Monday, November 21, 2011

The Computer Sand Society

This week begins the holiday season for many people and often with it, unfortunately, way too much stress. Maybe that is why this week (Thanksgiving week in the US) brings out some strangeness. There was the blog post forwarded by a friend about stuffing a turkey with twinkies. It is hard not to feel fondness for something that springs back into shape when you step on it, but ... make a meat glaze out of the so-called "creme filling"? Yuck.

I also received an advertisement in the mail addressed to me at "The Computer Sand Society". Walking back from the mailbox, I thought: this could be a new interdisciplinary application! In response to this inspiration, a friend sent a lovely video link about sand animation; another friend suggested that, nice as it sounds, poolside would be much better than beachside because sand is hard on laptops. Could it be worse than three bouts of sick video cards?  Perhaps, yes it could. Although I once told a cell carrier that my phone had mysteriously died when it had in fact fallen in the toilet (would you want to explain that one?), I'm not sure the computer manufacturer would buy into the notion that a gritty substance floating around the motherboard stemmed from disintegrating integrated circuits.

However, as I do believe in the power of creative thinking to spur innovation, I suspect there is opportunity for The Computer Sand Society to come into its own.

Modeling and simulation of sand castles. Has anyone developed a system, similar to those used by architectural design firms, to analyze the possibilities for ever more complex creations, factoring in the properties of sand - fineness of particles, distribution of various well crumbled crustacean shells, positioning relative to the high tide mark, mineral components?

Sand castle building is serious business for some people. The U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition bit the dust this year and its demise has many people very upset. I wonder if profits from my envisioned application might have helped hold it together? We could have perhaps drawn on the nearby expertise of the famous Scripps Institution of Oceanography, NOAA (the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) and the local surfers who are out every morning, afternoon and evening rain or shine, 365 days a year. Who understands the interactions between sand and surf better than these subject matter experts?

I have always wanted to combine my love of the outdoors with the potential of computing. A typo by some overworked marketing employee has given me the inspiration for a new hi-tech startup. All that is needed now is a really dedicated team to get it off its feet - and an angel investor.

Any takers?

Happy Thanksgiving - have some fun and forget the stressful stuff for a few days.

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