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Harnessing Slow Water Currents For Renewable Energy

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the hydroelectric-for-those-who-won't-give-a-dam dept.

Power 113

Julie188 writes "Slow-moving ocean and river currents could be a new, reliable and affordable alternative energy source. A University of Michigan engineer, Michael Bernitsas, has made a machine that works like a fish to turn potentially destructive vibrations in fluid flows into clean, renewable power. This is is the first known device that could harness energy from most of the water currents around the globe because it works in flows moving slower than 2 knots (about 2.3 miles per hour). Most of the Earth's currents are slower than 3 knots. Turbines and water mills need an average of 5 or 6 knots to operate efficiently. Further details and a few brief movies of the technology are available, as well as a video explanation by Professor Bernitsas himself."

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hmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25857721)

I wonder if this technology would make my robot girlfriend wet...

Harnessing my leaky faucet? (2, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25857779)

I wanna harness the slow water current of my leaky faucet to trickle-charge my laptop; can I do that? If that works, I'll move on to trying to harness my *other* leaky faucet.

Re:Harnessing my leaky faucet? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25857865)

my *other* leaky faucet

Have you tried this? [4flomax.com]

Re:Harnessing my leaky faucet? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858319)

A much better idea would be a toilet turbine which would harness the power of water and gravity to flush. Any fan designed to generate energy from piss would cause quite a mess.

Re:Harnessing my leaky faucet? (1)

Steneub (1070216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858757)

I think you need a doctor of medicine instead of a doctor of engineering.

Secondary effects? (5, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25857793)

I'm not a fluid mechanic, but I wonder what the effects would be of slowing down already slow moving river water. Increased silt deposits? More flooding upstream? Anyone with more knowledge about river flows care to comment?

Re:Secondary effects? (-1, Offtopic)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25857821)

River would read your mind and use her dance/fighting skills to prevent you from slowing down her water. All of the experiments the Alliance performed on her made her quite resistant to your attempted exploitation.

Re:Secondary effects? (3, Insightful)

canthusus (463707) | more than 5 years ago | (#25857859)

IANAFM also, but yes, I'd expect to see slower water, as we have extracted energy from it. With care, this need not be a bad thing - for example, groins have been constructed on parts of the Thames to slow the water near the banks, encouraging scour of the main shipping channel. Erect a vortex generator instead of groins and you can control flow and generate electricity. Downside is it may become too successful, and the silting could interfere with operation.

Headlines. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858019)

- for example, groins have been constructed on parts of the Thames to slow the water near the banks, encouraging scour of the main shipping channel

Has there been any ship collisions with those. If so was there a headline like this?

Ship hits Thames in groin.

Re:Secondary effects? (3, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858261)

Erect a vortex generator instead of groins and you can control flow and generate electricity.

Yes, but you completely ignore the benefits of erecting groins.

Re:Secondary effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859085)

Yes, but in true English fashion, he kept a stiff upper lip.

Re:Secondary effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860411)

http://www.google.fi/search?q=IANAFM

interesting search results for your acronym. What does it even mean?

Re:Secondary effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861123)

Grandparent

I'm not a fluid mechanic

Parent

IANAFM also

I hadn't seen that acronym used before, but I understood what it means because of context

Re:Secondary effects? (2, Insightful)

Felix Da Rat (93827) | more than 5 years ago | (#25857981)

From the look of the system, there wouldn't appear to be too much slow down. Probably about on par with tossing a reasonably sized rock into a stream.

Of course, it's a matter of scale. One rock? not much impact, but throw to many in, and you have a dam. So I think the impact this system would have depends most on how much power it generates and how many can be fit on a given body of water before having a damming effect.

Re:Secondary effects? (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858309)

"A damming effect" would never be a problem, the slower the water is moving the less energy available for extraction, so you would stop installing them long before the water stopped moving. I would guess that capital return rates would convince investors to stop installing them long before environmental impact became a significant problem.

Re:Secondary effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858735)

I would guess that capital return rates would convince investors to stop

Except for the fact that there tends to be a large number of investors who are retards with too much money and not a fucking clue about what they're spending it on. Sadly, they're not parted from their money fast enough to keep them from damaging everything else.

Re:Secondary effects? (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866273)

Are we all forgetting what caused the water to move in the first place? I mean the last couple of comments sort of act like this is a car on flat land coasting and we are talking about hitting the brakes every once in a while or introducing obstacles to slow it down. Imagine the same but with the car constantly coasting down hill.

Gravity is forcing the waters motion. It is going from one place that is higher to another that is lower in elevation. You have other factors like force and so on to consider but slowing the water down at a specific point would only be a temporary effect that would eventually rejoin the force of gravity and the weight of all the water behind it. Unless you damn the entire river up, your not going to be able to take enough energy out of the system to cause a lasting effect. This is because the momentum and force behind the water will just cause what is moving too fast to penetrate the blockage as efficiently to raise up and over it causing gravity to take hold in original ways again. This is different then say water in a pipe that has no other place to go.

