Day 7 - London (continued)

We continued walking, past the Victoria and Albert Museum (no time to go in):
Victoria Albert Museum

Past the Natural History Museum (again, no time to go in):
Natural History Museum

And finally to the London Science Museum, which happily we did go into.

While everyone else rested, I rushed upstairs to see what I had dragged everyone here for, Charles Babbage's Difference Engine [[I told you that you'd never guess -K]. It's an early mechanical computer, made entirely out of gears and powered by a crank.

He designed this (and also his Analytical engine, which had many features of modern computers) back in Victorian times, but for various reasons they were never built. The difference engine shown here was built from his original plans in the 1990s.

Unfortunately it is hard to make out because it is stored behind glass:
Difference Engine

They had many other related things, including (somewhat morbidly) Babbage's brain in a jar:
Babbage's Brain

They are building another copy of the machine, to send to a museum in America [[Next time we won't have to go to London to see it -K]:
Difference Engine America

Besides this, they had plenty of other interesting computer artifacts. They had slide rules, a Pascal adder, Napier's bones (logarithms, not his actual bones), and a computer that approximated the national economy using water. They also had a water fountain, the first one we saw on our entire trip!

Here is a Pegasus computer, which they claim is the last fully-operating vacuum-tube ("valve" if you are British) based computer in the world:

Here is a PDP-8, the type of machine UNIX was first written on:

After I bored everyone with computer stuff, we moved on. We took advantage of the beautiful weather by walking along the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Those tantalizing chairs you see had to be rented if you wanted to sit on them; there was someone whose job was to spend the whole day chasing non-paying tourists off of them.

We walked past the Duke of York Column which looms over the Duke of York Steps:
Duke of York Column

We eventually arrived at Kristina's favorite place in London, Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square:
Nelson's Column

That's the National Gallery that you can see in the background.

Tradition is that you climb up and have your picture taken with the lions on the column. I didn't do that, but Marie and Kristina did.

The others wandered off: Marie to meet a LOTR friend, and Kristina and Jess to see Jane Austen's picture in the Portrait Gallery and to check out Downing Street (where the Prime Minister Lives). I waited in the shade of the column, looking a bit tired from all the traveling:
Vince Nelson's Column

After this it was back to the hostel, early for once. This was our last full day in England...
Continue to the long journey home