Sunday, March 30, 2008

Steampunk Infamy: Thomas Edison, Steampunk Nemisis!

Ah... supporters of Evil Thomas Edison are begining to emerge from the depths to defend his questionable claims (at least in other blogs)! Well, I say to these individuals, Think Again! As any good Steampunk would recognize, Edison was a mildly successful tinkerer, and a superb marketer. Losing numerous patents due to his endemic theft and hubris, he is still acclaimed at the "father of the incandescent lightbulb", though he was stripped of his patents in two countries (US & UK).

His attempts at promoting his lackluster DC current scheme fell short, to Tesla's brilliant AC system. Instead of another monologue, I found a different means of furthering this arguement...



Not to say that Edison does not have is place in Steampunk history, not at all... he should be lumped with the Robber Barons of the time, such as the likes of James Fisk and Jay Gould!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robber_baron_%28industrialist%29

A rather fair analysis of Edison's history:
http://www.answers.com/topic/thomas-edison?cat=technology

More revelations about his deceptions:
http://www.reformation.org/thomas-edison.html

A further explination of the incandescent lightbulb conflict:
http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/edison.asp

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Babbage: Palaside Wall Photos



Main Gate Entrance

(Babbage Palasaides) - A bit of a late post on this, however since the Mayor is still working on his plans regarding the future of the New Babbage Palasiades wall, I'm afraid I must leave with a simple photo-excursion of the newest find of New Babbage's history.



Guns charged at the defense



Inspecting the wall at the western end of the defenses



Looking from the West towards the East



The power source for the defenses (or at least one of them)



A view of the Eastern end of the wall



The main gate at sunrise

Brangus Wier's Watch - Move Over, Edison!

Mr. Brangus Wier has written a very interesting article about how (evil) Thomas Edison has been exposed as a fraud - at least as far as his audio and film making exploits are concerned! For further details, please visit his blog, at:

http://brangusweir.blogspot.com/2008/03/move-over-edison.html

with more revelations reagarding his neferious exploits (including pictures) are at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/arts/27soun.html?em&ex=1206763200&en=fe155ca1d4c4f90f&ei=5087
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gh_PlrDGiXkWkUtCE21NnIfqYgPA
http://www.euronews.net/index.php?page=info&article=477709&lng=1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7318180.stm
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g2WqnQ_-2fPrNuC62Vy9dn5fQ1mAD8VM4Q503
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-sci-recording29mar29,1,631605.story
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/03/28/2202033.htm?site=science&topic=latest
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89148959

(I'm not a fan of Edison, if you haven't guessed. The Five Fists of Science had him pegged!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Five_Fists_of_Science

Friday, March 28, 2008

Steampunk Travelogue: New Babbage Watering Holes, Part 1



What lies down this alley?....

New Babbage may seem as if it is a serene place, but it actually has numerous "watering holes" - one only has to do a bit of walking to find them. Allow me to highlight a pair...


Stuck behind the ficus at Contrivers

Contrivers Concord, Port Babbage

On the alley to the right of the Quarterdeck, if one follows it to the end, a realxing gem can be found hidden from the bustle of New Babbage.


A better view of the outdoor facilities

A locale adjacent to my own abode, Contrivers is a serene location, which for the moment, overlooks the ether. It is very well built, but does not receive the traffic it merits. Plenty of seats, quiet, and simply a nice place to relax.

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The Rusty Cog, Babbage Square

Another original establishment is the Rusty Cog, a spacious and well designed locale in the northeast corner of the old town.

Stage & Bar at the Cog

I have not had the opportunity to visit an event here, but it certainly has the space and demeanor for gatherings and parties. The grammaphone will play a selection of musical pieces from its menu upon request.

A cozy sofa infront of the fireplace

Hopefully more events and celebrations in the near future will attract the crowds to these quite nice locations!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Notable SL Steampunk Events coming up this weekend...



(Victoria City) - Caledon's Dark Victorians will be out in force this weekend, starting with the LaPoint Fashion show from 12 to 2 pm SLT, followed by the Dark Victorian dance from 3 to 6 pm SLT, with an Erotic Victorian Art Exposition at 4 pm SLT on March 28th... with all proceeds going to the Relay for Life.



(Antiquity Township) - Antiquity Mystique has been officially announced, and is projected to come online either Friday the 27th or Monday the 31st, just to the east of Antiquity Township East, and will be reminiscent of the 1800's with more of a fantasy influence.




