Sunday 13 August 2017

Overheard at Griffith Observatory

At regular intervals at Griffith Observatory, in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, curators fire up the Tesla coil, that spark-emitting metal orb in a huge cage that featured in La La Land.  For a better film reference, think a cackling James Whale-era Frankenstein, Igor having just thrown the switch.

I was lucky enough to witness the 3.50pm showing a few days ago.  At the sight of hundreds of thousands of volts arcing a voice next to me said to his companion, "Is that real?"

I appreciate that this was more knee-jerk expression of awe than literal question, but it immediately got me thinking.  If he wasn't expressing some concern about his own ability to tell reality from fantasy, what could he mean?

You see, whilst there are many things that a Tesla coil can allude to - lightening in a bottle, the battles of the Norse gods, the formation of the stars themselves - there isn't really anything else that can suggest a Tesla coil itself.  It's its own special effect.  You can't fake it.  It's not like putting antelope horns on a hare to get a taxidermy jackalope.  Or getting an actor to play dead or play a zombie.  The easiest way to suggest a Tesla coil is, um, a Tesla coil.

Is it real?  The stranger answer would be 'no'.

So, if there's one thing more impressive than a Tesla coil going hell-for-leather, it's something that can imitate a Tesla coil going hell-for-leather.

Friday 4 August 2017

I have seen the future and it looks like Wrexham Bus Station

Remember when your mother used to pull you across the road because somebody had a thousand yard stare and was talking to themselves?  If you grew up when the world was orange and brown, with endless summers, candy cigarettes, and ubiquitous casual racism, you'll know that talking to yourself could only mean 'nutter'.

Now it just means you're on the phone.  The world moves on, technology changes.

But we're only using one sense here.  What will the world look like, as it inevitably will, when we introduce corneal implant screens, or suchlike?

Well, the good burghers of Wrexham have given us a glimpse into what the future will look like when our sense of sight is distracted by the vastness of the digital universe rather than what we're about to bump into.

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This guy?  Maybe free-fall parachuting or doing a really tough sudoko.

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I think these two may be running a FTSE250 company as we watch.  I fancy the one in the planter to be head of audit.  What do you think?