Author Topic: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?  (Read 6459 times)

_Janus_

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2010, 11:43:53 am »
IMO, either it was magic, somekind of dimensional/spacial altering effect, or something among the lines of a "Levistone" Š lŠ FFI

Lord J Esq

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2010, 01:57:14 am »
Absent a canonical explanation, the mechanism for Zeal's levitation would most conveniently begin with a lodestone of some kind--i.e., a magnet--since that's what Laputa used in Gulliver's Travels. This simple premise is undoubtedly then given the Chrono touch by recasting the magnet as some other power source. This was done in the game: Thus, the floating power of Zeal came from the Sun Stone, and later the Mammon Machine.

The question of water is one that has intrigued me for years. Zeal is evidently above the major precipitating layer of the atmosphere, at least part of the time. We do not know if it ever passes underneath the clouds to replenish its reserves--although that is one of the most plausible explanations.

The issue here is one of scale: If we presume the water is teleported, as some of you have suggested, the energy costs of doing so become enormous to the point of prohibition. Given the very high rate at which water simply falls off the sides of the island, and also considering evaporative losses (which will increase at high elevations), it seems plausible that Zeal's entire water supply is replaced every few days or weeks. That would seem to rule out teleportation, or at the very minimum it would make the use of teleportation as a water delivery mechanism exorbitantly expensive from an energy standpoint. If you think of what it must take to teleport even a single person, and then imagine the amount of water on Zeal, you would quickly realize that, if the water were delivered by teleportation, then well in excess of 99.999 percent of all teleportation activity at Zeal would be devoted exclusively to water transfer. There would have to be enormous skygates at one or more lakes across the planet, constantly engaged in water replenishment. In short, if teleportation is the answer, then Zeal is orders of magnitude more sophisticated than we gave it credit for. I find it hard to accept that such a nation could have been credibly challenged by Lavos.

Thought's notion of atmospheric condensation visibly does not hold up. There is no way to condense enough water to make up for what is seen falling from Zeal. Now, it is an assumption that those waterfalls are consistent; it could be that Zeal had recently received a good dousing, and that ordinarily not so much water is falling off the sides. But if that were the case, then we're back to square one: What mechanism caused the dousing? No amount of condensation could do it, given Zeal's size versus its water loss--especially when considering the much lower absolute humidity present at very high elevations.

Another possibility raised is one of portal-type teleportation, whereby a portal is opened underwater and some of the water "falls" through it. A corresponding portal opens up in Zeal, and the water is pushed out of it by the weight of the water body. This solution, while elegant, is impossible, given that doing so would present a gross violation of the laws of thermodynamics, and would have the practical consequence of supplying Zeal with an infinite energy supply--thus contradicting Zeal's stated energy problems.

As improbable as it seems, I do find the most plausible solution to be that Zeal itself descends below the cloud layer at regular intervals, receiving copious amounts of precipitation which are then stored as liquid water from Zeal's own heat and the heat produced by the melting of frozen water. Perhaps Zeal itself does not descend; perhaps the cloud layer rises. This could be done by moving Zeal laterally to a location where the precipitating cloud layer is higher, either by the geometry of a given storm system, or by the geography of the planet.

GenesisOne

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2010, 02:32:01 am »

Ah, yes; the water springing up from the islands of Zeal.  Amazing how itís able to constantly replenish itself.  Numerous theories have abounded, and so far, they all either a) require the suspension of the laws of thermodynamics in favor of magical implementation, or b) require incredible amounts of energy dedicated to the sustaining of the presence of flowing water.  Iím at a loss as to how to explain where the water comes from.  Iím also at a loss as to explain away the problems associated with how the islands of Zeal float.

One theory I had was that the foundations of the floating islands of Zeal are supposedly to be made of some magnetic material which allows them to hover via (what I believe to be) the Meissner Effect. However, the islands are also composed of dirt, rock, plants, and water, which would negate the floating effect of the islands to a large degree. Since the magnetic properties require a powerful material (e.g. superconductor), it would require that the surface under the floating islands would contain a lot of that material.  Obtaining and powering a superconductor material, however, poses a problem in itself:

A superconductor at room temperature is a scientific dream that will probably never be realized, since the "warmest" superconductor produced by scientists requires a temperature of -183į C. Since all rocky planets form under conditions similar to earth's solar system (which the world of Zeal seems to emulate to a near perfect extent), it seems unlikely that such a mineral exists anywhere in the universe.  But letís suppose for a minute that the Zealian scientists DID produce such a superconductor.  Iíll say this much: it wouldn't be derived from a naturally occurring mineral.

