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Frank Herbert's Moisture Traps May Be a Reality

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the it's-a-dry-heat dept.

Earth 226

Omomyid writes "In the seminal science fiction book 'Dune,' Frank Herbert envisioned the Fremen collecting water from the air via moisture traps and dew collectors. Science Daily reprints a press release from the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart, where scientists working with colleagues from Logos Innovationen have developed a closed-loop and self-sustaining method, no external power required, for teasing the humidity out of desert air and into potable water."

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When the figurative white man "discovers" it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28272929)

yes this has been done by desert dwellers for thousands of years, but I guess when the figurative white man "discovers" it's important.

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272985)

Really? Is that how they do it?
Amazing what you can carry on the back of a Camel.

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28272999)

You are a giant douchebag

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (4, Informative)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273043)

Hell with the 'white', when 'man' discovers it it's important. Mankind pat itself on the back whenever they figure out how to do something (no matter how poorly) that nature figured out a long time ago. I often think of going back in time and telling the Arabi who invented the magnetic compass - 'hey you know salmon have these in their brain at birth'. He'd be all like "! "

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273063)

Aww.../. stripped out my Arabic script. Why are you such ascii-ists /.?

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273349)

Thanks for clearing that up. I thought you meant he would suddenly notice Solid Snake sneaking around his desalinization plant.

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (4, Insightful)

GryMor (88799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273071)

Can you give citations for dessert dwellers using brine solutions and vacuum chambers to pull water out of the air in the absence of any material with a temperature below the due point? I won't hold you to the 'thousands of years' part. Last I checked, dessert dwellers didn't do so well with salt water until recently, and then, only industrial scale desalinization projects. If they were using this method, it seems like they should have hit on desalinization a very long time ago.

Or did you not RTFA and thus think it was the trivial survival technique using condensation and gravity during night time hours?

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (3, Informative)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273317)

hey, at least he used the right form of "desert".

Pardon me while I watch my karma burn.

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273355)

Dessert dwellers?

I didn't know people could live inside cakes and bowls of ice cream.

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273661)

I never knew humans lived in salinated desserts before. Could you please tell me more?

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274199)

fuck you. i can get water out of the air with a sheet of plastic a fair size hole in the ground, and a rock. (google solar still)

Re:When the figurative white man "discovers" it (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273117)

[citation needed]

First Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28272933)

Hey Faggots, My name is John, and I hate every single one of you. All of you are fat, retarded, no-lifes who spend every second of their day looking at stupid ass pictures. You are everything bad in the world. Honestly, have any of you ever gotten any pussy? I mean, I guess it's fun making fun of people because of your own insecurities, but you all take to a whole new level. This is even worse than jerking off to pictures on facebook. Don't be a stranger. Just hit me with your best shot. I'm pretty much perfect. I was captain of the football team, and starter on my basketball team. What sports do you play, other than "jack off to naked drawn Japanese people"? I also get straight A's, and have a banging hot girlfriend (She just blew me; Shit was SO cash). You are all faggots who should just kill yourselves. Thanks for listening. Pic Related: It's me and my bitch

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273093)

GOATSE! Is that you?

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273165)

IF she blew you and it produced shit, then buddy, you've been had.

Had an uncle that could fart if you pulled his finger, kinda a lot along those lines if you get my drift.

Re:First Post (1, Offtopic)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274021)

Did you just copy that from /b/?

Good for you, except it isn't trolling /., its still trolling /b/ except now where no one from /b/ will ever read it. I'm pretty sure all their trolls are scripted by now, and generally are at least amusing, or... you know... someone in the flavor of trolling the average /. user.

I'd personally take the "did you hear about the singularity" guy, or the iPhone rectal stimulation guy, it at least is somewhat in the scope of /.

If your going to troll, please put some EFFORT into it.

And this is news how? (0, Redundant)

chaboud (231590) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272935)

In Boy Scouts, years ago, we learned that an easy way to pull moisture from air was to bury (nearly to the brim) a mug in the ground. Moisture would condense on the inside of the mug in the morning and run down the side (because the ground would be colder than the air).

Leaves, etc.

Using natural temperature fluctuations and gravity hardly seems like a hard trick to figure out.

That said, I haven't read the article yet. Perhaps there are giant worms involved.

Re:And this is news how? (4, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272959)

The difference is that this can work throughout the sunlit hours, even in the absence of thermal fluctuations. Please RTFA before dismissing it.

