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Energy-Beaming Space Collector To Also Alter Weather?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the don't-microwave-me-bro dept.

Power 274

Recently we covered California utility company PG&E's ambitious deal with upstart Solaren to beam energy to earth from a space-based solar collector. What we didn't know is Solaren's patent also covers the alteration of weather elements with that very same system. "By heating up the upper and middle levels of an infant hurricane, they say they could disrupt the flows of air that power the enormous storms. Air warmed by tropical waters flows up through a hurricane and is vented through the eye into the upper atmosphere. Theoretically, you could heat up the top of the storm and lower the pressure differential between layers, resulting in a weaker storm. "

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274 comments

So.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649107)

We might be giving a company the power to change our weather? Not sure how I feel about this..

Re:So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649203)

..I for one, welcome our new hurricane stopping overlords.

Re:So.. (1)

willda (1369247) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649217)

I know exactly what you mean. If you've every read Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy, it's the same scenario. A company (in this instance a drug company) having the power & will to do what they want.

Re:So.. (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649331)

If you've every read Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy, it's the same scenario.

Except Clancy jumped the shark somewhere around the time that Jack Ryan ceased being the all-American hero and started spouting Clancy's own political beliefs. Sorry, this is totally offtopic and I expect to be modded as such but it needed to be said. Sad thing is that he used to write some REALLY cool novels.

Re:So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649811)

You mean he doesn't support your right-wing facist fantasies in which the state is all powerful and its enemies are black-bagged in the middle of the night?

Re:So.. (2, Funny)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650099)

If you've every read Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy, it's the same scenario.

Except Clancy was always terrible.

Fixed that for you.

Re:So..[.] (2, Insightful)

kandela (835710) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649221)

Yeah, because co-operatively we are doing a great job of maintaining and looking after the current weather patterns.

Re:So..[.] (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27650093)

We have been for as long as we've existed. It's called leaving it the fuck alone. I like nature's varying weather just fine. The last thing we need is to start manufacturing that too.

If you don't like hurricanes, then you shouldn't build a fucking city right in the middle of an area that is known to have them.

Re:So.. (2, Insightful)

sudotron (1459285) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649513)

You think that's bad? Just wait until the government introduces a new "hurricane prevention excise tax".

Re:So.. (4, Interesting)

TheCycoONE (913189) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649653)

No no, this is private enterprise. It will be a hurricane prevention surcharge on the microwave power bill.

Re:So.. ELO, and.. (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649865)

Electric Light Orchestra and Alan Parsons Project, with some OMD (Orchestral Manoevers in the Dark)....LOL!

Oh No Sky Net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649169)

The end is near.

Lots o' power (4, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649175)

That's gonna need to be an *awfully* big collector to harvest enough energy to make the slightest difference to a hurricane...

Re:Lots o' power (5, Insightful)

Shivani1141 (996696) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649259)

Not to mention the fact that we obviously perfectly understand the power and role of a hurricane in terms of global weather patterns...

Am I the only one concerned what might happen to other weather systems if we suddenly start damping hurricanes? the energy to form a hurricane comes from somewhere, if we're adding more to kill a hurricane, where is this new net total going to express itself?

Re:Lots o' power (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649483)

Global warming.

Re:Lots o' power (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650029)

No, no! This will SOLVE global warming! See, the size of collector you're going to need in order to stop a tropical cyclone is going to cast a really big shadow down onto the Earth! About two-thirds of the planet will always be in shade!

Hehehehe....no seriously, I doubt such things are even possible. Do you have any idea about the enormous scale of energies involved in a tropical cyclone? Has anybody ever even testing sending energy to a tropical cyclone? I mean a real one, not some swirly water in lab designed to 'simulate' a tropical cyclone or with imperfect mathematical models and theoretical knowledge.

Re:Lots o' power (2, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649585)

I'm sure they've done experimenting with all of this. Nothing will happen. Don't worry about the GPS positioning in your cell phone. No weapon could reach you as you walk down the street.

Seriously folks-- does the sound of someone beaming down terajoules from the sky make you just a little bit nervous? Imagine a solar sun spot causing a sudden atmospheric defraction that sends the beam to say, Tucson by mistake?

I think this needs a lot of examination before it goes into pilot, let alone production.

Re:Lots o' power (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649677)

Seriously folks-- does the sound of someone beaming down terajoules from the sky make you just a little bit nervous?

