7 March 2007

Vol I Issue iv ~ 7 March, 2007

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  1. Town Hall Scheduled for 10th of March
  2. New Babbage Mentioned by Reuters!
  3. The New Babbage Conservatoire
  4. Film Review: The Prestige
  5. Notable Personalities
  6. Literary Corner
  7. New Babbage Register
  8. Resources: Late Victorian Costume
  9. Events & Announcements
  10. Classified Advertisements
  11. New Babbage and Steampunk FAQ
  12. Contact, Circulation, and Other Essential Information for the Rea der


Mayor Sprocket announced that our next town hall meeting will be held on Saturday, March 10th, at 1pm SLT. According to the official notice, the agenda will include "the location of the telehub, a preview of the canal district, brainstorming community get-togethers, and other items as they come up." The meeting will likely take place in the new Town Hall building, on the Babbage Square green.



New Babbage has received a mention in the Reuters Second Life blog, in an article by Warren Ellis entitled "Second Life Sketches: Let’s Put The Future Behind Us." In this piece, Ellis discusses Second Life as a medium for bringing to life cyberpunk visions of the world as envisioned by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson. Toward the end, an honorable mention occurs for the steampunk phenomenon: "As Gibson and Sterling wrote The Difference Engine, so too did Stephenson write The Diamond Age, his own take on the antique-styled future subgenre called steampunk." Ellis goes on to mention Babbage, which must have been quite new at the time of the article's writing, as a region under construction in the same Neo-Victorian style as Caledon.

To Read the article visit: http://tinyurl.com/29o4v2

Junie Ginsburg

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Did you know that Advertisements and Announcements in The New Babbage Cog are FREE to all New Babbage citizens? Please contact Mrs. Junie Ginsburg or Miss Eggberta Echegaray to place yours!

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Nestled in the cultural district of Babbage Square lies a quiet building, soon to be filled with music. Mr.Quine Mondrian is New Babbage's resident musician, and his contribution of a musical conservatory to our island is one that he hopes will rouse interest.

Migrating to Babbage Square from a Mainland First Land plot, Mr. Mondrian wanted to create something exceeding the cultural value of just another house. As a musician, the notion of a Victorian conservatory seemed a natural choice. Currently, he is working to secure some experimental steampunk instruments that will add an interactive element to the build, in addition to scouting for musicians interested in performing concerts in the hall.

The conservatory itself is a grand structure, with acoustics certain to be favorable to any presentation. Over the main entrance visitors will find a balcony that gives access to an enormous pipe organ. A piano sits at the ready on the main stage, which incorporates, in classic New Babbage style, the shapes of machine cogs.The decor is clean and polished, a well-constructed and beautifully-textured Victorian build. [Please see Mr. Mondrian's advert in the classifieds section below!]

Junie Ginsburg

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Set in the our late 19th century, The Prestige is the story of two rival magicians eager to make names for themselves in the very competitive world of prestidigitation. Although they began their careers as friends,

an unfortunate event sets them against one another, leading to many years of bad blood. At the center of their rivalry is one trick in particular, created and performed by one of the magicians. His rival spends years and untold dollars attempting to learn the secret of the "prestige," or the final segment of the illusion that leaves the audience filled with wonder. It is this obsession that leads him to visit Nikola Tesla in America, to commission a great machine with which to accomplish REAL magic.

Save for Tesla's presence in the film, there was not much here to qualify it as "steampunk." There is, certainly, a difference between "steampunk" and "Victorian," a fine line that is lost on some, perhaps. However, the scenes in which Nikola Tesla appears are quite well imagined and enjoyable, and will certainly be an inspiration for anyone interested in speculative science. And the secret to "The Prestige?" You will need to wait until the final scene to learn how the trick was performed. Let's just say, however, that the Tesla version was, far and away, more innovative.

Junie Ginsburg

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In this issue of The New Babbage Cog, we are proud to present a new column by our eminent citizen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In this space, Sir Doyle will profile persons from our era, so that we all might be better informed about those who have shaped the world in which we live.