Look at the spill ways of reservoirs. They line them with concrete spikes and riffraff to control the erosion but the water going into it is still effected by gravity and moves down hill as it normally would. The water will move around the objects or rise over them and create a controlled turbulence but it doesn't stop it. Try this experiment. Take a bowl, turn it upside down, place it in a cake pan or something else to capture the water and pour a glass of water slowly on top of it. Time how long it takes to fall off the bowl. Now have a friend put his fingers all around the bowl as to block portions of it, now poor the water in the same way and it will evacuate just as fast.

The only real difference between a fast moving river and a slow on is the drop in elevation from the height of the water at the beginning to the end and the carrying capacity of the channel. These generators will basically lower the carrying capacity causing a larger drop in elevation from the top of the water where they are installed to where the river will dump out in.

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866511)

Draw some boxes. From the point of view of the water, these devices decrease the drop in elevation.

(That is, if a given stretch of river has the effect of adding 1 unit of energy to 1 unit of water, with the devices installed, that same stretch of river will add less than 1 unit of energy to that same unit of water)

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866775)

Draw some boxes. From the point of view of the water, these devices decrease the drop in elevation

Well, no because the water is moving and you have to consider the weight of the water behind the point where your box is at. This will cause the water to rise until it reaches a point equal to behind it. So if you put the boxes under the water, instead of stopping the bottom third of the of the river from flowing and theoretically taking one third of it's energy, the water level will just rise above it causing a large drop on the other side. That is of course if you don't damn the entire river up and regulate the flow.

So your not only looking at the level of the river along a given stretch, you also have to consider the level at a previous stretch and the momentum behind that. You can actually have a section of river higher then the river behind it in the same way's you have a storm surge or waves that is higher then sea level on a body of water that is at sea level.

Re:Secondary effects? (4, Interesting)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858015)

Sounds like the energy is taken from eddy and vortex currents which, for the most part, is lost energy anyway (destructive interference) and don't add to river currents anyway.

If it works (both technologically and financially) , it's brilliant - harnessing energy that would be lost anyway.

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

msromike (926441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858077)

Lost to what? That energy is not lost. If you are reducing the strength of turbulence in the water flow at some point there will be a measurable result. Bototmline is that you are removing energy from one system to place in another system. If you do that indiscriminantly there could be consequences.

Re:Secondary effects? (2, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858183)

except that it would induce additional vortex currents around the device.

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866297)

Except that the mechanisms that cause the rivers to flow wouldn't disappear, gravity would still have an effect and the energy would be regained relatively shortly. The water wouldn't weight less and start moving uphill/upstream.

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858397)

There is no such thing as lost energy. The vortices are only manifestations of the symptoms, and not the end results.
If the energy isn't used to give the water momentum, it will increase the temperature of the water.

By tapping into the energy of the water, you will either make it move slower, become colder, or both. This may, depending on where it is tapped, be perfectly safe. But then again, it may not be. The question is whether there are any politicians who would stop a multi-billion dollar project because it might irreparably harm the environment. "Future generations" don't give votes today, and neither do fish.

Re:Secondary effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859469)

I thought water temperatures were rising due to global warming to the point of endangering marine life already?

So deploying these things near the mouths of rivers should be a good thing?

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860101)

And running the required cables to them will be very destructive ... As will their anchor points etc...

The greens will always find something or other. If they truly do not find anything else they will claim that the increased consumption this causes (which is a good thing in reality) causes increased pollution in factories and cities.

Which will be true.

The only way to live green is to lay down and die, after having demolished the last city and killed the last human being. Of course, it would last about 100.000 or-so years before the next species evolves to civilization level and re-destroys everything.

Would they know about us ? Would they declare us nuts to destroy ourselves over being green ? If they don't they'll die too.

So any living civilization would declare green policies nuts. That, of course means that calling ourselves living would be a stretch ... Well that's probably correct in describing "green" "braincells". And we all know there's a lot of those around. Hardly any can point out America on a m... well hardly any can point out the map in the classroom, really.

The point ? Why ?

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862881)

The only way to live green is to lay down and die, after having demolished the last city and killed the last human being.

I call sophistry... you're using the fallacy of the excluded middle [wikipedia.org] , not to mention constructing a hell of a straw man. In reality, there are a spectrum of option between the two extremes ("humanity commits suicide" and "humanity does nothing to avoid damaging the environment", but you choose to ignore them because your goal is to paint your political opponents as unreasonable.

Why not put down your political wanker's hat for a while, and put on your engineer's hat instead? Instead of coming up with ways to prove that nothing can be done, you could be coming up with constructive ways to solve the real problems we face.