Yeah, but we'll only need the solar power plant until 2050 when Fusion becomes available ;)

Re:Lots o' power (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649649)

Probably the same as a 'no burn' policy put in place in most forests a century ago. Eventually the dry stuff builds up to the point where when it does catch fire, you're fucked.

Imagine a hurricane formed with the energy from 5-10 damped out storms.

Re:Lots o' power (2, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649913)

Probably the same as a 'no burn' policy put in place in most forests a century ago. Eventually the dry stuff builds up to the point where when it does catch fire, you're fucked.

Imagine a hurricane formed with the energy from 5-10 damped out storms.

Oh, you are underestimating things. Imagine it "working" for 5-10 years or decades and then all the sudden new hurricanes are 50-100 times more powerful for a few years.

Re:Lots o' power (4, Funny)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650129)

Probably the same as a 'no burn' policy put in place in most forests a century ago. Eventually the dry stuff builds up to the point where when it does catch fire, you're fucked.

Imagine a hurricane formed with the energy from 5-10 damped out storms.

Oh, you are underestimating things. Imagine it "working" for 5-10 years or decades and then all the sudden new hurricanes are 50-100 times more powerful for a few years.

There's nothing to worry about. We've been controlling storms for 50 years now. The sky is still blue, the clouds still white, the ocean still sparkling, and although we did have a few scares last year (some big, red ones you wouldn't believe!), nothing has come through that our energy beams haven't been able to divert!

Glax Northog
Solar Satellites of Jupiter, Inc.
Posted 4:29 PM, September 8th 780000000 BC

Re:Lots o' power (1)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650123)

Given the temperature of the ocean surface at the areas where these hurricanes form, either the water evaporates and the air becomes humid, or the lower layers of oceans would start to heat up. Having this warm humid air rise and then cool off seems to be a built-in cooling system of the earth's climate. If the warm air didn't rise and end up forming a rotating system, would the hurricanes just become warm fronts/cold fronts instead?

Re:Lots o' power (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649701)

What could possibly go wrong?

Anything done for good = good outcome.

I'm going shopping for a older home with a fallout bunker under it, can I get wifi down there?

Re:Lots o' power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27650281)

wired has you covered, bunker up!
http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2009/04/gallery_missile_base_1

Re:Lots o' power (4, Informative)

Robotbeat (461248) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650007)

Reality doesn't work like that. Science is not some sort of alchemy where any "good" that you do has to be balanced with "bad" done elsewhere. Sure, entropy always increases, but that doesn't mean that lessening the impact of a natural disaster means you're upsetting some karmic balance. Every day without a hurricane does not increase the intensity of the next hurricane. Hurricanes are only one way that heat can be transported from the ocean's surface to elsewhere.

Re:Lots o' power (2, Interesting)

Cmdr-Absurd (780125) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649289)

1. You attack the hurricane when the storm is small (less than hurricane force).
2. You are capturing solar power (which is responsible for creating the hurricane in the first place.)
3. There is that whole butterfly effect thing...
4. What are the unintended consequences?

Re:Lots o' power (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649345)

1. You attack the hurricane when the storm is small (less than hurricane force).

2. You are capturing solar power (which is responsible for creating the hurricane in the first place.)

3. There is that whole butterfly effect thing...

4. What are the unintended consequences?

...
5. Profit!

Re:Lots o' power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649365)

5. ????
6. profit!

Re:Lots o' power (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649527)

I always wondered if someone set off a large explosive in the eye or center of a hurricane what would happen? Would it be enough to break up the storm? Would it do nothing? We would most likely still get the rain but no hurricane force winds. Maybe less of a storm surge as well.

Nothing nuclear conventional explosives only. Anyone know of a simulator where this could be tested? Writing one from scratch might take a while.

Re:Lots o' power (4, Insightful)

chris mazuc (8017) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649709)

From the National Hurricane Center [noaa.gov]:

The main difficulty with using explosives to modify hurricanes is the amount of energy required. A fully developed hurricane can release heat energy at a rate of 5 to 20x10^13 watts and converts less than 10% of the heat into the mechanical energy of the wind. The heat release is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes. According to the 1993 World Almanac, the entire human race used energy at a rate of 10^13 watts in 1990, a rate less than 20% of the power of a hurricane.

Re:Lots o' power (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650071)

I think that there is a lot more power in there. The water content, assuming a 250x250km area that can be soaked in 10cm of water would be, at least, 250 exaJoule (250*10^18, temperature drop from +27 sea water to +17 degrees C rain). The scale of a storm is even in excess of these dimensions. So, conversion of the power at a 10^12 rate to mechanical energy is peanuts compared to the real energy content.

