See the SSEC In Action

by scholastress

I was delighted to finally get my hands on the 1952 film Walk East on Beacon, a noir of questionable merit that has the distinction of featuring the SSEC in a minute-long cameo. Uploaded here is the scene in question, in which the patriotic scientist makes a breakthrough of great import (only later to be extorted by wholly unconvincing Soviet sleeper agents).

Of great interest to me is the speed of the flashing lights on what appears to be the SSEC’s sequence relays. How could this visual information be meaningfully interpreted by the human eye? Could its engineers pick up even the grossest pattern in its whirling activity? Why, moreover, did the designers include and so neatly order the lights? Was this intended to serve any purpose other than mystification?

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