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Earth Technology

China Claims Score In Weather Manipulation 147

Posted by timothy
from the home-field-advantage dept.
hackingbear writes "Despite prior skepticism over effectiveness, China claims successful application of weather intervention to ensure a stunning Olympic opening ceremony, according to a report by the official Xinhua News Agency: 'We fired a total of 1,104 rain dispersal rockets from 21 sites in the city between 4 p.m. and 11:39 p.m. on Friday, which successfully intercepted a stretch of rain belt from moving towards the stadium,' said Guo Hu, head of the Beijing Municipal Meteorological Bureau (BMB). While there wasn't a single drop of rain over the National Stadium — also known as the Bird's Nest — during the opening ceremony from 8:00pm-12:00am on August 8, the weather services said that Baoding City of Hebei Province, to the southwest of Beijing, received the biggest rainfall of 100 millimeters Friday night, and Beijing's Fangshan District recorded a rainfall of 25 millimeters."
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China Claims Score In Weather Manipulation

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  • by Jophiel04 (1341463) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @05:37AM (#24544041)
    Would be finding those darn smog dispersal rockets.

    Olympic cyclists had a hard time coping with the combined effects of the humidity, temperature, and smog laden air and visibility of the flame cauldron was barely a mile.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/trackandfield/columns/story?columnist=caple_jim&id=3475952 [go.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 10, 2008 @05:41AM (#24544065)
    Not only is the weather being controlled but so are the people. For the first time ever the Olympic road cycling course was deserted [news.com.au]. The silence freaked out quite a few of the riders, who are used to Tour de France conditions, where the spectators go berserk.
    • by dwater (72834) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @07:16AM (#24544433)

      I watched it on tv too, and wasn't surprised that, on some parts of the course, there were no people there - I've been there, and it's quite a difficult place to get to even when the roads are open...of course, the roads would be closed for the races.

      I wonder what the locals do....

      • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @07:57AM (#24544557)

        locals? I don't think you'll find many locals left in Beijing near the Olympic stadium. From the news that gets out it seamed like a robocop style Olympic village build.

        • by gringer (252588) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @08:51AM (#24544765)

          Sure, they're there. Just look behind their big walls:

          http://omoikane.minstrum.net/one-world.jpg [minstrum.net]

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DeadDecoy (877617)
            That picture looks more like an anti-China pr piece, than anything else. If you look closely at the image, the wall isn't very long, tall or comprehensive as the photographer is able to get a picture of the disparity on foot. Sure, it's conveniently placed to hide the more impoverished parts of the town, but I don't think it's unreasonable that they want to present their best face to the world. If they were super totalitarian, they might have just relocated that person, preventing said image from being crea
            • by linzeal (197905)
              What do the people of China want though? It seems like they want a democracy and maybe we should start thinking about what that means. [fpri.org]
            • by Mashiki (184564)

              Sadly it's not anti-China, it's the current reality of the Chinese government to it's own citizens. Any place where they haven't removed a neighborhood for complete development yet(read re-commercialization gets a wall). That is, one vision of their world imposed. The old world view is obsolete along with the citizens who are below the poverty line; Thus an eyesore and must be purged to further the idea that they've done a great job of cleaning everything up.

              These types of people are an embarrassment to t

        • by dwater (72834) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @08:57AM (#24544787)

          1) the event wasn't near the olympic stadium....it was from Beijing city up to the great wall.
          2) the people who were claimed to 'live' where the stadia were built were most likely migrants that were squatting there illegally - it is very common in BJ.
          3) there *are* locals living right near the main stadium - there are blocks of flats right next to the village occupied by locals. The flats are very similar to the one I lived in until a couple of months ago.
          4) Do you *really* believe what you're shown/told on the news? If living in China has taught me one thing, it's to question what you're told. I thought that I knew this before I went there...but now I am back in 'the west', I find the amount of (apparent) BS on the news (particularly the BBC) quite disgusting - it seems they go knowing what to look for and if they find it, they don't look for reasonable (or even unreasonable, but culturally different) explanations...they just go 'ooh, look at the aweful Chinese; aren't they bad'. It's pathetic, sometimes (seems to be getting better now the games are actually running though).

