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Tag Archives: steampunk

The Victorian-Era Supercomputer And The Genius Who Created It

The London Science Museum finally completed work on the Victorian era’s greatest supercomputer, the Difference Engine No. 2, 120 years after the death of inventor Charles Babbage. This five-ton machine is currently traveling across the pond to San Francisco, and will go on display in America for the first time starting May 10th at the Computer History Museum. Find out everything you wanted to know about Charles Babbage and his wonderful engines in today’s triviagasm.

  • Babbage had a life-threatening fever when he was 8 years old, and the parents ordered that his “brain was not to be taxed too much.” Babbage later thought that this left him free to daydream, which led to his computers.
  • Babbage was later schooled at the Holmwood Academy, which only had 30 students. They also had a massive library, with many books focused on mathematics, which he fell in love with.
  • He worked on calculating machine designs from other inventor/mathematicians like Blaise Pascal, Wilhelm Schickard, and Gottfried Leibniz. All of these men had designed working calculators from the 1500s on. In Shickard’s case, he had invented a calculating machine called “The Speeding Clock” that could work with six-digit numbers and would ring a bell to indicate memory overflow. It was later destroyed in a fire, but a working replica was constructed in 1960.
  • Babbage himself first proposed building a “calculating engine” with much more capacity in 1822, and he went on to design several machines which he called “Difference Engines.” Sadly, they were never built because of their enormous size, cost, and also because Babbage’s personality frequently clashed with investors. Also, in 1827, Babbage’s father, wife, and two of his sons died… all in the same year. He had a resulting mental breakdown which further delayed any construction or design.
  • The first Difference Engine design had over 25,000 parts, would have been eight feet high, and would have weighed 15 tons. It was never fully completed during his lifetime, although different sections were later assembled and shown to work by his son, Henry Provost Babbage, after he inherited them.
  • Babbage revised his designs for the Difference Engine No. 2, although this was never built during his lifetime either. In 1989, the London Science Museum began constructing one from his designs, and it was completed in 1991. It has 8,000 parts of bronze, cast iron and steel, weighs five tons and measures eleven feet long and seven feet high.
  • Only two versions of this Engine exist: the one built for the London Science Museum, and a second one that was built by the museum on special commission for millionaire Nathan Myhrvold.
  • The first completed Difference Engine No. 2 performed its first calculation in 1991, and returned results to more than 31 digits. That’s more than your souped-up pocket calculator.
  • A separate printing unit that Babbage designed was constructed for the Engine in 2000 and didn’t need USB a to b cables or a serial interface. Pretty fancy stuff for the 19th Century.
  • Babbage improved on his Difference Engine ideas again by working on plans for an Analytical Engine that could be reprogrammed by inserting programs on punch cards into the machine. This was the first programmable computer, which later led to other scientists improving on these ideas and eventually to the modern computer.
  • Besides working on engines and calculating machines, Babbage also served as a mathematics professor at Cambridge for many years, won a Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, working on railroad rail gauges, invented uniform postal rates, ran for Parliament, worked in cryptography, and also invented the “pilot” (better known as a cow-catcher) that was mounted on the front of locomotives to “push” cows off the tracks to help prevent derailings.
  • Babbage also didn’t suffer from what he called public nuisance very well, either. He published “Observations of Street Nuisances” in 1864, which was a summary of 165 nuisances that he observed over 80 days. He also wrote “Table of the Relative Frequency of the Causes of Breakage of Plate Glass Windows” after counting the broken windows on a nearby factory.
  • On a side note, growing up in Dallas, Texas, I used to beg my parents to take me to a little software shop to buy computer games. It was called Babbage’s. Today it’s better known as GameStop, but I still have a soft spot for that geeky little store.
  • To this date, Charles Babbage’s brain is preserved in a glass jar at the London Science Museum, just awaiting the perfect moment for reanimation.
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Cosplay Pictures for the Weekend

Cosplayers and cosplay for your enjoyment!

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Countess di Castiglione The selfie queen of Paris society

c. 1865-1894

Countess di Castiglione

The selfie queen of Paris society

by Alex Q. Arbuckle

c. 1867

IMAGE: ©RUE DES ARCHIVES/PVDE/GETTY IMAGES

When she first visited the photography studio of Mayer & Pierson in 1856, Virginia Oldoini had already become notorious in Paris society. Married at 17 to Italian Count Francesco Verasis di Castiglione, she had been dispatched to Paris to convince Napoleon III to support Italian unification — instead, she promptly became his mistress.

Their dalliance was brief but helped establish her reputation as a beautiful and enigmatic seductress.

She was enthralled with the study of her own beauty, and collaborated with photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson on over 400 self-portraits.

While Pierson operated the camera, the pose, dress, setting and angle were all conceived by the countess. She was also involved in post-production, directing the printing of the pictures and often painting on top of them herself.

The countess posed in the elaborate and luxurious gowns that she wore at court, reenacting her moments of greatest triumph. She soon expanded her oeuvre to include scenes and costumes inspired by theatre, literature and myth, and even rather voyeuristic shots of her bare feet.

As she grew older, she retreated from high society and became an eccentric recluse, living in an apartment with the curtains drawn, only venturing outside at night. She died in 1899 at the age of 62, but her extensive and distinctive record of herself endures.

c. 1865

IMAGE: CHRISTIAN KEMPF / ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

The Countess with a child, possibly her son Georges.

IMAGE: CHRISTIAN KEMPF/ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: CHRISTIAN KEMPF/ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: CHRISTIAN KEMPF/ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: CHRISTIAN KEMPF/ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: CHRISTIAN KEMPF/ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: CHRISTIAN KEMPF/ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: CHRISTIAN KEMPF/ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1867

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1867

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1867

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1867

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1867

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

The Countess with a child, possibly her son Georges.

IMAGE: CHRISTIAN KEMPF/ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1867

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1867

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1867

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1867

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

1894

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1895

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

c. 1865

IMAGE: ADOC-PHOTOS/CORBIS

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Cosplay Pictures for Your Saturday

Cosplayers and cosplay for your Saturday fun!

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Cosplayer Pictures for the Weekend

On vacation at the beach with no wifi, found a lounge I could tap into, so posts will be slow for awhile…  Here are cosplayers and cosplay for your enjoyment!

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Octopus Chandeliers

OCTOPUS CHANDELIERS

source: Masons Creations

BULBOUS HEADED STYLE

Triple purpose…main lamp, soft light, candlelight, or any combination. This lamp measures approximately 4′ across. Each detachable arm has lights inside and would be about 30″ long if you stretched it out straight.

New ones come with removable underside piece to cover electrical systems (see Oblong Headed Style example on the bottom).

$19,000.

octopus chandelier 1

(just main light on)

(just main light on)

(just tentacles lit)

(just tentacles lit)

(both main lamp and tentacles lit)

(both main lamp and tentacles lit)

OBLONG HEADED STYLE

Triple purpose…lots of light, some light, or romantic candle light. This lamp measures approximately 4′-5′ across depending on which way you measure…Its head is about the size of a watermelon and each arm would be about 30″ long if you stretched it out straight. Both arms and votives are easily detachable for moving or changing out candles or its rope lights inside.

$19,000.

Extra sets of eight candle votives, in different colors that you may want for special occasions, are $150 each.

oblong headed style octopus chandelier

oblong headed style octopus chandelier

oblong headed style octopus chandelier 1

oblong headed style octopus chandelier
oblong headed style octopus chandelier
oblong headed style octopus chandelier

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Cosplay Pictures for Your Saturday

Cosplayers and cosplay pictures to bring a little cheer to the world.

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