Of all the little band of men and women who have gained respect from their bitterest enemies by taking and holding a very positive opinion on the rights of women to vote, and the expediency of conceding that right in the United States, Susan B. Anthony is perhaps the most prominent. Her birthplace was the little village of South Adams, in the western part of the state of Massachusetts, and almost under the shadow of the Hoosac mountains. After reaching womanhood, Miss Anthony became a school teacher, and at the end of fifteen years of hard work, this lady found herself with three hundred dollars in her pocket and determination in her heart to do something to right the wrongs which women had to suffer and which she had herself experienced. conventions were called, societies were organized, and Miss Anthony became a fairly well-known figure among radical agitators in every field of social development. With Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison, she was very actively identified in the movement for the abolition of slavery. The movement in favor of stopping the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors has also received her warmest support.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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In this issue, The New Babbage Cog presents Chapter 3 of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Sign of The Four."


by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


IT WAS half-past five before Holmes returned. He was bright, eager, and in excellent spirits, a mood which in his case alternated with fits of the blackest depression. "There is no great mystery in this matter," he said, taking the cup of tea which I had poured out for him; "the facts appear to admit of only one explanation." "What! you have solved it already?" "Well, that would be too much to say. I have discovered a suggestive fact, that is all. It is, however, very suggestive. The details are still to be added. I have just found, on consulting the back files of the Times, that Major Sholto, of Upper Norwood, late of the Thirty-fourth Bombay Infantry, died upon the twenty-eighth of April, 1882." "I may be very obtuse, Holmes, but I fail to see what this suggests." "No? You surprise me. Look at it in this way, then. Captain Morstan disappears. The only person in London whom he could have visited is Major Sholto. Major Sholto denies having heard that he was in London. Four years later Sholto dies. Within a week of his death Captain Morstan's daughter receives a valuable present, which is repeated from year to year and now culminates in a letter which describes her as a wronged woman. What wrong can it refer to except this deprivation of her father? And why should the presents begin immediately after Sholto's death unless it is that Sholto's heir knows something of the mystery and desires to make compensation? Have you any alternative theory which will meet the facts?" "But what a strange compensation! And how strangely made! Why, too, should he write a letter now, rather than six years ago? Again, the letter speaks of giving her justice. What justice can she have? It is too much to suppose that her father is still alive. There is no other injustice in her case that you know of." "There are difficulties; there are certainly difficulties," said Sherlock Holmes pensively; "but our expedition of to-night will solve them all. Ah, here is a four-wheeler, and Miss Morstan is inside. Are you all ready? Then we had better go down, for it is a little past the hour."

I picked up my hat and my heaviest stick, but I observed that Holmes took his revolver from his drawer and slipped it into his pocket. It was clear that he thought that our night's work might be a serious one. Miss Morstan was muffled in a dark cloak, and her sensitive face was composed but pale. She must have been more than woman if she did not feel some uneasiness at the strange enterprise upon which we were embarking, yet her self-control was perfect, and she readily answered the few additional questions which Sherlock Holmes put to her. "Major Sholto was a very particular friend of Papa's," she said. "His letters were full of allusions to the major. He and Papa were in command of the troops at the Andaman Islands, so they were thrown a great deal together. By the way, a curious paper was found in Papa's desk which no one could understand. I don't suppose that it is of the slightest importance, but I thought you might care to see it, so I brought it with me. It is here." Holmes unfolded the paper carefully and smoothed it out upon his knee. He then very methodically examined it all over with his double lens. "It is paper of native Indian manufacture," he remarked. "It has at some time been pinned to a board. The diagram upon it appears to be a plan of part of a large building with numerous halls, corridors, and passages. At one point is a small cross done in red ink, and above it is '3.37 from left,' in faded pencil-writing. In the left-hand corner is a curious hieroglyphic like four crosses in a line with their arms touching. Beside it is written, in very rough and coarse characters, 'The sign of the four--Jonathan Small, Mahomet Singh, Abdullah Khan, Dost Akbar.' No, I confess that I do not see how this bears upon the matter. Yet it is evidently a document of importance. It has been kept carefully in a pocketbook, for the one side is as clean as the other." "It was in his pocketbook that we found it."