Re:And this is news how? (-1, Redundant)

chaboud (231590) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273119)

Perhaps you missed the bit where I said that I hadn't read the article.

Now that I have, it's really no big deal. Driving something with renewable (solar) energy in the dessert is, uh, obvious.

I'm glad that people are focusing on answers for people in underprivileged parts of the world, but it's not some sort of magical discovery.

Re:And this is news how? (5, Insightful)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273183)

I'm glad that people are focusing on answers for people in underprivileged parts of the world, but it's not some sort of magical discovery.

You must have read the wrong article. They never claimed it was magic.

P.S. Claiming you haven't read the article doesn't absolve you if you make a mistake.

Re:And this is news how? (4, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273205)

If you want to get enough water to live out of that mug, I'd suggest you dig a pit, put the mug in the bottom of it, pile any vegetation you can get around the edges, piss in it for good measure, then secure your ground sheet over the top with rocks and use a pebble to make it slanted towards the middle. Actually produces quite a lot of water, you might want to use a cooking pot instead.

Re:And this is news how? (4, Informative)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273137)

It doesn't use condensation from the air. It exposes a hygroscopic fluid to the air, then removes the water through distillation.

Re:And this is news how? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273681)

Actually that's what the scoutmaster told you. What really happened is that I came by while you were still sleeping and pissed in your mug.

Re:And this is news how? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273901)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_well_(condenser)

big deal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28272957)

Kathleen fent sucks the moisture out of my dick. Rob would, too, if I was into that sort of thing.

Still suits next? (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272971)

If you extract moisture from already very dry are do you not create a dead zone down wind?

There is life everywhere in the desert, most of which is tuned to live on very little water, but all of which need water from some source occasionally.

Pushing humans into these areas where the only source of water is minimally moist seems rather pointless and ill advised.

Would it work on mars?

Re:Still suits next? (3, Interesting)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273039)

Practically speaking, I doubt these traps could extract enough moisture from the air to have any effect on the humidity more than a few meters from the device. Even in huge numbers, the amount of air that comes in contact with one is negligible compared to the volume of air over the desert (the devices are on a roughly 2D plane, the atmosphere is 3D). Since the water would likely be used in the immediate vicinity (this doesn't look efficient enough to actually allow the export of water), whether it is used for crops or people, it will be added back into the local water cycle soon enough. At worst it will create minor, artificial oases. Remember, this air eventually passes over bodies of water which are more than capable of replenishing any moisture lost.

Re:Still suits next? (3, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273173)

Do you know why it's illegal to collect rainwater in a barrel in Utah and Colorado?

If there is only a gallon of water in the air over an acre of land, removing a quart does in fact change the balance of things.

Re:Still suits next? (5, Insightful)

Bester (27412) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273329)

From a quick googling it seems that the reason that water tanks are illegal in the above states is not to do with affecting the local environment but more to do with the fact that it 'deprives' downstream users of their share.

I get the feel from the articles that downstream providers are farmers and not parched wildlife.

Charles

Re:Still suits next? (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273345)

I think you're off by a few orders of magnitude.

According to http://www.nationalatlas.gov [nationalatlas.gov] , the driest parts of Colorado get about 7" of rain annually (average rainfall is about 15"). that comes to 190,080 gallons per acre and would provide the total (drinking, washing, etc.) annual water usage (approximately 100 gallons per day per person, according to the US geological survey [usgs.gov] ) of 5 people.

Re:Still suits next? (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273347)

It's illegal because their water rights are based on a first come (excluding Indians) basis. Conventional wisdom (since disproven) was that collecting rainwater prevented it from going to it's rightful owners. More recent scientific studies have demonstrated that only 3% of rainwater ends up in the waterways.

Re:Still suits next? (2, Insightful)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273371)

It seems like if you are able to collect a quart of rainwater in a reasonably sized, "barrel", then there is a lot more than a gallon of water in the air over that acre.

The Milagro Beanfield War (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273537)

Do you know why it's illegal to collect rainwater in a barrel in Utah and Colorado? If there is only a gallon of water in the air over an acre of land, removing a quart does in fact change the balance of things.

That's a load of pseudoscience, backing up a law that exists only for revenue, cronyism, and political control. If you store water off your roof or that falls from the sky, and then use it in your home or for irrigation, you're returning that water right back into the water table...in fact, use in the home returns it more effectively, because it is reintroduced a few feet under the soil by your septic system. You're not 'stealing' water- it doesn't go anywhere.

