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It's funny.  Laugh. Technology

Water Flows Uphill 437

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC are reporting James Dyson's new garden feature, a waterfall with water flowing uphill. Apparently, he wanted to recreate an Escher drawing."
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Water Flows Uphill

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:39AM (#6013330)
    It's a water elevator, or something.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:41AM (#6013341)
    Antiwater (two part antihydrogen and one part antioxygen) is repelled by the force of gravity.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2003 @02:28AM (#6013475)
      If only antimatter was repelled by gravity. Antimatter is just normal matter with reverse charge and spin, so it obeys all normal physical laws. So-called "negative matter" would be repelled by gravity, but we don't know if it even exists or can be made.
      • by commodoresloat (172735) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @03:14AM (#6013596)
        Well, that rules out antiwater. The answer, then, is clear. It is antigravity, not antiwater, that makes water go up.
      • by SEE (7681) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @03:20AM (#6013609) Homepage
        The troubles here are two:

        1) We have no experimental evidence as to how antimatter reacts to gravity (beond a couple of small ones where the externally-caused experimental error bars render the results statistically meaningless)

        2) We don't know how gravity works. In GR, yes, antimatter has normal mass and reacts normally to gravity. But GR is not the last and final word on how gravity works, and several models otherwise fully consistent with known experimental data allow for anitmatter to be affected to a greater or lesser extent than normal matter by gravity, even to the point of sign reversal.

        Since we have no experimental evidence and several potentially correct theories that give different answers, the only conclusion is that we don't know. The general opinion is that animatter is affected by gravity as normal matter, but we don't know that it is.
        • by Alsee (515537) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @04:02AM (#6013706) Homepage
          We don't have experimental proof yet, but we have overwhelming reason to believe antimatter fall down just like matter. You can work it out based on hysical constants and conservation of energy in a matter/antimatter annihilation. It is explained in this physics FAQ. [ucr.edu]

          If antimatter is repelled by gravity then you either have a violation of conservation of energy, or physics constants are not constant.

        • by misterpies (632880) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @07:35AM (#6014151)
          There can be no doubt, for solid physical reasons, that antiparticles behave identically to regular particles when it comes to gravity.

          First of all, the only relevant physical quantity to determine how something is affected by gravity is its mass (and equivalently, in relativity, energy). That's practically the definition of gravity -- the force one body exerts on another by virtue of its mass. In physicist speak, the gravitational field "couples" to mass/energy. Any force having an origin in some other physical quantity is by definition not gravity.

          Now we have plenty of experimental evidence -- eg from particle accelerators that antimatter has positive mass, just like regular matter. Indeed, antiparticles have IDENTICAL masses to their corresponding real particles. Therefore they must be affected in the same way as regular matter by gravity.

          Secondly, in both relativistic and quantum frameworks, gravity can only be understood if it is always attractive. In other words, mass can only be positive. In quantum terms, this comes out of the fact that gravity must be "spin 2" field. (There's a nice book by Feynman on his attempts to come up with a quantum theory of gravity that explains why it has to be spin 2).

          Thirdly, according to quantum field theory the vacuum is filled with "virtual" particles and antiparticles -- that's the zero-point energy of the vacuum. Now the whole point about the vacuum is that it's the lowest possible energy state. If anti particles had negative mass-energy, they'd be in a lower energy state than the vacuum, which means that they'd be stable compared to the vacuum and would not decay back into the vacuum.
          If that were true, the universe would long ago have filled up with antiparticles...
    • Nothing new here - we've got plenty of those...

      ...In Soviet Russia.

    • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 22, 2003 @02:39AM (#6013510) Homepage
      If you drink anti-water, do you become thirsty?
    • Exactly. But whatever you do don't let it get wet.
    • by thoughtstream (140380) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @03:57AM (#6013691)
      Close, but no cigar. The clue is in the article, where it's explained that a "thin later of water" is used.

      In other words, he's using anti-time! By covering the ramps with a thin coating of later (rather than the usual layers of earlier that surround most objects) the water actually flows backwards in time. This, of course, causes its normal downhill motion under gravity to occur retrotemporally, giving the fluid the appearance of syntemporal uphill motion.

      Contratemporal epitaxy, eh? I tell you, that Dyson's a genius!

      • by GQuon (643387)
        This, of course, causes its normal downhill motion under gravity to occur retrotemporally, giving the fluid the appearance of syntemporal uphill motion.

