Friday, August 28, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - Don't know why...

...there's no sun up in the sky...stormy weather?

Not that our rainy season needs any assistance here in Florida, but I thought I'd check out cloud seeding anyway. I know it happens, I just never knew just how it worked.
There have been other attempts to alter the weather throughout history. Heck, even Richard Pryor tried his hand at it.
But really, what we're talking about here is an attempt to plan for rain scientifically. First developed in 1946, sometimes clouds are seeded simply in an effort to make it rain (...sorry, rap video strip club moment...it will pass...) when rain is otherwise scarce. Other times, especially in modern times, foreign nations seed clouds in an attempt to make it rain sooner rather than later, or to keep fog and hail at bay around airports. When a special event, like the Olympic opening ceremonies in Bejing, could potentially be ruined by rain, China seeded clouds during the week before the event so the skies are just too pooped to rain the day of the event.
Things I like about cloud seeding: First, Dr. Bernard Vonnegut developed the use of silver iodide for cloud seeding, the most popular chemical used in the process. Bernie is Kurt Vonnegut Jr's late brother, and I love me some Vonnegut.
Second, cloud seeding is rife with conspiracy theories. During the Vietnam conflict, U.S. forces seeded the clouds over the Ho Chi Minh trail to extend the monsoon season another month. Funny how at nearly the same time, it rained the entire week of the original Woodstock Festival, 40 years ago. There were some who claimed to see government planes seeding the clouds above Max Yasgur's farm. Of course, there was rumored to be some drug use at said farm that weekend, too, so it probably serves those damn dirty hippies right.
Even today, conspiracy theorists think the cloud seeding is a cover-up for chemtrails, a not-so-secret attempt to control populations by poisoning large sections of the planet. These are, of course, the same people who believe some of the 'clouds' we see are actually supernatural beings sent to eat the chemtrails. (Google 'Sylph' and see what you get!)
Finally, there is the humor at other peoples' expense. While rare in the U.S., cloud seeding is still common practice in Russia and China. Last year, a Russian fleet was seeding clouds with silver iodide and cement powder. Apparently the cement didn't disperse as planned, and a 20-pound chunk of concrete fell through the roof of a rural home. Dumb, dumb chicken little!
On a completely unrelated note, I tried using Blogger's newest editor to post this, and it took WAAAAY too long to piece this together. Call me a creature of habit, I guess.

3 comments:

Sarah J. Bradley said...

Always informative, never imitated...great post Elliott! Have a great weekend!

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Aren't those also the same people who claim we either never went to the moon or that we were there and told by alien life forms not to return?

Samsmama said...

That first picture is excellent!!

Be nice and share!

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