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864021)

I did not say there were no middle roads. Merely that greenies will never accept them.

Nuclear power expansion is the ideal middle road today after all. Barely needs any space. Lots of power. Cheap. Fuel many times recyclable. 1 kg fuel powers new york for a year. Few, tiny mines ... what else could you ask for ?

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865937)

I did not say there were no middle roads. Merely that greenies will never accept them.

I'm a greenie, and I accept them, so that's clearly untrue. Or perhaps your definition of "greenie" is "anyone who doesn't accept them"? In that case your argument is tautological and pointless [wikipedia.org] .

Nuclear power expansion is the ideal middle road today after all. Barely needs any space. Lots of power. Cheap. Fuel many times recyclable. 1 kg fuel powers new york for a year. Few, tiny mines ... what else could you ask for ?

Well... I could ask for a power source that isn't so easily weaponizable, one that we would be happy to share even with, say, Iran. I could ask for one whose infrastructure doesn't present an opportunity for theft of radioactive materials [bellona.org] that could then be made into terrorist devices, held for ransom, etc. I could ask for one that isn't dependent on a finite fuel supply that has to be dug out of the ground in potentially unfriendly areas. I could ask for one that doesn't generate any hazardous waste. I could ask for one whose power plants don't form giant centralized targets for terrorists.

I'm not saying that nuclear isn't an option, just that it isn't the be-all and end-all of power technologies.

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

cool_arrow (881921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864969)

Not sure I understand how the water becomes colder. Can you explain?

Re:Secondary effects? (2, Informative)

instarx (615765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865169)

The Colorado River at Phantom Ranch averages 80,000 ft3 of water per second, or 2.4 x 10^9 cc. The energy that would have to be extracted to cool that water by 0.001 degrees C would be 2.4 x 10^6 calories.

2.4 x 10^6 calories = 10^9 joules.

watts = joules/second, so that would be 10^9 watts, or 1 million kilowatts/second would be extracted. Now that's a lot of power for a 1/1000 degree temperature drop.

Another way to look at it is that it would take a million kilowatts to heat 80,000 ft3 of water 0.001 degree C.

We can be pretty darned sure that nowhere near that amount of power would be extracted by these vortex generators, so it is not reasonable to assume that the cooling of water from the extraction of energy using this method could possibly be an environmental hazard to anything. The energy extracted from the moving water would equal to millionths or billionths of a degree.

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

Keeper Of Keys (928206) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858849)

Sounds like the energy is taken from eddy

... and this is sofa is it?

Re:Secondary effects? (2, Informative)

ldbapp (1316555) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859061)

The energy is taken from the vortices, but it's not free or otherwise lost energy. Without the cylinders in the water, the vortices would not exist. The cylinders induce them, thus converting the forward flow of the water into a form that can be harvested.

So you are not harvesting energy that would be lost energy; you are harvesting the energy of the flow.

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860503)

Now harness the energy of the water coming down my gutters.

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

jimmyhat3939 (931746) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862737)

Where does that energy go normally? Into heat? I mean, energy can't really be lost so it must go somewhere.

Oceans, Not Rivers (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858027)

This device targets ocean currents, not rivers. Ocean currents already have too much energy (by historical comparison), accumulated in twistier undersea currents from the decades and centuries of escalating Greenhouse effects.

River current power is what is captured by hydroelectric dams. Which have their own problems, but we're already stuck with them. More ocean hydroelectric could allow us to release some dams that have too high a cost (environmentally or operationally) to justify their power output. Though application of these generators in rivers might just be a low-impact replacement for dams. However, the dams also deliver irrigation and drinking water, so we're probably stuck with them for the long haul.

Re:Oceans, Not Rivers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858079)

I can see a use for this in rivers as well, especially in the last few hundred miles.

Currently, there are plenty of rivers that have to slow down the waterflow near the banks to maintain the deep summerbed. Replacing whatever structure there currently is with the "fishes" sounds like a nice experiment.

Re:Oceans, Not Rivers (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858331)

Most big dams are installed for flood control. That they simplify irrigation is a nice side benefit.

Also, note that the article specifically mentions installing them in rivers, especially if they are more fish-friendly than turbines.

Re:Oceans, Not Rivers (2, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859003)

Most big dams are installed for flood control. That they simplify irrigation is a nice side benefit.

That may be the case where you live but here in the the western U.S., the majority of dams have been built for water storage purposes, followed in number by dams built for generation of hydropower. Relatively few have been built exclusively for flood control; I can think of a couple in the Los Angeles area and that's about it.

Re:Oceans, Not Rivers (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859121)

Not exclusively, but that is generally the chief benefit that the government is looking at. Look at the events in this timeline (the Hoover and Southwest seem to exemplify your point):

http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/History/articles/chrono.html [usbr.gov]

They include both the control and use of the river, but there weren't enough people living in that area at that time for water storage to be an issue, the big motivator was disaster control (and if you are going to make a huge reservoir, it simply makes sense to install hydro).

