Saturday, May 10, 2008

Elemental force

Here's another superbly written article from down-under. This one from two senior science reporters of the Sunday Age, John Elder and Stephen Cauchi, with a well chosen title: Elemental force and a relevant photo of lightning hitting Sydney by Jeremy Somers:
The theme of the article is nicely laid out by the famous quote of the 19th century American writer Charles Dudley Warner: "Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it." (Being that we are now in 21st century and in the midst of all kinds of climate and weather hoopla, may be we could slightly modify the later part of the quote by inserting an additional word as ". . . nobody does anything meaningful about it.")

The article grabs a reader's attention from the very first paragraphs:
THE sky is so big, we are so small. Even when gathered together in our billions, the human tribe is like so much fish food dotting the bottom of an immense aquarium. When things get stirred up, we can either duck for cover or get washed away. And if the great pool was to dry out, we'd turn to dust.

Such is our nervous relationship with the weather.

When it turns bad — really bad — it can take days just to realise the sheer size of the attendant devastation.

Of course that leads to the major current event:

Look at Burma. Last week, on May 4, news agencies reported that at least 241 people had been killed by a cyclone. On May 5, the death count stood at 4000. As of yesterday, there was talk of it reaching 100,000.

Sure, this was Burma, where an oppressive regime makes it hard for the outside world to know what's really going on at the best of times. On the other hand, a cyclone is like a blender, turning everything in its path to a rough soup.

And also referencing to a familiar historical one:
Five days after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, the death toll was said to be 70,000. Later it was found to be at least three times higher. But consider this: not only were many villages and towns wholly flattened, it is thought that a number of islands had actually been moved some metres and re-set upon the seabed like flowerpots.
So an early punchline:
The darkly absurd paradox was that as we struggled vainly to get our heads around the scale of the annihilation — this was, after all, one of the most ruinous natural disasters on record — there were immediate calls for clever human intervention so it would never happen again.

Time passed and these fearful pleas died under the weight of an intuitive reality: there isn't much that can be done if and when the natural world turns against us.

The fundamental belief that we can save ourselves from the weather doesn't seem to be there.

Well, no can do! But smart cookies can, of course! Hence human intervention. Yeb, human intervention! Isn't that every presumed altruist powers that be are dreaming to do under their power? A couple of cases in point:

Just last week, 11 aircraft buzzed the skies of Moscow, spraying them with nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and cement powder. The aim was to prevent clouds raining on the parade of Dimitry Medvedev, who was sworn in as president of the Russian Federation.

By all accounts, the weather was fine. But was that due to the cloud seeding, or would the weather have been fine anyway?

The Chinese Government certainly believes the former. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology publication Technology Review, the Chinese weather-engineering program is the world's largest, with 30 aircraft, 7000 anti-aircraft guns and 5000 rocket launchers on call to pepper the skies with chemicals.

The Chinese claim they have had good rain control results at events such as the Asian Games in Shanghai, and are preparing for the Olympics opening ceremony in August. That's the wet season for host city Beijing, and statistically there's a near 50% chance of rain.

Two aircraft and rockets from 20 sites around the capital will shoot silver iodide and dry ice into incoming clouds to flush them dry of rain before they hit the Olympic stadium. If that doesn't work, and clouds do come near the stadium, the Chinese will try the reverse: seeding them with liquid nitrogen to ensure they don't rain.

Advanced though the Chinese program is, they consider the Russians world leaders. In 1986, Russian scientists claimed cloud seeding prevented radioactive rain clouds from Chernobyl reaching Moscow; in 2000, they said clouds were cleared from a World War II anniversary ceremony.

Note that only former and current commies will do it. No surprises there. Not to mention that the commie thug leaders in Peiking Palace barbarically uprooted millions of people from their ancestral home with thousands of years history just to make room for the Olympics this year. I am certain George Bush could not care less about that when he foolishly pledged his support of the Olympics. Now the commie thugs want to set "two aircraft and rockets from 20 sites around the capital" to" shoot silver iodide and dry ice into incoming clouds to flush them dry of rain." Let's wait and see what's going to happen.

The Chinese claim they have had good rain control results at events such as the Asian Games in Shanghai, and are preparing for the Olympics opening ceremony in August. That's the wet season for host city Beijing, and statistically there's a near 50% chance of rain.

I am sure that there will be plenty of people impressed by the commie shows. And beyond that they will also goo-goo gaa-gaa about those impressive buildings and skyscrapers in the big cities that money can buy. Can Stephen Spielberg be the only one that see through that the Marxist commie thugs constantly trample the human rights of poor Chinese people? Does anyone still remember the Australians converted the garbage dumps into Olympic park for the 2000 summer Olympic? The civilized way can certainly be done! Civilization is really in the eyes of the beholder. But the saddest thing is for the seemingly civilized people to tolerate the barbarians.

Elder and Cauchi told many of the past and present attempts of weather modifications including pushing the hurricane away. But for civilized world that sort of things going to cause problems as:
But diverting a hurricane presents new problems. "The social and legal issues are daunting," Alamaro has told the British press. "If a hurricane were coming towards Miami with the potential to cause damage and kill people, and we diverted it, another town or village hit by it would sue us. They'll say the hurricane is no longer an act of God, but that we caused it."
I think Hu Chin-tao and Vladimir V. Putin will laugh at these prospects. That's why they will never allow true democratic systems. Sadly there are people in U.S. hate our constitution that guaranteed us our liberty. Because our liberty limits those jerks to impose their mumbo jumbo on us. Well, that's beyond the scope of our discussion of Elder and Cauchi's article foe now. It's a great article. read it here. Let's just simply summarize with the hope that may all powers be disposed at better use of the elemental forces!

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