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Austrian Town Sees the Light

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the visitors-from-the-outside dept.

Science 339

pin_gween writes "The Austrian town of Rattenberg (a 10 minute walk from sunlight during the winter) plans to install a mirror on a mountain to redirect sunlight towards the town. The town was built in the winter shadow of Rat Mountain. The plan is to place heliostat mirrors to shine light in several locations around town, where villagers could 'congregate and get sunned up.' The EU is ponying up half the $2.4 million costs. The company installing the mirrors, Bartenbach Lichtlabor GmbH, is contributing $600,000, and hopes other communities will use their technology."

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ob Southpark (3, Funny)

narkotix (576944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080287)

SIMPSONS DID IT!!

Re:ob Southpark (4, Informative)

shrewd (830067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080392)

actually simpsons did the complete opposite, go on mark me informative ive earned it.

SUCK MY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080296)

PENIS

Re:SUCK MY (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080445)

Is it mighter than the sword? My pen is.

Offtopic, but I don't give a shit cause I'm A/C... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080298)

Anyone noticed that ebay.co.uk is has been painfully slow this last week?

Re:Offtopic, but I don't give a shit cause I'm A/C (-1, Offtopic)

SlashSquatch (928150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080315)

Ebay sucks. They are in the "suck the life out of the host" phase of their growth cycle.

Potential Problem (5, Funny)

SlashSquatch (928150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080299)

If there's a glitch in focusing, then the people get fried like ants?

Re:Potential Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080313)

For the moment their server is fried like an ant. Hope for the people's sake that this is the slashdot effect!

Re:Potential Problem (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080348)

> If there's a glitch in focusing, then the people get fried like ants?

A glass pyramid was going to be installed next to a French art gallery and was scrapped because of fears it'd start fires, burn or blind people. I hope these guys are well insured!

Re:Potential Problem (4, Informative)

wulfhound (614369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080383)

A glass pyramid /is/ installed next to the most famous French art gallery of all, the Louvre. It serves as an entranceway and atrium roof to some of the underground part of the gallery.

Re:Potential Problem (3, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080435)

If there's a glitch in focusing, then the people get fried like ants?

You say that like this would be some kind of a reason not to do it.

Rattenberg? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080301)

Let's see, Ratten means rats and Berg means mountain.
So we have a town here called Ratsmountain that doesn't get any sunlight during winter time and worst off all, it's Austrian ;-D

Now if that doesn't sound like a great place to spend your winter holidays...

cool! (-1, Flamebait)

mrselfdestrukt (149193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080304)

Oh, there goes the poor south African IOL webserver.
And this is the best article for nerds at the moment???

Re:cool! (0)

briancurtin (901109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080538)

yes, duh. google is still sleeping.

Re:cool! (2, Funny)

mrselfdestrukt (149193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080577)

You win the palindrome UID prize! Congrats! You can pick up your toyota at any dealer now. Second prize is two toyotas!

All good until... (1, Insightful)

intmainvoid (109559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080305)

I'm sure it'll all go well, til some kid stares at the mirror for too long and goes blind, and sues the pants of someone.

(never mind that the kid probably would have been just as happy staring at the sun...)

Re:All good until... (5, Insightful)

drstock (621360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080353)

This is in Europe, not USA. You can't sue the pants of anyone here, especially not for your own stupidity.

Re:All good until... (1)

alvarl (729745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080355)

Mind you, this is Europe. Possibly your comment was meant as a joke...

I'm not really into all these prejudices about US legal system and 'constant suing of each other's asses off' but hey, people _are_ kidding about it ;)

Re:All good until... (2, Informative)

c9 (828271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080488)

This is in Austria, which is not part of the US. c9

Re:All good until... (1)

KuRa_Scvls (932317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080569)

That's not US, no need to worry for that. First, because not everyone sues everyone else Second, Intelligence is not as variant to the bottom as US:D

Re:All good until... (1)

magicchex (898936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080591)

Except, being in the shadow of the mountain, there would have been no sun to stare at.

earlier (1, Funny)

manojar (875389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080311)

There was this project about a decade back - to light up scandinavian countries (or is it Greenland), to bring light the same way. The environmentalists raised a stink. Googled, but could not find it; Can anyone throw light on that one?