If you want to know the real reason laws like that exist, read The Milagro Beanfield War [wikipedia.org] (annoyingly, that link is about the movie, not the book.) I read it in middle school, and it gave me great insight into how big business pushes citizens around.

Also, you can take a look at what the Israelis are doing to all of the rivers that feed into or border Palestine for a great example of how water is controlled for racial oppression and political power.

Re:The Milagro Beanfield War (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273731)

In addition, film critic Richard Scheib believes The Milagro Beanfield War is "one of the first American films to fall into the Latin American tradition of magical realism. This is a genre that usually involves an earthily naturalistic, often highly romanticized, blend of the supernatural and whimsical."[3] The magic mainly revolves around the character of Amarante Cordova who talks to his dead friend and asks the spirit world for help.

If you are stating an ideology, would it not make more sense to base it on events that actually happen regularly in the real world, rather than fiction? And if it does happen regularly, why must depictions of it be fictionalised? Is it difficult to wring the point you wish to make out of the truth?

A parallel case is bit like films about the suffering of prisoners on death row - they will virtually always be fictionalised, and the involved individuals will be falsely convicted. This is because the intention and the ideology is to portray them compassionately. In reality, although false convictions inevitably must happen, the individuals that get sentenced to death typically have a series of prior convictions that would cause liberal moviegoers to vomit. Hence, the point the moviemaker wishes to make cannot be supported by reality, and so fictionalisation follows. Feel free to disprove this by doing a list of films about death row inmates and whether they are based on true events and whether that portrayal includes prior convictions.

Re:The Milagro Beanfield War (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274005)

Feel free to disprove this by doing a list of films about death row inmates and whether they are based on true events and whether that portrayal includes prior convictions.

Whether your premise is true or not, showing that such films exist would neither prove nor disprove it. You've made a connection in your head between fictionalized criminals and the motivations of movie makers but you've shown no actual proof for it, just a rationalization. Just as good a reason for such fictionalization is that the writers want to tell a specific story so they make it all up rather than go looking for some real person who fits the profile, after all it is fiction, not a documentary. There is at least as much evidence for THAT claim as there is for YOUR claim.

Meanwhile, the television show "Saving Grace" depicted in detail other crimes of a falsely convicted death row inmate, particularly his killing of a prison guard and yet his character was intended as sympathetic.

Re:The Milagro Beanfield War (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274083)

So, he cites fiction to prove his ideology, while you MAKE fiction to prove yours (and hence his wrong).

Neither of you really make much of a point based on evidence.

eel free to disprove this by doing a list of films about death row inmates and whether they are based on true events and whether that portrayal includes prior convictions.

I don't have to, since you never proved your initial hypothesis as correct.

The real reason for this law is probably that politicians are stupid, and water rights are rather serious business (and not just in the financial sense) out in the Four Corners states/desert southwest.

Re:The Milagro Beanfield War (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274231)

Yes, and United Fruit were fine upstanding corporate citizens, since Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote a magic realist novel set in a landscape of their abuses, and therefore it can't possibly be true.

The OP probably should have come out with a better, and nonfiction, reference (like Cadillac Desert), but your death row movie comparison is facile. One doesn't have to go far [wikipedia.org] to find examples of wrongfully-convicted death row inmates.

Re:Still suits next? (4, Funny)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273539)

Only a gallon of water over an acre of land? I doubt it. I'm not really used to the Imperial System, but I'll try my best to do the calculation in it. 1 acre = "how much a man with an ox can manage in 1 day" 1 gallon = "1 eights of a bushel" 1 bushel = "the volume of a pile of wheat which weighs 64 tower pounds" 1 tower pound = "5400 troy grains" 1 troy grain = "64.79891 milligrams" 1 quart = "a quarter of a gallon" density of wheat = 950 000 karat / hogshead average humidity in Colorado = 40% assume a humidity of 40%, and you get about 40 gallons of water in the furlong of air over an acre of land. A quart doesn't really seem to make that much of a difference.

Re:Still suits next? (5, Funny)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273567)

(forgot the line breaks)

Only a gallon of water over an acre of land? I doubt it.

