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  (Source: Reuters)

A Chinese worker demonstrates how he will fire a barrage against errant clouds during the Olympics in August.   (Source: Reuters)
China will bring out the BFGs to try to make sure weather doesn't rain on its Olympics

China may have to worry about clouds of smog and black soot due to its lax environmental policies and large scale adoption of inefficient partial-combustion obsolete technologies, but one thing it won't have to worry about at the 2008 Beijing Olympics this August is rain – that is if everything goes according to plan.

China is leveraging its significant military resources to wage a war against Mother Nature.  China plans to deploy 20 anti-aircraft (AA) guns around the city, firing a steady barrage of special payloads containing silver iodide and dry ice into cloud cover, whenever it should appear.  The Chinese hope that this novel strategy will help make the Olympics rain free and perhaps give it a chance to show off its military prowess.

The country is so confident in its rain fighting powers that the 91,000-seat Olympic stadium, nicknamed the "Bird's Nest," has no roof.  The efforts are being led by the city's Weather Modification Office, a sub-branch of the China Meteorological Administration.  The AA/rocket launcher assault is only one phase of a three-pronged assault the Office plans to deploy against inconvenient weather.

The first phase is detection.  China will use satellites, planes, and radar to track incoming weather.  It will also leverage the power of an IBM p575 supercomputer, which the city purchased last year.  The computer is capable of doing a modest 9.8 trillion floating point operations per second and has enough power to accurately model by the kilometer hourly reports for the entire 44,000 square kilometer (17,000 square mile) Beijing area.

Upon detection, the second phase will commence, starting with a barrage from 20 ground-based sites encircling the stadium.  Two aircraft will also be scrambled to spray dry ice and silver iodide into the clouds in an attempt to stop them from reaching the stadium.

If rain manages to break through these barriers, China will deploy its weapon of last resort:  liquid nitrogen.  Aircraft will pummel the clouds with liquid nitrogen.  This, according to officials, will increase the number of droplets in the cloud, but reduce their size, making them less likely to fall.  Officials hope this last ditch effort might hold off the clouds long enough for them to pass safely over the stadium before releasing rain.

There is a 50 percent chance of precipitation during any day that month, according to past trends.  The games will occur during Northeast Asia's rainy season.  Zhang Qian, head of Beijing's Weather Modification Office, warns that past results for weather modification during heavy rain haven't always been successful.  However, he optimistically mentions, "the results with light rain have been satisfactory."

The Chinese government is working very hard to try to make the games a demonstration in the countries newfound power and prosperity.  The government spent $40B USD bringing 120,000 migrant workers (at $130 per month) into Beijing for the massive construction projects planned, starting in 2001. In all, 1.5 million people will be displaced by the new construction projects. 

China, with a population of 1.32 billion, has a penchant for excess; featuring the world's largest dam, the world's highest railroad, and in 2009, the world's largest Ferris wheel.  China's weather modification program will also be the largest in the world, when fully deployed.  It will feature over 1,500 weather modification professionals who will coordinate 30 aircraft and their crews, and a ground force of 37,000 part-time workers, mostly peasant farmers.

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RE: I need an AA gun too
By Polynikes on 3/27/2008 5:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
At least those serve a purpose. Who cares if it rains a bit?

Besides, those are not a measure of military "muscle."

RE: I need an AA gun too
By wayout41 on 3/27/08, Rating: -1
RE: I need an AA gun too
By RjBass on 3/27/2008 7:16:18 PM , Rating: 3
Lol, are you serious?

Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended a global war and as a result of their use we have never seen another nuclear weapon ever used again by any country.

We did shoot down a satellite, a satellite that was in a decaying orbit and could have possibly harmed people with it's toxic fuels. We shot it down in a low orbit that meant most of it burnt up in the atmosphere. While the Chinese shot down a high orbit satellite that was still fully functional. In the process they created who knows how much dangerous space junk. The U.S. shoot down served a purpose while the Chinese shoot down was to prove something.