If you manage to generate power in space at the 10^15 scale, then you might do a very local change of pattern, but I suspect that the real impact will be very small. A storm, or most other weather patterns are encapsulating enormous amounts of energy, which all pale our human efforts at power generation.

Re:Lots o' power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649633)

Sorry should be:
1. You attack the hurricane when the storm is small (less than hurricane force).
2. You are capturing solar power (which is responsible for creating the hurricane in the first place.)
3. There is that whole butterfly effect thing...
4. Correctly program an O(n) sort on punch cards.

Re:Lots o' power (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649723)

4. What are the unintended consequences?

For starters, hurricanes play a role in climate regulation, and that role is the transport of heat away from equatorial regions and into the extratropical zone. It is theorized that if humans break that mechanism by preventing hurricane formation, we will end up with fewer storms, but those that do form will be incredibly devastating as they feed off the "surplus" latent oceanic heat.

Can you buy insurance for that? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649211)

Really, how do you insure this endeavor? A private company even attempting such a thing on the smallest of storms becomes incredibly liable.

But it goes further than that. If you can heat a store how can you assure people that it is safe to start streaming power to earth?

Re:Can you buy insurance for that? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649725)

Really, how do you insure this endeavor? A private company even attempting such a thing on the smallest of storms becomes incredibly liable.

Not if they spend much less money than the liability they would avoid to simply lobby Congress to craft laws categorically immunizing them from liability.

Re:Can you buy insurance for that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27650017)

Are you kidding?
The insurance companies will probably pour money over this thing to prevent a hurricane from hitting a small town.

at the very least (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649213)

with this technology you have a sound basis for a middling james bond movie cum car commercial involving halle berry, icelandic henchman, and rogue north korean generals

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

Re:at the very least (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650083)

with this technology you have a sound basis for a middling james bond movie cum car commercial involving halle berry, icelandic henchman, and rogue north korean generals

A.K.A. one of the worst Bond movies ever. The premise was insane, the CGI was absolutely awful and the locations were ridiculous. It made me miss the old Bond movies. Thank God Casino Royale brought us back to something resembling reality.

Whoop de doo (0, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649225)

Someday we're going to actually have to learn how to manipulate the weather on demand. It's right in the patent HAARP is based on, fer chrissake (hence the tag of course.) Honestly I think it's something we can get a handle on, with the understanding that inputs always have outputs. What we really need is a way to take heat energy out of the atmosphere, because we already have easy ways to put it in. Then again, if you bought into the chemtrail thing you could assume that was their way of producing localized cooling :)

Speaking of chemtrails, what's the explanation for the "contrails" cutting off as the plane continues to climb? Anyone? It's not covered in the FAA's brochure on contrail formation that they brought out to try to kill the chemtrail conspiracy theory.

Re:Whoop de doo (4, Informative)

shogun (657) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649309)

Speaking of chemtrails, what's the explanation for the "contrails" cutting off as the plane continues to climb? Anyone? It's not covered in the FAA's brochure on contrail formation that they brought out to try to kill the chemtrail conspiracy theory.

Different levels of the atmosphere are at different temperatures,pressures and humidity which all have different contrail forming tendancies. These layers can sometimes be very sharply defined so as a plane rising up through a layer where a contrail is easily formed hits a layer where the ability to form a visible contrail is sharply diminished so the (visible) contrail abruptly cuts off.

Re:Whoop de doo (4, Informative)

cwebster (100824) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649925)

Speaking of chemtrails, what's the explanation for the "contrails" cutting off as the plane continues to climb? Anyone? It's not covered in the FAA's brochure on contrail formation that they brought out to try to kill the chemtrail conspiracy theory.

Our engines put out particulate matter as a byproduct of combustion (same as your car). If we fly through an area with high enough relative humidity, then water will condense on the particles and form "contrails". If you look at a temperature and dewpoint sounding on a Skew-T/Log-P chart, you can see that both vary quite a bit with altitude and form distinct layers (in reference to moisture content and stability). Some combinations are good for forming countrails, some are not. Remember, a contrail is just a specific kind of cloud, and so the reasoning is the same as "why does a cloud form here, but not also here?".

But take my word with a grain of salt, since I am both an airline pilot and study meteorology.

whatcouldpossiblygowrong (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649247)

If ever a story deserved that tag, this is it.

Re:whatcouldpossiblygowrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649503)

I think you're missing the real point. These guys could 'beam' energy into a storm and not make any difference at all and STILL claim that if they hadn't done it, the storm would have been worse. This is twenty first century high-tech snake oil.

Downside... and Upside... (1)

metacosm (45796) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649273)

Download: every time a pacific storm is brewing, they have to shut of power to California to deal with the storm...

Upside: the rolling brownouts in California over the last few years where not accidents, they where training!

Re:Downside... and Upside... (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649405)

Not to rain on the parade, but the brownouts were thin energy market abuses by Enron.

This patent shouldn't be surprising (3, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649303)

Even if the technology doesn't work out patenting the basic idea costs them comparatively little. Given how much money they are investing in this and the possible massive benefits filing the patent seems like the right move even if it is unlikely to work.

Prior art (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649319)

Didn't Cobra already do this in like 1985?

Re:Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27650239)

Frank Herbert covered this in the Dune series. I bet he's pissed he couldn't "foresee" the patent wars of today.

Airplanes? (4, Insightful)

flattop100 (624647) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649323)

I'm guessing it would be disastrous for an airplane to fly in the "beam", no?

iMayday! iMayday! We're going down! (4, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649477)

I'm guessing it would be disastrous for an airplane to fly in the "beam", no?

Ah, since apparently a commercial airliner can be brought down with an iPod Click Wheel being used during takeoff or landing, I'd give your query a resounding yes...

Re:Airplanes? (3, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649937)

The peak power density at the center of the beam at it intersects the rectenna is on the order of 300 watts per square meter (W/m2) or 30 miliwatts per square centimeter (mW/cm2).

Studies have shown that at 25mW/cm2, some birds exhibit behaviors suggesting they might be able to detect microwave radiation. If true, some migratory birds, flying above the rectenna, might suffer disruption of their flying paths.

This is from a NASA study of the safety of space-based solar power. I believe the original studies were done in the '70s because I recall almost identical wording from a glossy NASA coffee-table book on space colonies I picked up at the Smithsonian in 1978.

That's not "death ray" levels. Planes are probably OK, but it could be a problem for birds.

Another point that occurs to me: solar insolation at the equator is around 1kW/m2. The tests mentioned above are 25% of that level. I suspect that the birds were becoming uncomfortably warm.

Re:Airplanes? No (1)

markk (35828) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650139)

No, The beams are microwave beams with a little more power density than the midday sun. If you walked into them you would not likely know they were there for a while.

They are not the water heating microwaves either, they are the tuned so as not to interact with water or atmosphere kind. You might induce a current in an aluminum shell airplane, but I would guess static forces with air flow might build up even more charge.

Re:Airplanes? (0)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650157)

1. Why would an airplane fly through it?

2. Look up the term "Faraday Cage".

3. The microwave beam will have the 1/10 the intensity of regular sunlight.

Oblig sci fi novel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649349)

Storm Killer by Benjamin Blue

I don't understand. (0)

Jester998 (156179) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649353)

Why beam power all the way from orbit? Wouldn't an army of sharks with frickin' laser beams on their heads be more effective? :p

Real genius at work. (4, Funny)

Xiver (13712) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649361)

It's a chemical laser but in solid, not gaseous, form. Put simply, in deference to you, Kent, it's like lasing a stick of dynamite. As soon as we apply a field, we couple to a state, it is radiatively coupled to the ground state. I figure we can extract at least ten to the twenty-first photons per cubic centimeter which will give one kilojoule per cubic centimeter at 600 nanometers, or, one megajoule per liter.

But what would you use that for?

Superman III? (1)

drunken_boxer777 (985820) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649381)

How can they patent this? I believe Lex Luthor beat them to the punch. (As have others, I am sure.)

Now, we'd better start hoarding coffee beans...

Geoengineering (4, Interesting)

bendodge (998616) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649427)

I recently read an article on "geoengineering"; apparently it's gaining traction and was discussed in one of Obama's cabinet meetings as global warming emergency brake. It appears that this is real: we really could mess with our atm. cheaply and quickly. What I find most interesting about the whole concept, besides whatcouldpossiblygowrong, is what people like Pete Geddes of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE) say against it:

Let's say we came up with a way to scrub carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere that works and is cheap. That would mean we could go on emitting carbon. The environmentalists' reaction, I think, would be, 'No, that's unacceptable, because what we really have to be doing is reducing our fossil fuels and use of energy.' That's just ridiculous. People would lose all sorts of faith in environmentalism.