          All, my opinion though...and I seem to be in a minority in this respect on /., so I guess I'll be moderated troll or flamebait, because that's how people will respond....which isn't my fault.

          • by DigiShaman (671371) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @01:34PM (#24546967) Homepage

            Media manipulation is a global phenomenon. Just about every country has their own agenda with it. For example in China, the media is controlled to protect the CCP and maintain control of the populous through mis-information. In the USA however, the media is all about the cultural "shock value". The more shock, the higher your ratings become for profit.

            If anyone thinks there is a shred of honor left in any of the media conglomerates would be sorely mistaken. It's about bending, shaping, and molding the premise which to base the news on to achieve the predefined objective.

            • by dwater (72834) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @01:51PM (#24547181)

              > in China, the media is controlled to protect the CCP and maintain control of the populous through mis-information

              That's not my experience. It's more like they know to avoid certain topics. I was told that it's very different to how it used to be too - it's now all kind of unwritten, unlike a decade or so ago when it was a much more direct level of control.

              ...but, yes, media should be questioned and distrusted at all times, IMO - they just don't put the effort in to find the real history behind what they find. They're just lazy now - want quite results.

              I recall a recent BBC story where they were searching for Chinese arms in Dafur. I mean, they weren't looking for arms from anywhere else. Eventually, after much effort, they found a couple of lorries (trucks), and they called that a success. Pathetic.

              To be fair, they did 'discover' that the Chinese had sold them fighter jets before the embargo, which they said was understandable, but that the Chinese were still training them.

              I find myself with many questions: 1) is that all? 2) did they 'sell' the training with the jets and so it's also prior to the embargo, 3) what about all the other weapons that the Sudanese were using?

              I am not the most well educated person, especially when it comes to politics and such like, but if *I'm* coming up with these questions, surely they must too; but they weren't addressed, so I ended up writing the report off as biased.

              I find it happens a lot these days. They come to a 'conclusion' before all the (obvious) questions are answered.

              • "I am not the most well educated person, especially when it comes to politics and such like, but if *I'm* coming up with these questions, surely they must too; but they weren't addressed, so I ended up writing the report off as biased."

                Perhaps you should start by asking why a BBC journalist would risk his life for such a "pathetic" story.
                • by dwater (72834)

                  I think I did. It is for money and/or some desire to point the finger; evidence of bias within the bbc.

                  I mean, I could understand trying to find out where the sudanese get their arms from, but they explicitly went in with the objective of finding evidence to blame the chinese. They found very little evidence of anything, and yet still found that conclusive. It seemed clearly biased to me. I mean, almost everything is made in china these days, even trucks/lorries. Where do the rest of their weapons come from

                  • "It seemed clearly biased to me"

                    I did not see the show so I can't really give an opinion as to how biased the show you saw was. Since you haven't provided a link I don't even know if it was a BBC reporter, or just a independent doco broadcast by the BBC (a big difference there). Yes the BBC is biased against China's arms sales, it is also biased against UK arms sales [bbc.co.uk], in fact I'd say the BBC is very biased against arms sales [google.com.au]. Since the BBC is meant to report NEWS in the public interest then I think that
                    • by dwater (72834)

                      > Since you haven't provided a link

                      I'm pretty sure it was this one : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/7493934.stm [bbc.co.uk]

                      Reading the comments, it seems I am not alone in seeing the bias in it, and the lack of *conclusive* investigation.

                      Actually, it seemed to me that they did investigate how the Chinese trucks and aircraft ended up there and that they were sold and delivered prior to the arms embargo, so that's to their credit. However, they still concluded that China were somehow to blame for all t

                    • "would be interested in a series by the BBC about the atrocities perpetrated by the British"

                      I found about 24 relevant articles and broadcasts using the BBC search function. How can I belive you when you say "they haven't anticipated obvious questions", have you bothered to search the rest of the BBC or are we still judging the entire organisation from one show?