Re:Oceans, Not Rivers (1)

instarx (615765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865337)

Nooo. Many are, but a lot of dams are built for energy production. The TVA system being the prefet example.

Re:Oceans, Not Rivers (2, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858699)

while you're probably right in that this technology will be most useful by extracting the vast amounts of energy contained in the ocean (absorbed solar energy) it will likely be deployed in a lot of rivers as well. in fact, the video mentions that the pilot project is being built on the Detroit River. so it's not just coastal cities who are going to benefit from this technology.

i think it's interesting that this technology is expected to be much more cost-effective than conventional solar power. and the ability to operate efficiently in rivers too slow for hydroelectric dams is another plus. rather than simply being a low-impact replacement for dams, it's more likely that this technology will open up hydroelectric power in a lot of new places with slow-moving currents where hydroelectric dams can't be used.

Re:Oceans, Not Rivers (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860277)

Actually no. If you read the fine article they mention that it would work with river flow with a flow speed of 2 mph. If you follow along to the website there are papers that describe the system and equations with very straight forward math. Essentially, most any eddy producing system could apply here.

Re:Secondary effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858109)

In a large, slow river, it will have the effect of lots of weed. So probably not a great idea. But for a sea or ocean, subject to tidal flows, this probably has "potential".

Less of everything really (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858133)

Less flow, less oxygen and less other nutrients (and therefore less life) in the water seem like obvious side-effects.

Re:Secondary effects? (3, Informative)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858587)

Water runs down hill due to gravity, once it is passed the device
it will return to its prior speed.

The water does not get and keep its speed from its headwaters.

It varies based on the grade as it moves downstream.

In an ocean, it is not due to grades is more about thermal
differential due to the ocean heating the water.

It might have an impact there, but some of the current
contain flows that are many times the flow of all the rivers
in the world.

Like the Antarctic Circumpolar current:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Circumpolar_Current [wikipedia.org]

Re:Secondary effects? (1)

ImitationEnergy (993881) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862257)

I'll take a stab at it for you although as a usual rule I end up getting stabbed back, so maybe tonight I just feel like getting stabbed I guess. Putting a load on flowing water would have to have repercussions. Just like if everybody on the planet put up a damn windmill we would cause something we might not want to experience. You are a smart fellow. While I can't stack my credentials against any "Professor Bernitsas himself" nor do I have a classroom full of stooge unpaid students to make a bunch of impressive videos for me, but I designed a portable power generator in Feb. 2005 that uses a "flow" to make electricity... except that I substituted metal balls for H2O molecules.

I'll assume you would want to know more. Getting power from rivers and streams has the same drawback today it had 200 years ago. It anchors you and your flour mill to the stream. But with my "Millenial Dawn" engine you gain universal portability, use it on Mars, on the Moon, under the oceans or atop any mountain, because it gives freedom from power lines and power grids. But I don't have a classroom to get make videos for me so like as not the world will be sold ga ga for his idea and mine will continue to sit while people wring their hands and bow toward Mecca. I made a few simple animations => http://www.newpath4.com/millenialdawnpowerandlightsecure21.htm [newpath4.com] and explanations which just doesn't compete nowadays. If my engine is such a miracle, people demand to see a miracle. Basically, the dual but opposed-direction solenoids fire the balls at the exact same time, negating any recoil. They do that by having/sharing the same switch so yes, it is "exact same firing time". The balls head into curved arms that takes perhaps 80% of the force, pushing the arms higher up that serve as Levers, thereby multiplying that 80% well above 80%. That moves a generator, generator charges capacitor for the next firing. However, that leaves the balls still in motion on the return fly. Before reaching the starting position the balls turns vanes of Generator #2 that sends power out. I think they call that trick the rule of a decaying orbit returning back still possessing plenty enough kinetic energy to turn the lesser generator, not stiff like the first one. "They" say it cant be done; it can. But more than that my friend, since the returned balls come to a COMPLETE STOP they pick up another 100% Potential Energy between cycles => so every trip they get a recharge from the Laws of Physics, another 100% kinetic blast again, and again, and again. Sort of like a controlled e=mc2. Millenial Dawn can run a home, a car, but I believe it would have an upper ceiling size limitation for the metal balls.

+4 to ocean value (1)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25857833)

That's very interesting and promising that ocean areas can be tapped for energy, I hope that it's not environmentally destructive and that it doesn't provoke international conflict over who gets to use which ocean sectors.

SeaQuest DSV (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25857927)

They implemented a global underwater power grid in the SeaQuest television show (from the 90's). There's some interesting technology in that show. It's on Netflix/Roku for immediate viewing.

-m

Doubling the Global Warming Reduction (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25857951)

Replacing petrofuels (and even their waste heat) with this alternative generator would help slow climate change from the eliminated petrofuel waste.

