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The Pythagorean Cup

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It's a case of saying that if you want too much you'll get nothing! :)


... the Pythagorean or Greedy Cup – a clever and entertaining vessel designed to hold an optimal amount of wine, forcing people to imbibe only in moderation – a virtue of great regard. If the user was too greedy and poured wine over the limit, the cup would spill its entire content. Imagine the dismay and stupefaction a glutton felt when his precious brew perished on the floor.

Indeed, Pythagoras was a man keen on making lessons, and his contraption may have taught a couple of fellows about the virtue of moderation. The ‘greedy cup’ also gives a lesson in ingenuity, however. On the outside, the 2,500 year old design looks like any other cup, if you make a cross-section, though, you begin to understand it works differently. At the center of the cup lies a mechanism consisting of a hollow pipe-like chamber that follows an opening, starting from the bottom of the liquid-holding part of the cup, up to the top of the central column that makes up the cup’s core, and back down 180 degrees, out the bottom.

As the pipe curls over the top of the central column, its floor marks an imaginary line of sorts. If you fill the cup over this horizontal line, liquid will begin to siphon out the bottom and onto your lap or feet – all of the cup’s content!


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