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The global oceanic conveyer belt (shown above in a simplified illustration), is a unifying concept that connects the ocean's surface and thermohaline (deep mass) circulation regimes, transporting heat and salt on a planetary scale.
A blog post at the New York Times points me in the direction of the “Phillips machine.” Using water in place of cash, it is an intricate assembly of pumps, pipes and valves, mimicking the economy. But it’s not just a Rube Goldberg machine — it actually works! By adjusting various gates and flows, you can make the machine predict what would happen if you, say, raised or lowered interest rates. Or if you increased the money supply. Or changed the taxation rate — or any other of a dozen or more variables.
It was incredible for its time (it was unveiled in 1949) and it’s still pretty neat to think about.
You could easily write a computer program to do this today, but there’s something so visceral about seeing actual water flow which makes this better.
To do computation, a great thing to have are obviously boolean operations: but how to implement them with water?
The idea of the project was to build a device that could do computation without electrons (well, not considering the electrons in water itself). Water was a interesting choice, in fact, Fluidics is a very important field of study that is widely used in aerospace or mission-critical applications, where electronic control devices don't offer the needed reliability or cannot support the environment. Also, Fluidics has been use in military equipment in order to prevent malfunction in a nuclear war, when electric devices cease to work.
Imagine having computer memory so dense that a cubic centimeter contains 12.8 million gigabytes of information. Imagine an iPod playing music for 100 millennia without repeating a single song or a USB thumb-drive with room for 32.6 million full-length DVD movies. Now imagine if this could be achieved by combining a computing principle that was popular in the 1960s, a glass of water and wire three-billionths of a meter wide. Science fiction? Not exactly.
All ferroelectric materials, even Spanier’s wires that are 100,000 times finer than a human hair, need to be screened to ensure their dipole moments remain stable. Traditionally this was accomplished using metallic electrodes, but Spanier and his team found that molecules such as hydroxyl (OH) ions, which make up water, and organic molecules, such as carboxyl (COOH), work even better than metal electrodes at stabilizing ferroelectricity in nano-scaled materials, proving that sometimes water and electricity do mix.
Originally posted by MR BOB
Radical new theory suggests Earth's magnetism may be linked to movement of ocean currents
(visit the link for the full news article)
New research suggests that Earth’s magnetic field could be produced by ocean currents rather than molten metals swirling around its core as was previously thought.
The controversial new claims, published this week, suggest that the movements of volumes of salt water around the world have been seriously underestimated by scientists as a source of magnetism.
The research could revolutionise geophysics, the study of the Earth’s physical properties and behaviour, in which the idea that magnetism.
[edit on 16/6/2009 by Mirthful Me]