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China Claims Score In Weather Manipulation

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the home-field-advantage dept.

Earth 147

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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FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544033)

First post

The Score. (1, Troll)

twitter (104583) | about 6 years ago | (#24544539)

China 1, Environment 0. Really, they kept it from raining in one spot for all of one day. The cost was 10 cm of rain somewhere else and 1,000+ rockets worth of crap dispersed all around them. It's demonstrations like that that show the wisdom of sustainable living. The alternatives are clearly insane.

On tomorrow's agenda... (4, Interesting)

Jophiel04 (1341463) | about 6 years ago | (#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]

Re:On tomorrow's agenda... (2, Interesting)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 6 years ago | (#24544177)

The smog in China could be a tourist attraction itself. I have shown people photos just so they can see the smog engulfing the city skyline.

No where in the world have I seen smog like China, it is a unique sight.

Re:On tomorrow's agenda... (4, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 6 years ago | (#24544349)

"No where in the world have I seen smog like China, it is a unique sight."

It's dramatic but unfortunately it's not unique. Half a century ago the west were suffering pea-souper's [wikipedia.org] of our own. Here in Melbourne Australia we have smog from bushfires during most summers, the summer of 06-07 was exceptionally bad with most of December looking like a bad day in Bejing.

Re:On tomorrow's agenda... (2, Informative)

johndmartiniii (1213700) | about 6 years ago | (#24544641)

We have the same in Cairo in November from the rice-straw fires in the delta. The air is just black/gray in the morning and hangs. It is probably the reason for something that they expats collectively refer to as Cairo Lung.

Re:On tomorrow's agenda... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24545655)

... only November? (Visiting Cairo on a vacation trip in the middle/end of October)

Re:On tomorrow's agenda... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24545677)

Some history books say that such smog was the case in LA right up until the late 1970's or so. (I'm sure there's still old photos around showing how a thermal inversion turned the city skyline into a nasty looking heavy brownish-yellow haze.) It was pretty much the entire reason why emissions standards (and the tougher CA emissions standards) were invented. China has the manufacturing down on methods they've borrowed from the Western world, but apparently they neglected to observe the lessons learned in the West regarding the problems of industrialization. (All the pollution and shit that goes with it.) At least they don't have to start from scratch, just need to get off their asses and copy current emissions controls and standards from the West. Sure, it may make manufacturing and transportation more expensive and restrictive, but in turn the payoff is that people can be more productive if they're not hacking and coughing from lungfuls of soot or whatever.

THERE IS NO SMOG., (4, Funny)

Inominate (412637) | about 6 years ago | (#24544289)

That's just mist. It'd just evaporation and humidity. Stupid American propagandists.

Re:THERE IS NO SMOG., (1)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#24545345)

This is not flamebait if you've watched the TV at all..
You can barely even SEE the background when they zoom out for a stadium or area view of the places...

Re:THERE IS NO SMOG., (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 6 years ago | (#24545749)

Moderators who marked this flamebait; look up, there's a joke passing over...

Re:On tomorrow's agenda... (1)

tristian_was_here (865394) | about 6 years ago | (#24544295)

They had to fire them rockets otherwise the rain would of melted the entire stadium.

Re:On tomorrow's agenda... (3, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | about 6 years ago | (#24544431)

That's not smog, that's smoke from the rain dispersal rockets (which clearly weren't used for the women's road race.)

Re:On tomorrow's agenda... (1)

StarfishOne (756076) | about 6 years ago | (#24544981)

Apparently they were testing the reaction of the spectators on the idea of Olympic water cycling. ;)

But respect for those women for cycling so long and so fast on such thin tires during the kind of weather they encountered.

Although there sadly were some accidents. :(

Re:On tomorrow's agenda... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544501)

They hardly used the technology for the Women's Road Race which ran through torrential rain and even flooding problems.

Re:On tomorrow's agenda... (1)

markov_chain (202465) | about 6 years ago | (#24547325)

Women in wet shirts? Hello? :)

The most controlled Olympics ever? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (3, Informative)

dwater (72834) | about 6 years ago | (#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....

How natural. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 6 years ago | (#24544521)

World's most crowded place is devoid of people without crowd control. It's a miracle.

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (3, Interesting)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (5, Interesting)

gringer (252588) | about 6 years ago | (#24544765)

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

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

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (2, Insightful)

DeadDecoy (877617) | about 6 years ago | (#24546817)

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 created.

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (1)

linzeal (197905) | about 6 years ago | (#24547665)

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]

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (5, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | about 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 6 years ago | (#24546967)

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.

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (4, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | about 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (1)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#24545603)

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.

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (1)

jjackalb (574662) | about 6 years ago | (#24546067)

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.

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#24546423)

Or they realized that the women's road race would probably get better ratings with the rain...

