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Feel Good Friday

March 16, 2012

What’s this you ask? A third post? Is the author swooning from the pre-spring warm weather?

No. Not really. I just had a super productive morning and I am feeling pretty chuffed about it. And you, gentle reader are the intended recipient of some of it.

First, I am nearly finished with the rough cut of Chp 4, scene 1. Which only means that I’m on time with that. I doodled a bit (always fun!) And I thought, and wrote and thought some more. Please recall Johnathan Fawkes. For some reason I am fixated on him almost to the point of neglecting my protagonist. I have written a series of journal entries from Johnathan’s perspective. His thoughts as he progresses in his two years at University. So, here fresh from his journal, to mine and ultimately this blog are several entries from Johnathan Fawke’s Journal.

3rd Year, 2nd Semester – February. The problem does not lie in the capability of Babbage’s Engines, nor instructing them to control an automaton if possible. I firmly believe that both are. No, the true issues are: First, size of the engine. Followed by supplying power to the automaton.

3rd Year, 2nd Semester – April. I made a beak through this month. I have found a way to reduce the size of the Babbage engine. By utilizing watch  components I have reduced the size of a Babbage Analytical Engine to such a scale that it will fit in the palm of my hand. A Simple spring and windup mechanism provides the power. My first prototype automaton will be built for functionality instead of form. Further refinements will make the shape more palatable to those of refined sensibilities.

4th Year, 1st Semester – September. We observed children in the streets today. Many waifs, desperate for food, money and love abound. I can bring them a ray of hope and joy. Toys that can interact with a child. Such a revolutionary notion will surely gain funding from the proper sources. It is the burden of the well-to-do to uplift the poor.

4th Year, 1st Semester – October. Several of my flatmates have begun experimenting with Laudanum. I cannot express how repulsive a habit it has become. They care less for their school work each day. Content to pass great swaths of time smoking the sickly sweet opiate. Mary Kendall came into my laboratory last week. She was looking for the biology department. What a silly young woman. We were in the engineering building. She seemed a bit flustered for some reason.

4th Year, 1st Semester – December. I have left the dormitories to distance myself from the opium use. This townhouse suits my basic needs and there is even a space for a workshop in one of the rooms. With luck my prototype will take its first steps before Christmas.

4th Year, 1st Semester – December. Success! My Automaton managed to take five steps before bumping into a lab desk! True its aesthetics are lacking, presently it looks like nothing more than a torso sized box on a pair of spindly legs. Getting the gyroscopic elements working with my modified Babbage Engine took some time. Now though it stands upright and unsupported. The limited instruction set I’ve entered only allows for walking in a straight line. that nook nearly a week of writing. It seems like I need to find someone capable of Higher Mathematics to write the engine’s instructions. I have heard tell of a double major (math and biology) who may fit the bill.

4th Year, 2nd Semester – January. I met with my prospective assistant. To my surprise and chagrin he turned out to be a woman! A woman named Mary Kendall. I hear people whispering about her, calling her a ‘Thinky Girl’ as if that were something to be ashamed of. The meeting went well. I believe she is interested in the project, but her focus is slightly divided . She kept looking at my eyes and touching my hand. Distractions aside, her math is flawless. She ought to be able to write the instructions quickly and well. I will be free if she takes on that challenge to pursue refinements and additions to the physical design. I may be able to create an interactive toy the likes of which can scarcely be imagined.

4th Year, 2nd Semester – February. Mary is exceeding my expectations. Already she has written the ability to walk forward, backward and turn left or right. Mary says she can get it to avoid objects if I can work out some form of ‘sight’. Stupendous! The long hours fly by unnoticed in Mary’s company. She is inquisitive, insightful and studios. Mary has maintained a steady A average for the course of her studies. Sometimes though, she asks perplexing questions of a philosophical nature. Questions that explore the joining or fusion of machined parts to humans. Together we developed a theory that our bodies conduct electricity. The brain transmits instructions in this electrical form. If we can trap and interpret those impulses perhaps we can signal a mechanical attachment or device.

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