I'm not really used to the Imperial System, but I'll try my best to do the calculation in it.
1 acre = "how much a man with an ox can manage in 1 day"
1 gallon = "1 eights of a bushel"
1 bushel = "the volume of a pile of wheat which weighs 64 tower pounds"
1 tower pound = "5400 troy grains"
1 troy grain = "64.79891 milligrams"
1 quart = "a quarter of a gallon"
density of wheat = 950 000 karat / hogshead
average humidity in Colorado = 40%

assume a humidity of 40%, and you get about 40 gallons of water in the furlong of air over an acre of land. A quart doesn't really seem to make that much of a difference.

Re:Still suits next? (1, Insightful)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273603)

Dude.

Wow.

Re:Still suits next? (2, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273167)

I don't think they'll be down to the level of a still suit for quite a few years yet. Equipment like the urine/water recycling system on the space station or the article's desert "dehumidifier" are bulky.

Plus we just don't have any real economic incentive for creating still suits -- we don't have a lot of people who want to live in the deep deserts.

Re:Still suits next? (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273291)

Last I checked, there were millions of people in Phoenix, Las Vegas, etc..

Re:Still suits next? (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273561)

Find a building without A/C and get back to us.

Re:Still suits next? (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274145)

Actually, if the article's right and people could start using the Negev as a water source, I can think of several million people with a real economic incentive to use these things.

Re:Still suits next? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273279)

It certainly would reduce the amount of humidity downwind. Luckily, downwind is where some poor bastard who isn't you lives. Handy, isn't it?

(In a less "caricature of a Fremen libertarian" vein, I imagine that this sort of tech, on a large scale, could indeed have unpleasant effects for those downwind of it. Looking at the stark difference in climate of otherwise similar regions, one in front of the big mountain range that blocks moist air, and the other behind it, is pretty much geography 101 stuff, the effects are that unsubtle.)

only if you extract a lot (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273357)

I don't think this will be used on a large enough scale to seriously affect the environment

Your sand worm is in my sarlac! (2, Insightful)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274309)

Forget the still suit, I'm trading my ticket for passage to Alderan for a used land speeder so I can become a moisture farmer!

Now, if I could only find a droid who speaks the binary language of moisture evaporators...

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28272979)

..now if they can create the stillsuite I can sit at my computer and drink my own urine without having to get up and get a glass of water.

Awesome series, btw.

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

cob666 (656740) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273531)

You need to be moving for the still suit to work.

Re:Awesome (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273985)

touchE

I prefer the moisture farming of Tatooine (-1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272989)

My favorite Sci-Fi would be Star Wars and even though the science details were scant at best, there is plenty of room for the imagination and science to fill in the details of "what's possible." But seriously, anyone who lives in a hot and dry place who runs their A/C in their cars will recognise the water dripping from the engine compartment as condensate. It's not a huge stretch of the imagination to figure out how to do moisture farming to pull water from the air. As a plus, when there is ample sunlight, the process can be potentially run from solar energy once they get the efficiency high enough.

Will these scientists ever learn? (5, Funny)

levicivita (1487751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273009)

How do they expect to keep such large structures safe from worms? I guess this is a typical melange bull market phenomenon. As soon as the price of spice jumps past $70 these people start building unsustainable castles in the sand. I for one will continue diligently keeping urinating into my stillsuit with the water recycling conservatively set on 'maximum.'

Walk without rythm, fellow travelers.

Re:Will these scientists ever learn? (1)

motherpusbucket (1487695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273829)

Where do you hook the stillsuit for pissing and shitting? Inquiring minds want to know.

Learned this in summer camp (1)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273037)

When I was 12 they taught us how to make a moisture trap with a can and some cellophane. Granted we weren't in a desert, but I am surprised if this "new" development surprises anybody.

Re:Learned this in summer camp (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273321)

When I was 12 they taught us how to make a moisture trap with a can and some cellophane. Granted we weren't in a desert, but I am surprised if this "new" development surprises anybody.

Clearly, this is on a larger scale and far more impressive than what you did when you were 12.

Seriously, just because you did something which is conceptually similar, doesn't mean that this isn't an advance. Conceptually, flight hasn't changed since the Wright Brothers. Practically, it obviously has.

Cheers

I have no need for this article (5, Funny)

scourfish (573542) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273065)

What I really need is a droid that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.

Re:I have no need for this article (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273489)

It's amazing how many articles pass through this forum to which this is a perfectly appropriate response.

Re:I have no need for this article (1)

ulysses38 (309331) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274049)

If someone could invent so-called "binary load lifters," the future would be NOW.