Re:earlier (4, Funny)

dbolger (161340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080337)

No, but if somebody could find a 'mirror'... ;D

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Re:earlier (2, Informative)

wulfhound (614369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080389)

There was certainly a project along those lines planned for a remote part of Siberia, using a large space-based mirror.

Re:earlier (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080489)

... and for those that wonder how it turned out: The mirror never folded out properly, so the project failed, and I don't think they tried a second time.

Re:earlier (1)

boaworm (180781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080536)

Mirror, Siberia, the Sun..hm. I think that project even has a website [imdb.com]

If you can't stand the heat... (5, Insightful)

Anyd (625939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080314)

Doesn't this fall into the category of "don't live there?" I'm not saying it wouldn't suck to live in an area without sunlight, but to knowingly move into said area, and then use taxpayer's money (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm assuming EU money = EU taxpayer's money) to change that... in the tone of millions... just seems stupid. It just seems that our global community should spend $ on better things than trying to cram people into every possible nook and cranny on earth!

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080350)

Doesn't this fall into the category of "don't live there?"

Well, yes, probably. That said, I wonder if this might actually attract a certain type of warped tourist to the town? The City of Eternal Darkness, lit only by giant mirrors that reflect an eerie faded sunlight onto its dismal roofs... Chances are something Lovecraftian lives there.

Myself, I'd be heading up the hill to stick a giant cut-out of a bat onto one of the mirrors :-)

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080357)

I agree, why should my hard earned wonga be used to fund improvements in someone elses life style. If they want the mirror they should pay for it.

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080440)

Heh, you mean "can't stand the cold and dark"?

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (0)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080449)

Hey, it's a cool technology project. Don't whine so much. $2.4 million isn't much for a such project.

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (1, Flamebait)

Mindjiver (71) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080458)

Of course one should whine. This is tax payers money taken by force from the rightfull owners, it should be spent wisely.

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (5, Insightful)

vidarh (309115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080468)

Not millions. $1.2 million to improve quality of life for around 400 people. In other words around $3000 per inhabitant, or far less than most of them are paying in taxes in a single year. Combined with the fact that this project serves a dual purpose of helping this town and also of growing interest for the EU based mirror manufacturer's business worldwide, and it's likely economically a good long term investment - Both promoting growth in a town that's currently in decline as well as increasing exports from the company involved and boosting taxable revenue that way.

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (0, Troll)

manojar (875389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080474)

"Rattenberg was built between the hill to the south and the Inn River to the north starting in the 1300s for protection against marauders. Back then, lack of sunshine was a small price to pay for relative security.
But as such dangers diminished, dozens more settlements sprang up. Some, like Kramsach, are just half a mile away and all enjoy a few hours of sun on a clear winter's day."


Just another case of Europeans hanging on to mediaeval lifestyle. There were some towns in Italy evacuated due to mudslides in the 50s and 70s, why can't do that instead of spending 6000 per person? It could atleast be used for unemployment benefits!

2 words (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080587)

New Orleans

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (5, Insightful)

vidarh (309115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080512)

Oh, and I guess you missed the part of this town being built in the 1300s, and currently being in decline because people are moving OUT of it, not in... Most people currently living there have lived there all their lives, and now they are getting what could be a significant improvement in quality of life at a small fraction of what they've paid in taxes over those years.

So it's not about cramming people into every nook and cranny, but about maintaining and possible growing a settlement which already have an established residential area, that employ people, that have established infrastructure etc.

The likely cost to society of having these people put pressure on house prices etc. by moving elsewhere would likely easily outweigh the $1.2 million the EU is spending all by itself.

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080539)

Oh fuck off already! you're saying that people shouldn't use technology in order to improve their quality of life in a particular environment - come off it!!

