Since World War II, Russian scientists have been researching ways to bend the weather to their liking. Today, they routinely ensure sun-splashed Victory Day celebrations by chasing away clouds using a technology known as cloud seeding (the same technology the Chinese government used to chase away clouds during the Beijing summer Olympics).
It’s nice to have sunny parades, but Moscow officials believe they can use their technology to alter the weather and save some rubles, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Now they’re poised to battle the most inevitable and emblematic force of Russian winter: the snow.
Moscow’s government, led by powerful and long-reigning Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, has indicated that clearing the capital’s streets of snow is simply too expensive. Instead, officials are weighing a plan to seed the clouds with liquid nitrogen or dry ice to keep heavy snow from falling inside the city limits.
Hugo Chavez: ardent socialist, Venezuelan president, rain maker?
A crippling drought in his country has led Chavez to embrace cloud seeding. This week, he announced that he will team up with Cuban scientists to fly through clouds and “zap” them with silver iodide so they produce precipitation, one of the most popular kinds of cloud seeding and the one China said it used to induce a snowstorm this February.
Reuters was there to catch the president’s excitement:
“I’m going in a plane; any cloud that crosses me, I’ll zap it so that it rains,” Chavez said.
Seeding the clouds doesn’t do any good if there’s no moisture to begin with, but we presume that President Chavez wants to try anything that might help. Anyway, “zapping” is a more pleasing alternative to threatening, which the president previously tried on his countrymen. From UPI:
Earlier this month Chavez accused Venezuelans, including businesses, of wasting water and warned of tough punitive measures. He advised people … to limit showering to three minutes. Jacuzzis, watering of lawns and flowerbeds and filling of swimming pools have all been banned.
For the sake of Venezuela’s swimmers, horticulture enthusiasts, and hot tub manufacturers, here’s hoping the president’s plan is a success.
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Image: flickr/ Daniel Zanini H.