The following was written by Antti Koivumäki in 1995 and posted to
sfnet newsgroups sfnet.keskustelu.tietoverkot and
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
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 email@example.com:
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
Around year 10, a very vehement character,
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
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?