The binary beer
What do you think of when you see your empty beer-glass in front of you? Right: it could be full. This is ok with me, you seem to be no techie. Would you have taken up the essence of the binary world through your umbilical cord, your first response would be: Beer=1, noBeer=0 - hey, what a great way to exchange messages in a bar! Rows of full and empty beer-glasses representing zeroes and ones, a wonderfull virtual world!
No, I am not drunk - yet.
While building a computer out of lined-up beverages might be a bit off mainstream, expensive and a never acceptable misappropriation of digestible goods, some tech-kids made the youtube-charts with a presentation of their computer built from stone and dust in the virtual world of minecraft.
As Wired Magazine reports, some geek called Ben Craddock (or theinternetftw in his world) built a computer entirely out of the virtual matter redstone. When redstone is destroyed it forms redstone dust, which itself can be used to build wires with two possible states: powered and not powered - voila! The binary code.
While Craddock and others are building very basic prototypes of 'derivative-computers', it will get exciting, when more advanced material is entered into the game. It is not necessary, to rely on binary code alone - the analog computer is shadowed by the success of binary, but nature takes advantage of it's special properties - and built that still not replicated supermachine: the brain.
If the nerds in virtuality pick up on this and use analog signals (sound, wind, force,...) to build an operating machine ... and if the building blocks they design can be packaged, miniaturized and reused by others for even more complex meta-machines ... who knows, maybe one day something starts thinking or even feeling - on either side of the screen.