                      "I had been brought up in the west with the opinion that the Tian'anmen Square events were some sort of 'massacre', and yet, when I try to find
                    • by dwater (72834)

                      > How can I belive you when you say "they haven't anticipated obvious questions", have you bothered to search the rest of the BBC or are we still judging the entire organisation from one show?

                      Well, I *am* talking specifically about this show since it's the most recently obvious example, but it is just one data point since I have watched plenty of BBC shows. I've not seen any shows about British atrocities that I can recall. Perhaps it's just my memory - or perhaps they've done them at times when I don't

                    • I sat on my couch and watched tanks drive over barricades and into people, they were obviuosly killed. I don't have the video because it happened 20yrs ago, all I can say was that I did not watch it on BBC since I am Australian and we didn't get BBC here until cable TV was introduced in the 90's.

                      The wikipedia entry also mentions tanks...Around four or five the following morning, June 4, Charlie Cole reports to have seen tanks smashing into the square, crushing vehicles and people with their tank treads.
                    • by dwater (72834)

                      Well, thanks for the data point. Of course, I don't know you from Adam, but it's something to make me look for more info or at least consider another angle to the whole thing.

                      I don't really remember the time. I can't even recall where I was ... 1989 ... I was 23, so not young by any means. I wish I could remember, though it would be in the middle of the night in the time zone I was in...

                      If you find any video online, be sure to share :) I'll have a look, of course, when I get a moment...

                    • by dwater (72834)

                      Well, I've not found any significant evidence of what you describe. Your account is the most explicit about the tanks killing demonstrators. Nothing much in the Wikipedia, but notably this which suggests things weren't as one-sided as is suggested by the media in general :

                      "Leaders of the protest inside the square, where some had attempted to erect flimsy barricades ahead of the APCs, were said to have "implored" the students not to use weapons (such as molotov cocktails) against the oncoming soldiers."

                      The B

                    • "In any case, I still am unable to conclude that it is a one-sided 'massacre' as is typically suggested. I started to suspect it wasn't as I had been lead to believe after watching the BBC video[1] where protesters burn soldiers alive in their vehicle."

                      Neither side has a monopoly on the truth and both sides must take the blame for the actions of their members. The video I saw of the tanks/APC's was probably from the ABC, ABC is Australia's version of the BBC and in my experience a trustworthy news source
                    • by dwater (72834)

                      > The video I saw of the tanks/APC's was probably from the ABC ..but what you saw was supposedly live, right? Difficult to beat live video, I think. I'll have to look it up.

                      About 'sides'...I don't expect the news orgs to be 'a side' as such and so I expect them to report the events. As I read more and more on it, their reports *do* seem more un-biased than I imagine. However, I have still the impression of the "Tian'anmen massacre" - basically the government just killed a load of peaceful protesters. I w

                    • I do agree that western media routinely portray the incident as a one sided massacare but I also think that the BBC have done more than most to dispell that myth. I'm glad you are open minded enough to give them a second look.

                      I also would recommend an organisation called "reporters without borders". My only real opinion on Tibet is that I would like China to allow the BBC and others reasonable access to the area.
                    • by dwater (72834)

                      > but I also think that the BBC have done more than most to dispell that myth

                      Well, I'm not so sure. Reading their reports, things seem much more unbiased, but when you hear the general commentary on the subject, over the years, I don't think so - but perhaps that's just that their reporters (who weren't actually there at the time/etc) have had the same 'whatever' (general media coverage, I guess) that caused me to have the opinion that it was a one-sided massacre.

                      I guess I would also like China to allow

            • by -benjy (142508)

              Media manipulation is a global phenomenon. Just about every country has their own agenda with it.

              "Of course the government and the media lie. The key is that in a democracy, the lies are different."

                      -Roughly paraphrased from memory. I believe it came from a Steve Jackson game.
                   

    • by houghi (78078)

      Perhaps they just don't give a damn about cycling and they might be smarter then the people I have seen in front of my house when I still lived in Antwerp, Belgium, when the Tour de France passed there. Setting up camp and car in the morning, waiting for the tour to pass. Shout for about 30 seconds as they pass. Pack up and go to the next place for the next day.

