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"...a market economy is essentially a genetic algorithm for solving resource allocation problems..."
- Charles Stross

Water Repellent Surface  
  A surface that water flows over without sticking at all.  

The Fremen were tribal people who lived in the desert that covered the surface of the planet Dune. All moisture was precious; even the water in a person's body was carefully conserved after death.

A splashing sounded on her left. She looked down the shadowy line of Fremen, saw Stilgar with Paul standing beside him and the watermasters emptying their load into the pool through a flowmeter. The meter was a round gray eye above the pool's rim. She saw its glowing pointer move as the water flowed through it, saw the pointer stop at thirty-three liters, seven and three-thirty-seconds drachms.

Superb accuracy in water measurement, Jessica thought. And she noted that the walls of the meter trough held no trace of moisture after the water's passage. The water flowed off those walls without binding tension. She saw a profound clue to Fremen technology in the simple fact: they were perfectionists.

From Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

How did the Fremen do it? One possible approach involves imitating plants with surfaces that have low binding tension - water just slides off. Such surfaces are made from a hydrophobic substance - usually wax-like in character. But "bumps" make it work even better:

Water cannot enter the cavities created by these bumps because the surface is hydrophobic, so the drop is left stranded on a pincushion of spikes. The gap between these spikes means that the drop is mostly in contact with the air, with only a very small part of it actually touching the leaf. This combination of repulsive chemical interactions and the physical morphology of the leaf creates a surface that is capable of efficiently repelling water and generating astonishing hydrophobic behaviour.
(From Water droplets make an impact)

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dune
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Dune
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

Water Repellent Surface-related news articles:
  - Water-Repellent 'Bumpy' Glass Mimics Lotus Leaves
  - Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surface
  - LiquiGlide Coating, Your New Condiment Lubricant
  - MIT's New Super Slippery Surface
  - Laser Etching Makes Metal Super-Hydrophobic
  - New Super Slippery Surface Better Than Nature's

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