Astrometeorology 2: James Ferguson
Following from intro to the subject.
I'm going to slide into this sideways, starting from the junction point of entertainment and science exemplified by the Magic Lantern.
Reminder: The magic lantern was an animated
video system. Its slide-projector descendants were rigid
was a highly unusual character in the aristocratic world of British science. His family was poor but smart. He was born in 1710 and immediately showed talent in mechanics, improving and inventing devices for the family farm. He was apprenticed out to a variety of farmers, millers, and aristocrats. Some mistreated him, others recognized his talents in math and astronomy and gave him room to develop. At age 30 he finally found his niche, the unique occupation that mixed math and mechanics and astronomy.
Orreries. Planet simulators. We'll return to those in the next part. First some entertainment.
Ferguson joined the fashion for electrical entertainment, building and demonstrating gadgets that used electrostatic fields to form complex animation.
Polistra likes this one:
A static-powered mill.
The negative emitter of the static generator is brought near a delicate mill made of paper. The 'electrical spray' repels the paper vanes, causing the mill to rotate. As each vane rotates, it loses the charge it had acquired from the spray, returning to neutral. A neat parallel to the potential energy of gravity in an overshot water mill.
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The Electrical Sportsman is a more complex gimmick, perhaps not made by Ferguson.
The emitter from the static generator is connected to the center pole of the Leyden jar under the birds. As charge builds up, the birds tied to the pole repel each other, and float out and up on their wires. When the voltage is high enough to discharge to the gun, a spark shows at the end of the gun, and the bullet is repelled toward the birds. The center pole discharges, letting the birds fall back down as if shot.
In the next part I'll dig back into the history of astrometeorology, starting from Ferguson's geocentric orrery.
ENTERTAINMENT IS THE OPPOSITE OF SECRETS.
ENTERTAINMENT IS THE OPPOSITE OF GENOCIDE.
LAUGHTER IS THE OPPOSITE OF DEATH.
Labels: Entertainment, Equipoise