Re:I have no need for this article (1)

daath93 (1356187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274149)

They have binary load lifters. Load on ground, load lifted from ground.

Now the first person to invent a walking battery charger that stumbles around spouting "gonk", now THAT would be something...

Bet the Fremen didn't have to deal with patents (2, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273069)

Daily reprints a press release from the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart.

So in a decade when these are ubiquitous and most of the world is a desert, suddenly the Fraunhofer Institute will announce they had a patent on this and anyone drinking the water will have to pay licensing fees. [wikipedia.org]

Great, just... great.

Re:Bet the Fremen didn't have to deal with patents (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273281)

Daily reprints a press release from the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart.

So in a decade when these are ubiquitous and most of the world is a desert, suddenly the Fraunhofer Institute will announce they had a patent on this and anyone drinking the water will have to pay licensing fees. [wikipedia.org]

Great, just... great.

What about all those sanctions on the use of technology in the Dune universe? There was a company with a monopoly on interstellar transport. There were also injunctions against information technology.

Re:Bet the Fremen didn't have to deal with patents (1)

Big_Monkey_Bird (620459) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273611)

C.H.O.A.M. is only one letter away from CHOAD.

Re:Bet the Fremen didn't have to deal with patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273851)

The monopoly on interstellar transport was because only the Spacing Guild could do it safely due to their special abilities, but it wasn't enforced.
  The ban against machines similar to the human mind was based on a war against thinking machines. There was no general ban against technology.

Re:Bet the Fremen didn't have to deal with patents (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274301)

So in a decade when these are ubiquitous and most of the world is a desert, suddenly the Fraunhofer Institute will announce they had a patent on this and anyone drinking the water will have to pay licensing fees.

I don't think that desert-dwelling nomads today care much (or, indeed, are even aware of) the Fraunhofer Institute and the patents it hold. If, in a decaede, most of the world will indeed become a desert, I doubt anyone would care by that time. In fact, I doubt the institute would still exist...

Skywalker's Uncle? (1)

Nonillion (266505) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273081)

Isn't this what Luke Skywalker's uncle did for a living? I thought it was a given that you could condense water out of thin air.... My refrigerator does this all the time.

Re:Skywalker's Uncle? (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273307)

The trick in TFA is pulling water out of the air without keeping parts of your apparatus below the dew point, which takes a fair bit of energy. There are still some active parts, looks like mostly pumps, and some solar heating; but no refrigeration is required.

If you have massive energy to throw at the problem, it is trivial(like a great many problems), solving it with relatively little energy is the real trick.

So how do you pronounce 'potable' anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273105)

I've always wondered. Sure, I could go check a dictionary but then I'd have to figure out the funny symbols.

Re:So how do you pronounce 'potable' anyway? (4, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273147)

Po - Ta - Ble

Here. [answers.com] It even says it for you.

Re:So how do you pronounce 'potable' anyway? (1)

liamoshan (1283930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273983)

Po - Ta - Ble

Here. [answers.com] It even says it for you.

What's potable, preciouss?

Re:So how do you pronounce 'potable' anyway? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273981)

o like oat or boat. (p)oat-uh-bull !

In the seminal science fiction book 'Dune (0, Troll)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273111)

Please. Dune is fantasy, not science fiction.

Re:In the seminal science fiction book 'Dune (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273195)

Please. Dune is fantasy, not science fiction.

Well its not Ringworld, but then its not The Lord of the Rings either. Its between the two. Fantasy readers would probably say it is SF. SF readers would say the opposite.

Re:In the seminal science fiction book 'Dune (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273257)

Niven toyed with the idea of genetic (RNA at least) memory too, before he grew out of it.

Re:In the seminal science fiction book 'Dune (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274181)

Sadly, Niven didn't grow out of the Protector crapola. I love Neutron Star and a lot of the other early Known Universe stories, but the Protectors-are-human-ancestors-from-another-planet theme sounded moronic even forty years ago.

Re:In the seminal science fiction book 'Dune (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273389)

Given the state of scientific knowledge in 1965 (when dune was published) it's a lot harder SF than some people seem to realise.
Herbert did some serious background research for Dune IMO.

