Hey folks!

Have you heard of the Antikythera mechanism, yet?

Well, if you haven’t, it’s an ancient Greek device, about 2,200 years old, and is considered the oldest known computer in the world!

Discovered by divers in 1900 near the Greek island of Antikythera, this shoebox-sized device didn't gain much attention until researchers realised that it used bronze gears and dials to predict celestial events like eclipses and the moon's future positions, based on ancient astronomical theories.

And ever since, this seemingly modern piece of ancient technology has been a treasure trove of unsolved mysteries.

One long-standing question, for instance, was about the number of evenly spaced rings and holes it used to determine celestial events with a pre-set calendar. And due to centuries of underwater corrosion, scientists were unsure if the device followed the lunar calendar or the Egyptian one. While 350 holes meant that it followed the lunar calendar, 365 holes meant that it was based on the Egyptian calendar.

But recent research by a team of astronomers from the University of Glasgow has solved that. They used statistical modelling techniques to finally find out that the Antikythera mechanism tracked the Greek lunar calendar.

And guess what? They drew inspiration from Chris Budiselic, a YouTuber and machinist, who has been building a replica of the Antikythera mechanism, but wasn’t sure how many holes to include.

And there you have it! Another mystery solved for this incredible piece of ancient technology.

Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵

Aisi Raaton by Anupam Roy

Ready to roll?

What caught our eye this week 👀

Urban India may soon get more fuel stations. But why?

The government just relaxed some rules, allowing fuel stations to pop up 30 to 50 metres from residential areas. So, we might see more petrol pumps in crowded urban spots.

But hold on... if India is pushing to cut down on fossil fuels and move to electric vehicles (EVs), why add more fuel stations?

Here’s the scoop.

Petrol and diesel consumption has been rising, thanks to the surge in fuel-powered vehicles. To put things into perspective, oil marketing companies sold almost 130 million metric tonnes of petrol and diesel in FY24, up about 5% from last year. Besides, diesel is still India's most consumed fuel, making up for almost 40% of all petroleum products consumed.

Sure, EV sales are rising too, but they still account for just 7% of total vehicle registrations in India.

So the government probably just wants to meet the country’s current fuel demands more efficiently. More fuel stations could mean more jobs too.

But, there’s a catch. When the number of fuel stations in any given area increases, it can hurt profits for stations close to each other. And this might simply push smaller, unviable stations to shut down.

Could this rule end up backfiring on what the government intends to do? We’ll only have to wait and see.

Jargon of the day ✏️

This Day in Financial History 📜

3rd of July, 1886 ― The New York Tribune became the first newspaper to use the linotype machine

In the late 1800s, printing newspapers wasn't as easy as today. Typesetting, or arranging letters for printing, was done manually. Each letter that needed to be printed had to be set by hand—backwards! And this meant that it could take up to 3 days just to typeset a single newspaper page.

Enter the linotype machine, a groundbreaking invention by German inventor Ottmar Mergenthaler, that revolutionised how newspapers were printed.

This machine had metal letters in its storage and a unique 90-character keyboard. As you typed, it read each line, strung together the metal letters and created a metal mould of each line called a "slug."

These slugs were then arranged manually into metal frames, forming the complete pages of a newspaper. Publishers would then lock the assembled pages into place on the printing press, apply ink to the slugs and press the printing paper against them to print the text.

After printing, the slugs could be melted down and reused, making the linotype process efficient and sustainable.

And although this still sounds like a complicated and time consuming process, it could typeset a single page in an hour, allowing printers to publish faster and more frequently.

On July 3rd, 1886, the New York Tribune made history by becoming the first newspaper to use the newfangled linotype machine.

For nearly a century, linotypes ruled the world of print until digital typesetting took over in the 1970s and 1980s. But their legacy still lives on.

So the next time you pick up a newspaper, remember the linotype—the machine that turned the printed word into a swift and efficient art form!

P. S.: The Saguache Crescent a weekly published in a small town in Colorado, US is the last linotype newspaper to be printed as of 2022.

Readers Recommend 🗒️

This week our reader Shivam Tyagi recommends reading Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

The book talks about how rare and unpredictable events or Black Swans can have huge impacts on our lives. It encourages readers to be prepared for surprises, while also highlighting the importance of adapting to change.

Thanks for this interesting rec Shivam!

Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩

It’s time to announce the winner of our previous weekly quiz. And the winner is…🥁

Shreyas J Kumar! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch.

That’s it from us this week. We’ll see you next Sunday.

Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: morning@finshots.in).


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