I'm guessing that the satnav works by simply showing you a straight line until you turn, then showing a little icon that says "left turn" or something, then continuing in a straight line from your new bearings.

If you'll notice, there is a separate map for each unique To:/From: path, so this would be possible.  You're screwed if there's any construction, though.


(85 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

My guess is that this is largely a statistical issue.  Most people of color in the US/Britain are minorities, which means:

1) There are fewer of them (hence minority), so even if they were just as into steampunk, you wouldn't meet as many at conventions, etc.

2) They have, for a variety of unfortunate reasons, higher incidences of poverty, etc. than whites in this country.  Thus, a smaller percentage of minorities have free time for or exposure to whimsical design/fantasy motifs that propagate mostly in hidden corners of the internet.

3) Fashions and trends from the US only seem to hop into other countries once they get pretty large and popular, for obvious reasons.  So in other countries, where people of color are not the minority, they also still do not have the exposure.

All of this can lead to far fewer multiethnic steampunks, without ever even getting into issues of whether different ethnicities may or may not be as attracted to the genre.


(13 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

I think a logo would work well for a steampunk site or group or something, especially a crafty-oriented one.  Like, for instance, if von slatt decided to make some logo to put on all creations from his "workshop," that would make perfect sense.

Preferably, it would be engraved on a little brass plaque on the bottom of things smile

And anarchy is almost diametrically opposite of detailed technological complexity, which is rather important to many steampunks.  You can't coordinate anything very socially or technically ambitious in an every man for himself anarchy, now can you?  Nor does it at all jive with upper class victorian etiquette and carriage, which at least many steampunks appreciate and emulate.


(14 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

Stirling engines wouldn't work for most applications in a steampunk world if you want to be a stickler, because they didn't have access to any reasonable quantities or concentrations of hydrogen or helium, which are necessary to make non-ginormously out of proportion stirling engines.  I was considering using some to pump water back up to the surface, though, since the water itself can provide a convenient cooling effect.

I really like the idea of using the island itself as a turbine shroud.  That's really awesome/whimsical.    And not very high tech in theory.

As for wave power - there are some very simple designs that don't really use any hydraulics or dynamos or anything (no electricity in this city).  Victorians wouldn't have thought of them, but I don't care as much about that (they wouldn't have thought of motorcycles or laptops either, some of our favorite SP creations).  For example, drive a bunch of wood or metal or concrete pylons into the ocean, which stimulates a beach.  This causes waves to get higher (like they do when approaching a beach).  Add a parabolic wall, and the wave energy will collect at one point where there is a MASSIVE wave.  Put a tube in the water right there, and stick a turbine in it (which goes one direction only, using principles very similar to the slide valve in a steam engine) OR a piston, so that the setup would function just like a steam engine.  The water inside will rise and fall constantly and very strongly.  It only uses concrete (or even wood) and a turbine/piston, and science principles which any victorian could plainly see by watching a beach.  This could also be partially hollowed from the island rock.

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys!  Once energy is taken care of, a lot of other things fall into place.


(14 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

It will definitely be geothermal, hydro and solar.  The infrastructure for moving energy around in victorian times could have been fairly advanced for not much expense.  (fireless boilers, cable systems like in San Fran)

The population is 30-40,000, and I'm still a few megawatts behind in my calculations, without using geothermal.  (It seems an awful lot like cheating.)

If possible, Id like to get some more solar gathered and sent back from floating greenhouse farms, etc, instead, but I may give in soon.  Wave power is another option, as there are some very victorian-y ways of doing that, believe it or not.

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(14 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

I think you could just use a fire tube boiler (the combustion gasses pass through flues in the boiler, rather than the water), so that all the salt would collect in the big open pot area near the bottom.  Then when it cools down, you just rake out the excess salt from the bottom every so often.  None of it would get stuck in tiny little pipes.

This is a big issue for me, because I'm designing a steampunk city built in a waterworld (heavily inspired by project indigo at http://www.jessevandijk.net/g_08_76.html as seen on brass goggles.)  I'm actually doing it in a LOT of detail though, designing transportation systems and lighting, agriculture, living organization, etc.  The goal is to take an average little island made of basalt or granite and use steampunkish technology to cram as many people in as possible in organized, high society, comfortable living conditions.  Much more city planning, much less dystopian "oh, let's slap some shacks here in this crevasse."

Sort of like a steampunk arcology.  Fresh water is a big problem though for people without electricity, rivers, or groundwater.


(14 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

Does anybody here happen to have heard of or know what special considerations may have to be taken into account when attempting to use salt/sea water as a steam engine intake fluid?

I can't seem to find anything about it on google, mostly due to tons of annoying articles about that guy who thought he could make energy by burning seawater. *rolls eyes*

From what I can guess based on my knowledge of the physical sciences, though, I'm thinking that you would just need a nice big condenser on your boiler to help keep out precipitated salt and sediment, some sort of corrosion-proofing (sacrificial anodes?), and you would have to burn for longer, but you would get superheated steam right from the start in return.  But the fact that I've never seen it before might mean there are some pretty big problems I haven't thought of...


(784 replies, posted in The Diogenes Club)

I do love a good mint julep! (bourbon is legally called whisky with no "e" here in the states, dontcha know)


(47 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

I'm just really confused in general about how a design blog or whatever it is cannot be supportive of DIY...  I intimated this over at the website in comments, too, but yeah.  DIY pretty much means that most people who take advantage of the movement are engaging actively in design themselves.  Wouldn't a design publication sort of, you know, be in support of that?

It's like a book club banning its members for trying to write their own stories, and then sneering at them for their substandard work...  This just doesn't make sense.


(44 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

I think somebody's intention is always going to be helpful in classifying their work as steampunk, of course, but to have that as a **requirement** seems more than a little unrealistic.

Consider almost any artistic movement in history, and the practitioners themselves rarely used today's terms or categories to describe themselves until the trend was already well underway, if even then.  That includes (off the top of my head) Baroque, Gothic, most Greek movements, many or most modern movements, you name it.

This has abated somewhat in the 20th century, when terms have come for movements far more quickly (possibly due to increased ease of communication and cultural diversity), but the rule has generally been that definitions come after intentions, at least initial intentions.

To attempt to have definition be a part of intention or to consider intention as part of definition is fine and dandy, but there's no good reason to have these be hard requirements.  Art movements have gotten along just fine for millenia without the artists having to intend to be in such and such a group ahead of time.  It's very obviously not a necessary way to do things.

And that's not just an etymological quirk.  It's important.  It tells us two very useful things with regard to definition: One, definition is not at all necessary for an art movement to occur, and for people to interact and form groups and be inspired by the same sources, etc.  Two, definition not only can be, but usually is applied from the outside - if not from outside the genre, then from outside an individual artist, at least - which means that although it isn't necessary, it certainly CAN be productive for each of us or groups of us to attempt to define the field in general in a way that may interpret other people's work as part of a trend or not part of a trend.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  It's the natural path of art taxonomy.

So I say we should all knock ourselves out - go ahead and define the whole field to your heart's content.  The debate will help to hone each of our conceptions of our own thought and work by bringing up issues we may not have considered, and the more definitions we put forth, the more likely one of them will stick... and it's always nice to have one of us be the progenitor of our description in history than the media, yes?