      I know if I would be interested, I would watch it on TV.

      • by jjackalb (574662)
        I'm an avid cycling fan and I agree with you. The sad part is that here in Beijing the local population turned out in force to watch the race. After the peloton rolled by, most of them stayed in place as if expecting there to be something more -- there wasn't of course. Its really too bad the road cycling course didn't at least make a few loops in the city to make it a little more worthwhile to watch. Getting to the wall to watch the loops was impossible -- at least for me.
      • Or they realized that the women's road race would probably get better ratings with the rain...

    • by jjackalb (574662)
      I tried getting to the finishing loop. No luck. Many roads were and still are closed and the drivers have a hard enough time understanding what you want to do even when the roads are open.
  • by Tom90deg (1190691) <Tom90deg@yahoo.com> on Sunday August 10, 2008 @05:44AM (#24544089) Homepage

    It's very hard to prove a negative. You could also claim that a squig of nutmeg around your neck will prevent alien abductions.

    The tests of various rain-making programs have been more or less a wash. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, or to look at it a diffrent way, sometimes it rains and sometimes it does not. I'll believe it when they can A) stop rain on demand, or B) start rain on demand. If you can't do either, sell your snake oil somewhere else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by iminplaya (723125)

      You could also claim that a squig of nutmeg around your neck will prevent alien abductions.

      Well, it's worked for me so far.

      • And hey, if you get bored you can always swallow some of the nutmeg and THINK that the aliens are kidnapping you.
      • by KGIII (973947)

        I wear a medical bracelet. Err... It is a bit personal but it isn't for anything major, I wear it because I don't want them to give me narcotics. (Yeah, I have a history of abuse.)

        Anyhow, I also have a daughter. This is not verbatim probably but should be close enough...

        Daddy, why do you wear that bracelet?
        So I don't get trampled by elephants at the circus.
        Daddy! Of course you won't.
        How do you know? ...
        See? It has worked so far.

        Kids are great.

      • by Migity (1199059)
        I usually use two squigs...but I think cinnamon works better.
    • by denzacar (181829) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @06:01AM (#24544157) Journal

      I'll believe it when they can A) stop rain on demand, or B) start rain on demand.

      A) They did stop rain on demand.
      B) There is quite a difference between dispersing clouds that are already there and creating clouds out of nothing.
      And any system that be able to effectively deliver water on demand would probably be far more expensive than digging a ditch and letting water flow through it.
      Unless you are thinking of something like this at 5:00. [youtube.com]
      That might work... with some changes to the laws of physics.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Just to put myself firmly in the crackpot camp, there was heavy chemtrail activity the day when the California fires began due to widespread heat lightning, in turn blamed on high temperatures and extremely low humidity. The idea of cloud seeding is to make the moisture fall out of the sky.

        There's long-time evidence that cloud seeding works, and that "more is more" (as opposed to "less is more".) So there's no particular reason why you shouldn't believe that the seeding worked. On the other hand, now they'r

    • by Joebert (946227) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @06:04AM (#24544171) Homepage
      Let's stop and think about what makes up a rain cloud for a moment.
      It's essentually just a bunch of water vapor suspended in the air with some dust particles.

      Eventually the air becomes soo saturated that the water vapors combine and become too heavy to say airborne, turning into rain.

      One thing I've noticed living here in Florida for 20+ years where it's quite moist is that it seems to rain on almost every holiday where there's
      a) Masses of people BBQ-ing
      b) Masses of people setting off fireworks

      Both of these activities fill the air with excess dust particles, which eventually crowd the area where water vapor accumulates quicker than happens naturally & causes the rain to fall. I think it happens like that here in Florida because of the relative humidity. I believe the same thing would happen in for instance, Seattle where it's very wet.

      Given the Chinese are using rockets, I think there's a very good chance they actually can control the weather, to a point. It's kinda like detonating land mines before troops get to them, except in this case it's all about making the rain fall before it gets to the place an event is being held.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        One thing I've noticed living here in Florida for 20+ years where it's quite moist is that it seems to rain on almost every holiday where there's
        a) Masses of people BBQ-ing
        b) Masses of people setting off fireworks

        Whilst it sounds plausible, the smoke from these would tend to hang close to the ground, or at most, within a few hundred feet of the ground. Not up where the clouds are. Put another way, if you stuck your nose up around the clouds and took a sniff, you wouldn't smell smoke.