2.4 million is pretty cheap for this kinda thing really, and besides if you want to bash people for living in stupid places there are plenty of better choices for your disdain than these folks - how about New Orleans, "Any place regularly hit by tornados", vast-areas of sub-saharan africa, bangladesh, holland, the autralian outback - - in fact, better idea why don't we all just climb on top of each other and live in a few 'choice' spots, because everyone *knows* there wouldn't be any need for technology to help us live in that situation, it would just be a happy eden-like paradise where food 'appeared' and clear, fresh water would simply bubble out of the ground

get a fuckin' clue!

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080544)

Inside EU, EU is well known to waste tons of money to stupid projects just like this one. Most of EU money is wasted for "agriculture policy" which means that every man inside EU-agriculture-charity-industry "deserves" money for all products it grows, no metter what amount of it he/she is actually able to sell in the market. Thats why African countries,for example, cannot sell those products to EU.

Re:If you can't stand the heat... (1)

magicchex (898936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080599)

Sounds like the US textile industry.

Cool! (5, Funny)

dbolger (161340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080320)

During peacetime, it brings light to the people, but if war is declared - instant Archimedes Death Ray [wikipedia.org] ! :D

Re:Cool! (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080423)


Whew. For a second there I was worried that Arky [wikipedia.org] was involved. I've included a link for those that have never experienced Archimedes Plutonium on Usenet. He's a true net legend/kook.

Dartmouth claims he's real (I saw the photos way back when) but, nah, I'm not buying.

Shadows... (5, Funny)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080322)

The mirror better have some decent security... otherwise the town will probably see an endless stream of shadow puppet pranks.

Re:Shadows... (1, Funny)

blackomegax (807080) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080378)

the puppetiers better be prepared for massive sunburn, then.

And if the mirror is curved... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080332)

Then WHooomp! no more city.

being an EU citizen (5, Insightful)

myc_lykaon (645662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080335)

I cannot (well - I do believe) the EU is paying up for a scheme to redirect sunlight into a town that:

a) was badly positioned in the first place;

b) has existed as such for hundreds of years without blowing up, dying or otherwise falling off the edge of the planet without this winter sun;

What about EU funds for my city - it's a bit chilly in winter. Has been for the last 5000 years. Everyone there knew it was chilly in winter and it hasn't blown up or fallen off the edge of the world because of this winter chill. I think the EU should pay for some weird underground heating to recompense us for this winter horror. Oh and a massive umbrella - it tends to rain a bit here.

Other than that - 'tis a cool piece of tech.

Re:being an EU citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080364)

Never mind the fact that it's rather expensive to light and warm up a town for a whole winter. Could it be that this money will be well used for a simple solar-powered solution? I think this is a wonderful and genious solution, albeit a bit pricy for just a shiny plate...

Re:being an EU citizen (3, Funny)

rxmd (205533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080366)

What about EU funds for my city - it's a bit chilly in winter. Has been for the last 5000 years. Everyone there knew it was chilly in winter and it hasn't blown up or fallen off the edge of the world because of this winter chill. I think the EU should pay for some weird underground heating to recompense us for this winter horror.
Let me guess, you live in Helsinki? :)

Well, the EU made Finland lower their taxes on alcohol... and since Estonia has joined the EU, the import tariffs on cheap Estonian vodka have fallen, too. ("Viru Valge [viruvalge.ee] " at 80%, anyone?) So the EU is actually doing something for the Finns and their cold winter nights ;)

Re:being an EU citizen (5, Insightful)

ChristW (18232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080402)

a) was badly positioned in the first place;

It's excellently placed... All their crops get the most sunlight, and the village is quite cool in the summer...

Re:being an EU citizen (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080430)

I agree with some of nthe sentiment of what you're saying, but there's quite a few arguments FOR this too. A town in darkness/shadow in the winter is likely to have a higher percentage of rather lethargic citizens, which probably doesn't do the economy much good. Whilst a lovely bit of fluffy snow does a lot of good for any economy (people get happy and spend money), the snow is, in most places, accompanied by sunlight, whereas if everything is just... dull and badly lit, it's not going to encourage it, especially if all summer they have had a blinding sun on their town.

