In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Egyptians, Space Aliens and Water

That's a hell of a title, isn't it? What prompted this post? I'll elaborate:

I was driving along, when I started thinking about an article I read years ago. The article, which promoted the idea of space aliens helping the Egyptians with the pyramids, used the fact the base of the Great Pyramid is flat within a tolerance of less than an inch. I thought to myself: "That's crap."

Water, when contained, will reach a point where the surface is level, so any enterprising person, with good observational abilities, would know this and use water for control of an elevation.

If I was building a huge pyramid, I'd first seek an area that would hold the weight. What could be a good place? How about a level surface in bedrock? The softer the better. Soft rock is easier to carve.

Then, I'd use water to determine how level it actually is. Placing a berm around the area, I could determine if the surface is level with something as simple as a stick. I could find the deepest spot, and use that as control. Everything higher than that would need removing.

But what could they use to remove the stone? I don't know, but if the rock was soft, most metals would work. Even without metals, harder rock could be used to remove the softer rock. It's time consuming, but I don't think they had any real binding schedule, except to finish before someone died.

So, I figured out how to start a great pyramid without the help of any space aliens. Using that as a basis for the rest of the pyramid, I'm thinking someone smarter than me probably existed back then and figured it out. If they were really smart, they'd figure out a way to amaze those around them, manipulate them into believing they had some type of divine intervention, live a life of luxury, and laugh all the way to the bank....or the tent....whatever.


  1. To some extent I think our minds have grown soft. Sure we can produce more things quicker, but we do it with a lot of assistance from automation and computers.

    One of the most interesting things we saw in Rome was the Pantheon. Built in 126 AD, the architects understood weight bearing in the sides and the middle of the dome. Utilizing a honeycomb design lessened the weight in the dome and made it stronger.

    You make an excellent point about using the water as a leveler. Sometimes the easiest thing is more difficult to figure out simply because that's not how we would do it today.

    Great story.

    1. I have a total station at work, which does just about everything. It will determine elevations, derive points for curves and transfer the information to a software program for manipulation, or drawings.

      I didn't have it in the past. I'd use long string lines, plumb bobs, measuring tapes, a builders level, and a calculator to figure the correct measurements.

      On many days, due to time, I revert to my old ways, since they're faster on smaller projects. I always have the hope someone on the crew will pick up the skills and I can feel I did something worthwhile to pass on to the next generation.