I heard John Graham-Cumming on TWiT #269 talk about the project he has started to build - 173 years later - a full scale realization of Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Amazingly, it's never been done (only partial models exist).
Now, we are talking about a truck-sized, steam-powered machine that is Turing-complete and features (without silicon or electricity) "modern" ideas like instruction pipelining. The ultimate steampunk project. It also has a serious educational and academic aspect (including to digitize all of Babbage's plans and notes).
Due to significant private support coming forth, the pledge target has apparently been reduced from 50,000 to just 10,000 signatories. At the time of writing, John only needed another 6358 pledges of $10/£10/€10 each to get the project moving.
Now I don't often get behind fundraisers and campaigns, but this strikes me as one of those once-in-a-lifetime follies you cannot help but support. And all for about the price of the cheapest bottle of wine in the shop around the corner.
Blogarhythm: L.O.V.E. Machine WASP