Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Scientists Blocking out the Sun 428

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the dogs-and-cats-living-together dept.
Ashtangiman writes to tell us The New York Times is running an article about geoengineering in which many solutions to global warming include decreasing the amount of sunlight that the planet sees. The ideas are not new, many have been around for quite some time, however they have been relegated to the fringes of science and many have never been published because of this. From the article: "Geoengineering is no magic bullet, Dr. Cicerone said. But done correctly, he added, it will act like an insurance policy if the world one day faces a crisis of overheating, with repercussions like melting icecaps, droughts, famines, rising sea levels and coastal flooding."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Scientists Blocking out the Sun

Comments Filter:
  • by WesternActor (300755) * on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:27PM (#15616177) Homepage
    Simpsons did it! Simpsons did it!
    • by acoster (812556)
      Heck, even the Angry Beavers [wikipedia.org] did it.
    • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:43PM (#15616326)
      I think you'll find that this topic was covered in an episode of Josie & the Pussycats (In Outer Space) several years before the inception of the Simpsons. The gang travelled to a planet with some aliens that wanted to extinguish the sun because it was hurting their eyes. You see, they had these gigantic eyes. The "bubbly blond" character recommended that they wear sunglasses instead. Everyone lived happily ever after and I'm sure a song was sung at some point.
      • "Josie & the Pussycats...The "bubbly blond" character recommended that they wear sunglasses instead..."

        If I remember correctly, I think Suzanne Summers did the voice of the blonde pussycat on that show. Was Casey Kasem a voice on there too? I know he was shaggy on Scooby Doo..but, I think he was like the manager on Josie too?

    • by hackwrench (573697) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:48PM (#15616362) Homepage Journal
      And the robots in the matrix thought the blacking out the sun thing was all about them.
      • Re:One comment. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ultranova (717540)

        And the robots in the matrix thought the blacking out the sun thing was all about them.

        No, it is about creating artificial scarcity for a naturally abundant resource - sunlight - so you can then sell it at premium prices. Imagine a giant shader that only lets enough sunlight through for plants to grow if the owner of a field paid a suitable extortion price.

        And if you think that this is unlikely, just watch what kind of laws the copyright conmen have gotten through. After all, it is only right that the

    • by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:48PM (#15616365) Homepage Journal
      Uh, how can the very first post be redundant? Anyway...

      Smithers: Well, Sir, you've certainly vanquished all your enemies: the Elementary School, the local tavern, the old age home...you must be very proud.
      Burns: [stuffing money into his wallet] No, not while my greatest nemesis still provides our customers with free light, heat and energy. I call this enemy...the sun.
      Since the beginning of time man has yearned to destroy the sun. I will do the next best thing...block it out!
      [another button raises a shield over the model town]
      Smithers: Good God!
      Burns: Imagine it, Smithers: electrical lights and heaters running all day long!
      Smithers: But Sir! Every plant and tree will die, owls will deafen us with incessant hooting...the town's sundial will be useless. I don't want any part of this project, it's unconscionably fiendish.
      Burns: I will not suffer your insubordination. There has been a shocking decline in the quality and quantity of your toadying, Waylon. And you will fall into line, now!
      Smithers: [pained] No...no, Monty, I won't. Not until you step back from the brink of insanity.
      Burns: I'll do no such thing. You're fired!
      Burns: [laughing] Take that, Bowlerama!
      [stomp] Take that, Convenience Mart!
      [stomp] Take that, Nuclear Power Plan --
      [stomp] oh, fiddlesticks.
    • by MoFoQ (584566) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:58PM (#15616463)
      It was also in Highlander 2 [imdb.com]
    • by BakaHoushi (786009) <Goss.Sean@gmaiCOFFEEl.com minus caffeine> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:37PM (#15616752) Homepage
      Curses. Well, no big deal. We scientists will just have to go back to our other mission, building a tiny civilization from the bacteria on our teeth. Wait, what? Oh, okay. Then we'll just place a fake angel in an isolated town to simulate how it reacts to the end of the world. Wait, they did that too? Dammit! Well, how about we just go invent chairs that can't tip backwards or an automatic hammer, huh? Oh son of a--

      Screw this, I'm going to Vegas to get drunk and married!
  • by Kid Zero (4866) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:28PM (#15616184) Homepage Journal
    After all, Launch Solar Shade is one of the techs you pick up along the way.

