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revolving mass of air resulting from local atmospheric instability, such as that caused by intense heating of the ground by the sun on a hot summer day. Examples of whirlwinds are waterspoutswaterspout,
tornado occurring at sea or over inland waters. The characteristic funnel-shaped cloud is formed at the base of a cumulus-type cloud and extends downward to the water surface, where it picks up spray.
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, tornadoestornado,
dark, funnel-shaped cloud containing violently rotating air that develops below a heavy cumulonimbus cloud mass and extends toward the earth. The funnel twists about, rises and falls, and where it reaches the earth causes great destruction.
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, small whirls of dust or leaves, and the sand whirls of the desert, called dust devils or dust whirls.

What does it mean when you dream about a whirlwind?

To encounter a whirlwind in a dream may indicate that the dreamer has been on a whirlwind schedule. The force and power of a whirlwind might also indicate that the dreamer is being lifted up and placed on an entirely new life path.


A small local tornado in dry air, without clouds and rain. Sometimes called a dust devil.


a column of air whirling around and towards a more or less vertical axis of low pressure, which moves along the land or ocean surface


An early computer from the MIT Research Laboratory for Electronics.

Whirlwind used electrostatic memory and ran Laning and Zierler (1953); and ALGEBRAIC, COMPREHENSIVE and SUMMER SESSION (all 1959).


The first electronic digital computer used in a real-time application and the first to use magnetic core memory. The Whirlwind was originally intended to be a general-purpose aircraft simulator for the U.S. Navy, but evolved into a general-purpose computer that became the prototype for the SAGE air defense system (see SAGE). Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, construction began in 1947. It became operational in the early 1950s.

Its first memory used electrostatic storage tubes that proved unreliable, and in 1953, magnetic core memory was added, dramatically improving performance and reliability. The Whirlwind used 2K words of core memory and magnetic drum and tape for storage. The machine was continually enhanced, eventually using 12,000 vacuum tubes and 20,000 diodes and occupying two floors of an MIT campus building.

Whirlwind's circuit design, core memory and use of CRTs contributed greatly in the making of future computers. Project members later worked on IBM's 700 series. One in particular, Kenneth Olsen, founded Digital Equipment Corporation.

Whirlwind I
In the early 1950s, the Whirlwind was the prototype computer for the U.S. air defense system. It was also the first to use core memory. (Image courtesy of The MITRE Corporation Archives.)

Kenneth H. Olsen
Olsen worked on the Whirlwind and later pioneered the minicomputer industry with his PDP computer series. He founded and ran Digital Equipment Corporation for 35 years until his retirement in 1992. (Image courtesy of Digital Equipment Corporation.)
References in periodicals archive ?
The whirlwind displaced around a hundred families who spent the night in their barangay's covered court, said City Councilor Roland Reyes of Danao.
Dad had purchased a Whirlwind terracer to build dirt terraces on our dryland farm near Perryton, Texas.
The on stage Many moons ago, in 1962 when Eric Gillies played guitar with The Whirlwinds, the band played at Boosbeck Village Hall and my friend Sylvia persuaded me to go with her to see them.
Experts from the Gulf Cooperation Council's member states started here today a debate on a study presented by Kuwait on the phenomenon of dust and whirlwinds.
A WHIRLWINDS were twin-engined, lowwinged planes and very fast for the time.
The desert whirlwinds are typically only a few hundred meters tall and feature 60-km/hr gusts.
Fire whirlwinds develop within, and immediately downwind, of the wildfire, making it virtually impossible to escape the oncoming flames.
But most of us know whirlwinds are fraught with hidden dangers so why do we still let our hearts rule our heads?
So you see the wagons, and the whirlwinds, and the magic carpets, and you also see how it all winds up, in Baenziger's cul-de-sac (the ultimate subdivision housing arrangement), and glass boxes, and washing machines, agitators whirling out across the floor, trapping you in pretty goo.
SEVERAL of our rock and roll loving readers have been reminiscing about the 1960s, Marjorie Livingston from Thornaby has sent in this brilliant photograph of local group The Whirlwinds.
Scientists scanning satellite images of the southern Sahara have detected trails left on the landscape by the whirlwinds commonly known as dust devils, the first such observations made from Earth orbit.
Having sown the winds of this "religious axis," liberal democracy often reaps the whirlwind of the turbulent intermingling of religion and politics that can threaten to upset the "religious axis" itself.