Friday, July 18, 2008

Thoughts on a Geoengineered Future

It has rained every Friday for the past month here in Beijing. Like clockwork. A little too much like clockwork. I've already written about Beijing's forays into weather modification. Beijing, as a possible representative of the geoengineered future that might be globally inevitable, has made a few questions pop into my wee little brain:

In a geoengineered world, will meterologists be out of a job?
Weather prediction..hah! A thing of the past. The weather report will show up next to the weekly television programs in the newspapers. As predictable as what night of the week all the Seinfeld re-runs get re-ran. "Rain: Every weeknight at 11, weekends at 10. This week on Sunday a 4 hour special." All those weatherman, trained to point their fingers and gyrate their hips in front of a blue screen, motioning to figures and images that just aren't there...what will they do with themselves?

Or, in a geoengineered world, will weathermen get to
choose the weather?
Oh man oh man...let's hope he's not having a bad day! Like suffering from a hangover or going through a divorce. That would ruin us for the entire season!
But, as a colleague and I were discussing today, perhaps meteorology would be less a pseudo-science and more about data collecting, assessing, and predicting the
affects of rain, rather than whether or not it will actually happen. If so, I guess it would just follow the general trends of science.

In a geoengineered world, will geographic locations be distinguishable by their climate? Or will there be an undifferentiated everyplace. Why wouldn't everyone want Hawaii's weather 24/7, 365 days a year, sometimes 366?

In a geoengineered world, will planning focus on climatic zoning, similar to the functional zoning made popular during modernism's period of hyper-rationalization?
If weather modification became so precise as to control which part of the city got rain and which got sun, you can imagine a planning model based on the spatialization on particular building type's precipitous requirements. And you might find soci-economic disparities--those who can afford to live in rain zones, with nice lush lawns, and those who cannot.

In a geoengineered world, will winter sports become a historical fact?
Something to tell the grandchildren about..."See, there used to be this frozen white powder, and these things called 'skis' and 'snowboards', see...and we used to kind of just, well, sort of glide, not exactly like on water, it was different. Boy, we had some times out there, let me tell you. We used to make these things called 'snow angels', by lying on our backs, like so, and flapping our arms and legs. Hey, you got it! Hehehe, 'Don't eat the yellow snow' we used to joke to eachother, cuz see, the dogs, well they would go out and..."

In a geoengineered world, will there be clouds to spark children's imaginations?
"Look mom, an oliphaunt." "Over there, it's a bicycle ridden by a donkey." Or will there be just a continuous mass of grayish greenish haze covering our cities?

In a geongineered world, will there be a color called "sky blue?" How could we tell?

In a geongineered world, will polar bears move to Antartica?

In a geongineered world, will we all live in bio-spheres? Or worse yet, biodomes? Or will it be a utopian return to Eden? 1

hmmm...looks like we have a lot of things to ponder...

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