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Weng Gines

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Jacques de Vaucanson

Born 24 Feb 1709; died 21 Nov 1782 at age 73. French inventor of automata - robot devices of later significance for modern industry. In 1737-38, he produced a transverse flute player, a pipe and tabor player, and a mechanical duck, which was especially noteworthy, not only imitating the motions of a live duck, but also the motions of drinking, eating, and "digesting." He made improvements in the mechanization of silk weaving, but his most important invention was ignored for several decades - that of automating the loom by means of perforated cards that guided hooks connected to the warp yarns. (Later reconstructed and improved by J.-M. Jacquard, it became one of the most important inventions of the Industrial Revolution.) He also invented many machine tools of permanent importance.

Emergency Landing

At 8 p.m. one night, a pilot who had run out of fuel made an emergency landing at a top-secret government base. He was quickly surrounded by security and taken inside to be interrogated. The interrogation was grueling because they wanted to make sure it was an unplanned landing and he was not a spy.
The interrogation lasted all night. At 6 a.m. they refueled his plane and let him go with his promise never to return. Four hours later he returned and landed again.
Security met him on the runway. They asked him why he had come back.
'I know I promised never to return but I brought my wife and now you have to tell her where I was all night...'

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