(Opus Freeport) - The Steampunk Pirate Shingdig will take place at the beautiful Tesla Lounge, in Opus Freeport, from 1 to 3 pm SLT (as per the advert), on March 28th. The gathering will be hosted by DJ Bats, and will include a competition for best Male and Female Pirate, Pirate Trivia, and other fabulous prizes. For further information, please visit Opusfreeport.ning.com.

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea- The Extinct Ride

A jaunt back in time, this was a ride I did not appreciate at the time - oddly, I had no idea how it would influcene my future!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Steampunk Notables: Allan Pinkerton


Allan Pinkerton

Born 1819; Died 1884

Age 43, 5’8", 150 lbs. A thick-set, bearded man, with cool, penetrating blue-grey eyes and a thick Glasswegian accent, dressed in a suit and flat bowler hat.

Advantage: Alertness, Ally Group (Personal staff of operatives), Reputation (Tough, relentless, and reliable, among police and other), Strong Will, Wealthy

Disadvantages: Odious Personal Habit (Blunt, socially awkward); Proud, Reputation (Relentless enemy, among criminals and Confederate Officers and spies), Sense of Duty (to Operatives), Stubbornness, Workaholic

Quirks: Believes in sexual and racial equality, Control Freak, Does not smoke or drink, No great sympathy for labor unions, Voracious reader



Pinkerton and wife, Joan

Biography
Allan Pinkerton was born in The Gorbals, a particularly poor area of Glasgow, Scotland. His father died when he was 10 or 11, forcing him to quit school and go to work, eventually as a cooper’s apprentice. He became a prominent militant and strong-arm man in the Chartist movement, which fought for universal suffrage and broader democracy as a solution to the social injustices of the period. (Incidentally, Chartism was not much concerned with workplace organization to the right to strike, and Pinkerton worked against labor unions later in life, arguing that he was helping working men by opposing the unions).

In 1841, he met his wife, Joan, who he married in 1842; they subsequently emigrated to the New World, first to Canada, then moving down to Illinois. He set up quite a successful cooperage and might have stayed thus employed if he had not noticed a fire-pit on an out-of-the-way island in 1846. Becoming suspicious, he and the local sheriff eventually closed down a counterfeiting operation that was using the island as a base. This led to a succession of law-enforcement jobs, including employment as the first detective on the Chicago police force.


Recreation of Pinkerton "Wanted" posters

Finally, in 1850, he founded a company with lawyer Edward Rucker: The North-West Detective Agency, later renamed Pinkerton and Co. after Rucker left. This organization filled a void in crime-fighting in an era in which there was no overarching national (or even state) police organizations and little cooperation between local authorities. Pinkerton built up a large and successful organization, famous for its relentlessness and with strict standards for the behavior of its operatives and as to what type of cases it would take. His favorite crime-fighting tactic was infiltration: putting undercover agents into the area, sometimes into the criminal organization itself, to obtain the information needed to close the case. The expanding railroads made particular use of his services.

All through his time in America, Pinkerton was a feverent abolitionist, participating in the underground railroad, and giving aid and shelter to such individuals as Frederick Douglas and John Brown. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Pinkerton and his agents applied their skills spying for the Army of the Potomac. Pinkerton became especially close friends of the commander, General McClellan, which caused his eventual return to private detection when McClellan was replaced. He later expressed regret at this, believing that he could have prevented Lincoln’s assassination.

The Pinkerton organization’s successes and reputation grew after the war, particularly fighting such criminal groups as the Reno Gang. But in 1868, Pinkerton suffered a stoke that left him paralyzed and unable to speak for several years. Eventually, through sheer will, he worked his way back to walking 12 miles a day, but his right side was thereafter always weak, his speech slurred, and his handwriting palsied.

In 1871, he took back the reins to his company and led the prosecution of some of its most famous cases, including the pursuit of the James Gang, and the destruction of the Molly McGuires. (The latter is still controversial; some sources claim that there was no organized secret society behind the violence in the affair, and that the Pinkerton agency connived a "frame-up" to destroy a mining union movement). Allan remained in control until he turned over management of the agency to his sons in the 1880’s.


Illustration of the Molly McGuires iu a meeting

Pinkerton in History
Pinkterton’s organization is often considered the first real detective agency, certainly the first in the United States that was more than just a source of security guards. He introduced many techniques that would later become standard in detection, such as the use of "rogues galleries" (now called mug books). He is usually credited with preventing the assassination of Abraham Lincoln during Lincoln’s initial trip to Washington after his election. The involvement of his agency in union-busting makes him more controversial.