But there's a vast amount of energy already retained in the Earth's oceano-atmospheric system. Vast rivers of undersea currents now store truly huge amounts of energy newly accumulated since industry's byproducts started the Earth retaining more energy. Undersea currents have grown much twistier in their paths around the globe. When that energy cycles through the interconnected systems on its own rhythms, the energy is sometimes transmitted into other media than seawater, that is much more disturbed by it. This is what the El Nino / La Nina cycle is an instance of: energy from heavy sea currents periodically enters the much lighter air, pushing it around much more. That kind of cycle, in a myriad of other such interactions, contributes to larger and more frequent storms.

If we harvested some of that energy from these currents with these new devices, we would be reducing the energy in those currents. The currents would return to their previous less twisty tracks. They would have less energy to transmit to the atmosphere and other climate engines. It would take a very large scale deployment, over a substantial period of time. But the double benefit would be well worth it.

Re:Doubling the Global Warming Reduction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858471)

Why was this moderated as a Troll?

Re:Doubling the Global Warming Reduction (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858803)

Why was this moderated as a Troll?

Because Slashdot's moderation system sucks, and a horde of TrollMods abuse it for their own petty, bizarre reasons.

Re:Doubling the Global Warming Reduction (2, Informative)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858929)

hmm except that I'm reading it now and it says Interesting... so I'd say the moderation system works just fine - only not on a short timeline. It's like looking at an election vote too early... maybe only the no votes happened to be counted first... doesn't mean the voted on item won't pass later.

Re:Doubling the Global Warming Reduction (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866389)

It's more like because at a superficial reading, it appears that you attempt to blame El Nino / La Nina cycles (presumably all the decadal oscillations) on global warming and the creation of industry.

Hell, it took me three times to see that you didn't exactly do that. I was actually studying your comment in order to respond before I realized you didn't say what I originally thought you did.

Re:Doubling the Global Warming Reduction (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866663)

Like I said. Superficial reading, getting it wrong, then modding wrong.

Even if I had said that the Nino/a effects were the results of global warming, that would merely be wrong, and not a "troll". A troll is a comment designed to add nothing but predictable responses, probably flames, to a debate. Which being wrong about something isn't.

I note that even though you have now posted in this thread, your "Troll" mod is still current, even though posting is supposed to invalidate it. All of which is clear demonstration that Slashdot's mod system sucks.

The Æolian Harp (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25857987)

This technology works the same way as Davinci's "aeolian harp", as immortalized in The Æolian Harp [virginia.edu] by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

The Æolian Harp

My pensive SARA ! thy soft cheek reclined
Thus on mine arm, most soothing sweet it is
To sit beside our Cot, our Cot o'ergrown
With white-flower'd Jasmin, and the broad-leav'd Myrtle,
(Meet emblems they of Innocence and Love !)
And watch the clouds, that late were rich with light,
Slow saddenning round, and mark the star of eve
Serenely brilliant (such should Wisdom be)
Shine opposite ! How exquisite the scents
Snatch'd from yon bean-field ! and the world so hush'd !
The stilly murmur of the distant Sea
Tells us of silence.
        And that simplest Lute,
Plac'd length-ways in the clasping casement, hark !
How by the desultory breeze caress'd,
Like some coy maid half-yielding to her lover,
It pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs
Tempt to repeat the wrong ! And now, its strings
Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes
Over delicious surges sink and rise,
Such a soft floating witchery of sound
As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve
Voyage on gentle gales from Faery-Land,
Where Melodies round honey-dropping flowers,
Footless and wild, like birds of Paradise,
Nor pause, nor perch, hovering on untam'd wing !
O ! the one Life within us and abroad,
Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,
A light in sound, a sound-like power in light,
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance every where--
Methinks, it should have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so fill'd ;
Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air
Is Music slumbering on her instrument.
        And thus, my Love ! as on the midway slope
Of yonder hill I stretch my limbs at noon,
Whilst thro' my half-clos'd eye-lids I behold
The sunbeams dance, like diamonds, on the main,
And tranquil muse upon tranquility ;
Full many a thought uncall'd and undetain'd,
And many idle flitting phantasies,
Traverse my indolent and passive brain,
As wild and various, as the random gales
That swell and flutter on this subject Lute !
        And what if all of animated nature
Be but organic Harps diversly fram'd,
That tremble into thought, as o'er them sweeps
Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze,
At once the Soul of each, and God of all ?
        But thy more serious eye a mild reproof
Darts, O belovéd Woman ! nor such thoughts
Dim and unhallow'd dost thou not reject,
And biddest me walk humbly with my God.
Meek Daughter in the Family of Christ !
Well hast thou said and holily disprais'd
These shapings of the unregenerate mind ;
Bubbles that glitter as they rise and break
On vain Philosophy's aye-babbling spring.
For never guiltless may I speak of him,
The Incomprehensible ! save when with awe
I praise him, and with Faith that inly feels ;
Who with his saving mercies healéd me,
A sinful and most miserable man,
Wilder'd and dark, and gave me to possess
Peace, and this Cot, and thee, heart-honour'd Maid !