Re:Geoengineering (1, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649715)

Thats why the IPCC never ever ever lends any consideration to geoengineering when they produce their Assessment Reports.

Think of all the funding they would lose when it turns out that it will only cost a million or so dollars a year for the right to pick a global mean temperature anc achieve it. Not to mention the fact that we would likely pick one that is higher than it is today...

Required energy? (1)

skathe (1504519) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649433)

How much energy do you think it would take to have any sort of meaningful effect on a hurricane we're actually worried about? I mean, how much energy would it take to reduce Katrina to Kat? I'm more concerned about the possible corruption of this technology... Real Genius^10. If this thing can really reduce the power level of a hurricane, what's to stop it from being used to vaporize human targets or entire CITIES from space. Missle defense system? Check. Giant energy beam defense system? I don't think we're there yet...

Re:Required energy? (3, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649897)

How much energy do you think it would take to have any sort of meaningful effect on a hurricane we're actually worried about?

What happened to chaos theory? Small changes leading to major effects? Personally I think the butterfly flapping it's wings is the idea taken to a ludicrous extreme, but it must kick in at some level. I imagine as well that it's easier to disrupt a storm's organization than to enhance it.

I'm more concerned about the possible corruption of this technology... Real Genius^10.

Yes, because we should all base our science policy ideas on Val Kilmer comedies. Any lines you want to quote from Top Secret or Top Gun to further support your argument?

What? Top Gun wasn't a comedy? Really?! Huh.

what's to stop it from being used to vaporize human targets or entire CITIES from space.

Reality and the laws of physics?

Seriously, what's with all the BS scare tactic posts? When did Slashdot become home of the hyperventilating Luddites?

EMP Anyone? (1)

Farlan (1145095) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649469)

This would also result in all your electronics to stop working indefinitely should you find yourself in the middle of the beam. Goldeye anyone?

Clearly not... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650165)

If any James Bond movie is to be referenced here, than it is either Die Anther Day or Diamonds Are Forever.

A solar-powered microwave-beaming satellite is a device for continuous use.
GoldenEye is a single-use grenade. A very large, nuclear and EMP one though.

Technical Specifications Document (2, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649533)

Apparently, the power plant [gamefaqs.com] would be completed in 2020, have an expected output of 1600 megawatts, last for 50 years, and cost only $28 Million.

Personally, I think that while our Coal Plants are dirty, they should last well up until 2050, when Fusion Power is expected to showcase.

Re:Technical Specifications Document (1)

kybur (1002682) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649885)

Your facts are stale. Fusion Power is not expected to become a reality until April 20th, 2059.

(just like in 1950, Fusion Power was going to become a reality in the year 2000 and in 1970, Fusion Power was going to be real in 2020)

I can't wait!

Re:Technical Specifications Document (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650141)

Yeah, we're going to have warp engines by then and be casually flying to and from our vacation homes on the moon too. (Oh Popular Science in the 50's, you are so funny now.)

Please consult a meteorologist before patenting (4, Informative)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649557)

No, no, no, no, no. Hurricanes are driven by the warm air released from condensation in their centers. This causes low pressure at that location, leading to swirling motions and inflow at low altitude.

Adding more heat at the center of the hurricane will make the hurricane *STRONGER*. It doesn't matter what altitude you add the heat.

Keep your orbital death ray away from my weather until you've taken a basic meteorology course, morons.

Re:Please consult a meteorologist before patenting (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649989)

Exactly. You need cold, so the only real solution is to detonate a nuclear device deep under the ocean in front of the hurricane so that the upwelling of cold water saps the storm of its strength. Find a flaw in that plan! I dare you!!!!

I can out mad scientist ANYONE! Muh ha ha ha! :-)

I dunno... (1)

sudotron (1459285) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649567)

By heating up the upper and middle levels of an infant hurricane, they say they could disrupt the flows of air that power the enormous storms.

So what happens if you heat the lower layers? Sorry, just my evil genius side coming out.

When Sim City players grow up... (1)

boeroboy (1501771) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649569)

If Will Wright doesn't get credit for this one, I don't know what to believe anymore.

Re:When Sim City players grow up... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650205)

If Wil Wright *does* get the credit, then Peter Glaser, who described the idea in 1968, will want to know why.

