10,000 Year Clock

This is a phenomenal piece of clockwork engineering: the 10,000 Year Clock, created by (or being created by) the Long Now Foundation.

From the site:

Designed by Danny Hillis, the Clock is designed to run for ten millennia with minimal maintenance and interruption. The Clock is powered by mechanical energy harvested from sunlight as well as the people that visit it. The primary materials used in the Clock are marine grade 316 stainless steel, titanium and dry running ceramic ball bearings. The entire mechanism will be installed in an underground facility in west Texas.

In 02011, The American Astronomy Society published a paper co-written by Danny Hillis that describes how the Clock reckons time over its 10,000-year design lifetime.

For more information, check out their working prototype, or just browse the photos below:

TedTalk on Babbage’s Analytical Engine

Here’s a great TedTalk on Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Although the video does not always pan over to the slides, the talk is nevertheless very informative on the general design and operation of the analytical engine. Fascinating stuff!

 

Weird War Machines that Never Were

Well, here’s some weird and wacky war machines that never really were.

The Tumbleweed Tank:
Leave it to the British boffins conjure up this mother-of-all-wacky tanks. The Tumbleweed Tank would have been pretty awesome, if it wasn’t so obviously impractical. Oh well. That, and it could easily be defeated by a quick whack from a giant croquet mallet.

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Just Glue Some Gears On It

Just Glue Some Gears on it and call it Steampunk, yes? And if you believe that, old chap, I fear you are outrageously mistaken. Please observe the following musical recital to educate yourself on both what steampunk is, as well as what it most assuredly is not.

 

Antikythera Mechanism Watch

For the ultimate clockwork gizmo thingamajig watch, look no further than the Antikythera Mechanism watch!

It’s not actually available yet, but the Swiss watchmaker company, Hublot, plans to present it at the Baselworld Watch Show in 2012.

In the mean time, enjoy this video on the Antikythera Mechanism and the forthcoming watch:

To learn more, checkout the article at GizMag.com.

Oldest Running Steam Carriage for Sale

The oldest still-running steam-powered horseless carriage is now at auction for some $2 million (which translates to an astounding $85,000 in 1880’s US currency). Behold, the 1884 de Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout!

Click the image for an image gallery

The steam runabout participated in the world’s first automobile race, and although it won the race, it was in fact the only car in the race. Even so, it is alleged to have reached a top speed of 37 mph.

And here’s a video!

It’s to be auctioned on Friday, October 7, 2011, so start saving up now!

The Glass Armonica

I know it’s the wrong season for this, but I just came upon this video of a fellow dressed like Ben Franklin playing “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” on a glass armonica. For those who do not know, the glass armonica is a musical instrument invented by old Bennie himself, which produces the most exquisite and haunting melodies.  Watch the video and see for yourself.

I also quite enjoyed the comment of one YouTube poster which reads: “Benjamin Franklin not only invented the glass armonica, but he apparently also invented time travel and came to the 21st century to perform a 19th century song by Tchaikovsky.”

Fantastic!

Steampunk World’s Fair

I’ve been so busy lately, I’ve been forgetting to post neat, nifty, and otherwise various nefarious and noteworthy news to this site. Ah well–perhaps one day I will perfect my chrono-differential aetheric oscillator to regulate the flow of time more in my favor. In the meanwhile, I must sit by and lament the passing of the 2011 Steampunk World’s Fair, which I was not able to attend.

Nevertheless, for anyone who is interest, there are plenty of picture of the Steampunk World’s Fair to be found, and a pretty nice article covering the event at ConventionFanBlog.com. There’s even more pictures here (over 3000 of them).

So there you have it! Now, back to having no time around here.

Jules Verne Day

Today (February 8th, 2011) is Jules Verne’s 183th birthday. I think it should be a national holiday. Although since he’s French, I suppose it would just be a French national holiday. Regardless, today is most certainly a day for all steampunk and neo-Victorian enthusiasts, as well anyone who considers themselves a fan of classical science fiction, to celebrate!

Jules Verne, author of Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in Eighty Days, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, envisioned such futuristic technologies as underwater exploration, air travel, space exploration, holography, mass transit, and the wide-scale application of electricity.

For that reason, I think we should start a world-wide Jules Verne day. Just like on Halloween, you can get dressed up–either classy Victorian-style or wild and whimsical steampunk-style. Then put on your top hat and goggles, queue up some Abney Park tunes, grab an ivory pipe and a fresh bottle of absinthe, and party like it’s 1899!

If you’re still bored, you can read a biography of Jules Verne here or check out this tribute article on Verne at Make Magazine.

Interesting Blog: Curious Expeditions

I just stumbled upon a rather interesting, weird, and wonderful little blog called Curious Expeditions (curiousexpeditions.org). According the site, they are “devoted to unearthing and documenting the wondrous, the macabre, and the obscure from around the globe.” While some of the posts are indeed a bit macabre, most (even the macabre ones) are fascinating, educational, wondrous, exotic, and historically and culturally enlightening. The blog goes back to April 2007, and so there is a lot to browse and click through.

I recommend you at least check out their post on A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries, which show cases dozens of pictures of some of the most beautiful libraries in the world. In addition, there’s a post on Galileo’s Middle Finger, preserved for all time in the History of Science Museum in Florence. Best of all, they have numerous posts on all manner of mechanical automatons, a healthy helping of steampunk zaniness, and some extraordinary clockpunk goodness as well.

Check it out today!