        I know we're supposed to concentrate on the content, and not the form of comments. But you pulled of the rare feat of making 3 simple grammatical errors in that sentence. I suggest you order the book "1001 Tense Formations", by Dr. Dan Streetmentioner, from your favourite Internet book store, and re-fresh your grammar. Next time Read It Before You Post [slashdot.org].
    • Speaking of antiwater, we need to be careful [dhmo.org] with that stuff!
  • Interesting... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stephonovich (601356) <stephonovichNO@S ... ovich-online.com> on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:43AM (#6013344) Homepage Journal
    Quite an elaborate optical illusion. The original drawing [worldofescher.com] is also worth looking at.


    • by dh003i (203189)
      Wrong image. He's thinking of the image where there are soldiers walking up a set of stairs which never gets higher, and cycles around, on top of a tower.
      • Re:Nope (Score:2, Informative)

        Wrong image. He's thinking of the image where there are soldiers walking up a set of stairs.


        "One of these is an optical illusion that shows water going uphill and round and round the four sides of a square perpetually," [Dyson] says.

        The WC is for 'With Care' - the BBC write-up mentions the marching soldiers in an aside. Dyson himself mentions no such work directly (as quoted).

    • Yes, that's the one. The BBC piece actually links to another representation of the same [mcescher.nl]. Their link is in the righthand sidebar adjacent to the article - not hard to miss.

  • This is.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by CptChipJew (301983) <michaelmiller@nospam.gmail.com> on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:43AM (#6013347) Homepage Journal
    really going to screw things up for the salmon.

    "Wait, we swim upstr..dow...wtf?"

    Poor fish =(
    • Re:This is.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by FFFish (7567) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @11:53AM (#6015561) Homepage
      More true than you might know.

      Location: Hell's Gate, a set of rapids in the Fraser River, BC, created by an engineering mistake while blasting for the CN (?) rail line.

      Time: Earlier part of the century. Last century.

      Problem: Salmon can't fight their way past the rapids. This is a disaster: the Fraser is one of the "motherlode" salmon rivers. It's an ecological disaster of such magnitude that even those living in the early part of the century recognized it. (Remember that this is a time when burning down entire forests to clear the ground for gold exploration was acceptable!)

      Solution: Assist the fish. Using a big net, scoop the fish up at the bottom of the rapids, raise them tens of feet up in the air, and dump them in a sluice box which inclines down to the top of the rapids. Water is being piped from higher up the river to flood the sluice.

      Result: The fish, dumped into the sluice, try to continue to swim upstream against the sluice water. Consequently, they swim out the high end of the sluice, plummeting back into the river... beneath the rapids.


      (Eventually a weir system of complicated breakwaters and eddies and multi-level entrances and all that was built of concrete. It slows the water enough that the fish can swim against the current.)
  • Oops... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Black_Logic (79637) * <wintermute@gmail.COBOLcom minus language> on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:43AM (#6013349) Homepage Journal
    "I've had a few architects coming up to me asking me about it. But I'm not telling exactly how I achieve the effect."

    Wonder if he knows that the BBC gave away his secret. :)

    Although, Maybe the explanation in the article was oversimplified?
  • England's Dean Kamen (Score:5, Informative)

    by SYFer (617415) * <syfer.syfer@net> on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:44AM (#6013352) Homepage
    Dyson inventions truly suck!

    I think James Dyson belongs in the permanent Nerd Hall of Fame. His vacuum cleaner is one of the hands-down coolest devices I have ever owned. It represents the most significant advance in vacuum-cleaner technology in decades. See it at www.dyson.com. I would sooner downgrade my Mac than give up my Dyson. Well... maybe not, but I DO love my Dyson (in a geeky way, of course).

    I demonstrate that sucker by turning it on (with the reservoir half full, mind?it uses no bags yet maintains consistent suction even when nearly full?the bane of most vacuums) and inviting the victim to insert a finger in the nozzle. The amount of suction is astounding. On top of that, he wound up having to defend his patent is court for years and finally won out against the big boys of the vacuum universe.

    Dyson is a true genius and he?s a quirky Englishman to boot which is cool in my book. I have a funny feeling he?s not a /.?er, yet I consider him one of the all-time great inventors.

    He is Englands Dean Kamen, methinks.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      His vacuum cleaner is one of the hands-down coolest devices I have ever owned.