I think one of the other children of your posts put it about right that it is also a good way to save on heating and energy bills etc.

It's a difficult choice and obviously not one they just jumped at. There are arguments to support the idea and it's not just a lazy pipe dream.

Re:being an EU citizen (5, Interesting)

tcornelissen (897694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080448)

The EU is not paying for that town. EU doesn't care for some people in some town. They are paying so that that company has something to do. EU does care for companies, or at least for companies that have enough money to lobby/bribe EU officials.

Re:being an EU citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080562)

Don't be a wanker. Cities world wide are chilly; central heating and fireplaces solve this nicely. Cities that lose sunlight completely during a season while the rest of the countryside enjoys its many benefits (vitamins etc) are not.

I'm Sure... (5, Funny)

MattLiv (932749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080338)

...that the mirror companies decision to pay for some of the cost will reflect well on them over time.

Re:I'm Sure... (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080354)

Well, one can only speculate. But I'm sure that this will do wonders for the town's image.

Don't like it? Too bad (4, Insightful)

EtherealStrife (724374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080341)

"But the young folks are moving away."

Seems like the younguns catch on quick. If you don't like living there, then don't. Problem solved. Seems like they're better off than all the folks near the arctic circle, but you don't see/hear them complaining...
So once again the government/PTBs are footing the bill for people too lazy to move. *cough* New Orleans *cough* Florida *cough*

Besides, a few "lawn sized" patches of light aren't going to make the place any less bleak during the winter months...it might blind some folks looking in the wrong direction, though. Or did I miss the part where they add in some kind of diffusing lens?

The way things seem to be headed (based on TFA), just wait a few years. Give the old folks time to die off, and the younger group time to get fed up and leave. $2,400,000 saved.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080431)


So once again the government/PTBs are footing the bill for people too lazy to move. *cough* New Orleans *cough* Florida *cough*

The question you seem to miss in all these cases is how much does it cost everyone in terms of lost jobs, damage to the economy, etc to just move an entire city? (especially in the case of New Orleans). If it's more cost effective to rebuild, you do it. In this case if it's cheaper to put in a big mirror to bring in light, (and it actually works to get people to stay) you do it. The cost is only 2.4 million dollars, and the EU only pays half of that. With 440 people in the town that's about $2250 per person.

The question you SHOULD be asking is is this an effective strategy (cost included) to stop stagnation and economic deday in a region and promote growth, vs just letting the city die (and puttting the money somwehere else)? It seems a bit crazy to me that a few lit up spots are going to make much difference, but then again I don't live in this town.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (1)

hhghghghh (871641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080486)

So once again the government/PTBs are footing the bill for people too lazy to move. *cough* New Orleans *cough* Florida *cough*

The question you seem to miss in all these cases is how much does it cost everyone in terms of lost jobs, damage to the economy, etc to just move an entire city? (especially in the case of New Orleans). If it's more cost effective to rebuild, you do it. In this case if it's cheaper to put in a big mirror to bring in light, (and it actually works to get people to stay) you do it. The cost is only 2.4 million dollars, and the EU only pays half of that. With 440 people in the town that's about $2250 per person.


Yes.. Yes, you see, New Orleans, a huge city with a populace of millions, being devastated by a storm has the exact same economical impact as BumFuck Austria with 440 people gets from young folk moving out.. At "only" $2250 per capita, why don't they just increase the town's taxes, rather than paying it out of the EU's (i.e. my) pocket? Or if the EU has to fit the bill, just pay them a $2250 bonus to move the fuck out of that town and let it die. Problem solved for ever, rather than some weird patchy spots of light added (what, they don't have light bulbs in Austria?) in the theory that this will transform the town in a hot place to be for young people.

Of course, creating jobs (in actual productive, non-bullshit industries, quite unlike the "giant mirror to warm up towns that have been in a crappy place since time eternal and never complained before" industry), or even just improving the infrastructure is right out.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080441)

Besides, a few "lawn sized" patches of light aren't going to make the place any less bleak during the winter months...it might blind some folks looking in the wrong direction, though. Or did I miss the part where they add in some kind of diffusing lens?