Re:The most controlled Olympics ever? (1)

jjackalb (574662) | about 6 years ago | (#24546037)

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.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (5, Insightful)

Tom90deg (1190691) | about 6 years ago | (#24544089)

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:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (3, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | about 6 years ago | (#24544129)

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

Well, it's worked for me so far.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 6 years ago | (#24544185)

And hey, if you get bored you can always swallow some of the nutmeg and THINK that the aliens are kidnapping you.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#24544331)

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.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

Migity (1199059) | about 6 years ago | (#24544745)

I usually use two squigs...but I think cinnamon works better.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544823)

Iminplaya, I would like to buy your squig of nutmeg

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24545623)

Cool
  So now we've also proved Aliens have a nut allergy.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (3, Informative)

denzacar (181829) | about 6 years ago | (#24544157)

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:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 years ago | (#24545537)

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're having flooding. Correlation does not imply causation, but tampering with chaotic systems is generally considered to have unforeseen consequences - which is why we call them 'chaotic'. They're confusing because they're complicated.

Remember, the most complicated computer systems in the world are used for what? Nuclear blast simulation, computational fluid dynamics/carbon fiber modeling/stealth/other highly repetitive modeling tasks, and climate modeling. About which I know next to nothing except that it keeps some very fast computers very busy.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (4, Insightful)

Joebert (946227) | about 6 years ago | (#24544171)

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:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544637)

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.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 6 years ago | (#24545575)

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

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

noidentity (188756) | about 6 years ago | (#24545769)

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.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (5, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | about 6 years ago | (#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 :)

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (4, Informative)

Heian-794 (834234) | about 6 years ago | (#24544239)

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.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 6 years ago | (#24544749)

This guy [framehousegallery.com] has your guy beat by 600 years. He used ceremonial fires that were built on the mountain tops.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 years ago | (#24544791)

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 going to help. Rain is always going to come eventually so clever confidence tricksters can always win.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (5, Funny)

value_added (719364) | about 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

wickerprints (1094741) | about 6 years ago | (#24544677)

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.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 years ago | (#24545041)

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.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

jacquesm (154384) | about 6 years ago | (#24544415)

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

(GCRIP).

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544263)

it's impossible to prove a negative, prooving these rockets lower rainfall isn't. They could get some strong circumstantial evidence for the efficacy of their meteorological interventions by showing a correlation with below average rainfall where they've applied the rockets. Who'd believe them though? There's 'the truth' (shakes head) and 'The Truth' (nods vigorously).This is China we're talking about here.

oblig (1)

AlexCGilliland (1287054) | about 6 years ago | (#24544265)

I have a rock which keeps tigers away

Ob. Simpsons (3, Funny)

ElMiguel (117685) | about 6 years ago | (#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]

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

syousef (465911) | about 6 years ago | (#24544405)

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:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (2, Insightful)

dwater (72834) | about 6 years ago | (#24544453)

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.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 6 years ago | (#24544617)

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 on about how proud of china he his, if he thinks its so great maybe he should go live there a while. It seams to me that the rich kids living in west have got a fairly good dose of 'patriotism' that's rendered them blind to human rights abuses.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544437)

I understand what you're saying, but it's not exactly correct.

It's hard to prove the negative of something that almost never occurs. Similarly, it's hard to prove the positive of something that almost always occurs.

The point being, it's hard to show direct correlation when the desired outcome is the one that occurs "naturally".

In this case, they're claiming they prevented rain. If it rained everywhere around them (and weather reports indicate it did), but not on the area they attempted to prevent rain; then the likelihood of direct correlation is higher. By comparison, if they claimed they prevented rain, and it *did not* rain anywhere else; we would doubt their claim.

See what I mean?

As a side note, I suspect it's easier to prevent rain than to cause it (which is what you're talking about). To prevent rain, you just need high pressure to prevent rainclouds overhead. Causing rain is a different matter, you need to create proper moisture and temperature conditions in the atmosphere.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

Garse Janacek (554329) | about 6 years ago | (#24545971)

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 sample size. Nevertheless, 0% is a lot lower than the average chance of bad weather when no weather-control attempts were made, so there is an observed correlation, albeit with a rather large margin of error. But from a statistics/uncertainty point of view, this still conveys positive information (i.e. all else being equal, it increases the expected probability that the claim is true), whereas the nutmeg example conveys no additional information at all.

Real confirmation would require additional tests using the same method, to achieve a satisfactory degree of certainty. But it's actually very easy to prove a negative: just do the same thing 10 times in a row, and see if it always works. Or, if you're skeptical, 20 times. Or however many times a statistician tells you to. This is the same method that is used in practically any medical research, so unless you think it's very hard to prove that vaccines prevent polio, this situation is no different.

Also, as another reply pointed out, this isn't a "rain-making" program, and the theory behind keeping existing rain clouds out of a particular area is very different (and possibly on sounder footing) than making clouds appear when they weren't already there.

Re:Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#24546615)

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%.

China... (0)

denzacar (181829) | about 6 years ago | (#24544117)

...will grow larger.

Re:China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544221)

Nationalism will bring us victory!

Re:China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544527)

China has been generous!

Re:China... (4, Funny)

kvezach (1199717) | about 6 years ago | (#24544245)

Warning: Weather control device activated!

Must have forgot to fire them today (3, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | about 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Must have forgot to fire them today (1)

jjackalb (574662) | about 6 years ago | (#24546405)

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.

