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China Vows to Stop the Rain 214

Posted by samzenpus
from the way-ahead-of-the-germ-warfare-division dept.
Since the Olympic stadium doesn't have a roof, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau has been given the task of making sure the games remain dry. According to Zhang Qian, head of weather manipulation (best title to have on a business card ever) at the bureau, they've had success with light rain but heavy rain remains tough to control. I see a hurricane cannon in some lucky country's future.
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China Vows to Stop the Rain

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  • I can just imagine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:03PM (#22249950)
    what the post-opening propaganda will be like if that day turns out to have sunny blue skies...
  • by Fysiks Wurks (949375) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:04PM (#22249964)
    He always wanted to know "who'll stop the rain?" The Chinese.
  • So they can control the rain. But where does all of that energy go?
    • Re:Action/Reaction? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:13PM (#22250146)
      They don't actually *stop* the rain. It's most likely cloud seeding and similar... removing all the water from the clouds by making it fall early one way or another. Now, large scale weather manipulation is bad... but a few weeks in one city isn't going to hurt anything. Yea yea, butterfly effect and all... but also dynamic equilibrium.
  • What in the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordKaT (619540) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:05PM (#22249982) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one seeing this retarded mess of a theme on idle.*?
    • by mugnyte (203225)

        no. i'm seeing it as well. caught me off-guard, but i'm waiting to see if its a fluke or a permanent change.
      • Re:What in the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

        by orclevegam (940336) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:31PM (#22250428) Journal
        Yeah, my first reaction was "WTF!?!?" so I went and checked some other articles to see if it was a new site design or something, but it looks like it's just this article.
        • by crymeph0 (682581)
          No, it's all of idle.slashdot.org [slashdot.org].
          • by AmaDaden (794446)
            After looking at that page I'm getting the feeling that the Idle section is going to get more and more Diggish. So my question is did someone at Slashdot HQ hit commit early or is this the finished product?
          • by HTH NE1 (675604)
            I've been watching it slowly evolve. I think it is supposed to have an unpolished feel, though I liked the variation of the Slashdot logo with the peeling "t" better.

            This is though the first Idle story I've seen on the front page!

            Now if I could only get the Firehose to default to listing all submissions like it used to by default instead of only stories. ?fhfilter= treats the empty value as equivalent to ?fhfilter=story. (I also use &color=indigo as undetermined parts of my client-side stylesheet preven
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lulfas (1140109)
      It's ugly and weird and scary :(
    • by croddy (659025) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:16PM (#22250196)
      holy hell man this is the ugliest theme i have ever seen. make it stop!!!
      • by xaxa (988988)
        I think it's much nicer if you have the low-bandwith (or something) version, I don't see half the stuff that is showing in a screenshot elsewhere in the comments.

        Having said that, the "Post Comment" form is now about 1/6th the width of my (wide) screen and on the far left, so that needs fixing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Exactly my thoughts. First the retarded comment system, now this. Looks like Sourceforge Inc is desperately trying to save on server costs by losing visitors.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Thelasko (1196535)
      Eyes... Burning...Must... Make it stop!
      *smashes monitor*
    • by ajs (35943)
      Yeah, it's pretty broken. My guess is it's a just a bug. From the comments of previous posters it seems like it's universally sucking in all browsers, so it's not just a case of having tested with the wrong browser.

      • It's definitely strange and bizarre, but I don't see anything actually broken in Konqueror. Haven't tried in anything else, though.
      • by mobby_6kl (668092)
        Ahrrrr! My slashdot, what are they doing to it!?!?

        The layout doesn't seem to be broken in any way other than concept, being a Web 2.0 Layout (TM). I mean, check out the rounded corners gradient semi-transparent overlay "Headlines from Slashdot" boxes to the right of the story text. Stuff doesn't just break and end up looking that way.

        This looks like a bunch of digg users hacked slashdot and redesigned it according to their screwed up sense of what a website should look like. To their credit, it renders fine
    • by Cerberus7 (66071)
      Since this is apparently the "bitch about the layout" thread...

      The topic icons look like ass with a non-white background.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AmaDaden (794446)
        Yeah. They were clearly designed to be on a white background. If the background of the actual story was white I would not have a problem with this layout it. Well besides the initial "What happened to my Slashdot!" factor and a few small size issues.
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      It's nostalgic. It really shows off the impressive one-bit transparency of the category icons. That combined with bad usability and weird positioning everywhere really makes me feel like it's 1998.
    • by jez9999 (618189) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @04:30PM (#22251610) Homepage Journal
      You must be new to Slashdot. You know how most site developers have a local copy of the site that they test on and then sync to the main site when they're finished? With Slashdot, that's the main site.
  • by elyk (970302)
    Any of you ever played that game? This reminds me of a quote by the evil genius: "Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about the weather. Well, I'm going to do something about it".
  • by randyest (589159) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:07PM (#22250034) Homepage
    I think I'd prefer to get wet or use an umbrella than breathe the horrible smog [guardian.co.uk] that blankets Beijing. In fact, the rain is often the only thing that reduces the smog and air pollution for a shirt while.

