Hmm. I am the person who created that Tumblr. I'm not trying to "debunk" anything. Just showing what it really is: sometimes it's nonsense, sometimes it's there's an amusing juxtaposition, sometimes it's a fun Easter Egg.
Tim Robinson, the man behind the Meccano construction you link to, is a trustee of the Plan 28 charity mentioned above.
You are quite correct that we have not built a single demo part. In the two years since I started talking about this project the following has happened:
1. Persuaded the Science Museum to digitize all of Babbage's plans and notebooks (this in itself was a non-trivial task involving a great deal of effort at all levels and they should be thanked for taking on the task).
2. Got the leading Babbage experts to join and work with me (Doron Swade who built the Difference Engine No. 2 and Tim Robinson)
3. Started a UK-based charity (again these things take time as there are legal requirements and the recruitment of a board of trustees)
4. Started research on the Babbage archive itself
5. Begun fund-raising.
No. 4 is non-trivial because there are literally thousands of pages of notes and > 230 large scale plans to decipher. Plus there's a hardware description language to work with. And the archive is not well documented. There are a number of different cross references that conflict with each other. I realize that all this stuff is boring and people would like to see an immediate result, but that's not going to happen. It's years of work to properly study this stuff and build a historically accurate machine.
Note that we have not proposed building the 1,000 memory location machine. That's far too much to demonstrate that it would work and would add to the cost and size. As for the number of parts, until we've deciphered all the plans and come up with a definitive plan that it's hard to answer but we believe there will be roughly 40,000 to 50,000 components to be made.
I've got kids who are about the same age I was when I first saw Star Trek. I'm introducing them. Does that count?
My strategy is just to watch TOS, so far we've seen 4 episodes and they are popular with all the kids except one who is freaked out by Spock's ears. I think I'll wait a few months and see if he gets over that.
You are correct that I care about the PR side of things. I need to because I need to raise a substantial amount of money.
But it's far from all PR. There's now a registered British charity with a board of trustees and the pre-eminent Babbage expert, Doron Swade, who built the Difference Engine No. 2 at the Science Museum is running the technical side of the project.
Study of the digitized plans has been underway since February and some first results will be announced this summer. We actively want to build a 3D working model in a tool like Autodesk.
Centrifuges can't cause a catastrophe, other than of the "oh shit my centrifuge just came apart and shredded my lab" kind. There is not a nuclear chain reaction to go out of control here.
Ernie Ball also went totally Microsoft free after the BSA screwed them for $100,000:
They can't be serious. Leading experts agree they must first build a SpaceshipFactoryProvider.
Cooking recipes can be patented. Copyright != patent.