Public: Information: Database
Database of rocks   (+7)  [vote for, against]

In the building of stone walls there are always spots to fill that are not the shape of any available rock. Have everyone in the city measure the rocks in their yards and upload the data to the rock database where wall builders could search it for the best fit. It could later be extended to include the entire planet.
-- Fussass, Aug 13 2003

Suiseki Classification
Ah, nature's fractal structure [n-pearson, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Rocksolver software uses advanced optimisation algorithms to fit irregular virtual objects together to build stable virtual structures. [xaviergisz, Apr 26 2011]

The Great Encyclopedia of Breads http://www.abebooks...edia-8471836890/plp
Complementary Database [csea, Apr 30 2011]

The Irish have a saying for Drystone wall building: "There's a place for every rock."

ie. you shouldn't have any holes in your wall if you did it properly.
-- simonj, Aug 13 2003

Couldn't you just take a different rock and chisel it to fit?
-- DeathNinja, Aug 13 2003

Sure you could. But wouldn't that just place us back in the stone age? I mean, why all this "technological advancement" if, when faced with a non-fitting rock, you simply club it into submission?
-- lurch, Aug 13 2003

All your stones are belong to Big Brother.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Aug 14 2003, bid on the rock that's right for you.
-- sartep, Aug 14 2003

A stone killed my brother. For that they must pay.
-- DeathNinja, Aug 14 2003

the Frencch can swap Gaulle stones.
-- neilp, Aug 14 2003

Would the same be possible for trees in case someone wants to build a log house? No more wasted lumber and saw dust. Just choose the exactly right sized tree from your neighbors yard to fill that gap.
-- kbecker, Aug 14 2003

I was talking about Keith Richards.
-- DeathNinja, Aug 14 2003

Stones don't kill people, but a gun totin' stone might.
-- Detly, Aug 14 2003

This is good. It could also apply to timber offcuts, odd socks/shoes, and those strange screws left over from the assembly of flat-pack furniture.
-- egbert, Aug 19 2003

With a large enough database, we could glue back together gravel and beaches of sand into their original strata.
-- FarmerJohn, Aug 19 2003

as a young girl I worried about saving big rocks (honestly) they get smaller but you can't put them back together again. (I have not thought about this for a very long time and someone will now tell me I have laboured under a misapprehension all these years). this rocks!
-- po, Aug 19 2003

But what if we could make some sort of slurry of many, many very, very small rocks and binding agent which, after exposure to some environmental variable, congealed into a strong matrix fitting tightly into whatever gap we wanted to fill?! We could then almost take for granite that any spot in a wall could be touched up. The notion of this type of product might, right now, be merely abstract -- but what if it were manifest? Wouldn't it be gneiss?
-- n-pearson, Aug 19 2003

You just haven't an apatite for it.
-- bristolz, Aug 20 2003

As I pyrite this, trying to galena smuch info as I can, I can't help but find this thread as Igneous as a beryl of monkeys, even though it's a gypsum might think.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Aug 20 2003

-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Aug 20 2003

Geode the good puns are taken. On that note I think I'll go get my friend Chrysocolla. Agate it for him 'cause he can't seem to find anything at flourite. I guess, the idea of adventurine in a dark cupboard has been givin' nephrite to him. So I'll probably install a sodalite for him.
-- sartep, Aug 20 2003

Talc about a bad idea. You'd have too much trouble getting ones to fit round agate. Which reminds me of the time my brother's dog died when a rock fell on him - but he never did treat his labradorite anyway. I don't know if I have the apatite for any more punnery - but saphire so good.
-- goff, Aug 20 2003

*Bangs Gravel* Pun-ishment is 20 years in the Gulag, hitting rocks.
-- thumbwax, Aug 20 2003

Best wishes to you all. I have to go.
-- sild, Aug 20 2003

I see that the punning gangue has been here and totally smelt up my idea.
-- Fussass, Aug 20 2003