Sure bits of it seem *now* to us as absurd as Doc Smith's diesel-engined spacecraft, but in 1965, 12 years after the discover of DNA, 17 years after the initial formalisation of classical information theory, when computers were still mostly small-room-sized, the idea the genetic code could pass down memories wasn't all that outlandish a hypothesis - in fact it seemed pretty reasonable. If you were writing now you'd probably come up with people being genetically engineered to add informational appendicies to germ line DNA rather than the ability being built-in by evolution, but there's nothing impossible about it. And if you pay attention to the books, you'll note that being able to "see the future" doesn't work in a naive way either, it's clearly been modelled on "quantum collapse" and "many fingered time" that any passing 1960s physicists would have talked the ear off Herbert about.

And with very powerful figures *right now* calling for the Death of the Internet, is a ban on computing devices really that outlandish? Sure, the chances of them winning are slim in practice, but still.

Re:In the seminal science fiction book 'Dune (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273377)

Wanna say that to my crysknife, punk?

Re:In the seminal science fiction book 'Dune (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273891)

IMO, the dividing line is the amount of hand-waving you do. Like how to survive in the desert:

Hard fantasy: "I cast a spell of protection from elements"
Soft fantasy: "The quantronic radiation on this planet..."
Soft SF: "I'll put on my stillsuit"
Hard SF: Even more science?

I sometimes get the impression that SF defines themselves too narrow because SF is still supposed to tell a story which is what should engage you, it's not a discovery show on what science could be like 100 years from now. Of course, if science has no real place at all it's really a space opera but it doesn't have to be primarily a science story as long as the storyline is interrelated with the science.

Re:In the seminal science fiction book 'Dune (4, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274203)

There was a lovely old story by Issac Asimov - can't remember the name, sorry, and any search of his work will be a long walk - that told of the author of Genesis trying to write about the Big Bang in terms of particle physics. His son chastised him over the amount of writing materials that would take. At the end of the dialogue it was oversimplified to "(sigh) In the beginning..."

Fantasy is a good way to simplify scientific concepts, provided the fantasy actually tracks the science. If there's no believability, it doesn't make a very good story.

The line between SF and Fantasy has always been a little blurry (nowhere near as blurry as in Chalker's "Masters of Flux and Anchor" series which was a brilliant expansion on Clarke's Law, and a very good read if you can ignore the implicit mysogny in most of his works).

I've worried that Clarke's Law is taken as transitive by some (thank The Pasta for predictable and reproduceable results). I've also thought that we're on a trend to realisation of C.P.Snow's great cultural divide between the knowledge "haves" and "have-nots". I see this among friends who firmly believe that technology comes from observing certain rituals, rather than scientific advancement and engineering process. They're very Cargo Cult and not a little bit frightening.

The truly frightening thing is I have difficulty explaining the difference to them. The gulf is almost too deep to cross now.

Re:In the seminal science fiction book 'Dune (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274167)

There are fantasy elements, though they're framed (at least in the later books) in a sort of pseudo-scientific sense. But the ecological aspects of Dune, well those are based on a lot sounder principles. This was Herbert's particular area of expertise, and he put a considerable amount of effort into developing the ecology and climate of Arrakis, and the Fremen technology, while certainly more advanced than ours, isn't so advanced that I wouldn't be surprised if it were possible within a few decades.

Similar story using different tech posted in 2000 (2, Informative)

jdb2 (800046) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273131)

There was a story posted about fog capture for drinking water -- "fog nets" -- back in 2000 :

Fog Collection As Sustainable Water Source [slashdot.org]

jdb2

I'm on Padishah Emperor Shaddam's side (3, Funny)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273163)

> Frank Herbert's Moisture Traps May Be a Reality

No Kidding. The Jihad is a reality too.

Re:I'm on Padishah Emperor Shaddam's side (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274217)

Mawt al-kafir! I will cut you down for Muad'dib!!!

We'll be needing this soon enough (2, Interesting)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273241)

Here in California our snow packs are dwindling year after year, which means our valleys are likely to revert to their natural desert climate. That's where a full third of our nation's food comes from. We might want to consider some windtraps, not growing rice in a desert, or maybe borrow some Australian expertise to do something cool [youtube.com] .

Re:We'll be needing this soon enough (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273635)

"That's where a full third of our nation's food comes from. "

That does not necessarily mean that it should come from there forever. Just as the Rust Belt de-industrialized over decades, California could reduce the amount it farms. The employees can go back to Mexico and the owners can invest in something (or someplace) different.

