jueves, 23 de marzo de 2017

El nuevo podcast de Serial, S-Town, se estrena el 28 de marzo; de momento han colgado en su feed un pequeño capítulo de tres minutos para ir creando interés. Y es la mejor introducción a un texto que he leído en mucho tiempo. Espero que no importe mucho que lo reproduzca aquí.

When an antique clock breaks a clock that's been telling time for 200 or 300 years, fixing it can be a real puzzle.
An old clock like that was hand-made by someone. It might take away the time with a pendulum, with a spring, with a pulley system. It might have bells that are supposed to strike the hour, or a bird that's meant to pop out and cuckoo at you. There can be hundreds of tiny individual pieces, each of which needs to interact with the others precisely.
To make the job even trickier, you often can't tell what's been done to a clock over hundreds of years. Maybe there's damage that was never fixed, of fixed badly. Sometimes entire portions of the original clockwork are missing, but you can't know for sure because there are rarely diagrams of what the clock is supposed to look like; a clock that old doesn't come with a manual.
So, instead, the few people left in the world who know how to do this kind of thing rely on what are often called 'witness marks' to guide their way. A witness mark could be a small dent, a hole that once held a screw. These are actual impressions and outlines and discolorations left inside the clock of pieces that might once have been there. They're clues to what was in the clockmaker's mind when he first created the thing.
I'm told fixing an old clock can be maddening; you're constantly wondering if you've just spent hours going down a path that will likely take you nowhere, and all you've got are these vague witness marks, which might not even mean what you think they mean. So at every moment along the way you have to decide if you're wasting your time or not. 
Anyway, I only learned about all this because, years ago, an antique clock restorer contacted me and asked me to help him solve a murder.

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