Delete the off-topic stuff.
-- bristolz, Aug 20 2003

That [bris] - she's a real diamond, hard outside but I bet she has a runny core.
-- PeterSilly, Aug 20 2003

its a mantle alright
-- po, Aug 20 2003

(attempting to steer the giant rolling conversation pun boulder back toward the idea) So, how would you have us measure rocks? Please pick up the nearest stone and tell us the exact dimensions. Then feel free to hurl it at anyone listed above.
-- Worldgineer, Aug 20 2003

its ovoid. 4cms across the middle. 6cms vertical. its pretty pinky/rhubarb with little lines. smells - nil. smoooth ever so smooth, I get the feeling that the sea has washed it clean and satin like for millions of years. <swings arm and throws towards [lurch]>
-- po, Aug 20 2003

How do you define "middle"? Is this the center of gravity or geometric center based on some orientation? How do you define "vertical"? Is this the furthest distance between any two points? Is it perfectly ovoid? Is it ovoid through any cross section taken through the "vertical" axis? What color are the lines? What are the number, and dimensions of these little lines? Did you kill [lurch]?
-- Worldgineer, Aug 20 2003

oh behave, world! <g> it was a gift - chucked at lurch.

ovoid pebble. 4cms diameter in centre (equator) and 6cms from north pole to south.

little spooky chip at top - left to right - probably used by a neanderthal woman in capturing her male - forcing him back to her cave and having her way...
-- po, Aug 20 2003

Lucky caveman. My point was more that it's impossible to completely describe a rock, and getting people to even come close will be difficult.
-- Worldgineer, Aug 20 2003

[lurch] is not my caveman if that is your meaning.

I appreciate your point. rocks / stones are not easy to describe. lets begin here. you start, world.
-- po, Aug 20 2003

[po] Not sure I get your meaning. If you mean I should create a system of describing rocks, I must refer you to my 3-d camera idea.

If you are suggesting I describe a rock I will have to admit that my cubical is devoid of rocks. Wait, I have some glass rocks in a vase. This one looks like a clear marble with blue interior stripes that some marbles have. It looks like it's been heated up and slightly smooshed, and now resembles a chinese pork bun. It's largest dimension is about .4", and it's smallest dimension is about .3".
-- Worldgineer, Aug 20 2003

No, the database will certainly have to have rock-mapping ability. You'd buy a RockMapper and connect it to your PC, put your rock on it and let RockMapit do all the work. A 3D image is created for each entry and physical data is recorded. For any rock you upload that fits a need, you get a rock of equal or lesser value but different material, color or shape of course. You can get an exemption on any rocks currently used in structures on your property but you must map all loose and/or decorative rocks.
-- Vexxy, Aug 20 2003

a system for describing rocks...
-- po, Aug 20 2003 almost as exciting...
-- Worldgineer, Aug 20 2003

-- po, Aug 20 2003

a flying
-- Worldgineer, Aug 20 2003

Yeah, yeah. I wanted to congratulate [Fussass] for smoothly taking this idea to 11 with that last sentence.
-- bungston, Aug 20 2003

<groggily looking around>Hey, what happen? Oh, new rock! It pretty!<collapses again>
-- lurch, Aug 21 2003

hey man, you were meant to catch it. wow thats one egg on your head, sorry.
-- po, Aug 21 2003

It's OK, [po] - skull's pretty thick, and you couldn't know I wasn't paying attention. I'll keep this one, and grab the mano from my metate to chuck toward [Worldgineer]. Haven't got quite the arm to get it to [UB], I'm afraid.

For a wall-building application, <now fearing more incoming stones at the practical turn> consider that you don't really try to fit the rocks to a perfect fit. If you mortar the stones together, you need some space for the mortar. So how about the stone provider measures his stone, and produces a definition of the simplest possible polyhedron (not necessarily convex) that would totally contain the rock, and be at least 95% filled. The stone user produces a definition of the simplest possible polyhedron that fits in the hole, and occupies at least 95% of the space. Now you can take the destination polyhedron and run a match against those possibilities in the database, picking the best rock.

