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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 ?
At one end of the scale, women are poised to reap the whirlwind of the financial storm.
But read it one should, with the hope that in the end justice will prevail, before both the United States and Israel reap the whirlwind for their perfidy in bringing the Middle East to the dangerous crisis point it faces today.
Today we reap the whirlwind from such apathy with prescription drug side effects now deemed the world's third biggest killer.
Meanwhile, if rising prices do spur regulation, for the oil companies it will be another acting out of a biblical principle: sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
By abetting judicial activism, the Republican segment of the pro-life movement may sow the wind only to reap the whirlwind.
The other day in Hosea (my present lectio text), God said to faithless Israel: "They shall sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.
The Germans had sown the wind, he said, and would reap the whirlwind.
When we reap the whirlwind, do we see what we have sown?
Once before, we ignored the humanity of men and women in an institution called slavery, and today we still reap the whirlwind for that national sin.
Harris, after all, was the man who warned: 'They have sowed the wind and now they will reap the whirlwind.
This time it was the turn of Jean Tigana to reap the whirlwind of Fayed's patronage.
If we don't treat that very tough, we're going to reap the whirlwind.