But what if the material was something other than a superconductor?  Lord J mentioned lodestone, a naturally occurring magnet.  If the lodestone were the most prevalent material embedded in the foundations of the islands, then it should be as simple as both the islands and the planet beneath them to have the same magnetic charge so that they repel each, and presto!  Instant floating islands!

This, however, presents a problem: the required electric field would be so large it would ionize the surrounding air between the islands and the planet beneath them. The ionized air along with the conductive ground would rapidly dissipate the charge. Maintaining the charge would require an impossibly large amount of energy.  One could suppose that the energy would come from first the Sun Stone and then the Mammon Machine (Lord J, everyone), but if thatís the case, Iím surprised that the Mammon Machine hadnít broken down earlier under the entropy to supply such energy demands.

Anyways, thatís my take on it.  What says you?

Lord J Esq

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2010, 02:57:49 am »
You may well be right that magnetizing the base of an entire island would be impractical; however, I doubt that magnetism would actually be the stated force if we got an answer out of Kato. "Magic" would much more likely be the word of the day. In Swift's time, magnetism was as wormholes are today: far more useful as a plot device than as a commercial application.

GenesisOne

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2010, 03:16:11 am »

magnetism was as wormholes are today: far more useful as a plot device than as a commercial application.

Hey, if a Japanese physics professor can discover a practical means for building a working lightsaber (on Sci Fi Science of The Science Channel), I'm sure we can a way to explain how the islands float without using the M-word.

Lord J Esq

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2010, 03:55:32 am »
Oh, certainly. By using the S-word. Style, baby!  :franky

Thought

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2010, 12:54:34 pm »
Thought's notion of atmospheric condensation visibly does not hold up...

Sorry, that wasn't me. First Triforce, now you! I'm just getting misquoted all over the place in this thread (well, twice).

Another possibility raised is one of portal-type teleportation, whereby a portal is opened underwater and some of the water "falls" through it. A corresponding portal opens up in Zeal, and the water is pushed out of it by the weight of the water body. This solution, while elegant, is impossible, given that doing so would present a gross violation of the laws of thermodynamics, and would have the practical consequence of supplying Zeal with an infinite energy supply--thus contradicting Zeal's stated energy problems.

Since the laws of thermodynamics aren't shown to exist in the Chronoverse, I see no logical reason to worry about them. For your second objection, it depends on what Zeal's energy needs were. That is to say, this portal system could be nicely used to turn a turbine to generate electricity. But that doesn't mean that such could provide for Zeal's energy needs. Consider an analogy; Zeal is really the starship enterprise (which makes Queen Zeal Captain Picard, but letís ignore that for a moment). The Enterprise sort of runs on electricity, but electricity generated by a matter/anti-matter reaction in the warp core. Hook this proposed system up to the Enterprise and you might get basic functions, but it wonít be going to warp speed anytime soon.

Thus, possibly so with zeal. Indeed, the basis behind the Sun Stone is that Zeal was using Earth's power (well, the Sun's, but...). It makes sense that they might have been using hydroelectric power as well. That might indeed even be why there were waterfalls in the first place; clearly Zeal would have had to go through a lot of work to keep their land flush with water, I thus find it hard to believe that it was just to look pretty.

GenesisOne

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #37 on: February 24, 2010, 12:34:01 am »

Today, it just hit on me like a "Eureka" moment!  I think I may know where the islands of Zeal gets all their water from (I'm crossing my fingers on this one).

The water vapor which rises from underneath via the every-trusty Water Cycle eventually condenses into clouds, right?  And the islands never seem to drift below cloud cover, right?  So, here's where I believe the theory comes into place:

Any vapor that makes it past the clouds gets collected in the floating islands. It condenses into the soil, minerals, and rocks which composite the foundations of the islands, and it gets absorbed into under-ground springs.  The lower air pressure and higher altitude will naturally bring it up and flow out like waterfalls.  Most of the runoff from the islands' waterfalls will most likely hit the islands first either due to the gravitational influence of the islands' large mass and wind sheer due to the extreme height of the islands in relation to the planet.  The water which escapes falling back to the planet will get absorbed again by the islands, and the process repeats.

And this isn't even accounting for the saline which is naturally occurring in most land masses, be they floating or earthbound.  It was never implied that the water flowing off of Zeal was fresh water.

I think it works because a) the planet in the Trigger world seems mostly to be 2/3 water like Earth, b) the Water Cycle works, and c) it's based on real-life science.  Hey, just because this is the Chronoverse doesn't mean we can't break EVERY law of physics.