      Cool. Finally something for the female geeks.
      • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @08:19AM (#6014262)
        Cool. Finally something for the female geeks.

        And for male geeks too, assuming the suction hose hasn't got one of those rotating chopping blades in it!

      • Warning (Score:5, Informative)

        by Idarubicin (579475) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @11:43AM (#6015472) Journal
        > ... vacuum cleaner...

        Cool. Finally something for the female geeks.

        Yes. Scientific research has demonstrated that male geeks should stay away from vacuum cleaners. Some cautionary citations:

        Forrest, J.B. and Gillenwater, J.Y. "The hand vacuum cleaner - friend or foe?" J. Urology vol. 128 no. 4, p. 829 (1982).

        Benson, R.C. "Vacuum cleaner injury to penis - a common urologic problem". Urology vol. 25 no. 1, p. 41 (1985).

        Lewi, H., Drury, J.K., Monsour, M. "Vacuum cleaner injury to penis". Urology vol. 26 no. 3, p. 321 (1985).

        Imami, R.H., Kemal, M. "Vacuum cleaner use in autoerotic death". Am. J. Forensic Med. Path. vol. 9 no. 3, p. 246 (1988).

        Be afraid.

    • Dyson inventions truly suck!

      And now he's made one that really blows!

      (The air in the water feater...geddit? oh never mind)

    • by whiteranger99x (235024) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @03:10AM (#6013583) Journal
      I have a funny feeling he's not a /.er, yet I consider him one of the all-time great inventors.

      You do see the correlation, dont you?
    • yeah he is quite a quirky guy, he invented lots of things , the ball wheelbarrow (with a ball instead of a wheel at the front), and the sea truck, you can read about it all here [dyson.com]

    • by User 956 (568564) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @04:59AM (#6013887) Homepage
      Dyson is the man most responsible for the birth of skynet. [barnesandnoble.com] He works for a company known as Cyberdyne Systems. There he works with the badly damaged CPU from the Terminator from the first movie. By reverse engineering the technology Dyson hopes to improve life for humanity. In reality his work will lead to the birth of a machine revolution that nearly wipes man from the Earth.

      I saw we find this guy and get that "Terminator hand" back, so we can destroy it. I don't care how cool this uphill water thing is.
  • by newsdee (629448) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:45AM (#6013354) Homepage Journal
    That would look really cool if it was a small widget-type zen thing, so I can have one on my desk to contemplate while trying to be inspired. :-)

  • by droopus (33472) * on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:46AM (#6013355)
    Since the 70's, there has been a cave [hiddenmickeys.org] on Tom Sawyer Island in Disneyworld in which water appears to flow uphill.

    The Imagineers did it cleverly with a slanted room and no point of reference. Not as geeky, but a really cool effect nonetheless which amazed me back in the day.
    • by anethema (99553) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @02:52AM (#6013542) Homepage
      I always thought the most famous of these things was at the bay of Fundy. The level of the tide rises higher than the river level and causes REAL uphill rapids, and a semi illusionary uphill waterfall.

      I havent seen it myself, but I understand its quite a mind bender to see.

      There is also an optical illusion near there in..Moncton i think? You go to the base of the hill, put your car in neutral, and your car will roll up the hill. Its an optical illusion, you are actually rolling downhill, but you look and it looks uphill, no amount of thinking its downhill dispells that.

      Some very neet stuff, and example of an Eschery world in real life.
      • There is/was? a similar hill optical illusion in a suburb called Forrestfield in Perth, Western Australia. Whack the car in neutral and up the noticeable hill you'd roll. Used to be called Magnetic Hill - the theory being there was some large lode stone doing the 'pulling' of the vehicle.

        Was a rather unsafe place to drive - the road went thru' thickish scrub and you'd come around the top or bottom corners of the hill and find some car creeping in the middle of the road, sometimes with open doors and no-one

      • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @04:01AM (#6013704) Homepage
        It's just north of Ayr, near a place called Dunure. Quite a bizarre thing, too. Website here [demon.co.uk]
      • by evenprime (324363) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @09:23AM (#6014522) Homepage Journal
        There is also an optical illusion near there in..Moncton i think? You go to the base of the hill, put your car in neutral, and your car will roll up the hill. Its an optical illusion, you are actually rolling downhill, but you look and it looks uphill, no amount of thinking its downhill dispells that.

