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The following was written by Antti Koivumäki in 1995 and posted to sfnet newsgroups sfnet.keskustelu.tietoverkot and sfnet.huuhaa.

Original: http://www.teli.stadia.fi/~ako/Jutut/Davinci/

Translated by yours truly, and put here with permission from the author.

Leonardo da Vinci and the Internet

The greatest limbo of the ongoing Internet hype can be found from a MikroBitti magazine column by Kari A. Hintikka:

"I wonder what da Vinci would have been able to do, if he could have used the Internet?"

Excellent thought. So deep. From the depths where the sun doesn't shine.

The answer, of course, would be that he couldn't have done more than he could without the Internet.

But it makes me think: How the Internet would have worked with the 13th century technology? They might have used carrier pigeons. Millions of pigeons would have criss-crossed the European skies carrying news articles, WWW pages and files with FTP.

Then, around 1490, in sci.engineering newsgroup, we could have found this short message from leonardo@milan.it:

Hi all surfers :-) I'm Lennu, an artist and inventor from Milano (that's in Italy). I've invented a helicopter, but I'm not sure how to get it to work. Has anyone else out there in the cyberspace invented a helicopter? I would like to exchange some electronic ma... damn, what the heck I'm blabbering about? The electricity won't be invented for over 200 years... I mean, I would like to exchange some pigeon mail with other helicopter inventors in the spirit of the renaissance :-) Thanks in advance :-) :-) :-)

PS. The blueprints of my helicopter can be found from my home page: http://www.milan.it/~leonardo/inventions/aviation/chopper/.

My home page also has some masterpiece-quality paintings, including "The Last Supper". It also has a sketch of my newest classical painting, that has a mysteriously smiling woman. I can't think of a name for that, but I've been thinking of "Mona Carita" or "Marja-Liisa", but those don't sound right. Any suggestions?

PPS. My home page has been made with the HTML Grain Extensions - the more grains you send with the http requests, the bigger images you get.

Leonardo da Vinci, leonardo@milan.it
I'm also working on an invention called .signature.

But why keep wondering about the hard life of da Vinci without the net. What if Jesus could have got to the Net? What about Buddha?

The following has some of the highlights of the lesser known history of the Internet:

As we know, the plague epidemy known as the Black Death came with rats from Crimea to Sicily in 1347. Few people know that the plague was spread from Sicily to the whole Europe over the Internet. When the plague came to Messina, a sicilian Internet activist newgrouped alt.current-events.black-death. Unfortunately the pigeons used to carry news articles spread the plague to the whole Europe. This generated some discussion with subject "Virus spreading is damaging the whole Internet" (at the time, it was thought that the plague was caused by a virus, not by bacteria). Later in the Middle Ages, a certain net person caused some controversy by allowing people to freely get a package containing 2806 viruses (saying he had freedom of speech). Due to this incident, the whole middle ages was the golden age of all sorts of diseases in the Europe.

In 1231, the pope Gregory IX was very modern, and commissioned the creation of talk.religion.inquisition at the same time when he also created the Inquisition. The Pope got several messages from the Internet gurus of the time, saying that groups can be created to talk.* hierarchy only by issuing a RFD and then CFV, not with a papal order. The senders of these messages were the first victims of the Inquisition. So, you'd better think before flaming someone, so that you will not be roasted on the bonfire. Out of the chambers of many gurus at the time came the cry, "I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!"

Around year 10, a very vehement character, jesus@nazareth.edu appeared to talk.religion.judaism and soc.culture.jewish. He started a flame war that lasted for a couple of decades, and we all know what happened after that. After his death, this person participated, from time to time, to discussions in alt.religion.jesus-cult, alt.atheism and sci.skeptic, among other groups, using address jesus@right-side.heaven.com.

A request to create sci.engineering.wheel group came from Mesopotamia in 4123 BC. Nobody in the world knew what "the wheel" was, so this request was rejected due to popular vote. The creation of western civilization moved by over thousand years - this just shows how important open mind is when adventuring in the Internet.

It was very fortunate that in the Stone Age people were less prejudicious. When the cave man Grok told, in 552320 BC, about his realization of the true essence of fire, people had no problems whatsoever in creating sci.physics.fire. The secrets of fire spread quickly all over the world. In the stone age, the Internet was operated not only with pigeons, but also with sabretooth tigers and mammoths. The latter were particularly useful for trafficing heavy graphics, so the interactive multimedia learning package could be spread quickly. Of course, in the stone age, the term "heavy graphics" had quite different meaning from what it is today.

I wonder what the today's world would be like if there would not have been Internet in the paleolithic era?

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