Return of the Aether Salon!

The Aether Salon in New Babbage is returning under new management!

From the new Manager:

What is ‘Salon’? According to it is:

salon [suh-lon; Fr. sa-lawn]

1. a drawing room or reception room in a large house.
2. an assembly of guests in such a room, especially an assembly, common during the 17th and 18th centuries, consisting of the leaders in society, art, politics, etc.
3. a hall or place used for the exhibition of works of art.
4. a shop, business, or department of a store offering a specific product or service, especially one catering to a fashionable clientele: a dress salon; a hair salon.
5. ( initial capital letter ) (in France) a. the Salon, an annual exhibition of works of art by living artists, originally held at the Salon d’Apollon: it became, during the 19th century, the focal point of artistic controversy and was identified with academicism and official hostility to progress in art. b. a national exhibition of works of art by living artists: Salon des Refusés; Salon des Indépendants.

We may extract bits and pieces of those definitions to answer an even more burning question: What is ‘the Aether Salon’?

The Aether Salon has, in its illustrious past, attracted speakers from all over the Steamlands to gather on the third Sunday of each month in its iconic building in the City/State of New Babbage. These interesting, talented, or sometimes simply lunatical speakers have enthralled and educated rapt audiences for an amazing 28 month run under the original ownership. The final ‘first edition’ Salon in August, 2011, ended with the unfortunate destruction of the building in a freak explosion, something quite rare in New Babbage.

But the Aether Salon is returning, now under new management, but quite respectful of the reputation and history of the Aether Salon. Soon, you shall again be able to soak up the knowledge and wisdom of a fresh crop of Salon speakers.

Or – shall you be amongst the speakers? Think upon it. What is your passion in life? What knowledge do you have to impart? Might your topic be suitable for the Salon? If you are able to put your passion into words, please contact Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander inworld) and describe your chosen topic.

The first ‘second edition’ Salon shall be Sunday, October 16th at 2 pm SLT as is usual; it will be celebrating the Anniversary of the Salon as a whole. All former speakers are requested and urged to attend (please wear your sashes if possible). The unveiling of the model of the new Salon building will also take place, so the first regular speaker of the new season will present in an eyecatching venue on November 20th.

Please join the Aether Salon group, free of charge, for notices of upcoming sittings:


Klaus Wulfenbach, Baron
Manager, Æther Salon


Steampunk Manifesto, Take 23?

So, I nearly started a flame-war on Caledon Chat while trying to give flavour to the argument that steampunk is more about ‘teh pretty’.  I’m exaggerating but only slightly.  It’s part of the whole “what is steampunk, anyway?” issue that rears its head continually.

Jake Von Slatt has his own notion of what steampunk is, what it means and where it can take its practitioners.  It is an overt political (although not partisan) viewpoint and was passionately articulated at SteamPowered 08’s keynote session.  Is it grandiose?  Probably.  Unreasonable?  Maybe.  Intriguing?  Only if you like that sort of thing.  As it happens, I do.  Not to agree or disagree, but simply to observe and take note and notice tendrils of Lessig’s remix culture mix in with folks who get very excited over Jules Verne and brass geegaws.


From a DIY technology perspective, Steampunk is a romanticized cousin to the Maker movement—and the Maker movement is the hardware-based offspring of the hugely successful and important Open Source software revolution.

The advent of cheap personal computers spawned a society of programmers and hackers who write computer programs for their own use and distribute the source code, the program’s core instructions, for free to anyone that’s interested. Over time, these hackers have coalesced into groups and organizations that are capable of rivaling the skill and ability of huge corporations when it comes to the production of computer programs and particularly computer operating systems.

Furthermore, the Open Source movement seeks to protect the free and open nature of what they have wrought with tools like the GNU Public License that require subsequent users and modifiers of their work to make those modifications freely available to everyone under the same terms. Today you can, and many do, run even the largest businesses on what is essentially free software.