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"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is."
- Isaac Asimov

Smartcoral Reef  
  An artificial coral reef that pulls water in for use in large communities.  

I really enjoyed his characterization of the engineers who created this artifact. They seem to be completely devoid of any sort of emotional connection to nature; they just know what sort of mathematical models to use to simulate it, if that's what the client wants.

Source Victoria's air intakes erupted from the summit... like a spray of hundred-meter-long calla lilies. Blow, the analogy was perfected by an inverted tree of rootlike plumbing that spread fractally through the bedrock of New Chusan, terminating in the warm water of the South China Sea as numberless capillaries arranged in a belt around the smartcoral reef, several dozen meters beneath the surface. One big huge pipe gulping up seawater would have done roughly the same thing, just as the lilies could have been replaced by one howling maw, birds and litter whacking into a bloody grid somewhere before they could gum up the works.

But it wouldn't have been ecological. The geotects of Imperial Tectonics would not have known an ecosystem if they had been living in the middle of one. But they did know that ecosystems were especially tiresome when they got fubared, so they protected the environment with the same implacable, plodding, green-visored mentality that they applied to designing overpasses and culverts. Thus, water seeped into Source Victoria through microtubes, much the same way it seeped into a beach,

From The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson.
Published by Bantam Books in 1995
Additional resources -

Until recently, artificial reefs were very clumsy creations. Pick a large object, preferably something that floats (like an old destroyer). Tow it out to the desired location, then scuttle it. Voila! Instant "coral" reef. However, marine scientists in Lee County, Florida, have been working on creating species-specific reefs to attract popular game fish.

They started by asking local fishermen where they found red grouper, and examined the bottom; they found that red grouper prefer low-profile hard-bottom areas exposed limestone that are pocked with holes and crevices. Red grouper also spend time in sand channels that run through the limestone. Divers will place 12- to 18-inch-wide concrete slabs of varying surface areas to create a space that red grouper prefer. This strategy may have to suffice us until a more "smart" form of coral is developed.

Where is this reef? Its location is being kept secret for two years so scientists can measure the effectiveness of the strategy. Or maybe they just want their own private fishing spot.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Diamond Age
  More Ideas and Technology by Neal Stephenson
  Tech news articles related to The Diamond Age
  Tech news articles related to works by Neal Stephenson

Smartcoral Reef-related news articles:
  - Seawater To Cool Downtown Honolulu
  - Synthetic Coral To Clean The Seas?
  - 3D Printed Prosthetic Coral

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