Encountered
Pinkerton is easy to involve in any crime-related plot line, either as an ally, rival, or possibly foe. They could be operatives in his organization, taking on the most famous criminals of that age, while receiving the help of (or contending with the interference) of their boss. (Enjoying fieldwork, Pinkerton often took a personal hand in the cases even when running a large, national organization). Additionally, Pinkerton’s agents included many female operatives.

WW2, Pgs 84-85 (James, H. Hay)
Hay, J. (1999) - Gurps Who's Who II, pg. 84-85, SJG:Austin
[edited for removal of game specific content]

Further Reading
MacKay, James: Allan Pinkerton: The first private eye
Wormser, Richard: Pinkerton: America’s first private eye

Monday, March 24, 2008

Steampunk Media: Airships II (& a submarine!)



"Airship" by 3dijin - Excellent work, probably one of the best Steampunk airship works I've seen in recent months.

(Port Babbage) - Still busy recovering from the weekend, but hated missing a day for a post (lol)! As such, I re-discovered some of the fantastic artwork I had located on Deviant Art awhile back... again, feel free to view further works of these aspiring artists... at Deviant Art!



"Airship over Desert" by Silversword9 - A stunningly crafted ship, with exquisite details over a well-done background.



"Steampunk Blimp" by dudedudely222 - Minimalistic, but love the rivets!



"Steampunk Concept" by Lebbus - A superb design, and a good study in motion (from the vents - steam, I assume!)



"Airship 2" by Celestial_Hero - Lovingly crafted, Mr. Hero has produced a stunning work of art... only wished I could have found the masts!



"Airship" by Tacticangel - Great classic design and love the paperwork - great job!



"Steampunk Submersible" by Goran Delic - Menasing design, but beautifuly done, and love the icthyologic twist on the ship!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Modern Steampunk Notables: Roger Wood

[ed note:Who is Roger Wood? Frankly, I had no idea until I watched the video, and then was stunned at his amazing skill and artistry regarding his abiltiy to build unique clocks. Just watch...]



Roger Wood creates with time in mind. Yet even though the clock can be a consistent element of his work, it's often secondary to its creation. Whether it's a curious timepiece or a unique assemblage, Wood thrives on working with an immeasurable array of findings from the tarnished and forgotten to the odd or intriquing. He is a devoted collector of usual and unusual objects with one thing in common, a history.

The source of his inspiration lies in the hundreds of curiously labelled drawers and boxes brimming with artifacts of all description that line the shelves of his Toronto studio. Wood orchestrates an arrangement from his myriad of treasures until the precise moment that it feels right. Then he quickly glues them all down so they can't escape.

Playful, wondrous timepieces emerge that take flight on cherubic wings, float and sway on fine wires, or appear frozen mid-explosion with flying springs and cogs that bounce at the touch.

This definitive merging of objects and ideas has brought Wood much critical acclaim across Canada. Shows at galleries, museums and awards at several exhibitions are ongoing testaments to his freedom of imagination. Just as his single signature feather at the tip of the second hand quivers magically through time, Roger Wood's creations continue to fascinate.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Steampunk Travelogue: Cybavaria



Night view of Cybavaria

(Cybavaria) - A while ago I stumbled upon Cybavaria, a sim being built by Mr. Case Schnabel, while I was searching for the remnants of Neualtenberg. I was quite impressed with his work at the time, but opted to wait until it was finished before mentioning his efforts.


The welcoming center, in English and German

I later had difficulties attempting to locate it, but fortunatly, it was featured on New World Notes on March 13th, with the entertainment including the Cyberpiper and the Changhigh Trinity Sisters Fireshow (on the 16th).


King Ludwig II's Castle

Unfortuantly, I missed the show, but did return to visit King Ludwig II's castle (which was under construction when I first visited it).


The main chamber of the castle

Cybavaria has an intriguing mix of middle European culture and Steampunk influences worth visiting. When I stopped by, it was deserted, but I'm certain that in the future it shall become more popular as it becomes better known.


The Throne Roome (I snuck a peak...)


Reading a passage in the King's library

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Poll winner - The Secete Adventures of Jules Verne!



The winner of the latest poll, about the most popular US Steampunk television series went to "The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne"... by a single vote! By a margin of 13 to 12 (43% to 40%) over the 60's classic "The Wild, Wild West", the Secret Adventures has proven that a newer wave of Steampunk popularity has emerge (or most of the voters are too young to remember the "Wild, Wild West".) Regardless, Briscoe County Jr. garnered five votes, but as the show fought numerous RL television issues, with a different supporting from its parent network, it might have done better.

