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Metamaterials Developed To Bend Sound Waves, Deflect Tsunamis

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the building-it-better dept.

Science 110

cold fjord writes in with this story about some new possible applications for metamaterials. "A new way of assembling things, called metamaterials, may in the not too distant future help to protect a building from earthquakes by bending seismic waves around it. Similarly, tsunami waves could be bent around towns, and sound waves bent around a room to make it soundproof. ... Metamaterials are simply materials that exhibit properties not found in nature, such as the way they absorb or reflect light. The key is in how they're made. By assembling the material — from photonic crystals to wire and foam — at a scale smaller than the length of the wave you're seeking to manipulate, the wave can, in theory, be bent to will. ... Ong and others say ... they could be used to redirect other kinds of waves, including mechanical waves such as sound and ocean waves. French researchers earlier this year, for example, diverted seismic waves around specially placed holes in the ground, reflecting the waves backward. Ong points to the possibility of using what has been learned in reconfiguring the geometry of materials to divert tsunamis from strategic buildings.'"

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5 Minutes of Computer Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793771)

Dear Slashdot,

My name is Mike and I am serving the first week of a 10 year sentence in Federal Prison for severe SEC violations. I am very scared and I didn't know what else to do. I guess I have 5 good minutes to type this cry out for help until Tyrone and the crew come for me and give me what they call "Mandatory Showertime". I mean I have been exposed to more male cock in the first 3 days here than I have ever cared to know in my first 30 years of life. I guess it was some sort of sick joke that they gave me a big black cell mate named Tyrese who also part of Tyrones crew. As such he has first dibs on me or as he says "first dick in me". The nigger has beaten me senseless the first day here as he seems to get a real kick out of it and has repeatedly raped me and that's not even the worst of it. I never knew a man could cum 7 times in a row and with that I hadn't been able to get any sleep in the past day or so. The first time I met Tyrone was at our first shower time. Tyrese had "persuaded" me to go into the shower room and that's when I met the whole crew. There must have been 19 prison niggers in there and when the guards pulled out, thats when I was given a gangraping that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Could you imagine 19 giant black cocks repeatedly ass raping and mouth fucking you? I think not, and don't think these guys went in one at a time. I swear it must have been 3 in my ass and 2 in my mouth at one point. I was in tears hearing Tyrone laughing at me saying "This be your life now cracka, you our bitch now". I still have the sharpie mark on my ass that says "Tyrone's ho". Uh oh it looks like it's mandatory shower time again. I think I am going to hang myself when Tyrese is out raping another white prisoner.

Thanks for listening.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793783)

Tell Tyrone & Tyrese you haven't been raped enough and you want to be their designated salad-tosser.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 9 months ago | (#45793843)

But now, thanks to metamaterials, we don't have to listen to your screams.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794087)

Now that's some funny shit...

Re:5 Minutes of Nigger Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794137)

as we all know, Tyrone and Tyrese are niggers! what say you??

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45797461)

that's alright. you're screaming into a void right now as it is. another layer of emptiness would be redundant.

long live the cake overlords.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793865)

He had me at "male cock".

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (2)

jimmydevice (699057) | about 9 months ago | (#45793985)

cold fjord, is that you?

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (1, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#45794003)

I suppose it's pointless asking you to grow up?

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#45794275)

And thusly began The Saga of Cold Fjord and Peter Pan.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#45803671)

..... and once the trolls had gone to live with the fairies, and the griefers to live with the pirates, the spell was broken so they could never trouble anyone again. And everyone else lived happily ever after. The end.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794025)

cold fjord, is that you?

Yeah. That was exactly my thought also. Its got copkisser shill written all over it.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794037)

That can't be Cold Fjord then, everyone calls him an NSA shill. You must be trying to throw people off your track. Dude, you have no self respect!

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802847)

That can't be Cold Fjord then, everyone calls him an NSA shill. You must be trying to throw people off your track. Dude, you have no self respect!

That's so sweet, CF. You actually believe there's a difference.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794001)

Dear Slashdot,

My name is Mike and I am serving the first week of a 10 year sentence in Federal Prison for severe SEC violations.

I call BS Mikey. I've seen the news for the past several years; nobody goes to prison for stock market violations anymore. All the SEC does is oversee the bailouts.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794221)

Skewl?

five good
three days
As such,
says, "
seven times

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (-1, Offtopic)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 9 months ago | (#45794499)

Well, you're a troll. It's nothing like that. Having a manpussy in prison is largely voluntary. Rape does exist, but it's not like it's more likely to happen to you than not. Here's an article about what it's like to be a techie in prison. [slate.com] It's not this way everywhere. Lots of places have no tech access besides a Plexiglas covered TV. Worse, however, is the lack of any good material to read.