"Preserve it carefully, then, Miss Morstan, for it may prove to be of use to us. I begin to suspect that this matter may turn out to be much deeper and more subtle than I at first supposed. I must reconsider my ideas." He leaned back in the cab, and I could see by his drawn brow and his vacant eye that he was thinking intently. Miss Morstan and I chatted in an undertone about our present expedition and its possible outcome, but our companion maintained his impenetrable reserve until the end of our journey. It was a September evening and not yet seven o'clock, but the day had been a dreary one, and a dense drizzly fog lay low upon the great city. Mud-coloured clouds drooped sadly over the muddy streets. Down the Strand the lamps were but misty splotches of diffused light which threw a feeble circular glimmer upon the slimy pavement. The yellow glare from the shop-windows streamed out into the steamy, vaporous air and threw a murky, shifting radiance across the crowded thoroughfare. There was, to my mind, something eerie and ghostlike in the endless procession of faces which flitted across these narrow bars of light-sad faces and glad, haggard and merry. Like all humankind, they flitted from the gloom into the light and so back into the gloom once more. I am not subject to impressions, but the dull, heavy evening, with the strange business upon which we were engaged, combined to make me nervous and depressed. I could see from Miss Morstan's manner that she was suffering from the same feeling. Holmes alone could rise superior to petty influences. He held his open notebook upon his knee, and from time to time he jotted down figures and memoranda in the light of his pocket-lantern. At the Lyceum Theatre the crowds were already thick at the side-entrances. In front a continuous stream of hansoms and four-wheelers were rattling up, discharging their cargoes of shirt-fronted men and beshawled, bediamonded women.

We had hardly reached the third pillar, which was our rendezvous, before a small, dark, brisk man in the dress of a coachman accosted us. "Are you the parties who come with Miss Morstan?" he asked. "I am Miss Morstan, and these two gentlemen are my friends," said she. He bent a pair of wonderfully penetrating and questioning eyes upon us. "You will excuse me, miss," he said with a certain dogged manner, "but I was to ask you to give me your word that neither of your companions is a police-officer." "I give you my word on that," she answered. He gave a shrill whistle, on which a street Arab led across a four-wheeler and opened the door. The man who had addressed us mounted to the box, while we took our places inside. We had hardly done so before the driver whipped up his horse, and we plunged away at a furious pace through the foggy streets. The situation was a curious one. We were driving to an unknown place, on an unknown errand. Yet our invitation was either a complete hoax--which was an inconceivable hypothesis--or else we had good reason to think that important issues might hang upon our journey. Miss Morstan's demeanour was as resolute and collected as ever.

I endeavoured to cheer and amuse her by reminiscences of my adventures in Afghanistan; but, to tell the truth, I was myself so excited at our situation and so curious as to our destination that my stories were slightly involved. To this day she declares that I told her one moving anecdote as to how a musket looked into my tent at the dead of night, and how I fired a double-barrelled tiger cub at it. At first I had some idea as to the direction in which we were driving; but soon, what with our pace, the fog, and my own limited knowledge of London, I lost my bearings and knew nothing save that we seemed to be going a very long way. Sherlock Holmes was never at fault, however, and he muttered the names as the cab rattled through squares and in and out by tortuous by-streets. "Rochester Row," said he. "Now Vincent Square. Now we come out on the Vauxhall Bridge Road. We are making for the Surrey side apparently. Yes, I thought so. Now we are on the bridge. You can catch glimpses of the river." We did indeed get a fleeting view of a stretch of the Thames, with the lamps shining upon the broad, silent water; but our cab dashed on and was soon involved in a labyrinth of streets upon the other side. "Wordsworth Road," said my companion. "Priory Road. Lark Hall Lane. Stockwell Place. Robert Street. Cold Harbour Lane. Our quest does not appear to take us to very fashionable regions."

We had indeed reached a questionable and forbidding neighbourhood. Long lines of dull brick houses were only relieved by the coarse glare and tawdry brilliancy of public-houses at the corner. Then came rows of two-storied villas, each with a fronting of miniature garden, and then again interminable lines of new, staring brick buildings the monster tentacles which the giant city was throwing out into the country. At last the cab drew up at the third house in a new terrace. None of the other houses were inhabited, and that at which we stopped was as dark as its neighbours, save for a single glimmer in the kitchen-window. On our knocking, however, the door was instantly thrown open by a Hindoo servant, clad in a yellow turban, white loose-fitting clothes, and a yellow sash. There was something strangely incongruous in this Oriental figure framed in the commonplace doorway of a third-rate suburban dwelling-house. "The sahib awaits you," said he, and even as he spoke, there came a high, piping voice from some inner room."Show them in to me, khitmutgar," it said. "Show them straight in to me."

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The following plots have changed hands since our last issue was distributed:

Resident / Name of Parcel No. Property or Business:

#20 Pumpkin Tripsa

#23 Eggberta Echegaray - The Willow Tea Room

#28 Chance Takashi



The following Aethernet locations are excellent resources for the late Victorian costumer:

Gentleman's Emporium:


Aether Emporium | Clothing & Costuming (costuming links page):


Steampunk Fashion (Livejournal):


Victorian Clothing:


Corsets and Crinolines (see Victoriana):




The New Babbage Cog has officially moved its office to a new location! Please visit us now at #4 Babbage Square, just across the street from Sanger Park, where we were previously located.