    NPR had a story about how they're forcing 1/3 of the cars to stay off the road and shutting down a bunch of factories to try to reduce the air pollution for the olympics. Maybe just letting (or making) it rain, instead of stopping it from raining, would do even more good.
    • by powerlord (28156)
      The other one I heard is how olympic athletes were debating practicing in high Smog areas so they would be better prepared for the conditions. :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by DataBroker (964208)

      I think I'd prefer to get wet or use an umbrella than breathe the horrible smog [guardian.co.uk] that blankets Beijing. In fact, the rain is often the only thing that reduces the smog and air pollution for a shirt while.

      Wired actually had an article, Smog and Mirrors [wired.com], about this exact same thing. They actually wrote the opposite of TFA:

      And there's always the Hail Mary play: cloud seeding. Should air quality threaten to steal the show, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau promises to have its fleet of clo

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jellie (949898)
      In a strange (?) coincidence, China is experiencing blizzards that have severely hindered their railway system [nytimes.com] due to the difficulties of shipping coal. It might not be that bad come summer time, but who knows. It might help them realize that their dependence on coal is infeasible. And maybe the US should take heed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheGavster (774657)
        What sort of energy supply *isn't* affected by a blizzard? Anything that uses fuel relies on transportation links, and everything else relies on geography. Blizzards take down the thousand-mile power lines that get wind and solar to cities just as easily as they take down a train. I would say that shipping coal across a country is actually probably *better* than shipping oil halfway around the world.
        • Three words:
          Personal Nuclear Reactors
        • by MorePower (581188)
          I haven't heard of blizzards disrupting natural gas (which makes much of our electricity here in California). Natural gas is generally "shipped" long distance in big underground pipes.
      • The US railroad industry has been dealing with blizzards for more than a century - they have very few (if any) problems. There's nothing for them to 'take heed' of.
        • by jellie (949898)
          That was mostly in reference to burning coal, as China has been accelerating its production of coal power plants - and this will make its smog problem even worse. Its energy supply, like in this case, would be severely affected by disasters. I was also saying that the US should take heed of its own dependence upon coal or any one source of energy (I do realize that coal is a smaller percentage of the energy in the US than in China). Yeah, my post was confusing.
    • by Trogre (513942)
      If the problem is as bad as people are claiming, it sounds like they'd be better off keeping those cars off the road, and the factories closed well after the games have ended.

  • So that explains the snow...
  • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:10PM (#22250086) Homepage Journal
    Not exactly 'new' tech...the silver iodide version's been around forever, and the liquid nitrogen version doesn't sound particularly revolutionary.

    It does, however, go along with the Chinese cultural desire to control the elements, which heretofore has been embodied mostly with the rivers--the legendary "Yellow Emperor" was the first to stop the flooding of the Yang Tze; the current government has thrown massive resources into the Three Gorges dam. Controlling the rivers has been traditionally (as far as I recall, anyway) seen as evidence of controlling the land, and thus of being a legitimate government.

    Controlling the rain, then, would be an extension of this.
    • by sethstorm (512897) *

      Controlling the people has been traditionally (as far as I recall, anyway) seen as evidence of controlling the land, and thus of being a legitimate government.
      Fixed that for you.
      • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:39PM (#22250576) Homepage Journal
        Controlling the water means you control the people, as well--remember, China has been, traditionally, a largely agricultural country, dependent upon a certain flood cycle.

        If you control the rivers, you control the land they feed and drain. If you control the feeding and draining, you control the people who need that feeding and draining to survive, and to grow food. If you control the people who grow food, you control the people who need food--and that's more or less everyone.

        It all comes back to the water.
    • Controlling the rivers has been traditionally (as far as I recall, anyway) seen as evidence of controlling the land, and thus of being a legitimate government

      Well, as far as I've read, vicious floods or droughts were seen as signs of disfavor from the powers-that-be.

      So lack of floods or droughts is a sign of divine favor. Regardless of what good works an empire can achieve, a few years of horrible floods leads to revolution (or coup with popular support).

      Of course, one could say that the real issue is th

    • It does, however, go along with the Chinese cultural desire to control the elements, which heretofore has been embodied mostly with the rivers--the legendary "Yellow Emperor" was the first to stop the flooding of the Yang Tze; the current government has thrown massive resources into the Three Gorges dam. Controlling the rivers has been traditionally (as far as I recall, anyway) seen as evidence of controlling the land, and thus of being a legitimate government.

      Using that ancient example to imply Chinese

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:12PM (#22250114)
    Chinese military transport aircraft will take off from Beijing loaded with kids and gigantic loudspeakers. You will hear chants of "Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Back Again Another Day".
  • I highly doubt it - they're more likely to be able to get human rights (and not by some economist's perversion of it) improved to US/Canada/EU levels.

    I (and a non-ignorable amount of others) will boycott these Olympics.

    • by pembo13 (770295)
      awe. poor pity.
    • That's it, now that you are boycotting the Olympics, they will surely cancel them.

      Yet another example of the Chinese government caving in to the pressure from a random slashdotter
  • What is the Best Part of Being a Super Villain?