The library shelves or book cart is chock full with lot's of brand new religious bullshit and various other statist crap, or bubble gum escapist shite. There's hardly any good books on ethics from a secular viewpoint instead it's all "you're locked up because you're not right with God, imagine you're sucking Jesus' metaphorical dick and you'll be so right with God we'll see you next revolution of the revolving door," in not so many more obfuscated words. Origin of Species? God & Golem Inc.? Hitchhikers's Guide to the Galaxy? Ring World? SICP? Knuth's Art of Computer Programming? Nope. Most books besides religious crap are ratty and worn, pages and covers missing. Hell, there was even romance novels and interview with a vampire, but not a single Dragon Lance or O'Reilly?

I can run a program on a piece of paper with a pencil, I don't need a computer to follow along with Knuth, but damn, the prison and jail libraries have only mind numbing dreck that seems made to rot your mind and give you false sense of security that you'll be able to function and interact properly if you just gargle Jesus jiz. The criminal legal library is kept up, and there are some jobs programs that are OK -- They get their reading material at the behest of the corporate masters who want cheap slave drivable labor for dangerous or dirty jobs; A buddy learned underwater welding and works his ass off for good "honest" money now, helping oil companies rape the planet.

Anyway, yeah, the incarcerated could use some books. [patheos.com] I'd have given up my food tray for a week for a good sci-fi book. Sad thing is, out in the free world there's libraries getting rid of books -- can hardly give 'em away because they're too abused, but they rarely find their way to where they could do the most good. Nope, those Christ fuckers who think Jesus is off preparing a place for them in the sky somewhere so the body of the church can get half-gay married into God's magical zombie family have a damn near monopoly on fresh reading material. I've read that damn insane bible in 6 different translations just to laugh at the inconsistencies -- Hell, did you know the whole virgin birth is based on a mistranslation error? [youtube.com] Careful pointing out the bullshit though: Private Prisons are essentially Christian-Camp Cages.

Sounds like AC has got one hell of a prison rape fantasy up there -- It's not copy-pasta... They'll surely be disappointed if they ever grow balls and lose brains enough to make their dream come true.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795859)

Don't feed the god damned trolls, asshole. Someone please mod this idiot offtopic, I didn't come to slashdot to read about prison rape, if I wanted that I'd be at reddit or 4chan.

Damn it, fool, you gave him what he was trolling for -- or are you, yourself the anonymous troll and you merely responded to yourself?

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796517)

The library shelves or book cart is chock full with lot's of brand new religious bullshit and various other statist crap

And you didn't read much before prison, either, did you? Your greengrocer's apostrophe gives you away.

Re:5 Minutes of Computer Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45798045)

First of all, it's "Ringworld", one word, unless you were making some obscure joke about rape and sphincters. And second of all, how is Ringworld not escapist shite? It's for 13 year olds.

Tsunami "Bending" can't work (1, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 9 months ago | (#45793813)

You are talking about redirecting amounts of energy in a wall of water than may be 10-20 feet high or more, yet it comes in as a solid wave and the elevation stays at that height causing water to move inland extremely fast for a long time.

It would be easy to calculate what amount of energy that would be in a width of a town: E = .5 * mass x v^2. You are talking about amounts of energy that would dwarf anything a major multi-unit power plant could produce.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793873)

I bent your mom over last night, and considering her m in e=mc^2, it was greater energy than that of a Tsunami, which is just the result of her doing a canonball anyway.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793913)

STFU!!! My mom is beautiful and thin and wouldn't look at you twice while I'm around. Idiot.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794085)

Of course not since she is too busy committing copious amounts of incestuous love with you.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794373)

Aaaand that was the joke.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#45794119)

You are talking about redirecting amounts of energy in a wall of water than may be 10-20 feet high or more, yet it comes in as a solid wave and the elevation stays at that height causing water to move inland extremely fast for a long time.

It would be easy to calculate what amount of energy that would be in a width of a town: E = .5 * mass x v^2. You are talking about amounts of energy that would dwarf anything a major multi-unit power plant could produce.

Some scientists working with this sort of approach seem to think there is some potential for handling seismic energy.

How to Repel an Earthquake [sciencemag.org]

"It's very cool stuff," says Ulf Leonhardt, a theoretical physicist at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom who was not involved with the study. "It's a step toward manipulating seismic waves and done in a genius way." ...