Re:We'll be needing this soon enough (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274121)

When we finally raze detroit to the ground we'll have acres and acres of prime farming land just minutes away from the largest source of fresh water on the continent.

active vs passive (4, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273487)

The problem with this design is it requires electricity, which means expensive solar cells and periodic maintenance to clean them off.

The moisture traps mentioned in Dune already do exist, and are entirely passive. You need an underground chamber with a few vents in the sides, and vent in the top with a chimney. The air rises in the chimney creating a constant flow of air into the chamber, and moisture condenses due to the cooler conditions in the chamber than outside.

Where are the spines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273499)

Those things are going to need lots of spines.

Climate Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273585)

Wonder what the effects of that would be on "climate change". Maybe this is the next great blunder of shit we do to our environment without thinking it through. After all doesn't the desert ecosystem count on collecting water from the air also?. Wheres the liberals screaming about this one?

fraunhofer? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273595)

don't trust them. they'll let the concept out then they'll hit you up for license fees later on.

"its a trap"

Drinking distilled water (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273609)

This method seems to result in pure distilled water which is generally considered harmful as your sole water supply. It's lacking in minerals that the body uses and also will turn acidic naturally. I guess since you're IN a desert though, they could scoop up a few spoonfuls of dirt and mix it in with your nice clear glass of fresh water. :-)

Re:Drinking distilled water (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273909)

This method seems to result in pure distilled water which is generally considered harmful as your sole water supply. It's lacking in minerals that the body uses and also will turn acidic naturally.

I learned this in geology class, but apparently it's not universally accepted as true anymore. If you can find a reliable cite to support it, I'd be interested in reinstating my previous belief though.

You could use seawater as the water source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273705)

Steps:
1. Get water from the air
2. Evaporate brine to extract pure water.

Step 1 could be to get water from the sea. You have some extra salt, but you can deal with that.

?? Profit!! :)

Re:You could use seawater as the water source (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273919)

I've often thought that equatorial regions near oceans are letting a huge energy resource go to waste while they suffer increased desertification.

Sun light could be used to pump sea water, evaporate it, and pump condensed briny water back to the sea. You could also use solar powered RO, but that might be more expensive due to the media replacement needs.

Even if you did not get enough for western style irrigation you could use it to slow down or reverse the process of desertification, preserving marginal adjacent farm/grazing land.

Great. Victoria might need this, soon (3, Interesting)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273707)

I live in southeastern Australia, and down here, we haven't had regular rainfall now since 1995. Melbourne's water reserves are currently sitting at around 25%. The government's been talking about dredging the Yarra, the city's river, and that is only about a third of peak level at the moment as it is.

This tells me that the long term trend for Victoria is desertification. Queensland is getting floods these days, while we get barely a drop. Unless we're planning on abandoning the entire state, we're going to need technologies exactly like these, in order to be able to continue to live here.

Atmospheric Water Generator? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273785)

This seems like a more complicated version of these http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_water_generator [wikipedia.org] with a solar panel slapped on them.

Very old tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28273943)

Ancient civilizations have had the ability to create water traps in the desert regions of Earth for thousands of years. This is just reinventing the wheel. It may be a useful wheel, but it's still a wheel.

The practice of getting water from air is way old! (-1, Redundant)

Optic7 (688717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28273973)

I recall seeing this mentioned in old survival books from the 1970s. The common practice is to dig a hole in the ground, put a container in it, stretch a plastic sheet over it, secure it around the edges, weigh it in the middle, and wait. Voila, water in the container through condensation.

Here, I did a quick search and found it explained and diagremmed: http://www.classbrain.com/artteenah/publish/water_in_the_desert.shtml [classbrain.com]

And it's not even an ammonia aborption cycle! (3, Interesting)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28274197)

When I read this article I was expecting to see another machine based on the ammonia absorption cycle. I was pleasantly surprised to see something new. This is interesting and should be followed to see if it becomes reality.

It's been possible to build an air-water condenser using the ammonia absorption cycle since the 1800s. Blow air across the cold outer surface and the heat exchange causes condensation. A gentleman proposed "oasis machines" which would be a condenser hidden in a decorative pool / fountain from which local villagers could draw water. It was self contained and needed no outside electricity, perhaps solar. He proposed it as a solution to providing water to villagers in Africa, etc. A poster above did mention the problem of the water lacking in mineral nutrients.

Forget Dune, the Lars family will love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28274271)

Moisture farming!

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