As I know of Psammetiko's experiment, it consisted of the following:

There was this rush among Phrygians and Egyptians about which civilization was older and thus the greater heir of the "ancient knowledge of the gods". Both civilizations sprung fully functional apparently for no cause and the myths of the two intertwine themselves.

Apart from this ancient ideological ego fight, the experiment was to isolate two kids, probably one Egyptian and one Phrygian with a mute Shepherd and watch for the early signs of spoken language. Which language they spoke first(Egyptian or Phrygian) would make the respective civilization winner of the competition. The experiment, as Muke states, ended with the word "bek" or possibly "bekos" which is phrygian for "bread" or "food". The Phrygians were then accepted as the oldest civilization of the World.

The catch is that the kids may have mimicked the sheep's sounds.

It's a dumb experiment for us, but back then it illustrates that even in the ancient civilization, empirical data was valued as the true resource to reach truth, something that was somewhere forgot by the ocidentals during the Middle Ages(or that is what THEY want you to believe).

18/07/2008 UPDATE


I was testing Mac OS X on my old and sturdy Toshiba laptop and slacking off. Safari's home page is full of shit, but they've managed to accomplish some nifty user interface advancements. It's really creepy how we geeks are pictured as borg'ed communistopen droids who keep parroting the same lines enshrined in those open ideals while the macheads get the glamour at the same time they are being mindwashed with corporate discourse saying mac mac mac mac mac oooooooooooooooS hit.

But I digress: that must be just part of the nature of memetics. The real problem was one specific "Science" headline about the MIT Speechome project. And I quote:

"When Deb Roy and his wife, Rupal Patel, learned of their impending bundle of joy, they did what many first-time parents do: They got a video camera. Actually, they bought 11 video cameras and 14 state-of-the-art microphones. Then they built a temperature-controlled data-storage room in their basement and loaded it with, among other gear, five Apple Xserves and a 4.4TB Xserve RAID, backup tape drives, and robotic tape changers. No, Roy and Patel hadn’t instantly become the world’s most doting parents; instead, they had hatched a plan to record practically every waking moment of their son’s first three years.

The high-powered academic couple—he directs of the Cognitive Machines Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, and she directs the Communication Analysis and Design Laboratory at Northeastern University—scrambled to convert their suburban Boston home into a state-of-the-art research center that would host the most ambitious study ever conducted on how children acquire language. They named the linguistic data-mining odyssey the Human Speechome Project (HSP), a marriage between “Speech” and “Home.” The name also pays appropriate homage to the grand scale and scientific payoff of the Human Genome Project, which catalogued the complete genetic makeup of the human species. Following on the heels of the Human Genome Project, the HSP was recently singled out by the journal Science as an example of pioneering research. In addition to their roles as primary investigators in the study, Roy and Patel are, along with their now two-year-old son, the central research subjects.

“My ultimate goal is to understand how language works,” Roy explains. That’s a tall order, and the logical place to start, he maintains, is with children. Decades of inquiry involving video and audio recordings of children interacting with caregivers and psychologists in institutional “speech labs” have laid a foundation to begin answering questions about how children develop language skills. The day-in/day-out interactions between children and adults, Roy points out, are key to the way children grasp language. “But for all of the interest in how children learn language, there’s no comprehensive data of even a single child’s development,” Roy says. “Most researchers rely on speech recordings that cover less than 1.5 percent of a child’s complete linguistic experience.”"

Sure, let's just throw our own childs onto the panopticon, all in the name of science, of course. Great! Maybe he can share the data with some of those psychologists, in exchange for some free psychotherapy for his soon-to-be fuckedup son.