The scientists created their jumbo-sized metamaterial in August 2012 by drilling holes in a thick bed of silt and clay near the city of Grenoble in the French Alps. The cylindrical holes stretched down about 5 meters into the earth, but were also skinny, only 32 centimeters wide. They were arranged in a rectangular grid of three rows of 10 holes each. The holes changed the density and stiffness of the earth and, thus, the speed and direction of vibrations rippling through the ground, forming a seismic metamaterial. The scientists then shook the earth on one side of the grid using a vibrating soil-compacting machine that they had placed underground. That machine created 50 seismic surface waves per second with a wavelength of 1.56 meters—about the same as the distance between the holes, though shorter than typical wavelengths from earthquakes.

Sensors placed throughout the site showed that the waves couldn't get past the grid of holes, bouncing off of it instead, the researchers report in a paper posted on the arXiv online preprint server. The waves just barely got by the second row of holes and couldn't even touch the third row, leaving the ground on the other side unshaken.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794331)

yeah...let's just bounce an earthquake. whatcouldpossiblygowrong. "very cool stuff" indeed

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795943)

yeah...let's just bounce an earthquake. whatcouldpossiblygowrong. "very cool stuff" indeed

Well.. consider this kind out structure protecting the Fujinuma Dam back in 2011.
Worst case scenario would probably have been that the protection wouldn't have worked at all and the dam burst just like it actually did, leading to flooding of homes and death of a bunch of people.
Normal case scenario would have been that the earthquake was reflected to some less critical area.

The idea isn't to reflect earthquakes all around randomly but to protect important sites where a failure would lead to larger damages. In particular water dams are extremely vulnerable to earthquakes and causes by far the most deaths among all power sources.
Causing the earthquake to be stronger in a nearby village is generally a preferable option. People often have plenty of time to get out of their houses and get to safer locations. Escaping a dam breach is a lot more problematic and the water will not only destroy the houses but also a lot of the appliances in the homes. (Yep, you can often dig out your porn collection after an earthquake. After a dam breach everything is destroyed.)

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 9 months ago | (#45794507)

Are you aware that the tsunami which generated the 2011 Japan tsunami occurred out in the middle of the ocean?

Its not the seismic activity you need to stop, its the wall of water caused by said seismic activity.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#45795983)

Yes, I'm aware. But the parent post was commenting on the amount of energy required. Wouldn't the energy of the tsunami be comparable to the event that created it? If seismic energy is manageable despite the magnitude then I would expect that the energy of a tsunami would be manageable, but the form would obviously be different. It may be that the form renders it infeasible, just not the magnitude.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#45794265)

Because, as we all know, if you deal with a really large amount of energy, physics can't possibly work.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 9 months ago | (#45794357)

Can you walk through walls? Become invisible? Bend tsunamis?
Hang on for a shocking discovery that will rock your world!
One little trick that can hack physics!
Click here to find out how! [wikipedia.org]

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#45794493)

Can you walk through walls

Yes - damn those termites!

Become invisible

Yes - dark in here isn't it?

Bend tsunamis

No, but that city it washed over diverted the flow. Maybe doing something like the physical features that diverted the flow can be exploited to divert another one so it could do less damage. If only there was an article about such a thing.

Science! It works bitches!


They said antigravity would never work, but then they had not yet met Elisha Otis's Elevator!
In other words if you haven't worked it out yet from the above you don't have to meet something head on to solve the problem.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 9 months ago | (#45794545)

"Can you walk through walls?" Yep. Doors exist. "Become invisible?" Turn off the light. "Bend tsunamis?" Build a sandbar.

"Hang on for a shocking discovery that will rock your world!" Nope. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

"One little trick that can hack physics!" Physicists Hate This One Weird Trick! [nasa.gov]

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45801167)

Build a sandbar.

Then what? They move, you know.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (2, Informative)

fatphil (181876) | about 9 months ago | (#45794743)

Yeah, but the solution to the problem in high energy physics is to make sure the high energy things don't touch anything important.

So, in this case, all we need to do is to levitate the ocean.

And you do realise that the mass of these pulses that LHC is trying to bend is only a tenth of a millionth of a gram? Tsunamis weigh quite a bit more than that.

