The Gaia Theory suggests that the Earth is a single, self-regulating organism. This idea was first tested using a crude computer model called Daisyworld created by independent scientist (yes, there are a few of these left) James Lovelock. Daisyworld explored the possibility of cybernetic regulation using a hypothetical planet completely covered by black and white daisies. An increase in black daisies would raise the planet's temperature, while too many white daisies would lower it. As solar output increased, a balance between heat from the sun and heat loss from radiation needed to be maintained or the planet would die. This simple model formed the basis of the Gaia concept.
Maxis Software, creators of the urban godgame "SimCity," have put their considerable programming skills to the test with "SimEarth," a program that allows users to experiment with Gaian cybernetics. The goal is to create and sustain a planet by balancing complex ecosystems, life forms, civilizations, and resources. You can run preexisting worlds or create your own. An updated version of Daisyworld (now with 12 shades of daisies) is also available as a "SimEarth" scenario. The program makes extensive use of color, graphs, and information windows to communicate complex information. SimEarth is a dense and sophisticated world modeler, yet it's simple enough to be a fun and stimulating, even for beginning players. The 220-page manual provides a quick course in Earth Sciences. If you're interested in bio-cybernetics and/or issues in planetary management, you should check out this program.
"SimEarth" is available for $69.95 in both IBM compatible and Macintosh formats.
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Here is the TEXT POPUP for SimEarth: The Living Planet:
Love makes the world go 'round but a single click in the edit rectangle makes it stop.
The EVENT TRIGGER lets you select and activate various events at various places on your planet. The available events in SimEarth are:
Terraformers are tools for turning Venus and Mars into earth-like planets. They are:
The *Biome Factory* looks at the terrain and climate and starts producing biomes that can survive there.
The *Oxygenator* takes CO2 out of the atmosphere and spits out free oxygen.
The *N2 Generator* is used to increase atmospheric pressure on the planet.
The *Vaporator* spews water vapor into the atmosphere.
The *CO2 Generator* produces CO2 which is necessary for plants to live.
The *Monolith* isn't a Terrorformer, it's an Evolution Speed-up Device (our thanks to Arthur C. Clark).