        There are many places like this [adelaide.edu.au]:
        • Mystery Spot Road, off Branciforte Dr. Santa Cruz, CA, USA. A spot 50m in diameter in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains
        • Mystery Spot, Putney Road, Benzie County, Michigan, USA.
        • Gravity Hill, Northwest Baltimore County, USA. along a public road that ran through the Soldier's Delight environmental area.
        • Gravity Hill, Mooresville, Southwest Indianapolis, USA. Located off SR 42 on the South side of Mooresville.
        • Gravity Road, Ewing Road exit ramp off Route 208, Franklin Lakes, USA.
        • Mystery Hill, Blowing Rock, hwy 321, Carolina, USA.
        • Confusion Hill, Idelwild Park, Ligonier, Pennsylvania, USA.
        • Gravity Hill, off of State Route 96 just south of New Paris, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, USA.
        • Gravity Hill (near White's Hill) , just South of Rennick Road, on County Truck U, South of Shullsburg, in LaFayette County, Wisconsin, USA
        • Oregon Vortex, near Gold-Hill, Grants Pass, Oregon, USA.
        • Spook Hill, North Wales Drive, North Avenue, Lake Wales, Florida, USA.
        • Spook Hill, Gapland Road just outside Burkittsville, Gapland (Frederick County), Maryland, USA.
        • Magnetic Hill, Near Neepawa in Manitoba, Canada.
        • Magnetic Mountain, just off the Trans Canada highway, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
        • Gravity Hill, on McKee Rd. just before Ledgeview Golf Course in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
        • Electric Brae, on the A719, Near Croy Bay, South of Ayr, Ayeshire, Scotland.
        • Anti-Gravity Hill, Straws Lane Road, Wood-End, Near hanging rock, Victoria, Australia
        • Morgan Lewis Hill, St Andrew, Barbados.
        • Hill South of Rome, in Colli Albani, near Frascati, Italy.
        • Malveira da Serra, on N247 coast road West of Lisbon, Portugal
        • Mount Penteli, on a road to Mount Penteli, Athens, Greece
        • Mount Halla, on the 1.100 highway a few miles south of the airport, near Mount Halla, on the island of Cheju Do, South Korea
        There's another place named "spook hill" with this illusion in Florida [historiclakewales.com]
  • by Michael's a Jerk! (668185) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:46AM (#6013357) Homepage Journal
    are at the World of Escher [worldofescher.com]. The man was a genius.
    • That he was indeed. Without a doubt, the works of Escher can be considered art by nearly everyone. It's good to see his works in times where anyone who can jam on a piano and/or playback is a mucisian and that throwing a bucket of paint on some cloth makes you an artist.

      And referring to your sig, what the hell is wrong with being a Seth? :o(

  • but using a different technique. I used a strobe on a small waterfall in a dark room- this works in the same way you can sometimes see car wheels spinning in the wrong dirrection.

    When i saw dysons outdoor version while touring the flower show I hoped he had somehow used lasers to implement the strobe technique outdoors in full daylight - that would be cool. But no he is just using pumped air - no surprise really considering hes a vacuum genius :^)
  • Sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lingqi (577227) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:47AM (#6013360) Journal
    Before someone tries to market their own uphill water feature, they had better be warned. James Dyson - no stranger to court battles over patents - has presumably taken care of the necessary legal business.

    Now, why would he do that? I know it might be a rhetorical question, but honestly though - all he would do, I presume, is to limit this neat but useless (admit it - this is as useless as your lava-lamp and plasma-ball (no seminal jokes please)) thing out of mainstream for a long time - instead of giving him eternal fame, etc.

    Now - an interesting question to think about is what part of our pattern-recognizing brain is responsible for *falling* for such a visual illusion? Research like this can shed light on the workings of the mind, I think.

    • Re:Sigh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @02:05AM (#6013429) Homepage
      Forget about the usefulness of the invention for a moment (patents have never been concerned with the merits of the invention), this guy created something new and unique, and something which, to some, could be pretty valuable. After all, the exact things you list as examples (lava lamps and plasma balls) have made tons of cash (hell, I have a lava lamp on my desk). So why shouldn't Dyson be allowed exclusive rights to his invention and any monetary rewards it generates for a time? That's exactly what patents were created for! To allow the "little guy" to innovate, and benefit from those innovations.
      • Slashthink (Score:3, Funny)

        by miu (626917)
        That's exactly what patents were created for! To allow the "little guy" to innovate, and benefit from those innovations.