But jesting aside, the article does look mostly bullshit, as it's highly inappropriate to model tsunamis as waves and solutions as working upon waves. They're so low frequency they're effectively DC. That's why in the term "tidal wave" is inappropriate - the "tidal" part is fine - in fact, it's almost perfect - it's the "wave" part that's misleading.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795593)

But jesting aside, the article does look mostly bullshit, as it's highly inappropriate to model tsunamis as waves and solutions as working upon waves. They're so low frequency they're effectively DC. That's why in the term "tidal wave" is inappropriate - the "tidal" part is fine - in fact, it's almost perfect - it's the "wave" part that's misleading.

No, this is BS right here. Considering for some time there have been well developed models of tsunamis used to predict potential dangers and setup tsunami warnings, treating the tsunamis as waves. Their wavelength may be quite long, and knowing what a soliton is might help, but they are still waves.

And the reason researchers think the term tidal wave is inappropriate has everything to do with the word "tidal" which is the opposite of perfect, since tsunamis have little to nothing to do with tides. If you want tidal waves, you can see them every day in the Bay of Fundy.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45798475)

Their wavelength may be quite long, and knowing what a soliton is might help, but they are still waves.

Knowing that solitons don't exist for water waves, and that we've known that solitary waves are a poor model for tsunamis for decades, may help even more.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45801295)

Solitons were first observed in water waves, and exist as a solution to several of the approximate models used to model water waves. Depending on what exact system and scale you are looking at, the deviations from those models may be insignificant. Even when the deviations from those become more significant, you end up with effective soliton like behavior.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795065)

I think the biggest problem is that the biggest damage from a tsunami is not caused by the waves.
Its caused by the load of debris it carriers with it. Maybe this thing can reduce or even deflect the wave strength. But if you plan to only position it around strategic buildings, the debris the waves was carrying will still crash into it.

Then there is still the problem that it deflects the waves. It doesn't diminish them. So any areas around it are going to get hit even harder.

Tsunami "Bending" happens (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#45794455)

Coastlines do it. Features on the ground do it. Stop thinking in terms of energy versus energy because that's not what is being suggested. It's not about matadors headbutting bulls but instead getting them to move in a path at an angle that won't hit them.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794663)

Yes, it is not a question of energy -- it is a question of wavelength. The wavelength is so big, we're talking 10s of km, even close to the shore, that building man-made structures to bend them is somewhat insane. A seawall, for all its limitations, is somewhat thinner (and less expensive!) than that.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" happens (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#45794885)

You are confusing the length of the wave front with the wavelength. Try swinging what you've got in your head around ninety degrees to cut through the wave cross section and you'll see that the scale is far more manageable.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" happens (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795159)

You are confusing the length of the wave front with the wavelength. Try swinging what you've got in your head around ninety degrees to cut through the wave cross section and you'll see that the scale is far more manageable.

Am I? I don't see how that is... and I'm a tsunami researcher! Literally, I've spent years of my life running (and developing the models for) tsunami simulations.

Earthquakes typically happen on scales of O(100km), so the initial waves produced, often at depths around 4km, have a wavelength of O(100km). In shallower water, say 100m, the wavelength is then O(10km), as the wavelength goes with the square root of the depth. There are other tsunami sources too, but we'll just stick to an order of magnitude estimate.

Now you see how metamaterials, which are structures with many sub-wavelength elements gathered in a way to produce interesting macroscopic behavior, would be difficult to use for tsunamis. You want to create structures in the ocean that are maybe O(10km) into the ocean, and then probably also O(10km), maybe more, along the shoreline to protect a city? And you'll need them to be substantial in the vertical, as well, since this isn't like laying down a tarp.

The comment in TFA about deflecting tsunamis was just an offhand thing, by someone who specializes in a completely different thing... I wouldn't put any weight in it. Even if you found a way for something to actually work, and somehow have a price tag that is not astronomical (you have any idea how much it costs to move even "dirt" around offshore?), I can't imagine anyone building it -- the seafloor is remarkably well utilized off most big cities, between cables being run out, channels for shipping, fishermen needing certain places undisturbed, offshore dumping locations, etc.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" happens (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#45796743)

I find that very hard to believe that the wavelength would be so long in shallow water. Don't they come in as multiple waves that can be seen from the shore at once? How can that be so with a wavelength of 10km?
Also, for on land, I seem to remember from geophysists that ground roll does not have the sort of wavelength you are speaking of and that's a major cause of damage in earthquakes.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45797813)

I find that very hard to believe that the wavelength would be so long in shallow water.

"If it's truth you're looking for, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall."

Don't they come in as multiple waves that can be seen from the shore at once? How can that be so with a wavelength of 10km?