    One weather controlling, doomsday device, please!
  • that's how rain making works with silver iodide

    with that effect in mind, china has a surefire way to stop the rain: stop producing so much particulate matter

    turn off the coal plants in may

    by 8/8/8, you're good to go
  • by Laguerre (1198383) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:26PM (#22250352)

    Zhang Qian, head of weather manipulation (best title to have on a business card ever)
    Mad scientists can't start out being James Bond villains. This seems like a great place for an aspiring mad scientist to work, fresh out of mad grad school.
  • Vote:

    *All your weather are belong to us
    *Only old North Koreans need dry stadiums
    *In Maoist China, rain drops YOU!
    *Imagine a Beijing-Wolf cluster of dry stadiums!

    and the obligatory

    *I for one welcome our new weather-controlling communist overlords
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MarkGriz (520778)
      Not a meme, per se, but this brings a whole new meaning to "Hacked by Chinese"
  • He says that during his Live in Red Square concert, it looked like there was going to be a storm, and officials sent a bunch of fighter jets scrambling over them causing the clouds to disappear, and soon after, it was a warm, sunny day. The story was much more detailed than that. It involved some official giving him assurance that the weather would be good on the day of the concert and other bits. A lot more interesting than I am able to recall right now.

    I wish I could remember when he said that, I could po
  • As the recent example in California shows, it never ever rains in an area where there are wild fires. Simply set the area around the stadium on fire and it will practically guarantee that there will be no rain. If a few clouds do gather, they can be easily dispersed by exploding a dozen or so nuclear weapons directly above the stadium
  • whatcouldpossiblygowrong?
  • by henrypijames (669281) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:44PM (#22250690) Homepage
    This thing isn't new at all: Eighteen years ago, at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing, the organizers already managed to control the rain quite successfully. For instance, the opening ceremony which would have been disrupted by rain without intervention, ran smoothly in fairly sunny weather instead.

    The technique is simple: Detect in advance the clouds which could cause rain in Beijing, then send airplanes to spread special dust particles to cause those clouds to rain immediately, thus "empty" them before they reach Beijing.

    I'm quite convinced the Chinese aren't the only ones who's done this.
    • They do this at the SLC International Airport. The airport is prone to getting thick fog in the winter time, so they will seed the clouds to cause the moisture in the air to bind, causing a very light drizzle instead of blanketing the area with thick fog. It's not perfect at all, but for intents and purposes, it works wonderfully.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Nope, it is done in the US to encourage rain to fall on the best areas. Like fields rather than cities. Texas is doing it and so are other states I'm sure. http://www.license.state.tx.us/weather/weatherfaq.htm [state.tx.us]
    • How do you know that it wouldn't have been sunny "without intervention"?

      Also, RTFA, their techniques don't involve airplanes (they use anti-aircraft guns), and calling what they send to the clouds "special dust particles" is like, totally non-informative.
  • Apparantly [sptimes.ru], the soviets worked this out for the Goodwill Games in 1994.
  • ...the rain stops you
  • That story was disappointing. I was hoping to hear something more exciting, like they've been sending their spy satellites over Alaska for the last 15 years, spying on the activity at HAARP, and have built their own, that's twice as big, and powerful enough to do almost anything they'd like.. Like, they could give a nice big rain storm a couple days before the Olympics, and then let it dry out for the people. Like, It'll be comfortable. (not dusty, not wet). Maybe induce just enough cloud cover so it
  • by EdBear69 (823550) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @05:01PM (#22252248)
    So if they stop a hurricane in China, does that mean a butterfly here will stop flapping its wings?
  • Perhaps heat. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by foxtrot (14140) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:10PM (#22256194)
    Believe it or not, the United States already has this technology. And it's in the hands of the rednecks.

    There's a stock car track in Bristol, TN that holds 165,000 people, and has 43 800+ horsepower cars running around an oval just a shade over a half mile long. This generates a lot of heat-- body heat, engine heat, heat from tires cornering on concrete fast enough to turn fifteen second laps. Enough heat that, as long as the race is still running, rain clouds can blow over Bristol, drench the entire city with rain, but the pocket of high pressure due to the heat (and possibly some counter-clockwise swirling motion due to the cars) will keep the rain from passing directly over the track.

    If the caution flag flies and the cars slow down for too long, thus slowing the heat output and cooling the track, the rain may start to fall on the track, but it takes one heck of a storm to make the rain fall while the race is green-flagged.

    -F
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @10:43PM (#22257016)
    I don't like to rustle up fear where none is needed, but you can start wars with that kind of imperial over-confidence.

    Seriously. After having had a long discussion with a very propagandized Chinese student who was filled to the brim with all kinds of English-hating, One-China, Taiwan-is-ours, imperialistic lunacy which is being fed wholesale to the half billion horney and doomed-never-to-have-wives young male population, I got a bunch of the bad chills and had to change my prosaic views on what China was all about.

    This weather manipulation thing is almost certainly propaganda for its own people designed to instill even further levels of insane national pride.


    -FL

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