Re:The Æolian Harp (1)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859705)

First, I was wondering if fish ought to file a class-action lawsuit if the inventor tries to patent it. After seeing this, though, it might be more effective to bring a lawsuit by resurrecting Davinci as a zombie.

That acronym is so 1980's... (5, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858009)

FTFA: "VIVACE stands for Vortex Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy"

There was a time when creating an acronym that made a real word was considered cute. Those were the days of the "ESPRIT" (Estimation of Signal Parameters via Rotational Invariance Techniques) and "MUSIC" (MUltiple SIgnal Classification) algorithms.

All that is in the past. These days, acronyms should Google well. Google for VIVACE, MUSIC, or ESPRIT and you'll get page after page of irrelevant sites. Scientists should try to name their projects with unique names, names that will let interested people search the web and *find* their projects.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (4, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858151)

These days, acronyms should Google well. Google for VIVACE, MUSIC, or ESPRIT and you'll get page after page of irrelevant sites. Scientists should try to name their projects with unique names, names that will let interested people search the web and *find* their projects.

No. No. No. Scientists, and anyone, should name things what they want, and Google should make a considerably higher effort to make search work MUCH better than it currently does. This just shows you how bad search is, and far it has to go. Google needs more competition.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858423)

Ppl can use boolean expressions to help find what
they need so they do not need to code
for lack of knowledge in searching.

see ... AND, OR, NOR, etc etc

A good portion is built right into their advanced
search features:

http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en [google.com]

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (3, Interesting)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858651)

And how is Google going to do a better job of searching? Magically discern your intent from the keywords you typed in? Keywords is all we have. Make your keywords better.

Suppose "what you want" is to name your project "The". Is there some way Google is going to find that when someone wants to learn about "The"? A search for the project's name would be completely useless, and no UI change or smarter algorithm is going to fix that as long as you search by typing into a text field. What a searcher would end up doing is typing in other relevant keywords, and not even including "The" as a keyword because it would serve no purpose. So your project would be indexed on the relevant keywords, which suggests that you should have named it using better keywords in the first place.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859167)

Yes, if the search engine spider is clever enough to understand what the "The" website is about from reading the content.

The user would need to tell the search engine what he or she is looking for in terms of content or tags. Unless the search engine is clever enough to figure that out itself. But that seems rather unnecessary. The user could easily learn to type "the tags:energy,project,science" or something like that.

Or jsut type "The" and let the search engine automatically pop up a list of tags and categories to choose from to further filter the search.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859601)

I think the worst example of this is probably ".NET". How do you search for that? "dotnet"? "microsoft.net" works pretty well for their own site, but most references to ".NET" are standalone, and you have to try mixing in other keywords like "windows".

At least with "There" you can search for their domain "there.com", because people seem to refer to it that way in self-defense.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860207)

> in self-defense

True dat. There are lots of reasons for that self-defense, too, not just ambiguity in language.

People are acutely aware of what constitutes a good name and what doesn't, even if they don't really think about it. "Gimp" ain't it. "there" ain't it. "string of unpronounceable consonants" ain't it. "FCKEditor" ain't it. Since we have this problem in meatspace, I see nothing inherently broken about the fact that we also have it on the Internet.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860843)

Yah, but if a company's named "Bland" you're still going to be able to find it in the Yellow Pages. It's when you want to find who's having problems with "Bland" in Google that you're in trouble. Doesn't matter whether Bland's a brand of muffler or mp3 encoder.

The Internet turns all the knobs to 11.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861399)

The Internet turns all the knobs to 11.

Except for the ones it turns to 0.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860969)

Suppose "what you want" is to name your project "The".

Reminds me when I was googling for an eatery called "This and That" a few years ago...

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862223)

I think an easy solution in this case is to give capitalization some weight. Is it fully capitalized? Then treat it like an acronym. Is it partially capitalized? Give business or project names more priority than if it wasn't capitalized. Nobody I know is going to capitalize a simple noun, like "music", so "MUSIC" shouldn't be treated the same way.

Then again, I got mad when I switched my web page from a Windows server to a Linux server, and none of my links worked because I used to capitalize all my image file names in the HTML. I wish there had been just a tiny bit of leeway there, since I didn't know how to write Perl scripts back then.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25863827)

No, 'a' != 'A', 'b' != 'B', and so on. No leeway for you.

"The" as a keyword. (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864413)

Is there some way Google is going to find that when someone wants to learn about "The"?

