Day 66

Day 66

2000 years ago, Mt. Vesuvius erupted and buried the town of Herculaneum in ash. Hidden in the ruins of a villa thought to have been owned by Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, a collection of 1,000 scrolls that were carbonized during the eruption, were discovered by a farmworker in the 18th century.

Every attempt to decipher them ended up with the scrolls breaking and turning to ash. Recently a global competition called the Vesuvius Challenge offered a million dollars in prizes to anyone who could figure out how to read the 270 scrolls still in tact.

Out of the 18 teams entered the competition, the judges decided the $700,000 grand prize be shared by a team of three students — Luke Farritor from the U.S., Youssef Nader from Egypt, and Julian Schilliger from Switzerland. They found a way to read 2,000 letters using AI and a CT scan.

“The author — probably Epicurean philosopher Philodemus — writes here about music, food, and how to enjoy life’s pleasures,” …

“As too in the case of food, we do not right away believe things that are scarce to be absolutely more pleasant than those which are abundant,”

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