Charles Edison

"Economics, politics, and personalities are often inseparable." - Charles Edison

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lasers Used to Control Rain

Scientists in Geneva experimented with infrared lasers over the Rhone River, and discovered that the beams could trigger the growth of micron sized water droplets that eventually could turn to rain. Though if too many droplets form in can be ineffective because then no actual rain drops would form because all the moisture in the air would be used up through the micro droplets. The use of infrared lasers to produce more rain would be a huge technological advancement in the United States. For example if the U.S. was producing at maximum efficiency in agricultural output we could use these lasers to bring more rain to the dryer regions throughout the South West or even in the Mid West. Therefore increasing our agricultural mass production through technological advancements. Also these infrared lasers are predicted to bring on competition between different regions because of the ability to steal the moisture out of the air, and thus not allowing the natural cycle of moisture to take place in the next region. This could be good and bad for the U.S.'s mixed market as it can bring on more competition, but it could be more hurtful than helpful to the current system if abused. These infrared lasers are ground-based systems allowing less costly use, and easier use. This could be helpful to a region by increasing its efficiency while still keeping costs down. Overall these rain-making infrared lasers could be a tool of economic utility anywhere in the world.


Smith said...

Great analysis. In a mixed economy, could you see the government allowing this type of technology in agriculture? Or do you think there are too many moral implications?

Ian M. said...

As a futurist, I am all for the use of technology to improve our planet. However, as an engineer, I am leery to try to modify the weather when we cannot predict the weather even near perfectly most of the time. There are other ideas for using lasers as replacements for a car's spark plugs (or lights; even as a source of ignition for rocket fuel. Businesses, in general, are always open to new ideas that help to decrease production price, inspire new ideas for products, or increase the quality of the product without increasing the product's price. This openness comes with the following restraint: the product must work almost perfectly. The tests in Geneva show the possibility of use in years to come. The fact that the United State's economy is greater than one industry (i.e. agriculture, automotive etc.) makes any new addition to a market scary. This addition of the lasers to America's plains will help the agricultural industry, but also cause less rain to come to other cities that are in the predicted path of the clouds. I hope that ideas like using lasers to help create rain continue to exist and allow the world to advance for the better.

Ian M.

Victor L said...

I believe the government in a mixed economy wouldn’t allow the use of these infrared lasers for economic means. The benefit of more rain for crops wastes this technologies potential. They could instead use these lasers to spread the rain throughout the country. Those states in major droughts (such as Texas) could use this technology to help ease the burden of our plant life. This would also help reduce the chance of raging forest fires. Those crops in cooler states don’t need more water. Don’t fix what isn’t broken; it’s a cliché but there’s a reason it’s still used. The government would use the technology but only in exotic cases (much like their influence in the economy).

Alex S. said...

Victor wouldn't a mixed economic system give the government only partial control in the use of these lasers? A command economy seems to be what you are describing in the government taking control of the laser usage and spreading out the rain evenly throughout the country. In our mixed economy, businesses would be given control to use lasers to increase efficiency, production, and to lower costs while the government might only place regulations on how one goes about using the lasers.

Ian, so a more small scale use of these lasers would be more beneficial and plausible to America's businesses and economy?