Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Asylum - UK steampunk convivial

A little slow on the uptake, here. I knew that there was the possibility of a UK Steampunk convention/get together, but things seem to be gathering pace, thanks to the intrepid activities of Time Tinker and Lady Elsie.

The Asylum UK Steampunk convention is to be held between 11th-13th September 2009 in the wonderful city of Lincoln. The venue will be across three sites, but based primarily at "The Lawn", a former Victorian Lunatic Asylum in manicured grounds in the heart of Lincoln's historical quarter.

Costs as they currently stand are envisaged as a full "members" ticket at £30, allowing access to the gig on Friday night (music by Ghostfire!), the core venue on Saturday and the First Annual Empire Ball on Saturday evening. Sunday is more ad hoc and is therefore likely to be free. Individual elements for those unable to attend/afford the whole weekend are likely to be: Friday gig: £9, Day Ticket £8.50, Ball £16.50.

The weekend coincides with Heritage Open Weekend, whereby public buildings are opened to the masses, enabling some of Britain's unknown and hidden archictural heritage to be enjoyed by a wider audience than the civil servants who work in these buildings.

More details may be found here. This looks to be building up into quite an event which we should all try to attend!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Steampunk, Retrofuture, and Transport

Looking to the past for problems of the present seems a sensible way to work to me. With problems of over-crowding, pollution, global warming, disease and illness to name but a few of our current woes, increasingly, scientists and policy-makers seek inspiration from the past, and past visions of the future.

Updated windmills may provide energy, sustainable woodland may provide fuel, companion planting of crops may remove the need for pesticides and increase yields, as well as increasing wildlife, and airships are making a comeback, whilst plans for an alternative to a new runway at Heathrow include a floating runway in the Thames estuary.

"The Future Isn't What it Used to Be" (originally published as "Changing Travel Demand: Implications for Transport Planning", ITE Journal (Sept. 2005, Vol. 76, No.9, 27-33) by Todd Litmann, published by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute looks to the past for inspiration to solving the transport problems of the immediate future, drawing conclusions from the trends of the Twentieth Century for the issues of the Twenty-First.

An intruiging, practical-academic paper which raises some interesting questions...