Sometimes. Depends on the tsunami, and depends on the profile of the beach. The waveform is quite complex. There is often quite a long tail, but most of the damage (except in some harbors or islands) comes from the first few wave periods. This period may be 10-20 minutes, let's say. If you look from the coast, if you happen to have a shallow beach profile (the process does not happen with a steep beach profile), as the wave approaches the shore, you would not see these individual waves -- but you would see multiple wavefronts, and the crests of these are not 10km apart, but maybe a few hundred meters apart. What you'd be seeing is an undular bore, produced by a single wave from the nonlinear and dispersive terms in the wave equation. Many times even the crests of this bore are breaking. These crests are sort of "riding" on the larger wave.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" happens (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 9 months ago | (#45794889)

The greatest amount of damage from tsunamis happens when *other things* bend the tsunami. Anything which diverts the energy away from one thing diverts it towards another thing. Heaven help you if you've got two things diverting the energy towards you, such as sides of a bay, as then you're more likely to have an e^-kd rather than k.d^-2 reduction in energy (an extreme - compare losses in fibre optics to the inverse square law).

Re:Tsunami "Bending" happens (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45795467)

Sure, but if everyone could divert the Tsunamis back into the open ocean, they'd dissipate eventually.

A bigger problem is that their large-scale test involved changing the composition of an entire area between source and sensor. So are we supposed to build umpty-zillion pillars in the ocean or something? Probably infeasible.

Energy level doesn't matter in this case. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 9 months ago | (#45794485)

You are talking about redirecting amounts of energy in a wall of water than may be 10-20 feet high or more, yet it comes in as a solid wave and the elevation stays at that height causing water to move inland extremely fast for a long time.

It would be easy to calculate what amount of energy that would be in a width of a town: ...

Yes, you are. So what? That energy is spread out over a very wide area. You're talking about building a "lens" over a similarly wide area - out where the "tsunami" is a gentle (though fast-moving) rise of a couple inches to a foot - representing a water current that's comparable to other wave action. The only thing special about a tsunami is that it's a very low frequency wave.

A mirror, lens, or metamaterial doesn't care HOW much energy it's handling, until the energy density gets high enough to start damaging it. The energy density of a tsunami, spread out over those same several miles or whatever, is quite low.

In fact, it's a similar structure acting on the wave - the gradual rise of the seabed as you approach the beach - that concentrates the energy of the tsunami, along its direction of propagation, into a destructive, abrupt, wavefront.

Re:Energy level doesn't matter in this case. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795261)

A mirror, lens, or metamaterial doesn't care HOW much energy it's handling, until the energy density gets high enough to start damaging it. The energy density of a tsunami, spread out over those same several miles or whatever, is quite low.

Water waves are substantially more nonlinear than optics in ordinary situations. This thread is hysterical... bunch of people commenting on physics that they don't understand at all. Next up, let's see what Britney Spears has to say about which 3D printer is best.

http://xkcd.com/793/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 9 months ago | (#45794501)

Dude, what dont you understand? Metamaterials can bends soundwaves, tsunamis are just big waves, therefore metamaterials can bend tsunamis.

SCIENCE!

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794823)

It would be easy to calculate what amount of energy that would be in a width of a town: E = .5 * mass x v^2.

You only need that much energy if you intend to stop the wave. They want to divert the wave, which takes only a fraction of that energy.

Re:Tsunami "Bending" can't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795187)

If you have a 30 meters metawall you also might have a stronger normal 30 meters wall... Deflecting a tsunami does not seem reasonable, treating it like a normal wave, as an earthquake, does not seem reasonable either if you have seen a class or two of fluid mechanics. On the other hand, earthquakes can be deflected with something around a building, there's a lot of research in that matter.

cold fjord and "metamaterials" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793827)

Betcha he was looking for an NSA story there

Re:cold fjord and "metamaterials" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793883)

Nah, probably looking for drugs to help the obsessive compulsives that have to bring up NSA in every story regardless of the topic. You might be a candidate, for example. Talk to your doctor and ask if one of these treatments [mayoclinic.com] is right for you.

Just gaming the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794681)

He is collecting moderation points here. Expect some NSA/Wikileaks story soon where he and his buddies can use the points to direct the conversation.

Re:Just gaming the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795553)

If he really was NSA he wouldn't need to do that, he'd just hack the moderation system. I'm calling BS.

Force fields? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793845)

Not gonna happen in this life time.