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INVENTORS! As executive director of the, New Babbage Conservatoire, Babbage Square (83, 204, 21)

I am in search of musical instruments that are at once fantastical, musical and functional. Mechanical harps, steam-powered horn sections, elaborate orchestrations with brass pipe s and fittings... whatever your fevered coal-driven imagination can devise. Please contact me either in world or by aetheric-mail at quinemondrian@gmail.com to discuss commissions and terms.

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STEAM CLOCK, by Mr. Intolerable Ginsburg, now available at Babbage Square (219, 29, 25). Chimes on the hour, vents steam at regular intervals. Modeled after the famous Gastown Steam Clock in Vancouver, British Columbia. Copy / Mod. Available in 38 prim (L$200) and 63 prim (L$300) versions.



Q. What is New Babbage?

A. New Babbage is a planned group of themed sims designed to promote a steampunk aesthetic.


Q. What is Babbage Square?

A. The first, and to date the only, of the planned New Babbage sims is Babbage Square. New Babbage can be thought of as the "city," while Babbage Square is its first "region."


Q. What is "steampunk?"

A. Steampunk is a genre of speculative fiction, usually science fiction, that explores the question of how past eras, particularly the Victorian period, would have looked if more modern technology had existed usingonly the tools at theirdisposal. Thus the steampunk aesthetic often makes use of wood, brass, iron, and steam-powered engines to construct fantastic machines that never were.

Please see the steampunk Wikipedia entry:



Q. Is New Babbage for role-players?

A. New Babbage is for anyone interested in steampunk ideas. Although many residents dress and role-play the part, all are welcome to participate in the activities here (period attire not required), and are encouraged to explore the technology made available to us in SL New Babbagers are builders, scripters, and texture artists, curious and experimental by nature, come together to invent, create, and commune.




Editor in Chief: Mrs. Junie Ginsburg

Asst Editor: Miss Eggberta Echegaray


Ethics Statement:

All reporters for The New Babbage Cog are obligated to inform potential interviewees when they are gathering data for a report on our behalf, or clearly identify themselves as a TNBC journalist. This is a community paper, not a vehicle for expose; all investigative reporting must be above-the-board. Deception is against the intended spirit of community embraced by this paper and will not be tolerated. If a citizen encounters an aggressive reporter claiming to work on behalf of The New Babbage Cog, they are urged to report same to the Editor.


The New Babbage Cog office is located at #4 Babbage Square, across the street from I.J. Ginsburg Dept. Store (Sanger Park). Notecard communications can be dropped in the postbox there, or sent directly to the editor, Mrs. Junie Ginsburg.


The New Babbage Cog is circulated in two ways. Firstly, new issues are sent automatically to subscribers of the free New Babbage Cog group.Second, issues are available from a paperbox in Sanger Park, #5 Babbage Square, outside of I.J. Ginsburg Dept. Store. A reading copy of the current issue is always available at the newspaper office.

Back Issues:

All back issues of The New Babbage Cog will be available free of charge. They can be found in the archive on the first floor of the newspaper office.


Volunteer freelance and column writers are welcome to propose stories. The New Babbage Cog also welcomes news tips, reports, and story ideas from interested parties. Please see our contact information above.


Advertising should be germane to subjects of greatest import to residents of New Babbage. Although our sensibilities are quite modern and liberal, The New Babbage Cog reserves the right to determine an ad's fitness for inclusion based on its pertinence to steampunk, Victoriana, retrotech, industry, anachronism, and other related concepts.

Advertising is free to New Babbage citizens. Out-of-towners may advertise at a rate of L$100 per ad placement per issue. For both residents and non-residents, space is limited to 500 characters per advertisement. Each ad may include one embedded texture and one landmark. File attachments must be delivered at the time of ad reservation. Please see our contact information above to inquire.


[There are no errors known to be in need of correction at this time. The New Babbage Cog is obliged to anyone who sends notification of a mistake, so that rectifications might be swiftly published.]

Copyright Disclaimer:

The Second Life in world note card publication date, of this issue of The New Babbage Cog, and it's intellectual property, are owned by the contributors to the newspaper.

Copyright 2007 of the Common Era

The New Babbage Cog

~~ Relata Refero ~~