I shall leave you with introduction credits, and a second trailer with a bit more on the technical steampunk side (labs, airships, and the like)! A "Thank You" to all who participated!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Babbage Canals - Ruby's on St. Patrick's Day


The Canal's favorite watering hole...

(Babbage Canals) - Afraid that I must attend to some RL business this evening, but I did want to post the photos I was able to take during Ruby's Grand Re-Opening. Had a fantastic time, and it was very good to see many of the individuals I have only known through the Babbage Ning, but also good to see those I've know for quite a while!


At the bar (r to l: Miss Lubezki, myself, Miss Frye, Mr. Dagger (behind the bar), Mr. Doyle, Miss Capalini, Mr. Whitfield, and an unnamed lady - sorry, madam!)


Dancing the jig... (l to r: Miss Laval, Mr. Goodlife, and Miss Guyot)


At the bar, with Mr. Dagger tending


The urchins talking about ... stuff, I imagine (l to r: Myrtil, Jimmy, and Wilfric)


Surveying the crowd at Ruby's

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Final Battle from the Assassination Bureau, ltd



The Assassination Bureau is a tongue-in-cheek film made in 1969 based on an unfinished novel, The Assassination Bureau, Ltd by Jack London. It stars Oliver Reed, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, and Curt J├╝rgens.
---------------------------------
Condensed synopsis from Wiki
London, the early 1900s: Aspiring journalist and women's rights campaigner, Sonia Winter (Rigg) uncovers an organization which specialises in killing for money, the Assassination Bureau Limited. Thinking to bring about its destruction, she commissions the assassination of the bureau's own chairman Ivan Dragomiloff (Reed).

Far from being outraged or upset, Dragomiloff is amused and intrigued and accepts the commission. The guiding principle of his bureau, founded by his father, has always been that there was a moral reason why their victims should be killed. More recently though, his colleagues have tended to kill more for financial gain than for moral reasons. Dragomiloff, therefore, accepts the commission, intending to purge his board of directors.

With Miss Winter in tow, Dragomiloff sets off on a tour of Edwardian Europe, challenging the members of his board — kill him or he will kill them! Little do they realise that this is a plot by Miss Winter's sponsor, newspaper publisher Lord Bostwick (Savalas), to take over the bureau and plunge Europe into war. Bostwick and the other members of the "Bureau" plan to get rich quick by the "biggest killing" of them all — secretly buying stocks in arms factories and then propelling Europe into war by assassinating all the heads of state of Europe at the same time while they attend a secret conference.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Steampunk Notables: Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt



Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt

Born 1858, Died 1919

Age 43, 5’6", 200 lbs. A muscular, energetic man with light brown hair and piercing blue eyes shining our from behind pince-nez glasses, and gleaming white teeth put on display whenever he smiles.

Advantages: Charisma, Fit, Reputation (National Hero, in America), Reputation (Internationally respected figure), Strong Will, Wealthy,

Disadvantages: Bad Sight, Bad Temper, Code of Honor (Gentleman’s), Impulsiveness, Sense of Duty (to USA and its citizens), Stubbornness

Quirks: Characteristic expression – "Bully!"; Likes strenuous activity; Overwhelmingly boisterous, slightly careless with money

Biography
As a child (born in New York City), Theodore Roosevelt was afflicted with asthma and a frail physique. Exhorted by his father to "make your own body", he build up his physical fitness through sheer will power and determination. By the time his father died in 1878, Roosevelt was a fine physical specimen.


Posing for a Presidential Portrait

A first, he was considered a very poor scholar. It turned out, however, that his problems were caused by undiagnosed poor eyesight. Soon after he was fitted with glasses, he shot to the top of his class; he was elected to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society, and graduated from Harvard.


In his "Rough Rider" uniform

Roosevelt briefly spend some time studying law, but soon discovered that it bored him. So, instead, he became a an armchair historian and published the first of a long series of books in 1882. At about that time, he also began his political career, as a New York State assemblyman.

Then he suffered a double tragedy; his mother and wife died on the same day. Seeking to escape his grief, he went out to North Dakota and threw himself into ranching. But he couldn’t stay away from politics, and within two years, he was back in New York, running unsuccessfully for mayor and taking a second wife.


Over the next few years, he served as a Civil Service Commissioner, Police Chief Commissioner, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Throughout this skyrocketing career, he consistently displayed two qualities: a burning desire to vanquish corruption and fight for the "little guy", and an unerring ability to publicize himself and his crusades. Corrupt politicians disliked him intensely, but the man on the street loved him.