Re:Force fields? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#45794283)

There's nothing shameful on being old.

divert tsunamis from strategic buildings (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793861)

and towards some poor fishing village full of primitive natives nobody cares about..

Re:divert tsunamis from strategic buildings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794195)

The Prime Directive forbids any interference in the convenient death of nonstrategic villagers, of course.

Build a great harbor without a seawall! (2)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 9 months ago | (#45794505)

divert tsunamis from strategic buildings and towards some poor fishing village full of primitive natives nobody cares about.

How about building a great harbor and calm beach without a seawall, bracketed by two regions where the surfing is GREAT!

Re:divert tsunamis from strategic buildings (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 9 months ago | (#45794513)

Who is that even supposed to be a criticism of, and why is it insightful?

Re:divert tsunamis from strategic buildings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795189)

It should be obvious, "strategic" in this context means "important," which probably will translate to government buildings and rich people's houses.

Or send it back out to sea. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 9 months ago | (#45794521)

divert tsunamis from strategic buildings and towards some poor fishing village full of primitive natives nobody cares about.

You can also use this to send the wave back out to sea - and defocus it while you're at it, so it's just a slightly higher wave than usual when it finally gets to another piece of land.

This is what happens to it when it hits shore: Some of it bounces and is diffused - or possibly focussed. By doing this intelligently we can make it SMALLER when it hits the "secon

Re:Or send it back out to sea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796375)

There were places off Japan that saw 40m of runup... you propose that we build a 40m wall, like a fence, around the coastline of every city? Of a whole country, perhaps?

Wait a minute... you don't live in Texas by any chance, do you?

Re:divert tsunamis from strategic buildings (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 9 months ago | (#45794577)

Yup, we need to focus all tsunamis on Somalia. That will stop piracy and put an end to starvation in Somalia - since there won't be anybody there after a while.

Re:divert tsunamis from strategic buildings (2)

ultranova (717540) | about 9 months ago | (#45794799)

Or we could focus tsunamis - and all other waves - to a reservoir and let it drain back to sea through turbines. Or we could build concentrated tidal power plants. Or whatever.

Re:divert tsunamis from strategic buildings (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 9 months ago | (#45800651)

Since the focusing is frequency dependent, I don't think you could use the same structure to focus both tsunami and ordinary waves. Still, you may have the inspiration for a new form of wave driven generator.

Tsunami's are infrequent enough that aiming them at a reservoir to power a generator would be rather inefficient. I doubt it could be cost effective. And since it's salt water, most other uses of the reservoir would be impratctical. It would be nice if you could just bend it 90 degrees, but I think that would requrie knowing where the site of initiation would be. Diverting it, without specifying exactly where to can be done without knowing the angle of incidence.

Re:divert tsunamis from strategic buildings (1)

Monoman (8745) | about 9 months ago | (#45794979)

No no no that would never happen. I'm sure the plan would be to redirect it to circle on itself so it gets dizzy and falls down ... or form a giant vortex that sucks the entire earth into another dimension.

Deflector shields (3, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#45793867)

I don't think anyone ever expected that something akin to actual deflector shields for use on earth might be practical anytime soon, that they would always be the stuff of science fiction. At least this offers the possibility of actually making something like them with matter and not a theoretical energy shield requiring massive nuclear reactors.

Very interesting stuff - Metamaterials [popsci.com]

Scale smaller than the wavelength? (2)

PPH (736903) | about 9 months ago | (#45793879)

Yes. The size of the structures may be smaller then the wavelength of interest. But they must be assembled in an array of a size on the order of the wavefront you want to divert. So you can redirect a seismic wave away from a town with an array of holes. Each hole might be of manageable size. But the array would be on the order of the same size as the town. That's a lot of holes and a lot of property you are going to be perforating.

So put it under a freeway! (3, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 9 months ago | (#45794557)

Each hole might be of manageable size. But the array would be on the order of the same size as the town. That's a lot of holes and a lot of property you are going to be perforating.

It must be on the scale of the town IN ONE DIMENSION. Linear-square law: The bigger the area you're protecting, the lower the percentage of the area you need to perforate.

So you need to perforate a strip around the town to do this? Do it while you're ALREADY perforating such a strip. Like when you're building (or revamping) the next beltway-freeway around the city of interest, or approving a rezoning for the construction of a new outer subdivision.

