Monday, June 23, 2008


Making a deal with God

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian air force planes dropped a 25-kg (55-lb) sack of cement on a suburban Moscow home last week while seeding clouds to prevent rain from spoiling a holiday, Russian media said on Tuesday...

...June 12 was Russia Day, a patriotic holiday celebrating the country's independence after the break-up of the Soviet Union.



Perhaps the strangest thing about this article is the fact that the Russians celebrate the break-up of the Soviet Union. It's not like we celebrate the dissolution of the British Empire, after all.

For anyone not in the know, cloud seeding involves lobbing stuff into clouds in order to induce precipitation. It is used to ensure clear skies ahead of holidays, to cause extra snow over ski resorts, and to deprive neighbouring countries of valuable rainclouds, ensuring drought, hardship and economic decline.

I was aware that dry ice was widely used in cloud seeding, although the practice of tossing hefty sacks of cement out of planes is a new one to me. Apparently the Russians have been doing this every year since 1990 and this is the first time they've smashed a hole in anyone's roof (no one was injured, but a lawsuit is pending.)

With the Beijing olympics imminent and the Chinese seeding clouds ahead of medal ceremonies, I have a gloomy inkling that packing a waterproof for the games may not be enough.


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