Comicbook World # 45 Make It Rain, baby...

With events like Hurricane Katrina, flooding in the Northeast and Tsunamis in the far east so fresh on everyone's mind, this probably isn't the best time for scientists to announce they're working on rainmaking technology. I mean, I could see if they were talking about reducing the impact of natural disasters on some Storm from the X-men, get your HERO on type isht, but they're talking about firing lasers into the atmosphere to create rain. That seems mad risky, but maybe it's just me...
Optical physicist Jérôme Kasparian (who reps the University of Geneva, Switzerland all day) has a team working on replacing existing "Cloud Seeding" efforts (which scatter particles of silver iodide into the air to encourage condensation) with his own laser-based alternative. Firing a laser beam made up of short pulses into the air ionizes nitrogen and oxygen molecules around the beam to create a plasma, resulting in a 'plasma channel' of ionized molecules. These ionized molecules could act as natural condensation nuclei, Kasparian explains. The technology, which is still in the early stages, can create condensation in labs and outdoors, but is a long way from creating rain.

"We can only create condensation along the laser channel, so we won't be going out and making rain tomorrow," Kasparian laughs. The next step is determining whether they can create condensation over a wider area, by sweeping their laser across the sky. As much as I like the idea of blasting lasers across the sky, I wonder if scientists are prepared for the side-effects of tampering with the Earth's weather patterns. I mean, if you create rain in one area, how does that effect weather across the globe. Are they prepared for the 'butterfly effect' on this, or are they just geeking at the prospect of firing giant laser arrays into the atmosphere (who wouldn't?!?!).

According to skeptics, I need to ease up... Thomas Leisner, an atmospheric physicist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, isn't buying his tickets on Noah's Ark just yet. "I am skeptical that this could be used to trigger rain on demand," he says. He is convinced the practical uses for their technology will be less spectacular. "They could use the amount of condensation produced by their laser as a measure of water saturation to help forecast the chance of rain..."  He doubts they will actually be able to control weather or produce rain, but might be able to help accurately predict it... now that I'm comfortable with! (read the article here)


Corance said...

I say do it! Sean Connery said, "You must never hesitate." We should apply this to all technologies.

History has taught us that humanity can't destroy itself. If we could, the a-bomb would have done it by now. But, from harnessing fire to industrial pollution, no matter how many of ourselves we kill, accidentally or on purpose, there's only ever more of us.

So why stop at splitting the atom? Let's just go ahead and split the earth itself, and see how powerful we get.

Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god. -Jean Rostand, biologist and philosopher (1894-1977)

Mr. Hawthorne said...

I like how you draw girls.


samax said...

@ Corance- and THAT is why you are not in charge! lol!

@ miggity mike- thanks!

Arkonbey said...

laser weather control: Just seems like a bad idea that seems good on paper. Like introducing Kudzu...

Storm: Still awesome. It's Marvel's loss that you're not doing covers, man.

samax said...

@Arkonbey- right. we need to be concerned about upsetting the balance, such as it is...

as for drawing covers for Marvel, maybe I will someday!

Robert Trujillo said...

I agree.DOPEillo of Storm.Mas, mas.

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