If you need to have some uniformity, I would imagine that a small amount of data could characterize the strength of the rock (fracture strength scale, like Moh's hardness scale), and maybe a litte bit to talk about color, and some for rock type category.

If you're trying to restore Gondwanaland, this won't be sufficient.
-- lurch, Aug 21 2003

(Snatches rock from [beauxeault] and, presence of sin be damned, hurls it at [po].)
-- angel, Aug 21 2003

Could the 3-D picture idea be extended to capture an image of the hole that needs to be filled as well as the rocks themselves? Then the computer can match the two.

A 3-D meshed outline of the hole would appear, and accurately coloured models of various available rocks would flit by at high speed. Then, amidst much bleeping and frantic tapping of keys, the closest match rock would be rotated to provide the best fit in the hole. Areas of interference would be highlighted by a flashing red mesh and a calm female voice would inform the assembled team of a "99.995% match". This is how it would be done in the movies, anyway.
-- egbert, Aug 21 2003

<classic cricket catch - 6" from ground><howzat?>
-- po, Aug 21 2003

(crash) (bang) (thump) Damnit, [lurch] - that window was closed. And you killed my coworker. Work on the aim.

Any chance you could have a nice VR interface to really be able to examine rocks before purchasing? Heads up, [UB]! (hurls rock then wanders off to grab office supplies from dead coworker's desk (mmmm, he had donuts))
-- Worldgineer, Aug 21 2003

Frontiersmen are used to making do with whatever random materials are in the immediate vicinity - any old rock for a wall, cow chips for plates, poisonous spiders for buttons etc. This system will allow even Australians to raise the bar for the quality of rock structures. [UB], I would think that a denizen of a country consisting mostly of rocks would be proud to catalog these, presenting them for best effect. It occurs to me that a similar system could be used for poisonous spiders.

Not sure about those volcanic bombs, but we had a volcanic bum hanging out around here last year.
-- bungston, Aug 21 2003

I was going to post an idea for a robotic stone mason, but this idea (plus annos) pretty much covers it. A clever enough robot would be able to build dry-wall (ie cement free) which would be a nice change from the cement-wall-with-a-smattering -of-stones that passes for masonry these days.
-- xaviergisz, Oct 08 2009

Not unlike Tetris.

Come to think of it, perhaps the addictive quality of Tetris could be exploited to crowdsource the //search ... for the best fit//
-- mouseposture, Apr 27 2011

//I'd watch a documentary on it// - I was imagining something more like a gameshow - "Celebrity dry-stone-walling", or something.
-- hippo, Apr 27 2011

-- nineteenthly, Apr 27 2011

This is starting to look like some kind of national ID cards system, for rocks.

Is this a likely area for extremist infiltration?
-- not_morrison_rm, Apr 28 2011

//some kind of national ID cards system, for rocks.//

Someone's taking Albert Einstein seriously about the the next world war but one being fought with stones. So, in addition to the International Atomic Energy Agency, we will also have the International Stone Agency, responsible for maintaining a database of all stones, everywhere.

This will ensure that only a few countries are allowed stone weapons, while permitting others to have stones for peaceful purposes, and above all, will verify that no Soviet-era Russian stones turn up on the black market in, say, North Korea.
-- mouseposture, Apr 28 2011

//Not unlike Tetris.// Leave no stone unturned?
-- Worldgineer, Apr 28 2011

//others to have stones for peaceful purposes//

But what about those dual purpose stones? And Hans Blix of the UN Stone Inspection Team stumbling across...."oh, that, that's just a pebble" says their government minder..
-- not_morrison_rm, Apr 29 2011

[!m_rm] Good point. Clearly Tuvalu, being a coral atol, will enjoy a rare and enviable immunity from American invasion.
-- mouseposture, Apr 29 2011

Rocks & Rolls! Have a croissant [link]! +
-- csea, Apr 30 2011

random, halfbakery