Do they use a diffusing lens to protect peoples' eyesight from direct sunlight? Why would one be required in this case? I ask this half-rhetorically... perhaps there's some strange effect present, like when looking at an eclipse.

The way things seem to be headed (based on TFA), just wait a few years. Give the old folks time to die off, and the younger group time to get fed up and leave. $2,400,000 saved.

And an entire town to convert into the world's largest rave area. Those mirrors would still come in handy, though.
 

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080442)

you missed the part where it says: don't look at the sun either.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080549)

Seems like the younguns catch on quick. If you don't like living there, then don't. Problem solved. Seems like they're better off than all the folks near the arctic circle, but you don't see/hear them complaining...

You obviously don't talk to people living near the Arctic circle much... Norway for instance have far more people living in areas where the sun never rises during the winter than this, and you'll always hear some of them complaining. More importantly, it affects productivity - that alone means a project like this would probably pay for itself in terms of increased taxes by boosting productivity alone.

It also have significant economic impact in terms of higher rates of depression and associated problems, higher rates of sick leave etc. You can see that problem to varying degree much further south in Norway too (that is, areas that DO get sunlight during the winter)

So once again the government/PTBs are footing the bill for people too lazy to move. *cough* New Orleans *cough* Florida *cough*

The difference being that in this case people aren't in any danger if they stay, and there's a well established town with historic roots and established businesses that aren't facing any forms of disruption, and the only problem can be alleviated at a cost to the EU of $3000 per inhabitant - a cost far below what the average citizen pay in taxes in a single year.

Quite likely the cost of these people moving in to larger towns with pressures on housing, schools, hospitals etc. would cost society far more than a measly $3000 per person.

Another issue is to what extent these people can affort to move - presumably their properties are going to go at an extremely low price.

It's extremely short sighted not to consider other costs than the immediately visible costs of a project.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (4, Informative)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080573)

Since you brought New Orleans into this allow me to veer offtopic a bit.

I am a middle class guy. If I heard that a hurricane was coming my way I would lock up my house, get in my car and go to some higher ground and stay in a hotel for a week or so. While I am gone I would have a high degree of confidence that my house won't be broken into and my stuff stolen. Even if it (or if the hurricane destroyed my house) I would still be OK. I have insurance, I have money in the bank to sustain myself for a while, I have a good job, I have credit cards. I would be OK while I am waiting for the insurance process to sort itself out.

Compare my situation to that of a poor person in NO. They don't have decent jobs, they don't have credit, they don't have money saved up. Everything they own is in their house. Everything. Nothing in the bank, nothing in a 401K. No insurance. When you leave your house you leave everything you own behind. Being in a poor part the town you also have a very high risk of getting everything you own get stolen or destroyed by the storm.

It sucks to be poor. If you don't have a car, don't have money to stay in a hotel for a week waiting for the storm to pass you are not going to risk hitching a ride or taking a bus and losing everything you have. It's just too much of a risk.

So before you decide that everybody in New Orleans is too lazy to move take a moment to think about their condition.

Re:Don't like it? Too bad (1)

leenusohleenus (823549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080586)

Seems like they're better off than all the folks near the arctic circle, but you don't see/hear them complaining... Funny thing, I don't see/hear ANYTHING BUT them (us) complaining. Come closer and every year you'll hear people go: "What? Autumn? AGAIN!?"

Sun reflecting mirrors in space (4, Interesting)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080365)

A while ago there was some research into giant tinfoil equipped satellites which could redirect sunlight onto the earth during darkness. Applications included agricultural (think world's biggest hydroponic setup) and emergency situations requiring 24hr illumination.

I don't know what happened, however between this and Solar Power Satellites [aol.com] transmitting solar generated electricity to earth via microwave I wonder if the research has hurricane implications.

That is, if they could construct an enormous sun-reflecting hurricane death-ray which could be projected/reflected into the eyes of hurricanes, or over oceans to heat the air/water before Hurricanes can form.

Playing with weather... Won't that annoy the hippies!