I want to be far away from their aim point (1)

grandpa-geek (981017) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649573)

I don't want to be within 200 miles of their aim point. Being anywhere near their beam is like being in a huge microwave oven. It will surely cook your insides.

If their beam drifts due to excessive pointing error, watch out. Somebody is going to get baked. Probably a whole town.

How may miles radius do they have to empty of people to even get an earth reception station built for the power transmission? How do they clear the ocean target area of shipping if they were to try this on a storm?

These guys are nuts!

Re:I want to be far away from their aim point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649739)

Being anywhere near their beam is like being in a huge microwave oven.

No, it isn't. You are a complete ignorant fool who got his "science" about solar sats from SimCity 2000. Please STFU and let the intelligent people discuss this.

Re:I want to be far away from their aim point (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649799)

AP news release Feb 23 2023....

Midwest town evaporates in 12 seconds.

During a routine systems check the orbital power station lost attitude control for 27 seconds and drifted off it's station point by 0.1 degrees, the nearby town was vaporized near instantly.

when confronted the company executives said, "it's no big loss, only level 4 personnel lived there, and the town was a dump anyways. This event will actually help the economy by ending the Depression. It just opened up 8500 jobs alone and caused the need for many millions of construction projects."

President Clinton said that she mourns the loss of life but the company will be held harmless for fear of ,"causing a deepening of our 15 year economic depression.'

Re:I want to be far away from their aim point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649867)

So stem cell research gets so much controversy but this crap is going under the radar? Yea...our priorities are straight alright.

Re:I want to be far away from their aim point (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650195)

Given that they're using this on a hurricane, I don't think getting boats out of the way will be an issue. I'm pretty sure the storm itself is enough to dissuade anyone from being in the general vicinity.

Global Warming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649615)

So this whole beam power from space thing will also add to the Global Warming problem instead of being one of the possible fixes!

Tertiary Uses (1)

Koreantoast (527520) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649735)

I suppose this secondary patent was found next to the company's patent for an orbital death beam, not that they're all related in any way...

Maybe they should just make it rain in Cali (1)

revjtanton (1179893) | more than 4 years ago | (#27649899)

Isn't Cali in the midst of a friggin' drought? Instead of stopping Hurricanes (traditionally an Atlantic Ocean problem) why don't they try and get some rain in California and leave us on the East Coast to our Hurricanes!

GIANT ICE SHRINKER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27649931)

Maybe the Global Warming idiots could use it to initiate an Artic Melt-off to concoct more evidence to support their Global Warming Lies.

    Hey GW Tool, if a space based solar platform directing the Suns energy into the atmosphere can change weather and ultimately the climate, then guess what / Tool...

      That giant Death Ray known as the SUN which is currently on a friendly standing with us is more relevant than ever and the more you ignore or deny, the more you get burned.

Too bad GW Tools, including so called "science" and especially the politcal anus of this new religion, Global Warming, should get a fucking clue, shut the fuck up until you have definitive proof and especially this, take your tax schemes and shove them!

      Do this and we may not storm your Bastile of Lies, then again, it may be needed to purge you fools from any position of power.

Re:GIANT ICE SHRINKER (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650207)

Wow, that's the most awesome troll I've ever seen. I'm saving it so I can replace Global Warming with other things to produce my own awesome trolls. Bastile of Lies, of course, will be unaltered.

For example:

Maybe the Vegetarian idiots could use it to initiate a Cow Melt-off to concoct more evidence to support their Vegetarian Lies.

        Hey Veg Tool, if a space based solar platform directing the Suns energy into the cows can change weather and ultimately the climate, then guess what / Tool...

            That giant Hamburger Helper known as the SUN which is currently on a friendly standing with us is more relevant than ever and the more you ignore or deny, the more you get burned.

Too bad Veg Tools, including so called "science" and especially the politcal anus of this new religion, Vegetarianism, should get a fucking clue, shut the fuck up until you have definitive proof and especially this, take your tax schemes and shove them!

            Do this and we may not storm your Bastile of Lies, then again, it may be needed to purge you fools from any position of power.

uhm yea... (2, Interesting)

papasui (567265) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650187)

I'm not sure what worries more, the fact that its possible that we might have the technology to do this in the next decade or that we would consider using it..

Asteroids (1)

tsnorquist (1058924) | more than 4 years ago | (#27650291)

How about focusing the giant death beam outwards towards incoming asteroids. I think we as humans can deal with hurricanes pretty well already.
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