Lord J Esq

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #38 on: February 24, 2010, 02:05:25 am »
@Thought: We surely do see the laws of thermodynamics in operation throughout the course of all three games! The laws of thermodynamics aren't just some stuffy old propositions dreamed up by men in white coats. They describe a great deal of the behavior of phenomena.

@Genesis: There just isn't enough humidity at that altitude for condensation to work on a body as small as Zeal, given the amount of water we see coming off the sides. The condensation rates would have to be staggering. Zeal would be a humid dungeon. Also, there's almost no chance that that water would be bitter, given that salt does not evaporate anywhere near as cool as water does and the chemistry of saltwater does not permit the ionic bond to survive the water's phase transition to gas.

These mysteries mystify even those of Lordly mystique!

GenesisOne

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2010, 02:23:30 am »

Well, that early lasted a whole 1.5 hours before being dismantled...   :oops:

Pressing on, then.   :)

Another theory I had was that the water is produced via hydrogenation.  It would involve an amazing machine (straight out of science fiction) which harvests oxygen molecules and bonds them with incoming hydrogen molecules in a spectacular fusion process and collects the deposits into a reservoir specifically made for oxyhydrogen, or "water" for the common man.

The new chemical called "water" would be filtered and sent via gravity to underground springs where the lower air pressure and higher altitude will naturally bring it up and flow out into waterfalls.

Let's see how long this one lasts.  Mwa ha ha ha ha!   :twisted:

Lord J Esq

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #40 on: February 24, 2010, 02:41:59 am »
That's very common in nature. It's the other way around, hydrolysis, which is so difficult. So! I think you have made real progress toward finding a solution that doesn't involve the Zeal Swoop. But! The question now becomes where Zeal would produce so much hydrogen from. That's not an easy thing to do. Liberating bonded hydrogen is usually energy-intensive, and molecular hydrogen is comparatively rare in chemically "active" places such as a planetary atmosphere.

Lord J Esq

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #41 on: February 24, 2010, 02:48:03 am »
Incidentally, your machine as described would introduce an unnecessary and extremely dangerous step into the process of the dehydrating reaction. Hydrogen in its molecular form is more than a little flammable. Remember the Hindenburg?

And oxygen in its molecular form makes molecular hydrogen seem veritably inert!

I still remember my first day of college chemistry. The professor had several balloons set up in a row. One was filled with air, one with hydrogen, and one with oxygen. She took a flame and put it beneath the air balloon. Tiny pop! It barely filled the lecture hall. For the hydrogen one she put on goggles, and it made a tremendous pop! For the oxygen one she put on industrial gloves. When that one popped, I felt it in my bones.

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #42 on: February 24, 2010, 02:56:14 am »
*Giggles* You are NEVER going to believe where I found the most efficient method of hydrogen production, AND it would be very cost effective and far less energy-demanding than electrolysis of water.

I did a one-minute research spasm on Wikipedia, and apparently the most cost efficient means of producing hydrogen molecules for oxygen fusion is...

Electrolysis of urine.  :shock:

I kid you not.  Here's an article to prove it.

Considering the large population of Zeal and the number of people having to lighten the load on a daily basis, Zealian scientists can simply collect their samples in silos and pumped into electrolysis machines to separate the two components before going through the amazing hydrogenation machine I explained earlier.

Far-fetched?  Yes.

Disgusting?  Yes.  

Practical?  A resounding "Maybe".



Update:  The college experiment with the balloons you described most likely took place near sea level.  With Zeal's high altitude (at least 2,000 meters up, the lowest maximum height at which the lowest class of clouds form), the possibility of combustion is greatly reduced due to the thinning atmosphere. 

Case in point? La Paz, the capitol city of Bolivia.  At 3,640 meters above sea level, the amount of oxygen in the air is barely able to sustain a flame.

Now imagine the islands of Zeal floating that high off the ground (I mean, don't they already?). Consider this: If the Zealian scientists can harness power to make islands the size of small countries float, they can surely find a way to prevent a freak combustion from taking place in a "water-making machine".

« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 03:22:23 am by GenesisOne »

Lord J Esq

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #43 on: February 24, 2010, 03:23:28 am »
I think that's awesome.

GenesisOne

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Re: How did the Island of Zeal float anyways?
« Reply #44 on: February 24, 2010, 03:39:56 am »

Huh?   :?

No paragraphs of explanation as to how I could very well be wrong?

Just the one line?

This isn't like you, J.  What are you on that's making you praise my "Urine = Hydrogen" theory?