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Warm and Fussy
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Next time you're dismantling a defunct
Peltier (thermoelectric) module, examine
Sandwiched between the two ceramic
faces are a series of short pillars with
spaces in between them; these are
semiconductive material (alternate pillars
being N- and P-type). The tops and
of adjacent pillars are connected
electrically, so that there is a sort of
continuous zig-zag path all the way
across the module, running up one P-
pillar and down the adjacent N-pillar.
This arrangement is sufficient to pump
heat when a current is passed through
device or, conversely, to generate
electricity when one face of the device is
warmer than the other (or vice versa,
But you already know that. You probably
also know that the temperature of the
Earth's rocks increases gradually as you
down. (I mean that the lower rock strata
are generally warmer. Obviously, they
don't actually become warmer simply
because you, personally, are going
Now, come with me, if you will, to Wales,
and look around. If you can look at
and not think "Peltier!", then you have no
Doubtless you've figured it out already,
but here is the plan.
Most of Wales, of course, is riddled with
mine shafts. In fact, they only stopped
mining because they realized that, if they
continued, the entire country would
flump down a couple of hundred metres
and they'd have to start all over again,
except this time under water.
If you know your Welsh geology as well
I think you do, you'll be aware that many
of these shafts run vertically through
dense slate and other imperveable rocks.
However, the rocks at the bases of these
shafts tend to be porous (which is why
they stopped digging downward at that
point) - typically sandstones, chalks and
the like. Similarly, there are porous
sedimentary rocks near the surface.
So, it's all blindingly obvious. The first
is to ensure that the bottom-most layer
porous rock is water-saturated (which it
probably is already), and that the water it
holds is quite conductive. This can easily
be accomplished by using it as a
repository for soluble heavy-metal
which can be pumped in under pressure.
Once the lower porous layer is rendered
adequately conductive, we need to re-
open all of those capped-off mine shafts,
and start semi-conducting. Based on a
large-scale Ordnance Survey map and
some careful computations, each mine
shaft will be designated either "P" or "N",
and will then be filled with molten silicon
doped with the appropriate additive.
Fortunately, Wales has a good many
beaches which can provide just enough
silicon for the project. Naturally, nobody
is likely to want to sunbathe on the Welsh
coast, so this is an otherwise wasted
resource. Local refineries, processing
sand into P- or N-type semiconductor,
will provide much-needed employment
for the native people.
With the mine-shafts all filled in this
all that remains is to establish the final
conducting layer that links them all
together at the top. Once again, a
programme of intensive heavy-metal
doping (this time of the upper porous
layers) will be undertaken to accomplish
As the conduction-path in the upper
rocks is completed, there will be a loud
humming noise and a smell of ozone, as
several teraAmps of current start to
their way up and down, back and forth,
beneath what remains of the Welsh
countryside. Two enormous terminals
(one in Llandudno, one in Cardiff) will
be connected to the National Grid, and
Wales will finally have reason to be
[NOTE: If anyone from Wales is having
this read to them, no offense was
[normzone, Sep 19 2008]
||Excellent. Especially the bit about the heavy metal waste. [+]
||Somewhat off topic - Didn't the Welsh invent melted cheese?
||No, that would be an invention of the
great French chef, Fondieu.
||I'd love to, thanks - maybe later?
||Any nation with a language consisting entirely of paired consonants is undeserving of mercy .....
||There should be a category: Things to do with Wales.
||Syniad da iawn - ond
well i chi profio o cyntaf dwy'n meddwl - mae Lerpwl a Bristol yn neuad llinell mwy syth na'r llinell trwy Llandudno a Caerdydd a mae gan Loegr mwy tir a gregyn na Cymru: mwy tir, mwy trydan - sicr?
||Bun ("Bara bach?") - for being cheeky enough to suggest this :)
||//Syniad da iawn - ond well i chi profio o
cyntaf dwy'n meddwl - mae Lerpwl a
Bristol yn neuad llinell mwy syth na'r llinell
trwy Llandudno a Caerdydd a mae gan
Loegr mwy tir a gregyn na Cymru: mwy tir,
mwy trydan - sicr?// Well, it's easy for
you to say that. And no, since you ask,
not since the operation.
||Just to make this clear, that I"m not specifically (necessarily) picking on England here:
||s/Lerpwl/<Northern Town of whatever piece of rock you're from>/g
||s/Bristol/<Southern Town of whatever piece of rock you're from, broadly in-line with the above>/g
Rocks that can never be classed alongside Gary Glitter?
||No, rocks that are both impervious and
||So, when do the tickets for the Cardiff heavy metal festival go on sale? All this talk of pumping hot n'pervyable doped up slurrys going down my shaft is generating a fair bit of electricity in my National Grid, I can tell ye.
||Excellent. And if it does't work, all those p- and
n-semiconductor-filled mines can be turned into transistors to create the world's biggest computer - or maybe even the world's biggest amplifer.
||You want to make Wales louder??
||[+] This also provides some much needed employment for all the miners who've been out of work since the 80s.
||[+] You had me at "flump".
||Yes, flump. It's a verb, anglicised from
the Welsh "chgfllympwgyll", meaning "of
a Welsh land mass or country, to
collapse unexpectedely due to the final
supporting column of rock giving way
following excessive mining."
||Wales, in fact, used to be several
hundred feet above its present height,
but has experienced three periods of
||The Flumps, to whom Normzone refers,
were in fact accurately modelled on
early Welsh miners.
||// three periods of major flumpage //
||Many English people in the Marches are looking forward to the long-awaited "Fourth Flump", which they assume will co-incide with the ending of the final cycle of the Aztec sun-stone calendar. On that day, when Wales finally sinks beneath the grey waters of the Atlantic, Offa's Dike will be lined with throngs of cheering English, waving the Flag of St. George, and carrying pointed sticks and mallets to prod any attempted escapeees back to their doom; the mallets will be useful for the removal of those clinging to the "edge".
||And why is there such hatred and resentment of the Welsh by the English ?
||(It is not unreasonable to assume that total submersion beneath an ocean will go almost entirely unnoticed by the natives, inured as they are to low cloud and endless, stinging, drizzling rain; perhaps a comment like "Oh, the rain's a bit salty this morning", or "It's a bit wet out today, better take a second tank for your aqualung, dear.")
||8/7, I think you got the accent wrong.
||No, it's Wenglish for "makes a piercing,
sorrowful, non-ignorable sound."
||//But you already know that.//
||Uh ... yeah.
Yeah, that's right.
...knew all that stuff...
||If Wales were to flump, I could never photograph it and then there would be no more prints of Wales. That would be sad.
||But it might be excuse to get rid of Camilla.
||// the final conducting layer that links them all together / heavy-metal doping (this time of the upper porous rock layers) //
||Something wrong with stringing plain old cable between them?