Re:Scale smaller than the wavelength? (1)

sandertje (1748324) | about 9 months ago | (#45795825)

I'm not sure whether I understand the principles correctly, but if you can conjure up something that deflects seismic waves, you wouldn't need to drill holes under the entire city. All you'd need is a ring of deflectors around the city large enough to deflect a decent earthquake. The city would then only be unprotected in the unlikely event the epicenter is directly beneath the city. Even if that is, for some reason, impossible, underground work is required in most cities on a regular basis anyway. One could drill the necessary holes when the sewers are upgraded, new utility lines are being laid etc. Sure, that would mean at least several decades before completion for most areas, but most nation-scale infrastructure projects take that much time anyway.

Re:Scale smaller than the wavelength? (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 9 months ago | (#45800705)

It's a bit trickier than that. You need a precisely spaced grid of materials with a different density. Holes aren't necessary. This kind of thing up above grould has been done with grids of posts. But if you're using holes, you can't run a sewer in the same area. It ruins the "crystal" structure.

Locations chosen to protect 'wealth creators' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793923)

If the redirected waves inflict more harm on outlying neighborhoods, that would be justified in the sense that those neighborhoods primarily consist of members of the 47 percent of the population who don't pay taxes.

+100 for each Bloomingdales
+10 for Starbucks
+5 for Panera Bread, Dunkin Donuts
-10 for McDonald's or BK
-20 for Walmart
-50 for Kmart, check-cashing store, pawnshop
etc

Insane... Lets be at least slightly real here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45793947)

For the cost of the materials infrastructure you'd need to bend a tidal wave around even a small building. Let alone a town.

It would be cheaper to move the town to somewhere you're not going to get hit in the first place. Far far far cheaper.

Now unless you have a spare load of cash numbering into the multi multi trillions laying around... This plan is an insane idea.

Soundproofing tho. That might be something.

Re:Insane... Lets be at least slightly real here. (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#45794309)

For the cost of the materials infrastructure you'd need to bend a tidal wave around even a small building. Let alone a town.

It would be cheaper to move the town to somewhere you're not going to get hit in the first place. Far far far cheaper.

Now unless you have a spare load of cash numbering into the multi multi trillions laying around... This plan is an insane idea.

Soundproofing tho. That might be something.

A - Cost of materials: ?
B - Cost of moving a city: ?
C - ? if far far far cheaper than ?

Therefore: Insane idea. (unless you have multi multi trillions.)

Better idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794169)

Deflect tsunamis away from towns with atomic blasts.

Even Better idea (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#45794323)

Deflect towns away from tsunamis with atomic blasts.

"Developed" = "Imagined" (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#45794229)

Metamaterials Developed To Bend Sound Waves, Deflect Tsunamis

Is it really "developed" when it's not actually been made yet? It's a bit like saying "Nuclear bombs developed to send man into space" when talking about Project Orion. [wikipedia.org]

I don't think much of their "related" articles either:

ASTEROID MINERS PREPARING FOR GOLD RUSH IN SPACE
SATELLITE IMAGE SUGGESTS NORTH KOREA HAS RESTARTED NUCLEAR REACTOR
DEPRESSION AFFECTS MEN AND WOMEN EQUALLY: STUDY
PRESIDENT OBAMA TO NAME FURMAN AS CHIEF ECONOMIST
ASPIRIN TIED TO LOWER RISK OF SKIN CANCER

Re:"Developed" = "Imagined" (1)

nmr_andrew (1997772) | about 9 months ago | (#45797937)

Metamaterials Developed To Bend Sound Waves, Deflect Tsunamis

Is it really "developed" when it's not actually been made yet?

No, it's not, but making grandiose claims about what something could become in mere decades (just possibly, if everything falls perfectly into place) is how you try to get a bigger slice of the ever dwindling pie of research funding. You need to grossly oversell every result.

For those unaware, due to congressional meddling, the NSF [nsf.gov] effectively now requires you to tell it what great societal or economic problem your research is going to solve in the grant application, i.e. before you even get preliminary data. I'm afraid that overselling of all research is going to balloon in the next few years, as if it hasn't already.

Sound proofing... (3, Informative)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 9 months ago | (#45794279)

This is where the money in this idea lies. If you had an effective way to completely deaden low-end bass, then you'd dominate the market. Being able to build a whisper quiet nightclub or listening room would be incredible.

I'm about to embark on some deadening and sound proofing in my basement theatre, and I'm now thinking I really need to look into the metamaterial research to see if it can offer anything there.

Re:Sound proofing... (2)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about 9 months ago | (#45795167)

Too bad a single setup of meta material typically only works for a very specific wavelength.
So, it could be helpful with applications using a defined wavelength (for example soundproofing an array of many ultrasonic transcievers from each other to reduce interference), but it won't mask you from a wide array of sounds.