        That it rains when people want to BBQ and set off fireworks is probably due to an entirely non-scientific effect: Murphy's Law.

      • The few times I've been to Flordia, I've noticed that it tends to rain just about everyday around 5PM.

      • One thing I've noticed living here in Florida for 20+ years where it's quite moist is that it seems to rain on almost every holiday where there's

        a) Masses of people BBQ-ing
        b) Masses of people setting off fireworks

        Both of these activities fill the air with excess dust particles, which eventually crowd the area where water vapor accumulates quicker than happens naturally & causes the rain to fall.

        Sounds more like Murphy's Law. It's a holiday and people out enjoying themselves, therefore it will rain.

      • by sjames (1099)

        The best way to limit rain in Beijing would be to order everyone in the neighboring cities to wash their cars and have a picnic.

    • by jamesh (87723) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @06:14AM (#24544213)

      The tests of various rain-making programs have been more or less a wash. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't

      We've been doing cloud seeding since the 60's or so here in Australia. It works under a fairly specific set of circumstances. You need clouds that are 'bursting at the seams' and are going to drop their rain at some point in the very near future. Given such clouds, you drop silver iodide into them and you'll increase the chance of the rain event happening now rather than a bit later, and probably increase the volume of rain too.

      You'll never get rain out of air that just doesn't have enough moisture in it to begin with though.

      And you can't stop it raining somewhere, except by coaxing the clouds into making their rain somewhere else first, which is what I think China did (or what I think China think they did :)

      • by Heian-794 (834234) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @06:25AM (#24544239) Homepage

        This guy supposedly did it a century ago:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Hatfield [wikipedia.org]

        Supposedly Hatfield noticed that it would frequently rain on battlefields somewhat after the fighting had died down. Extrapolating from this, he considered that perhaps something in the explosions was affecting clouds overhead.

        Unfortunately, his chemical formula died with him, but it's an inspiring story if he really did come up with this idea himself and actually put into practice.

        • This guy [framehousegallery.com] has your guy beat by 600 years. He used ceremonial fires that were built on the mountain tops.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dbIII (701233)
          In 1902 the same thing was being down reasonably close to the middle of Australia. One of the vertical cannons used (Stiger Vortex Gun) now sits at the front of a Boy Scout hall. This was inspired by similar guns used in Italy in 1901 to prevent hail.

          Apparently even now it is very difficult to say whether seeding any paticular cloud will work or not and if it does whether it would have rained anyway. There are a lot of variables so I'm not sure if "mysterious lost secrets from a dead master" are really g

      • by value_added (719364) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @07:08AM (#24544401)

        Given such clouds, you drop silver iodide into them and you'll increase the chance of the rain event happening now rather than a bit later, and probably increase the volume of rain too.

        I'm wondering, from a purely technical point of view, whether this technique would be appropriate for the smug clouds known to exist over parts of Los Angeles. And if so, would you get rain, or an increase in the smugness index?

        • I'm wondering, from a purely technical point of view, whether this technique would be appropriate for the smug clouds known to exist over parts of Los Angeles. And if so, would you get rain, or an increase in the smugness index?

          I don't know if you live in Los Angeles, but in case you haven't noticed, people here are pretty damn smug enough as it is.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)
          You would have to disperse clouds of mustard gas over Los Angeles to have any hope of an effect on the Smug clouds. Odds are, even that would result only in the proliferation of color-coordinated NBC suits.
      • by jacquesm (154384)

        A rain event ??? Well, I hope I can get tickets to that :)

        (GCRIP).

    • by ElMiguel (117685) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @07:04AM (#24544381)

      Or, to put it in a more Slashdot-friendly way:

      Homer Simpson: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.

      Lisa Simpson: That's specious reasoning, Dad.

      Homer: Thank you, dear.

      Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.

