Feeds

China aims artillery for a blue-sky Olympics

A silver bullet, not a silver lining

Boost IT visibility and business value

The Chinese government's weather-control programme, more accustomed to bringing down rains on parched crops, has announced a new and ambitious mission. The People's Republic is due to host the Summer Olympics next year, and if the weather dares to defy the commies it will be brought into line by force.

The Asia Times reports that Zhang Qiang, "the top weather-modification bureaucrat in Beijing", has said her office has been experimenting for the past two years with methods of ensuring a blue sky for the Chinese capital in August '08.

China's normal rain-bringer forces operate on lines not unlike the British Territorial Army or US National Guard. Chinese farmers turn out part-time to shoot silver-iodide shells and rockets into passing clouds, which supposedly makes them turn into rain. The People's rainmakers number 32,000 nationwide, and they have a formidable arsenal of 7,100 anti-aircraft guns, 4,991 "special rocket launchers", and 30 aircraft.

"Ours is the largest artificial weather program in the world in terms of equipment, size, and budget," Wang Guanghe, director of the Weather Modification Department, told the Asia Times. The communist cloud-punching weekend warriors have an annual budget between US$60m and $90m, apparently. Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, says 250 billion tonnes of rain was artificially created between 1999 and 2006.

Of course, there's a price to be paid. Despite the fact that the part-time precipitation peasantry undergo "intensive training, lasting several weeks, before they are let loose on the artillery", the Asia Times reports that "cloud-seeding shells and rockets have sometimes gone astray, damaging homes and injuring inhabitants. Only last year a passer-by in the municipality of Chongqing was killed..."

Presumably, the cloud-busting cannonade will be delivered well upwind of the actual Olympic facilities next year, minimising the chances of the athletes and spectators being mown down by stray rounds in an inadvertent silver-iodide barrage. Anyway, the commies say the accident rate is way down over the last few years.

Zhang says that normally there would be a 50 per cent chance of "drizzle" in Beijing next August, but she's quietly confident that her crack force of regional rain-busters can eliminate that. But the commissar of the clouds warns that even the People's Republic isn't infallible.

"A heavy downpour will be impossible to combat," she said. "We try our best, but there are no guarantees of success."

Much more from the Asia Times here. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?