Re:Sound proofing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45798123)

This has it's advantages in the right applications though. Highly frequency dependent metamaterial structures can produce wildly different wave patterns which can be used to do things like Compressively Sample (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_sensing) a scene.

We've been there and done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794351)

Deflecting wave energy from your property is no better than some asshole dynamiting a levy on the opposite side of a flooding Mississippi to protect his own home at the expense of a neighbor.

That has actually happened.

Metamaterials show roperties not found in nature? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794393)

> Metamaterials are simply materials that exhibit properties not found in nature, such as the way they absorb or reflect light.

How's this [wikipedia.org] not a metamaterial? And it's natural!

There are many metamaterials around. Just look carefully.

"Metamaterial" the new "Nanotechnology"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45794397)

It seems to me that "Metamaterial" is the new "Nanotechnology".

A few years back Nanotechnology was that new kind of technology on the scientifiy fridge no one really new about but the promises were endless. That were the 2000s.
Before it was Gentechnology (the 90s), before that it was "Cyber" (80s). We can go back to the 50s where it was neclear technology that was supposed to save mankind and I am pretty sure in ancient Rome there was someone who once said "Just wait until the new slaves from arrive, they're all magic and do all kinds of wondrous things!"

It goes like this: New technology is found, scientists research. After a few years it then sinks down into popular sciences and more research team pick things up, then the speculation on sites like this starts about all kinds of wondrous things. Then things calm down, the first applications of the technology show up (or not) and also some bad side effects are found. More applications show up and somehow the world is not fundametally changed.This is followed by the next Hot Thing of the Decade. Expect a lot more "Metamaterials" articles during the 2010s, folks. In the 2020s we'll then read about Hyperfibers (or whatever) which were recently found but are like 20 years from practical (and cool but not *that* magic) applications.

Breakwater design (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 9 months ago | (#45794563)

Breakwater design has changed a lot over the centuries. The primary design will deflect the waves using a heavy earth and rock embankment. Over time, it was found that an embankment made from irregular rocks or concrete castings work better than regular cubes. You could call that a meta material if you want, but it is simply a smart way to combine deflection and interference with the waves to achieve the desired smoothing effect.

Finally (1)

ketomax (2859503) | about 9 months ago | (#45794773)

We finally discovered Wakanda!

Metawords (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 9 months ago | (#45795055)

Someone should invent metawords to defelect metawords.

This is new?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795193)

Hasn't this been known about for a VERY long time?

There was a sea platform that had a metamaterial platform design around its base to direct waves around it.
It was so far back I can't even remember the year now.

Sound and vibrational energy are new here admittedly, don't remember anything on those, but I haven't even checked in-depth so there could be.

Hard to be a metamaterial with that definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796815)

If a metamaterial is defined a material that exhibits properties not found in nature, once it is created, wouldn't it stop being a metamaterial as soon as one is created? After all artificial materials is a proper subset of natural materials.

Bend it like Beckman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796999)

Bend it like Beckman and route it to your enemy's goal

inertia (1)

l3v1 (787564) | about 9 months ago | (#45797749)

I'm not a physicist, but I'm pretty sure these materials can't 'bend' inertia and mass, making this talk about diverting tsunami waves sound pure nonsense.

Re:inertia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45798517)

Electromagnetism is a type of wave in space. A tsunami is a type of wave in water. Seismic activity is a type of wave in earth.

The same type of mathematics is used to describe them all: waves through a medium.

Metamaterials allows us to modify the medium waves travel through in precise ways to control the propagation of the wave. Therefore metamaterial techniques are available in all of these situations.

Re:inertia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45801343)

Electromagnetic waves carry momentum, yet they are bent by a lens. If you measure very carefully, you can even observe a change in the momentum of the lens as a result.

Lex Luthor could use this (1)

MemoryAid (675811) | about 9 months ago | (#45797921)

Imagine if Lex Luthor controlled a construction company that did major projects around the Los Angeles area. With each project carefully selected by location, he builds, over the years, a lens that will focus earthquake energy onto a specific building to be specified later, perhaps with a tie-in to current events, destroying it completely.

I should note that I haven't really kept up with Lex Luthor's aspirations since the 1978 film [wikipedia.org] .

If he could come up with a good way to trigger the earthquake, the film could be a remake of Black Sunday [wikipedia.org] . Or at least use a similar target.

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