Photo with the "Rough Riders" in Cuba

Roosevelt catapulted himself into the limelight during the Spanish-American War in Cuba. He resigned his office, volunteered for military service, and organized the cavalry force known as the Rough Riders. His position as national hero was secured when he led his Rough Riders in their successful charge up San Juan Hill. Returning from Cuba, he immediately made a successful run to be Governor of New York.

Roosevelt had been supported in this effort by New York’s influential "king-maker", Thomas Collier Platt. However, the new Governor’s successful efforts to expose corruption in New York politics (and his rather less successful efforts to clean it up), annoyed Platt so much, that he decided to get rid of him – by making him Vice-President of the U.S.A. In 1900, Roosevelt was elected as number two to William McKinley. A few months later, however, President McKinley was assassinated by a crazed gunman, and Roosevelt was President.


Making speeches on the campaign trail

Roosevelt’s accomplishments in his two terms as President were legion. Among the more notable were his successful efforts at "trust-busting", the Pure Food and Drug Act, the establishment of the National Conservation Commission, the establishment of the National Park System, and the building of the Panama Canal. In the middle of this, he also found time to become the first American to win the Nobel Prize, by mediating the Russo-Japansese war.

Instead of resting after he left the White House, Roosevelt kept himself busy writing, traveling abroad, and acting as a sort of unofficial diplomat. By 1912, he got bored with that and ran for a third term as President, this time at the head of a third party called the "Bull Moose" (or Progressive) party. However, he lost that battle. To take his mind off that, he went on a harrowing expedition into the Brazilian jungle, which damaged his health permanently. However, he kept active, supporting the allies in WW1, and then opposing President Wilson’s support for the League of Nations, and pushing himself at top speed until he died peacefully in his sleep on January 6, 1919.


Taking flight in an experimental "aero-plane"...

Encountered
The impression taken away by anyone who meets Roosevelt is of overwhelming energy, and perpetual motion. The man is almost literally incapable of relaxing (his idea of "goofing off" is to indulge in strenuous exercise). Individuals expecting a dull, solemn meeting with the Chief Executive should be blindsided by encountering him in the most unusual places – up a tree, perhaps, or emerging from one of his notorious skinny-dips in the Potomac. His opinions are strong and honestly held, if sometime crankish to modern eyes.
Although he lost some elections, Roosevelt is a formidible political operator; he can make speeches on the stump, manipulate the new power of the media, or mediate among world leaders.

Futher Reading
Brand, H.W.,: TR: The Last Romantic
Miller, Nathan: Theodore Roosevelt, A Life
Morris, Edmund: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Roosevelt, Theodore: An Autobiography
Stoddard, W. (1999) - Gurps Who's Who II, pg. 96-97, SJG:Austin
[edited for removal of game specific content]

Internet resources:


[Ed. Note: Although Ulysses Grant is the only president mentioned in modern Steampunk media (in the WWW), Teddy Roosevelt, in my opinion, is the quintessential Steampunk Chief Executive. Daring, Gentlemanly, and always seeking the next adventure, he was possibly the most unique President the U.S. ever had.]

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Steampunk Travelogue - Metaversal's Opening, a Business Meeting, and dropping by New Toulouse



Arriving early means plenty of seats (lol)!

(Meterversal Arts Isle) - I started the weekend with a trip to the grand opening of Meterversal Isle, and enjoyed the fine musical entertainment provided by Lady Acifer.



Admiring the water features on display/sale

There is quite a selection of furniture and accessories that work quite well with the Victorian and Steampunk genre at Metaversal Arts. If you happen to be insearch of quality furniture with prim efficiency, ensure you visit Metaversal!



Miss Hirvi's furniture are a superb compliment to any gentleman's study

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(Caledon Penzance) - The owner of Prim & Proper and the Connolly Telegraph held a gathering of interested parties to announce and lay the groundwork for a new in-world magazine that will focus on the expanding world of Steampunk and Victoriana. It is expected to include news, events, and developments regarding historical sims (between 1740 and 1920) in SL, and appears to have much promise. A vivid discussion was held regarding the future plans for such an endvor, and I shall keep the readers of this blog posted as to the developments about said publication.

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Mr. Carver amusingly observes Mr. Dagger sweating under the spell of Mama Cree's gumbo (hehe)!

(New Toulouse) - After a busy day of being inworld, I stopped by Mama Cree's for a little get together she held. I must say, for a Sunday afternoon, it was fairly busy, and I did have quite a good time!



Mr. Trenton dances with a lady friend - by the looks of him, I guess he just got off the boat!



Mr. Dagger simply cannot put down the gumbo... right beside him, Miss Wind (Mama Cree) dances away (as I eye the beverages... perhaps just one sip....)