      Homer: Oh, how does it work?

      Lisa: It doesn't work.

      Homer: Uh-huh.

      Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.

      Homer: Uh-huh.

      Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?

      [Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]

      Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

      [Lisa refuses at first, then takes the exchange]

    • by syousef (465911)

      sell your snake oil somewhere else

      The free to air TV network that has the rights to broadcast the Olympics in Aus are selling a $4000 commemorative jacket in a frame.

      Anyway fuck the Olympics. It has become a moneymaking scam, nothing more. The difference between the top 10 places in some sports is seconds (for events that last hours). It's no fun to watch anyway when they're so close to the limit of human ability that it's so damn close.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dwater (72834)

        I think it's more than that in this case.

        I've seen more tv programmes (inc news) about Chinese culture in the last week (controversial and not) than most of my life. This has to have a positive effect on the west understanding China generally.

        • There are only so many ways you can 'understand' a government that relies on using fear & violence against its own people. As for Chinese culture, well its sort of cute in a historical sense but when the government can declare Maoism is 70% right (the last 30% seams to contain a lot of corruption, oppression and capitalism) you have to wonder how much of the culture remains untainted. Is it a cultural tradition to not talk about the 4th of June or to have only one child?

          I have a 'Chinese' friend going o

    • You could also claim that a squig of nutmeg around your neck will prevent alien abductions.

      That's not really how the math works out. The problem with nutmeg vs. aliens is that there is no observed correlation, that is, the observed frequency of abductions is the same with or without the nutmeg (I'll approximate this frequency as zero). Same with a tiger-repelling rock, etc.

      With the weather example, the observation is that the weather was as desired, i.e., a 0% chance of bad weather over a very small sa

      • How do you measure what the "chance of rain" was? Just because you roll a six doesn't mean your "chance of two" was 0%.

  • ...will grow larger.

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @05:52AM (#24544121)
    I just watched the womens road race where they could have swapped bikes for canoes, the rowing is cancelled and several other events have been postponed because of rain.
    • by jjackalb (574662)
      There was an absolute deluge around 4:30pm local time in Beijing. Thankfully they were handing out ponchos left and right at the events to help deal with the weather. I feel sorry for the outside events -- the inside events were hard enough to get to and from.
  • by Provocateur (133110) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @05:57AM (#24544139) Homepage

    He who controls the weather, reigns supreme

    Thanks, I'll be here all week!

    • by martyb (196687)

      Quoth the parent:

      Confucius say:
      He who controls the weather, reigns supreme

      He who controls the weather, rains supreme

      Fixed that for ya. :)

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No, you don't have to explain things here, this isn't digg :-)

  • ...
    It just doesn't have the "super villian-y" vein we expect from a super power ...

  • by SleepyHappyDoc (813919) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @07:01AM (#24544369)

    The polar bear repellant has kept the streets of Beijing free of polar bear activity.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Sunday August 10, 2008 @07:55AM (#24544537) Homepage

    The system in use does not prevent rain, it just makes it fall elsewhere. Assuming for a moment that the system will get better, and perhaps we will be able to control other aspects of the weather like wind or temperature, I can see weather control becoming an international issue in the future.

    One country could blow smog away over another, or prevent it from entering their airspace. What if two neighbouring countries have different ideas, or one decides to wreck the other econnomy (deliberately or otherwise) by preventing rainfall over their neighbour, perhaps by "stealing" it for themselves?

    • by couchslug (175151)

      It would be useful for countries with high demands and large watersheds to intercept water, and the motivation need not be malevolent.

      In the choice between ones own people and others, it is logical to care for own-side first.

    • by Kagura (843695)
      There have already been legal suits between states in the US over alteration of river flows.
  • by Anonymous Coward
  • Waste (Score:1, Troll)

    by NJVil (154697)

    From NPR: $100 million A low estimate for the cost of the opening ceremony. That's about $476,000 per minute and almost $8,000 per second and more than twice the cost of the 2004 Athens opening ceremony.