Re:Sun reflecting mirrors in space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080420)

"...over oceans to heat the air/water before Hurricanes can form."

Hurricanes form over heated water.

Re:Sun reflecting mirrors in space (1)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080477)

Umm... Good point and I stand corrected.

Erm... What I meant to say umm... is do eomething or other with the sun to prevent a hurricane, besides heating water... Ummm...Yeah!

Sorry for any confusion.

Re:Sun reflecting mirrors in space (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080580)

Your zeal to irritate hippies shortcircuited your brains again huh? Seems like you suffer from a lot of short circuits in your thinking.

"Those damned hippies, if it wasn't for them we could play with the weather without impugnity!. They are the only things standing between us and a world without hurricanes!"

Re:Sun reflecting mirrors in space (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080481)

Playing with weather... Won't that annoy the hippies!
Simple: direct a tornado over to where they protest. Or a miniature, very short lasting, local ice age. Half an hour of -90C tends to cool off most protesters.

Re:Sun reflecting mirrors in space (1)

krajo (824554) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080552)

There are several problems with trying to stop hurricanes, see section C5 of the NOAA Hurricane FAQ: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/tcfaqHED.html [noaa.gov]

Re:Sun reflecting mirrors in space (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080553)

You might be thinking about this [livingstonmontana.com] . It was launched I believe, but the mirror supposedly never folded out, and so the project was abandoned.

Re:Sun reflecting mirrors in space (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080593)

"A while ago there was some research into giant tinfoil equipped satellites which could redirect sunlight onto the earth during darkness."

Indeed. Here's one plan that would only have cost a couple of billion dollars a time:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.g ov/19790076663_1979076663.pdf [nasa.gov]

Actually makes this EU boondoggle look cheap!

Australia (-1, Redundant)

o0Buddha0o (908225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080371)

Won't the kangaroo's burn?

Re:Australia (4, Funny)

shrewd (830067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080399)

the Austrian variety of kangaroo's live deep deep underground in dark cold caverns, they'll be alright.

Re:Australia (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080515)

I think those are called rabbits.

10 Minute Walk? Hah! (5, Interesting)

core plexus (599119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080384)

The nation's northernmost town braces Friday for its last sundown of the year.

Barrow, Alaska residents say they tend to sleep more during the long months of round-the-clock dark. The sun sets in Barrow on Friday at 1:40 p.m. and doesn't rise again until Jan. 23 at 1:01 p.m.

Diana Martin is an Inupiat Eskimo and a lifelong Barrow resident. She says it's much easier to start the day when Barrow receives round-the-clock daylight in summer.

new news! (4, Informative)

Celt (125318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080391)

This was on the BBC News website two weeks ago, in fairness atleast can we see the news when it happens

slashdot is not for breaking news (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080490)

repeat:

slashdot is not for breaking news

that's not the purpose of this website

now go crawl back into whatever hole you came from

Re:slashdot is not for breaking news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080585)

I don't know about any breaking here but been quite a bit of it has been bent .

Vampires? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080393)

Are the townspeople vampires?

Any pic? (1)

earthstar (748263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080400)

Any pic of the mountain & town.?

Not the brightest idea (2, Insightful)

Greg Hullender (621024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080408)

The EU wants to spend millions of dollars to light up a few percent of a town of only 400 people?

I guess they can't laugh at our bridge to nowhere anymore . . .

--Greg

Re:Not the brightest idea (1, Interesting)

Markus Landgren (50350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080455)

Come on now, the EU spends zillions on all kinds of crap. This is nowhere near the top ten most wasteful. I'd rather see the EU spend my money on bringing sunlight to those people, than continue its present strategy of subsidizing tobacco plantations while spending money on anti-smoking campaigns. But I suppose my rulers have deemed our pockets deep enough to pay for all of these fantastic things!

Re:Not the brightest idea (0)

StressedEd (308123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080522)

subsidizing tobacco plantations

I was going to ask for some references, then decided to go and look for myself. "Interesting."

Re:Not the brightest idea (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080478)

The EU wants to spend millions of dollars to light up a few percent of a town of only 400 people?