Confucius say (4, Funny)

Provocateur (133110) | about 6 years ago | (#24544139)

He who controls the weather, reigns supreme

Thanks, I'll be here all week!

Re:Confucius say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544783)

It's time to replace Soviet Russia jokes with Communist China.

Re:Confucius say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544899)

In Communist China, the weather controls YOU!!

Re:Confucius say (1)

martyb (196687) | about 6 years ago | (#24544849)

Quoth the parent:

Confucius say:
He who controls the weather, reigns supreme

He who controls the weather, rains supreme

Fixed that for ya. :)

Re:Confucius say (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24547535)

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

Re:Confucius say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24545667)

Dealing with the consequences of weather -- particularly flooding -- has been a part of Chinese culture back to legendary times.

The mythical emperors of the past are remembered for their flood control projects. When Chinese miners came to the US west, the earned the hatred of American miners by extracting gold from abandoned claims. Part of this was that building efficient, small scale hydraulic projects was second nature to a Chinese farm boy.

Attempting to actually control the weather doesn't seem quite so quixotic in a country which has struggled for thousands of years to survive and prosper in the face of alternately too much and too little rain.

This weather machine is a tad anti-climactic ... (1)

The Sith Lord (111494) | about 6 years ago | (#24544159)

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

Re:This weather machine is a tad anti-climactic .. (1)

archont (1215492) | about 6 years ago | (#24544285)

Yeah, they should just stick with the nukes. The weather machine belongs to the allies.

Re:This weather machine is a tad anti-climactic .. (2, Funny)

Frnknstn (663642) | about 6 years ago | (#24546063)

"This weather machine is a tad anti-climatic"

There, fixed that for ya.

good thing for those million made homeless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544211)

by their forced relocation to rebuild the city for the olympics. No rain to deal with.

In Soviet Russia (0, Offtopic)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 6 years ago | (#24544241)

In Soviet Russia, the weather manipulates you.

Wait, this is not right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544249)

I was convinced it was the allies who had that tech.

In other news... (2, Funny)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | about 6 years ago | (#24544369)

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

International implications? (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 years ago | (#24544537)

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?

Re:International implications? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 6 years ago | (#24545359)

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.

John Stewart said it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544551)

"How do you know when a country has become a superpower? When the have superpowers"

Who'll stop the rain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544581)

Yep, worked real well... It's currently pouring with rain here in Beijing and has been for most of the afternoon. I guess they just stopped it for the opening ceremony and didn't bother about the rest of the events. Hah, yeah right.

Having lived in Beijing, I can tell you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544585)

Xinhua says a lot of things.

global warming, everyone panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544591)

By creating clouds in one place they are cooling the air there, which granted 2% more clouds globally would reverse any effects of global warming, but meh.

When you have cold air in one place and warmer air in another it will move, pulling warm air towards the poles and cooler polar air towards the equator to be warmed. This can affect climate on a global scale providing large enough regions are being done.

As the warmer equatorial air is forced towards the poles, it will melt the ice, as the cooler polar air is moved towards the equator it will warm from more direct sunlight. Storms will form, the earth will die.

Ok maybe I dont write for the MSM but I could with tripe like this! bonus: my captcha is concoct

We do this routinely in North America (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544601)

Waste (0, Troll)

NJVil (154697) | about 6 years ago | (#24544701)

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, the firing of rockets does nothing to help with global climate issues.

Meanwhile droughts and floods ravage other areas of China. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DEED7113BF93BA15753C1A96E948260 [nytimes.com]

Re:Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544799)

Boo Fucking Hoo. Outer Crapistan has a drought, so nobody better spend any money on having a good time.

1988 called... (2, Funny)

znerk (1162519) | about 6 years ago | (#24544933)

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.

Re:Waste (1)

jcnnghm (538570) | about 6 years ago | (#24546361)

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

Re:Waste (1)

icegreentea (974342) | about 6 years ago | (#24546441)

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.

Re:WTF your quoted article is from 1988 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24546521)

Are you going to find some news article in 1888 about China and say China is still being ruled by some imperial court?

Re:Waste (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#24546671)

It may be a lot, but it's also like half a yuan per Chinese.

Rain control tunnel vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544797)

It rained during the US women's beach volleyball game against Japan. Where were your anti-Rain missles then? (I guess it didn't rain *that* much)

I can see what this will eventually turn into, a story on StumbleUpon. "In the 2008 Olympic games China deployed thousands of anti-Rain missle launchers and converted AA guns to stop weather clouds. In 2012 Olympics, Great Britain built a roof over their buildings.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24544859)

I wonder if all of their nice weather is the cause for all of the freak thunderstorms over North America lately...

Good news: China ran out of rockets! (1)

kanweg (771128) | about 6 years ago | (#24544935)

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

Bert

another person who claimed weather control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24545651)

Wilhelm Reich did many experiments on weather control many years ago and, hard as it is to believe, most of the time his "cloud-buster" actually worked.

Beijing as seen by a meteorologist (3, Informative)

ctwxman (589366) | about 6 years ago | (#24547479)

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.

Rains affect on air quality. (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | about 6 years ago | (#24547487)

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.

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