtle, mysterious, profound, responsive. The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable. Because it is unfathomable, all we can do is describe their appearance. Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream. Alert, like men aware of danger. Courteous, like visiting guest. Yielding, like ice about to melt. Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood." written by Lao-tzu, 2,700 years ago.

Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Etherville
Posts: 13191
#10

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/05/2012 11:01 AM

There are lots of cited cases, so it should be easy to detail on..... The exact measurement of any structures should be available in 'traditional' units. It could then be quoted against these 'megalithic' yards. Hmm, it isn't. The 'proof' is everywhere, we are told, but nowhere is it cited.

WALOOB. Nyavkrark will return in AD 2157 to interpret. That, It is foreseen in the sacred bucket that resides outside my back door, will come to pass.

__________________
These nuts may contain traces of post.
Guru

Join Date: May 2005
Location: In the Garden
Posts: 4581
#11

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/08/2012 4:10 AM

Robert Lomas's books are all like that "proof" that 1 = -1, you know there's a ledgerdemain in there, but it takes a while to spot it.

Could someone draw me a picture of what this means:

Swinging a pendulum 366 times between two uprights set at 1 degree apart-within the time span of 1/366th of a day (or, 3 minutes, 56 seconds), results in a pendulum distance of 1 feet, 4.32 inches. And so readers, we have finally arrived at the distance of the megalithic yard. If we take the 180° oscillation of the pendulum, we come to the megalithic yard: 2 ft., 8.64 in.

It sounds like so much twaddle. WTF is a "pendulum distance"? If it means the length of string, it should say that. Uprights 1 degree apart??!? On what PCD?

If a "megalithic yard" is 2 feet 8.64 inches in length, all that says to me is that the Megalithic peoples were indeed the Little People of legend and myth and had shorter strides than the more modern man who standardised the yard. A yard has, certainly since Roman times, been equal to a stride (or the length from the fingers of one outstretched arm to your nose when measuring cloth!). A mile is 1000 strides. Not much of a leap (hop, skip or jump) to think that the Romans might have got the idea from an earlier people. After all, using body dimensions to measure distances is pretty obvious. (An inch is the length of the first digit of the thumb, and a foot...oh you work it out!).

Personally, I used my cubit + a hand to measure whether flightcases for 19" racking would fit into a gap and my sternum is exactly 1.2 m off the ground when I wear safety boots (Can anyone guess why I know that??)

__________________
Chaos always wins because it's better organised.
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Etherville
Posts: 13191
#12

Re: The 366 Degree Circle, Atlantis, and Skepticism

10/08/2012 6:03 AM

Can anyone guess why I know that??

I'm not going to risk suggesting why. Not after you mentioned racking.

__________________
These nuts may contain traces of post.