I guess they are more interested by the experience itself and all the potential benefits. I have no doubt it was reviewed by quite a lot of people. If they got the money, there was probably an agreement on the usefullness of the project (but that already happens a few times they put money on dumb projects).

I guess they can't laugh at our bridge to nowhere anymore . . .

Comparable?

Austrian Town Ducks the Sark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080413)

Who-wood half-thunk they wood suck the dark from the rat mountain in Austrailia? Plug-em in cowboy!

Map on news.telegraph (5, Informative)

worf_mo (193770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080417)

Last January news.telegraph had an article [telegraph.co.uk] about this that featured kind of a map on how the mirrors will be positioned.

I can see the headlines... (1)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080418)

Youths vandalize giant mirror, killed by angry mob of suicidal depressed villiagers.

In related news... (-1, Redundant)

Scott Swezey (678347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080438)

It turns out the Archimedes Death Ray [slashdot.org] could have been real afterall.

Oh Boy (1)

Ours (596171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080476)

Lets hope this sets a trend and somebody will poney-up to make a city-wide fog vacuum. By the end of the month the city will be fogged up with little sunlight until spring, *sniff*.

Is Zonk actually Jon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080495)

Cause I'd have sworn such insipid pseudo-technical articles were the hallmark of the long departed Katz.

Whose dick did Zonk suck to be able to post articles?

Note to "Zonk:" kill yourself.

Slashdotted! (2, Funny)

ndogg (158021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080502)

I can't seem to read the site. It seems to be slashdotted.

So, does anyone have a good...umm...mirror?

Convex or concave mirror? (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080506)

Hope they get the right one or they'll be melting the local chocolate shop.

It's just about possible ... (1)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080514)

... that the EU is helping to fund this as a way of getting the bugs out of the technology on a small scale before trying to deploy full-scale orbital mirrors (which have a lot of uses other than lighting up dark towns).

Rat Mountain? (2, Informative)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080517)

Uhm, I don't think so. The places name derives from a guy named Rapoto, offspring of a noble Bavarian lineage, the "Rapotonen". The Rattenberg castle at least dates back to 10th century. More than enough time for the names to change.

Tourist landmark (5, Insightful)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080541)

I live in a country neighboring Austria. When the mirror is up I definitively will pay a visit and spend between 5 and 100 EUR in the town. Just because I and my family like trips. And, if we like it, we might return.

Why build the Eiffel tower? Why build the statue of liberty (and give the ugly thing away?) Why were the funny looking Gaudi buildings built? Why did Linus do it? This list can get pretty long but the common factor is that at the beginning nobody really knew if it really was a good idea.

The truly strange thing is that this mirror thingy is referred to as a technology. Isn't that like calling a hamburger gastronomy?

Next great EU project... (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080558)

...will be placing a giant mirror in space... so the northern part of Sweden and Finland can get some sun in the winter... EU could even try to sell some winter-sunshine to Norway and NW Russia...

This discussion gave me a nice idea... (2, Interesting)

JollyFinn (267972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080560)

A large curved mirror at polar orbit. Think how nice it would be that sunlight of few square kilometers worth that would be otherwice wasted would be directed on a area of meter wide and few meters in length. Sure the atmostphere would widen the affected area so that people could "enjoy" a nice little hot wave ;) And as the earth revolves under it, it could be designed in a way that most people on earth could enjoy it ;) [Except in cases when the mirror is turned to other direction] The polar orbit is good for keeping it in the sun ALL the time. Another good option is Geostationary so that you can deside WHERE to aim it when it works.

in AUSTRIA not AUSTRALIA (2, Informative)

dns_server (696283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080589)

It appears that the writer of the heading has goten confused, the town of Rattenberg is located in AUSTRIA which is a country in europe not australia which is in the southern hemosphere. Why would the EU be paying for a project on the other side of the world in australia? Infact the article makes no reference to australia only austria.

All I can think of (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080590)

Is Wyle E. Coyote and a giant "Acme" mirror.
Unintended consequences ensue.
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