        No!!! IP laws are evil! They are outdated and wrong! There is no purpose to them other than giving the man a tool to keep his jackboot on my neck!

    • all he would do, I presume, is to limit this neat but useless [snip] thing out of mainstream for a long time

      no offense, but i call bullshit. this idea gets overused far too much on slashdot.

      people patent their ideas to protect their possible income. whilst frivolous and trivial patents are undoubtably a bad thing, patenting something truely unique and new is a perfectly valid protective measure to take. and i'm sure most inventors would much rather license their patents out at reasonable rates than to h
    • Re:Sigh... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by WG55 (153191)

      Now, why would he do that? I know it might be a rhetorical question, but honestly though - all he would do, I presume, is to limit this neat but useless (admit it - this is as useless as your lava-lamp and plasma-ball (no seminal jokes please)) thing out of mainstream for a long time - instead of giving him eternal fame, etc.

      James Dyson would be a fool if he were to patent this invention and then not license it out to anyone. Many inventors are quite liberal with their licensing policies, and want to make

      • hmm, just like his vacuum cleaner technology, right?

        I believe his bagless version is quite some bit more advanced than the most (all?) of the other ones out there.

        However, you are expected to pay some 400 dollars for a vacuum.

        Now, that's very cool technology that he is touting, but no way in a billion years that i will choke up that kind of money for a vacuum - the fact is, if his vacuum technology is licensed liberally (or, I might add, not patented altogether), manufacturing for it would be drop in pri
        • I guess it depends on your needs and the specifics of the vacuum cleaner. Before HEPA filter vacuum's my folks bought a rainbow water vacuum, it filtered the water through a tank of water, catching some 99.99% of particles. It also cost over $1,000. This might seem like a lot, but compared to the agony of living with alergies it was nothing. Now of course you can get a HEPA filtered bag vacuum for under $100 and the bags are around $10 apiece.
    • Re:Sigh... (Score:2, Informative)

      by KITT_KATT!* (322412)
      ... And besides if he's keeping it a secret, by definition he _can't_ have filed a patent. Patents were originally created to encourage people to make the design of their inventions public. You can hold exclusive rights over your invention forever if you keep the design a secret. But if the secret leaks out, you're screwed. On the other hand, if you make the design public through the patent process, the government will enforce your exclusive rights for you for a set period of time.
  • by mrklin (608689) <ken.lin@gmail.cAUDENom minus poet> on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:48AM (#6013362)
    A video would be much better but there is the iPix version [bbc.co.uk].
  • ... a toilet whose water rotates clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere!

    (don't bother replying with a debunk of the "Coriolis force" - I already know)

  • by Malicious (567158) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:52AM (#6013380)
    The first thing i would do having this invention in front of me, is to put a small floatation device (leaf, paper boat, etc...) at the bottom of the hill, to watch it float uphill.
    Sadly, I would be completely dissapointed.
  • by PovRayMan (31900) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:52AM (#6013383) Homepage
    Check this animation out from an old IRTC round.

    http://www.irtc.org/ftp/pub/anims/2000-07-15/h20fa ll.mpg [irtc.org]

    (setting up a BT would nice for this so IRTC.ORG doesn't get bandwidth destroyed. I'd do it, but I should be really studying for final exams :-) )

    http://www.irtc.org/ftp/pub/anims/2000-07-15/h20fa ll.txt [irtc.org]
    http://www.irtc.org/ftp/pub/anims/2000-07-15/comme nts/h20fall.comments [irtc.org]

    From here

    http://www.irtc.org/anims/2000-07-15.html [irtc.org]

    All credit for the animation goes to Joe Wise.
  • urinals (Score:5, Funny)

    by scubacuda (411898) <scubacuda.gmail@com> on Thursday May 22, 2003 @01:56AM (#6013399)
    Maybe he could make a urinal that does that.

    Perhaps some sort of spinoff of Marcel Duchamp's 1917 work of "art" [the-artfile.com].

    Those crazy dadaists! [bbc.co.uk]

  • by Machine9 (627913) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @02:10AM (#6013438) Homepage
    Just to counter-balance the usual array of cynical and downright unfriendly Slashdot responses, I'm gonna say:

    That's pretty well done! of course it's a trick, but it's one I haven't seen before, AND it's a *good* trick!

  • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @02:12AM (#6013441) Journal

    This brings back fond memories of an illusion I first saw when I was a kid. I saw it in Springfield Mall. It was put on by a plumbing contractor, or a hot tub installer, or somebody like that.

    It was a faucet, seemingly suspended in mid-air, with an endless supply of water coming from it.

    I marvelled at it for several minutes, pondering how it could be done, yet my child's mind, while knowing it wasn't real, was beyond fathoming any art or science that could accomplish this.

    Leaning closer to inspect it, my suspicions were aroused by the strange apparatus in the catch basin, but I still needed a full explanation from an adult:

    All you do is run a pipe up to the faucet. The pipe supports the faucet. The faucent contains a concavity that directs the water to flow in a hollow cylinder that hides the pipe and completes the illusion.

    You can buy table-top models of this, with yellow-dyed water flowing into a mug of beer.

    Kudos to this guy though, for taking the concept and wedding it to Escher in a novel way.

    • I recall seeing a gas company booth at a local fair, that had a flame burning from a horizontal ring suspended in a clear plexi box.

      The ring was suspended by 4 small clotheshanger-diameter sized wire bars that had the ends running through the walls of the box.

      The walls were freely accessible, and the top was open so you could see inside. No other tubes or wires were evident. As a kid, I suspected trickery.

      Now, after years of drinking and drugging, trying to escape the unfathomable mystery of the unsolv

  • How about a statue of two hands molding eachother, demonstrating the wonderful concept that we all mold our own fate? You know, like Escher's picture of two hands drawing eachother [stif2.mhn.de]?

    Or what about a room of relativity, where one person's stares going up are another person's stares going down? [ex-cult.org]

  • Very impressive!

  • by AvantLegion (595806) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @02:36AM (#6013502) Journal
    Dear Mr. Dyson, We, the FBI, have become aware of your projects. We understand that you have been reverse-engineering water, and this is in violation of the DMCA, PATRIOT, and PATRIOT II acts. You have been flagged for interrogation as a potential terrorist. Until you can be brought in, you are asked to cease all water reverse-engineering. Sincerely, Agent J. Mehoff
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2003 @02:53AM (#6013546)

    If you RTFA

    Derek Phillips, the Dyson engineer who spent 12 months building the feature, told BBC News Online that his head was spinning when he was given his brief.
    "James came up to me and said he wanted this idea to make water go uphill. My initial reaction was to look for Paul Daniels' phone number. But I've had to become a bit of an illusionist myself."

    so i think the credit goes to Mr Phillips for actually pulling it off, Dyson loves taking credit for other peoples work
  • by MikeyNg (88437)

    That thing would look awesome in your garden. I'd buy one. (If I had the money, and if I had a garden to put it in.)

    I'd also want to put one of those non-linear water wheels. You have buckets on a wheel and they get filled up by a source of water. As they fill, they begin to rotate the wheel. However, the buckets have holes on the bottom. This causes the water in the buckets to flow out. What results is a wheel that moves in a decidedly non-linear fashion. That'd be a nice companion to the Escher

  • Water Bongs (Score:3, Funny)

    by RightInTheNeck (667426) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @02:59AM (#6013564)
    The story leaves out that after the reporters were done taking pictures for the day, he put the big glass bowl centerpiece back in the middle and he showed them what it was really built for. Its rumored that everyone lost thier lighter.
  • by arpy (587497) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @03:03AM (#6013573) Journal

    And for his next trick, maybe he could do a mini "hell freezing over".

    Hey, then we'd all get laid! Quick, where's his phone number?

  • If any article needed a video link, this surely should have been it.
  • by valloq (675147) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @03:27AM (#6013621) Homepage
    This reminded me of something I read in the paper years back, turns out back in 1996 some scientists were awarded [nobel.se] the Nobel Prize for discovering a liquid that actually flows uphill, some sort of special property about temperatures approaching absolute zero that cause liquid to move in a coordinated manner and lack all inner friction. That's the extent of the stuff I can understand, check the article out for yourselves.
    • by panurge (573432) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @04:25AM (#6013763)
      Liquid helium at close to absolute zero. It doesn't flow uphill, it displays enormous capillary effect which can pull it right out of a container.
    • ... turns out back in 1996 some scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering a liquid that actually flows uphill, some sort of special property about temperatures approaching absolute zero...

