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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 ?
Reaping the Whirlwind provides the first comprehensive profile of the Taliban in the 21st century.
For years she has been sowing the wind and now she is reaping the whirlwind.
We are clearly reaping the whirlwind of mistakes by both London parties.
Summary: In Thailand, the forces that sowed last year's wind are now reaping the whirlwind.
No doubt the Prime Minister is reaping the whirlwind of his own legacy from his Chancellor days, but who in the Government would be crazy enough to want to take over not just a poisoned chalice, but what is the biggest cauldron of social and economic woes seen for decades, if he were to be knocked off his perch?
Highquality power pop of this sort doesn't come along every day, and the superdrilled Heroes hit targets with finesse and style, reaping the whirlwind on Flying and zeroing in on the goggle box on Television Sucks Me In.
All children need to know where the line is and also what happens if they step over it, but we are now reaping the whirlwind in the mushrooming number of reported incidents of youth misbehaviour if not downright criminal acts.
The Government is also reaping the whirlwind of its determination to tell a good story at the last election.
The way house prices escalated in the first years of her government and the almost total lack of provision for affordable rented accommodation is a case of reaping the whirlwind.
They are reaping the whirlwind of discontent and unhappiness and concern.
Canadians have sown the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind of a religious and moral breakdown in the face of hedonism, consumerism, and "me-ism", as Cardinal Ambrozic calls it.