2004-07-11/

Up
Fallen tree on Midsummer Common, and fairground on Parker's Piece. The latter
includes an impressive clock-work lunatic-scaring device, and some cool
fireworks. My companions at the fairground (Oggie, Francis, Leo and her friend
Maria) managed to avoid being photographed completely. We also watched in the
rain "The General", a Buster Keaton film that I highly recommend.

The lunatic-scaring device is operated as follows. First, imprison a matched
pair of lunatics into the padded cell as shown in figure 2438. Ensuring
lunatics are firmly attached to the ground, tighten the big-box-o-springs (TM)
shown in the background to a combined tension of 1.2MN (120 tonnes). This takes
a couple of minutes, using the same ordinary 20kW diesel generator used for the
pretty lights. Via the 25:1 blocks and tackles in the base of the box, each of
the four cables attaching the lunatics to the top of the towers (figure 2431)
are now under 12kN of force each. The towers will bend by several degrees, but
do not be alarmed: no sane persons will be harmed in the scaring of these
lunatics. When the springs are fully stretched, and preferably without warning,
release the lunatics (figure 2441). Lunatics will accelerate upwards initially
at 10g, reaching a height of approximately 50m in about one second (figures
2437, 2436, 2435 in quick succession). This represents a power output of about
a megawatt. Lunatics will then bounce up and down a few times, and rotate
chaotically about the axis joining the cable end-points. Charge lunatics eight
pounds a head to come down again (i.e. no head no fee). For best (financial)
results, repeat every two minutes. (All figures in the above are estimates).