    There are many places in the world thirsting for precipitation of any sort and the Chinese are firing rockets to stop rain just so that the opening ceremony of their PR stunt can be free of dampness. I guess that they wanted to guarantee their hundreds of millions in pyrotechnics weren't ruined. Of course,

    • by znerk (1162519)

      They want their article back.

      The article you linked to contains the following dateline: "Published: October 28, 1988"

      Way to keep up with current events.

    • by jcnnghm (538570)

      Perhaps you should move to the places that are thirsting for precipitation so that you can cry them a river.

    • All they're doing is cloud seeding. It makes clouds drop their precipitation earlier than normal. So they try to make as many clouds as possible drop their rain around Beijing, not on Beijing. Same amount of rain/water falling to earth.

      As for cost of their opening ceremony. It's their money. They spend it how they want.
    • It may be a lot, but it's also like half a yuan per Chinese.

  • I saw the women's bicycle race this morning. They got soaked for over 3 hours in heavy rain.

    Bert

  • by ctwxman (589366) <me@@@geofffox...com> on Sunday August 10, 2008 @02:16PM (#24547479) Homepage
    I am a meteorologist. I'm not going to dispute this particular Chinese claim, but I think it needs to be taken in context because the Chinese have not been above stretching the facts when it serves them.

    The weather and air quality have been fairly close to the worrisome scenario painted months ago. I've been checking meteorological observations every day, finding the dew point at Beijing's airport in the mid and upper 70s on a regular basis and visibility of 1-2 miles common (It is currently under 1 mile, but there is rain falling).

    Back in February I wrote on my blog [geofffox.com] of the potential Olympic weather: "So, when the deputy chief engineer of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau says, "Even if the rare extreme weather hits Beijing in August, people will not feel muggy. High humidity will not accompany the hot weather in August because their climax periods are different, " I'd hide the silverware and other valuables."

    Current Beijing observations are here [noaa.gov].

    Dew points (the real number you should look at when you think humidity) have been consistently in the 70s--often the upper 70s. That's like walking around with a warm, damp cloth wrapped around your body. Much of yesterday had Beijing more humid than Miami.

    I would feel better about what the Chinese say if dissenting voices were allowed to speak about the air!

    There is an independent group from Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants in England who have been monitoring the air and issuing their own forecasts which have been much more pessimistic than the official government version. Now that forecast is gone! From Telegraph.co.uk: British scientists monitoring air quality in Beijing have been ordered to close down their website after their readings clashed with official statistics showing the city was meeting its pollution targets.

  • Did I get this right? They wanted to prevent rainfall in Beijing? In recent weeks, after every rainfall the air quality actually improved. You would think they would want some rainfall just before the games to improve the air quality.

  • If their seeding plan had failed, they still would have called it a success because it rained in Beijing and washed away some of the smog. They had nothing to lose!
  • they would have been doing this like mad in sychuicans(sp) region after the earthquakes/rain. As it was, that area was SLAMMED with rain afterwards.
    • You are forgetting..... They don't care about their own people.

      • They ARE afraid of them. Right now, the Chinese gov is a VERY small group of ppl. The military is being changed right now from suppressing ppl, to being able to take on USA for Taiwan. Individuals, they do not care about. Groups of ppl terrify them.
  • There's a heap of "not rain" falling on the Men's Vollyball. One of the cameras got struck by lightning.

    That's the thing about weather control. There are techniques known that given enough effort can apparently alter the weather. The problem is that they're expensive, rather unreliable, and sometimes alter the weather for the worse.

    If the techniques do become more reliable, I predict that it'll be like forest management. If you prevent all fires for a time, you create the conditions needed for a truly devas

  • People have been seeding clouds for DECADES. This is as newsworthy as saying "China Seeds Clouds".

    *yawn*

  • Wholesale messing with atmospherics without the barest understanding of the consequences is asking for trouble. Kicking a chaotic system hard enough to change its state has the power to shift it into a new groove. A new groove of weather that doesn't help humans survive as we have in the old one.

    The Atlantis myth encodes a deep human taboo against messing with the weather as the highest, and most dangerous, exercise in vanity. China is doing an abysmal job protecting the atmosphere from all its other unbrid

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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