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Versailles in the Pacific
It seems that a Japanese laboratory has constructed a machine that can write text and draw images on the surface of water.

Advanced Multiple Organized Experimental Basin


Taking information culled from here, Pink Tentacles writes: “The device, called AMOEBA (Advanced Multiple Organized Experimental Basin), consists of 50 water wave generators encircling a cylindrical tank 1.6 meters in diameter and 30 cm deep (about the size of a backyard kiddie pool). The wave generators move up and down in controlled motions to simultaneously produce a number of cylindrical waves that act as pixels. The pixels, which measure 10 cm in diameter and 4 cm in height, are combined to form lines and shapes. AMOEBA is capable of spelling out the entire roman alphabet, as well as some simple kanji characters. Each letter or picture remains on the water surface only for a moment, but they can be produced in succession on the surface every 3 seconds.”

Of course, we cannot wait until a larger version of the AMOEBA gets built, something continental or oceanic in scale. And then rather than propagating saccharine heart shapes and smily faces or boring letters and numbers, one could inscribe the Gardens of Versailles in their entirety somewhere in the South Pacific.

Plan de Versailles


Hydrology coalescing into elaborate parterres, Baroque statues, marvelous topiaries and geometric hedges — all of which doubling as aquariums. A pack of humpback whales, for instance, will be gliding gently alongside as you sail down the main axis, their timeless chanting filling the breezy tropical air. Enter any one of the many bosquets dotting the landscape and you'll be surrounded by a swarm of fish. Enter another one and you'll be privy to the mating rituals of giant jellyfishes, seemingly weightless, ethereal. Watch out for the one with the great white sharks though.

Then at night, you set anchor in the middle of a tapis vert: a simple grass lawn on land, but out in the Pacific, it's a vast cultivated field of bioluminescent dinoflagelletes.

Unfortunately, there is also the possibility of weaponizing AMOEBA waves in the same way one could turn any natural earth systems, e.g. earthquakes, into a national security threat. Because once the device falls into the hands of al-Qaeda, hydro-terrorists can then easily wipe Los Angeles off the map with a tsunami. In the shape of Versailles.

Tsunami computer model


It'll be a new kind of maritime warfare. New York comes under attack by an endless barrage of Italianate gardens propagated from Atlantic waters. First the Villa Lante, then the Villa d'Este, next comes the Boboli, and then another one and another. Vaux-le-Vicomte is mathematically translated into a Bessel function and then supersonically launched towards Boston. San Francisco gets torpedoed with dozens of allées. Miami is under siege by zen gardens. No coastal cities would be safe. Unless, of course, you have your own AMOEBA machine, in which case you could simply send your very own waves to cancel out any incoming tsunamis.


More info (in Japanese) from Akishima Laboratory

4 COMMENTS —
  • e-tat
  • August 4, 2006 at 8:42:00 AM CDT
  • Off the deep end again, eh? What kind of boat woould hold teh solenoid plungers? Wouldn't it have to encircle the ocean? There's also wind to be factored in.

    And if we're making shapes through synchronised pumping, then the same principle should work with air and clouds. Sky writing will find new popularity. Words will appear and disappear in front of you. Billboards will be a thing of the past when advertisers can put the words in your face.


  • susan
  • August 10, 2006 at 1:37:00 AM CDT
  • Cool. But this innovation is scary. It might not be used in a good way.


  • Jim Cota
  • August 17, 2006 at 9:10:00 AM CDT
  • Alex,
    I found your site through a Yahoo! link and spent far more time here than I intended! Your topics, though of little 'natural' interest to me, are presented in such a compelling way that I found almost everything very interesting and enlightening. Keep it up!

    FYI, I posted about your blog today, I hope you don't mind.


  • e-tat
  • August 26, 2006 at 12:57:00 PM CDT
  • This just in from the Department of Well I'll Be Horn-Swoggled (v., 1823);


    limn, v. (SECOND EDITION 1989)
    "4. Prov. to limn the water, limn (something) on water: said of something transient or futile.

    1620 BACON Poems (Grosart) 49 Who then to fraile Mortality shall trust, But limmes the Water, or but writes in dust. 1692 Vindiciæ Carolinæ ix. 73 All he had done was but a kind of Limming the Water, to them. 1871 R. ELLIS tr. Catullus lxx. 4 A woman's words..Limn them on ebbing floods, write on a wintery gale [L. In vento et rapida scribere oportet aqua]."

    Something about the futility of writing on water? Seems that this machine proves the point well enough.


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