Ohhh and I guess a global missile defense shield to protect your ass when somebody decides to launch a missile at you isn't good enough hunh? Fine, I guess we should just make it the US Missile Defense Shield, screw the rest of you.

RE: I need an AA gun too
By MadMaster on 3/27/2008 7:50:56 PM , Rating: 1
I have to ask a simple question...

What is the reason for spending 5x any other country on 'defense' spending? I mean seriously, who is dumb enough to invade the USA?

To me, this is the ultimate overcompensation! Us Americans have noooooo room to talk.

Btw, China really is poised to go head to head with the USA in the coming decades. They have a very good reason to show off their military...

RE: I need an AA gun too
By RjBass on 3/27/2008 8:08:55 PM , Rating: 4
Well the obvious answer to the 5x question now is Bush's stupid war in Iraq.

RE: I need an AA gun too
By cmdrdredd on 3/28/2008 12:01:20 AM , Rating: 1
Estimates put China's per capita military spending way, way above the US...

RE: I need an AA gun too
By MadMaster on 3/28/2008 2:54:03 AM , Rating: 3

And according to their sources (they seem good...)

China spend 59 billion a year. But analysts think it's about 3 times that. Close to 150 - 200 billion.

The US spends 583 billion. We're still ahead of China by a healthy margin...

RE: I need an AA gun too
By theapparition on 3/28/2008 8:38:26 AM , Rating: 3
What is the reason for spending 5x any other country on 'defense' spending? I mean seriously, who is dumb enough to invade the USA?

Btw, China really is poised to go head to head with the USA in the coming decades. They have a very good reason to show off their military...

You answered your own question, thanks for playing.

RE: I need an AA gun too
By Tsuwamono on 3/27/08, Rating: -1
RE: I need an AA gun too
By RjBass on 3/27/2008 8:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
It wasn't after the war. The temporary cease fire was only on the side of the US so that we could prepare for the invasion of the Japanese mainland. The Japanese were not firing at us because they had nothing left and were doing nothing but preparing for the invasion of their mainland. At that point the Japanese had no intention of surrendering.

With the invasion looming, and the thought of thousands of US soldiers lives being lost, and the thought of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of civilian lives being lost, the bombs were dropped.

The end result was catastrophic, a nightmare, a result that hopefully will never ever be repeated in history. But it ended the war, and it woke up the world to the horrific creation that was and still is nuclear weapons.

RE: I need an AA gun too
By MadMaster on 3/27/2008 9:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
Before we dropped the nukes, we were doing b-29 firebombing missions...wasn't exactly a cease fire...

We knew that if we invaded, it would have cost a heck of a lot. Also, fascism became so prevalent that just about every Japanese person was willing to fight to the death.

In fact, the Japanese people were surprised the emperor decided to surrender. There was almost a coup against the emperor because of his surrender decision...

RE: I need an AA gun too
By cmdrdredd on 3/28/2008 12:04:20 AM , Rating: 2
However, the atomic bomb drops in Japan killed less people than the firebombing of the Japanese cities (including Tokyo) which burned down hundreds of wood structures.

RE: I need an AA gun too
By pxavierperez on 3/28/2008 8:26:22 AM , Rating: 2
Also, to my understanding, Russia offered to take care half of Japan. Without the A-Bomb we would have a north and south Japan separated by a wall.

RE: I need an AA gun too
By FITCamaro on 3/28/2008 10:04:25 AM , Rating: 2

Those bombs being dropped saved millions more lives than they cost. If we had invaded the mainland, we would have basically had to commit genocide to end the war. The Japanese were willing to fight to the death.

Casualty estimates for an invasion of the mainland were in the hundreds of thousands for our troops, hundreds of thousands for their troops, and in the millions for civilian deaths. The initial landing would have made Normandy look like a cake walk.

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