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Prohibition: A few things work out a bit earlier than expected, and by 1905 there are working electronic computers. WWI begins earlier (everybody thinks computers will give them the edge), and is equally destructive, but it also ends earlier. By 1917 Edison Electronics has made the New York-Berlin-London market the fastest, biggest stock market in history. In 1918 the Blitzkrieg Crash takes almost everybody by surprise (not Poincare, whose work on chaotic dynamics guided the investment strategies that made him one of the richest men in America after the crash). Unemployment soars; Edison Electronics factories making prototypes of "office computers" are torched down by angry mobs.

The Computer Prohibition Law passes: no (civilian) computers are allowed in the US.

But people of all sorts have tasted the forbidden fruit, from greedy businessmen to dreaming scientists. The demand exists, and when there's a consumer, the market finds a way.

The year is 1921, the place is Chicago, and if you need something smart, Al Capone is your guy.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 5th, 2014 05:47 am (UTC)
Hmmm. I think there should be something in there about a war between Edison and Tesla (or their followers).

Or hell, a completely different story about the Science Crusades.
May. 5th, 2014 05:59 am (UTC)
a war between Edison and Tesla

If you haven't read Atomic Robo, doitdoitdoitdoitdoitdoitdoitdoitdoitdoitdoitdoit. At the very least, it *does* have a war or two between Edison and Tesla.

Or hell, a completely different story about the Science Crusades.

Oh... Mmm. Somebody built a/the first huge telescope, say either in the Himalayas, or somewhere in Central Asia, and then there are periodic wars over its control (say, in a world that saw a bit more meteorites than ours, so they care more about detailed observation of the sky (a more moderate version of The Peshawar Lancers, maybe)), with a small group of fanatics that wants to destroy it (an alliance of "Keepers of the Shroud" that object to deep astronomy as a matter of religious concern, and people living in the area who just want the crusades to stop).

Of course graduate astronomy students get their PhD granted just by enlisting into these wars, and the successful recapture of even a minor instrument is a certain path to tenure.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


cass, can you not

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