5 May 2010
Drinking Birds[?] are interesting heat engines that use the evapouration of water to drive their motion. The problem is that because the water evapourates on their beaks, any impurities are left behind resulting in unsightly deposits. In this photo an elderly drinking bird is compared with its younger drinking buddy. Clearly some preventative measures need to be taken to prevent premature drinking bird aging.
The solution is to use distilled water. Distilling water is normally an energy-intensive process. When I was young my father used a Bunsen burner. Alternatively one could use a Fresnel lens. Of course the Soviets used nuclear power. Since my needs are more modest, I designed a simpler system.
Two milk jugs are connected by a plastic tube. One jug is painted black, the other covered in reflective tin foil. The black jug is filled with water and left in the sun while the white jug is placed in the shade. As the warm water evapourates, it condenses out in the cooler vessel. While not spectacular, the result is a slow and steady production of distilled water. It seems appropriate to power one heat pump (a drinking bird) with the output of another heat pump (solar evapouration).
Google recently went medieval on a bunch of fraudsters. The detail I love in the fraudulent advertisement is the "As Seen On" list. They have three TV channels and a newspaper (presumably as featured on their crime-watch segments), then they have two more icons. Yes, that's Yahoo Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger. Or in other words, someone IMed someone else about it. Talk about a ringing endorsement.