Yes: a much better page analysis engine, which could understand a little bit of language structure(*), just enough to be able do detect from the context when "the" is just this very frenquently occuring english word (and doesn't need to be taken into consideration), and when the structure of other words around it tend to say that it is a different word which is important (an acronym).

Note that currently Google is able to somewhat do this already. Type in "who" and you get relevant answers (Wolrd Health Organisation, Dr. Who, the Who, etc.) None of the first answers give "Who" as in the standard english question.

But it doesn't work with "the" :
Google is somewhat able to suggest that I might search for the french "the" (tea), but most of the results are just occurrences of "the" determiner. A couple of them are fixed occurence of it in titles as in the journal "The Lancet", suggesting that Google is somewhat able to realise that there the word has a special meaning (part of a title, should be taken into account).
But google doesn't return anything called "The"

(Some random attempts of mine made me discover that there is for example THE.NET : Texas Higher Education Network)

The very important side-effect of this, is that the same "detect relevance of keyword in a page based on context" would be a perfect additional tool to filter out keyword stuffing as in link farms (it's just a long string of keyword like "big breast lesbian pussy hardcore gay interracial viagra cialis rolex replicat ...") as those don't have context at all as they aren't meaningful sentences.

--

(*) : As in "does some pattern recognition like hidden markov model", not as in "is able to understand english in a semantic web".

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859185)

Absolutely! Though Google might be a God to some, the reality is, just like Hotbots search robot died due to corrupt data, google is heading that way as well. Hopefully another will save the day! Soon!

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

hey (83763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865191)

Google should be case sensitive.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858159)

Did you know you can type more than one word into Google? Try vivace energy and it is the first hit. While I agree that acronyms are a bit silly, the problem that you point out isn't really a problem.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858243)

Did you know you can type more than one word into Google?

Yes, I know. Those two other algorithms that I mentioned, MUSIC and ESPRIT, were very important in a work I was doing once on digital signal processing. I spent a lot of time inventing new combinations of words to get just the DSP related links I wanted on MUSIC and ESPRIT. Trying to separate the junk links from the relevant results was no fun at all...

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (2, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858997)

Hey I agree with you. I've been trying to get someone to do a weighted search for a long time... no takers... I'll have to do it myself. Works like so:

Put in two words... tell the search engine that the second word is WAY more important, ie: Bass (+0) + Fish (+10)

What you should get back is a whole lot of pages about Fish where Bass is the actual keyword within that subset. Almost works like a category. Really it's multiple searches... first a search for the highest rated keyword, then a second search within those results for the next highest rated, and so on until you get to the lowest rated keyword.

The ideal UI would be to use sliders for each keyword and use an AJAX call to update your results live. This way you could play with the numbers and see immediate results. Then you bookmark it.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858273)

Try vivace energy and it is the first hit

Scientists don't look for the website, they look for papers mentioning the project. Then you need to try "vivace energy", "vivace current", "vivace stream", "vivace ocean", and so on, because a paper title may have any combination of those and other words.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858381)

Christ!!! That's what I've been doing wrong all these years. Two word searches... what will they think of next?

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858903)

Why would you want to search for acronyms. I immediately found it when I was googling for "Vortex Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy".

No, seriously, there must be a better way. Something not involving 3 trillion acronym's. Thought about something along the line of using human understandable sentences. In this case for example it could be something like "Weird looking generator for slow currents"

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858961)

Strange. Was aiming to make that sentence an irony, but after making a quick Google search with it actually showed VIVACE as first hit.

Re:That acronym is so 1980's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25866019)

The best ever acronym I remember was WARP FACTOR - Write And Read Program For All Conceivable Trials Operational Requirements.

Fuck the planet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858189)

Fuck this god-damned nigger planet.

start by putting bell canada on a raft (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858193)

start by putting bell canada on a raft
then shove there bloated
ideology out to see

should see quite a vibration then

Harnessing the power in every flush (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858359)

Why not put these things in the city sewage pipes and harness the power of the flush

Stealing energy from nature (1, Interesting)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858521)

Burning oils found in the earth - Yeah I can understand how that'd be bad for the environment
Stealing raw energy from water or air - Couldn't this be even worse for the environment?

Just because it's 'clean' and doesn't create any byproduct doesn't mean the earth is gonna be O.K. with it? Even solar energy, as long as the panels to collect are on earth, are disrupting the natural state of things (better then asphalt though)

Solar panels in space, is the only 'clean' energy that would have no effect besides maybe blocking the view of Sol from far away systems.

$.02

Re:Stealing energy from nature (1)

MR.Mic (937158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859177)

Solar panels in space, is the only 'clean' energy that would have no effect besides maybe blocking the view of Sol from far away systems.

Except that you're piping energy, which eventually turns to heat, directly to earth.

There is no energy transfer that can happen which does not affect change in any auxiliary connected systems, no matter how minuscule the change.

