Saturday, August 16, 2008

That reminds me

My delight in the unprecedented vividness of the sky last night, and J's further comment on it this morning, have reminded me that the evening of 1st August - the first day of brilliant weather that BOCOG's secret weather-control machine managed to conjure up for us - was, if anything, even clearer.

I was once again walking home through the hutongs around 1am that night. Searchlights - somewhere up on the Olympic Green, I guess - were playing across the sky, and the occasional wispy clouds. (Oddly enough, I haven't seen this effect again since. I wonder if they were intending to use it as part of the Opening Ceremony, but dropped it because of the much reduced visibility that night?) All along the alleys there were knots of people stood around gazing skyward, old folks slumped on chairs or stools watching, parents perched on the stoops of their homes with their children beside them, fascinated, delighted.

But then the searchlights shut down, and I found that people were continuing to stare up at the sky with just as much wonderment. I was briefly confused - and then I looked up and realised: they were counting the stars. Or trying to. The sky was pricked with thousands of tiny points of light. That is something you just never see in Beijing. Ordinarily, you gauge a clear night here, quite literally, by how many stars you can see: 5, 10, 20. Most nights you can't see any. But that night, there were thousands, tens of thousands.

There were far fewer stars on display last night (perhaps as much because of the high level of ambient light as the very slight haze), but the brightness of the full moon and the delicate colouration of the sky made it a uniquely beautiful sight.


Unknown said...

Top scientists say revolutionary clean power climate control project will reduce dangerous weather and improve the lives of billions of people.

Climatologists, biologists and physicists from all corners of the globe agree that U.S. based Gravitational Systems, L.L.C.'s revolutionary clean power climate control project INDRA will improve the lives of billions of people around the world. Concerns have been raised about the projects impact on biodiversity as deserts are terraformed to rainforests.

Gare Henderson, director of research and development for Gravitational Systems, L.L.C. ( a clean power developer), explains that the INDRA project, a proposed network of specialized evaporation channels moving sea water from the oceans toward the deserts, will convert world deserts into biodiverse rainforests. Deserts which cover 1/3 of all dry land will be terraformed into productive land. The INDRA systems will give mankind control of the weather, ending dangerous storms such as hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, and dry heat waves within a decade. Vast rivers can be turned on and off in hours, and reservoirs and salt marshes drained or replenished in days. The increased bio-mass of the terraformed deserts will begin to reverse both global warming and thermal sea level rise. UNFCCC cap and trade certification of the INDRA project will allow individuals and business to fund the plan through carbon offsets. The initial projects will be targeted north American, and north African deserts.

For more information contact:

Gare Henderson
Gravitational Systems, L.L.C.
P.o.Box 2066
Washington, D.C. 20013

Froog said...


Obviously, if you've developed a 'Star Trek'-style supertechnology which can "terraform" deserts, the first thing you'd do to spread the word would be go go around spamming unread blogs. I can see that entirely.

Quite apart from the eccentricity of the marketing approach, I am deeply sceptical anyway. a) Moving HUGE quantities of water from one place to another tends not to be very energy effecient. b) Puting HUGE amounts of water in places where there usually isn't much doesn't stop them being deserts (deserts form because of low rainfall and - even more - because of high soil erosion and low water retentivity), but it would fuck up the climate in all sorts of subtle and intricate ways we couldn't begin to calculate.

All in all, a dangerous lunacy, I would say.

And, in all probability, just a 'boiler room' share scam.