      Superfluidity of liquid helium (He4) below about 2K (that's 2 kelvin above absolute zero) has been known for a very long time -- since around 1952 or '53 I think. Helium had been liquefied in 1927, but superfluidity wasn't noticed till the 50s.It's a quantum phenomenon. These 1996 Nobel laureates showed

  • by Ashtead (654610)
    I have seen sections of water-slides where the water flow actually goes uphill for shorter distances. Then there is the everyday action where water flows upwards inside a pipe. Except we're so used to this, so making a display of it doesn't prove interesting.

    Still, this does look really cool even though it is a trompe l'oeil.

  • "But I'm not telling exactly how I achieve the effect."

    "James Dyson - no stranger to court battles over patents - has presumably taken care of the necessary legal business."

    Imagine that! Apparently he's been granted a patent on this invention but he's "not telling" people how it works. Whatever happened to full disclosure before being granted a patent? You know, advancing the arts and all that? Or is he perhaps going for a different kind of IP protection, like Penrose and his idiotic toilet paper lawsuit

    • You obviously don't understand how patents work, then. The whole point is to NOT disclose them before being granted the patent, at least to the public. Once the patent is granted, it's a matter of public record.

      Look it up if you want to know.
  • by Darwiniac (634349) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @03:58AM (#6013693)
    I remember seeing this ridiculous pop science show that was trying to come up with any evidence to support various bible stories. In one of them the tried to support the splitting of the red sea by showing some researchers who got water to flow up a gradient of decreasingly hydrophobic material (teflon I think). I remember thinking, "Oh yeah, Moses was an expert in poly-flourinated chemistry!" Does this ring a bell for anyone? The teflon gradient that is, not the cooky show.
  • Almost as good as... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by UnixRevolution (597440) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @04:05AM (#6013715) Homepage Journal
    Those Escher Lego Pictures [slashdot.org] from a while back.

    Escher's work is damn cool. :)

  • Schlitterbahn [schlitterbahn.com] in New Braunfels, Texas has had uphill water rides [schlitterbahn.com] for almost ten years. Sure, there's no nifty Escher tie-in, but it's a lot more fun than a British flower show.
  • Some years back I was on holliday in Ayrshire, Schotland. There is a hill called 'Electric Brae [theranchscotland.co.uk]' where water runs uphill!

    This is only on optical illusion, but one made by nature! Google has a few mentions [google.com] of it too
  • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @06:24AM (#6014037)
    It is official; BBC confirms: gravity is dying One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered gravity community when IDC confirmed that gravity market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all garden shows. Coming on the heels of a recent BBC survey which plainly states that gravity has lost more garden market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. gravity is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Dyson comprehensive water test.

    You don't need to be a Newton to predict gravity's future. The hand writing is on the wall: gravity faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all because gravity is dying. Things are looking very bad for gravity. Red ink flows like an uphill river of blood.
  • Magnetic Hill (Score:4, Interesting)

    by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Thursday May 22, 2003 @07:20AM (#6014123) Homepage

    In Moncton [greatermoncton.com], NB, Canada (where I was born), there is a tourist attraction called Magnetic Hill [tourismnbcanada.com]. It is a really cool experience where you park your car on a hill, and it (seemengly) rolls *up* the hill. This was not designed by "imagineers" or anyone else, it is a natrually occuring illusion... something to do with the way the land grades there in relation to the center of earths gravity. Water also flows uphill there.. totally naturally. Its the only place I know of in the world where this happens.

    • Re:Magnetic Hill (Score:3, Informative)

      by SheldonYoung (25077)
      See the following page for a list of more of the similar type of illusion:

      http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/ro ll -uphill.html

  • by wowbagger (69688) * on Thursday May 22, 2003 @08:12AM (#6014236) Homepage Journal
    For his next trick....

    Making the bubbles in a Guiness flow up! [slashdot.org]

  • by danieleran (675200) on Thursday May 22, 2003 @09:54AM (#6014706) Homepage Journal
    "a mile wide, an inch deep and runs uphill," as Lewis and Clark described it.

    It's the Powder River, runs into the Yellowstone to the Missouri. There are places it appears to run uphill because the wind blows the surface backward. It's generally pretty shallow, hence 'the inch deep' and, well, the name.

    There is no link I can point to on the web. Not even Google knows about it. Montana is very unwired.

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