Engineers create a computer with a water droplet processor

From driving water wheels to turning turbines, water has been used as the prime mover of machinery and the powerhouse of industry for many centuries. In ancient times, the forces of flowing water were even harnessed to power the first rudimentary clocks. Now, engineers at Stanford University have created the world’s first water-operated computer.

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Engineers at Stanford University have reinvented the idea of fluid-operated equipment to create the world’s first water-operated computer

Using magnetized particles flowing through a micro-miniature network of channels, the machine runs like clockwork and is claimed to be capable of performing complex logical operations. Read more

Fire and Water on a Hot, Turbulent Planet

The Earth Observatory Web site of NASA is a vital portal, not only providing data that help scientists clarify global conditions and trends but also reminding people, once in awhile, of the special nature of this pale blue (and green) dot.

Today’s images show the scope of two unfolding disasters — involving excessive fire and water — related to extreme climate conditions that are projected to become more frequent in a heating world.

Russia_TMO_2010214_lrgThe fires sweeping parched, baked peat bogs and forests in western Russia have raised a vast smoke pall captured by NASA satellites. (See similar images of Canada’s smoke pall to get a sense of the severity of the Russian blazes.) Read more

To Survive Without Water: Guide for Lost Tourists

Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts go away from civilization to the forests, mountains and other remote areas every summer. Unfortunately, sometimes they can’t find the way back, and in this case, the main enemy is dehydration. How to use simple gadgets in extreme conditions, drink water and hold it in the body? Read our tips – maybe one day they will be useful!

To find and to stock up

So, after hours of useless wandering, attempts to navigate by the sun, moss and other tweaks you have made a clear conclusion – you were lost. Most importantly, don’t panic. You should start of course, with finding water. Our body can live pretty long without food, but you have maximum a few days with no moisture.

001Fortunately, we have not so many deserts and often tourists get lost in the woods or in the mountains. There is enough moisture, but it is not easy to be obtained. In the forest, if the terrain is hilly, come down: there is a high probability of finding a river, stream, lake or swamp. Well, if a saving rain begins, just tie the cleanest piece of clothing around the tree trunk, and then press it into the prepared container. Read more

Lake Effect on Display: Cold Winds Over (Relatively) Warm Waters

I’ve touched on lake-effect snows, the classic pattern in the Upper Midwest and western New York State in which frigid winds blowing over relatively warm Great Lakes waters generate persistent cloud bands and lots of snow.

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Cold air streaming over relatively warm Great Lakes waters produced streaming bands of clouds and so-called “lake effect” snow this week. Credit NASA / University of Wisconsin

The image above, to which I was directed by a Dot Earth reader, Mike Mangan, was posted earlier today by the Michigan television meteorologist Bill Steffen. Read more

A New Study Clarifies Treatment Needs for Water from Fracked Gas and Oil Wells

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A diagram shows how water is used in hydraulic fracturing of gas and oil wells.Credit Environmental Protection Agency

A good post on InsideClimate News last week explored a new study of organic compounds and other constituents in the briny water that emerges from gas or oil wells created using the high-pressure process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. (This “produced water” is a mix of fracturing fluid and water from the rock layers being drilled.) Read more