TED Conversations

Mitch SMith


This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

The case for cloud-seeding

It is quite evident that most states in the world now conduct cloud seeding.

Cloud seeding is not all that new, in my youth it was common in the apple growing districts to shoot skyrockets above possible hail formations to disrupt the coalsecence of hail stones and reduce their impact on the crops. I believe the active chemical used was silver nitrate.

The more common chemical seen in modern cloud seeding is silver iodide. This nucleates rain drops which then gather electrostatically into cloud.

You will recognise them for their whispy-feathery appearance, which may or may not form into rain clouds - depending on the ambient humidity.

The presence of cloud seeding was first noticed by conspiracy theorists as "chemtrails", agianst which no official refutation was poffered - because no public agreement was sought for the practice.

I can think of some good reasons for cloud seeding - wildfire mittigation, cachement optimisation (water-supply dams) or even mittigation of global warming.

We don't know the justifications because we were not consulted. And the debate was never undertaken.

Let's have the debate now.

To kick it off, i will opose the practice and state as my opening arguement that: cloud seeding is vandalism of the sky.

Please state and argue your case:

For and against.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Dec 10 2012: Bit confused, not sure how latest post relates to original question about value of cloud-seeding. Linear modelling is difficult as it assumes a particular directional trend hence I prefer the chinese puzzle paradigm of boxes within boxes, if that makes any sense in this. Is this an existential idea i.e. what is the purpose of a life lived ? In whose interests are we living and loving ? Also depends what kind of harm that needs to be healed I suppose. Ever heard the expression if it ain't hurting, it ain't working ? Know your passion is neurology so what is the focus of the question ? Do you know the expression 'that which does not kill us makes us stronger ? Was given a really nice quote today by Rice. Will quote it to you if it helps. Current global time system of a 24 hour day is so unhelpful and only arose with the railways in the C19th. Before then time was more seasonal. So either total control or firefighting, sounds like a bloke's point of view. Still like Jung's idea of the universal subconscious i.e. that which is suppressed just pops up again in another form to bite us on the behind, as it were. Existing hurts but that is the way we know we are alive. People born with no pain awareness are in the greatest danger of all. Is this the path your thoughts are taking ? BTW saw a book about the connectome thingy written by Seung, do you know it and does it apply to this ?
    • thumb
      Dec 11 2012: Hi Elizabeth,
      The conectome thingy applies in ways you might not imagine - but given a bit of splashing-around in neural theory - you will see it plain as day.
      In other places I am assembling the hypothesis of "the conservation of entropy". I think this will be important somehow - your allusion to non-linear boxes-within-boxes fits nicely with it.
      What i was sculptimg in my reply to you was an observation of teh nature of "intent".
      And it is very cogent to the practice of cloud-seeding.
      It all comes down to the russian-doll view of "self",. Damasio shows that we have 3 components of self, we can also observe that individual humans give rise to a community self, and this in turn creates a super-community self.
      These things are all conformant to the notion of a connectome - and connectomes are the evolving state of neural networks - connectome refers to the loadings(potentiation) of synapses - evolving, not static.
      Neural networks are clever, but they have intrinsic flaws. The most pervasive of these is the "local minimum". The local minimum is where a part of teh conectome becomes static. In functional life, this is necessary - you don't want to be having to learn how to walk every time you need to walk .. but it is problematic in areas that must evolve - i.e. a world view.
      So then we get back to "intention" or as you say "in whose interest" do we act?
      All action is executed for the advantage of a "self". And no action can be judged without first identifying that self.
      In the case of cloud seeding, the self is not defined - it could be just an aeronautic company making a dollar, it could be a government manipulating GDP factors, it could be a global cabal fighting off the inevitabilities of global warming, it could be a church hastening the apocolypse - no one has been consulted outside these "selves" - this is evident because we don't know whome is exercising an "interest".
      • thumb
        Dec 11 2012: OK, somewhere quite close to you on the beach and see you splashing around. There was an intriguing article in the UK media yesterday about the interconnectedness of localised events on global trading patterns. I believe the article cited the impact of a civil disturbance on one continent impacting in another place in the world, not directly connected in any linear way. My understanding of the word entropy is 'decay'. I do have quire a vivid imagination. So, are you familiar with Christmas lights that are set in a net that you hang at the window, each light bulb is connected by a diamond pattern of wires so each light is directly placed at the same distance as another. I am trying to use another analogy, now if one of the lights malfunctions the whole net refuses to work. Mother Nature is far more sophisticated and using the Russian doll/chinese puzzle box analogy, she will find an alternative way of working but whether that way of working is always compatible with an individual 'self' does not matter it seems. It is an age old question - where does the life force go and where did it come from in the first place. Absolutely intriguing isn't it - I have always enjoyed the stories about very kong-ived selves who seem to be able to renew their physical selves by stepping into a flame of some description but the proviso is they must always do it on their own. So yes, who knows what effect our own actions have. I often think about belief systems and am so upset to see in the media so many people really scared about the wierd things happpening lately. Again it was only a small story on the internet but there is a place in France I understand which the local police have had to make into an exclusion zone. I think it was Socrates who said beware of the mob. There are times when groups of people get together, act as a group mentality and generally that type of event is driven by emotions at some kind of hormonal level. A world view = a belief system = whose ?
        • thumb
          Dec 11 2012: Hmm .. local civil disturbance affecting global trading patterns .. one has to be careful doing causal analysis - you might be seeing the "butterfly affect" or you might be seeing only correlation. In the former it is bound by a common chaos system, in the latter the events are downstream of a master cause and need not be within a chaos system - there are linear causalities. People have been busting their nuts trying to solve market dynanics - chaos means just that - chaos - it has an internal structure that cannot be known without having the starting conditions to an infinite number of decimal places.
          In neural nets, the malfunction of a single neuron will do no more than make the result a little fluffy - the topology will re-adjust to compensate.
          The life force in entropic conservation is conserved - it is the global gradient - any ripple on that gradient can collapse - any net imballance in that collapse will be taken-up by surrounding ripples and "iron-out" the discrepancy - conserving the global gradient. In other words - your life force never dies - but your ego does not go to heaven - no sense of self does. What DOES live on are the selves which have taken up roost on you super-entropic field. In the most banal - these are the bacteria and worms - many of them will leave nothing more than humus, but some will find another field to occupy - or go to sleep in the long trail of fading entropic potential as eggs, cysts or spores. Perhaps these have their meta-equivalent in ideas or artworks.
          The Phoenix is the full cycle of the tower of Babel. But what rises from the ashes is not always the same thing that burned.
          Entropy is simply the process by which things spread-out and homogenise - energy just goes out and out until it joins with the background microwave radiation we see in the entire universe .. about 2 watts per sqr K (or somethign like that). On its way from cohesive lumps of stuff to homogenous haze is a gradient - entropy.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.