Re:Stealing energy from nature (1)

damasterwc (1247688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859179)

Solar panels warm the planet. Here is something to annoy and confuse the Greenies: The only way to cool the planet is to build desalination plants (or build nuclear plants with distilled water as a byproduct) and irrigate the deserts. We can turn the vast deserts of North America green which will cool the world. However, in order to do so, we must have higher levels of CO2 :)

Re:Stealing energy from nature (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860477)

We "must" have higher levels of CO2? Really? And desert irrigation is the only way to cool the planet? I am skeptical.

Solar panels warm the planet how? By increasing the amount of sunlight striking the Earth's surface? I think you may be mistaken there.

Re:Stealing energy from nature (1)

damasterwc (1247688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860595)

What better way to cool the planet than to green the deserts? We don't currently produce enough food for the whole planet, so creating lush landscapes in barren deserts seems like quite the solution for our many problems. Think jobs, economy, agriculture, feeding people, cooling the planet, solving the fresh water crisis... and yes, plants need CO2 for food. If we green the deserts we will need higher levels to support them. Now, imagine you cover the deserts in solar panels instead. Darker colors retain heat. Purple solar cells are darker than light colored sand and thus will add to Earth's temperature. So we can build nuclear plants with byproducts being hydrogen fuel, AND potable water, AND heat for homes, AND electricity, AND grow food in the deserts, OR we can have solar arrays in the deserts. What say you?

Re:Stealing energy from nature (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861377)

What better way to cool the planet than to green the deserts?

Yes, that's what you should have said. It's a good question, and outside my ability to answer. However, to say that it is the only way to cool the planet is highly misleading.

We don't currently produce enough food for the whole planet.

That appears to be incorrect. [agassessment.org]

Your arguments run counter to themselves. "If we green the deserts..." "Darker colors retain heat." So by that logic, we should leave them as deserts so to better reflect the sun's heat.

Solar cells are designed to convert sunlight to electricity, not heat. An efficient solar cell will not add heat to the atmosphere.

Plants need CO2 for food, yes, in a simplistic sense. Implying that we therefore need elevated levels of atmospheric carbon is misleading. I'm having to assume that by "nuclear plant" you mean a nuclear-powered desalinasation facility, and it's enough to say that that would be hugely expensive and technically challenging, contrasted with something like a solar furnace or solar panels which are a relatively cheap and have no dangerous waste products. Fuel for nuclear power plants is abundant at the moment, but finite.

Also, modern industrialized agriculture being what it is, I'd say that it'd probably be best to leave the deserts well enough alone.

So, I say that your argument is flawed and your proposal is both impractical and unsound in principle.

Re:Stealing energy from nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25865691)

What better way to cool the planet than to green the deserts?

What makes you think "greening the deserts" would cool down the planet? Later, you say "Purple solar cells are darker than light colored sand and thus will add to Earth's temperature", but the same holds true for green plants. Your proposed greened deserts would absorb a lot more sunlight than the high-albedo sand deserts do, warming things up.

Re:Stealing energy from nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859991)

This entire post is ludicrous. "Stealing" energy from nature? What the fuck does that mean? Is burning a branch "stealing" energy from nature? Does a bird "steal" energy from nature to fly?

I repeat: what the fuck does that mean?

And how does collecting energy away from earth negate the laws of thermodynamics?

geeze (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858663)

Haven't we done enough damage without slowing down the earth's oceans?

Could the windbelt work as well? (1)

abrotman (323016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858829)

I'd wondered before if something like the windbelt (http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/11/2257228) would work in a small stream or river. You would have the same constant flow over the belt, and I'd guess it would create the same oscillations (though probably not as much). I'm not an engineer, just curious.

"which can be air or water" (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859777)

I'm on the edge of a good wind zone, so investing in a classic wind generator for my yard would not have a good roi, but something like this would be wonderful, especially since the shapes sound like they might be aesthetically pleasing and perhaps the entire device would be quieter...

I want one in my yard!

A few alternatives (2, Interesting)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860023)

Self rectifying water turbine, always turns the same way even if the water flow reverses

http://www.cetusenergy.com.au/action.php [cetusenergy.com.au]

and if you really want fishy like motion then

http://www.biopowersystems.com/biostream.php [biopowersystems.com]

The thing is enormous - 50 feet high, generating 300 hp. Full size proto is under construction.

Re:A few alternatives (1)

cool_arrow (881921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865245)

I wonder how well these things would deal with seaweed. The Cetus design says it's "weed shedding" - can't imagine it working real well in an area with alot of seaweed though.

Gravity no good anymore? (1)

MoeDrippins (769977) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864301)

Why doesn't anyone use water wheels anymore? They work on gravity alone, not water speed, right? (At least the "water goes into a bucket on the wheel from the top of the wheel" type.)

Are/were they just too inefficient?

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