    • Yes, but we need Advanced Spaceflight first - while I see spaceflight, I certainly don't see Organic Superlubricant...

      Plasma shards would be cool though. Best part of course is that if we increase the shade too much, we can just melt the polar ice caps a bunch!
  • by EddieBurkett (614927) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:29PM (#15616195)
    • No. Global dimming is due to absorption/reflection of the sunlight in the atmosphere (more absorption than reflection). This is increasing due to pollution. The energy still reaches the earth's atmosphere. The purpose of this proposal is to prevent a portion of the energy from hitting the earth, quite a bit different.

      -molo
  • Warming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PresidentEnder (849024) <wyvernender@gmail.cCOWom minus herbivore> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:30PM (#15616206) Journal
    Given that the most reasonable "something-other-than-humans-caused" global warming hypothesis I've heard so far is that the sun's energy output is increasing, (incindentally, this would also explain Martian global warming, which by some evidence matches terrestrial warming), this seems like exactly the way to go. A more direct and exact correction could not be found (if this is, in fact, the cause of global warming) without changing the energy output of the sun manually, which is to my knowledge impossible.
    • Re:Warming (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Intron (870560) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:44PM (#15616328)
      Would you happen to have the name of a reputable scientist that claims solar output variation is responsible for global warming, by any chance? Note that even over the 14-year sunspot cycle [nasa.gov] the variation is less than 1%.
      • ...until such time as it is repaired by Symbiosis, resulting in transparency to gravity and total instant telepathy with others in Symbiosis.. StarDance/StarSeed/StarMind, Robinson, Spider and Jeanne
        (I'm guessing/hoping you're also a fan)
      • Re:Warming (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Gnavpot (708731)
        Note that even over the 14-year sunspot cycle [nasa.gov] the variation is less than 1%.
        Huh? When I was a child, that cycle was 11 years. If it is 14 years now, something is definitely changing.
      • Re:Warming (Score:5, Informative)

        by praksys (246544) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:27PM (#15616677) Homepage
        From space.com [space.com]

        "In what could be the simplest explanation for one component of global warming, a new study shows the Sun's radiation has increased by .05 percent per decade since the late 1970s.

        The increase would only be significant to Earth's climate if it has been going on for a century or more, said study leader Richard Willson, a Columbia University researcher also affiliated with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

        The Sun's increasing output has only been monitored with precision since satellite technology allowed necessary observations. Willson is not sure if the trend extends further back in time, but other studies suggest it does."

        Note that he doesn't claim that changes in the Sun's energy output have caused most of the observed global warming, just that such changes could explain global warming.
      • Would you happen to have the name of a reputable scientist that claims solar output variation is responsible for global warming, by any chance?

        The Russian solar physicists Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev of the Irkutsk Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics think that recent warming is directly tied to the sunspot cycle and the planet will soon start cooling again. They are so sure of this that they accepted a $10,000 wager [guardian.co.uk] to that effect with climate scientist James Annan. The bet is that the

    • Re:Warming (Score:5, Funny)

      by ndansmith (582590) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:53PM (#15616412)
      Given that the most reasonable "something-other-than-humans-caused" global warming hypothesis I've heard so far is that the sun's energy output is increasing, (incindentally, this would also explain Martian global warming, which by some evidence matches terrestrial warming), this seems like exactly the way to go.

      Actually, I am pretty sure that Martian global warming is caused by those two little SUVs [nasa.gov] we have driving around up there.
    • Eh, we need to learn weather control at this point regardless of global warming and whatnot. Our population is too large and our value on human life too high to let god keep smacking us about whenever he rolls over in his sleep. Global temperature is just one aspect of what we need to learn to control.
    • Re:Warming (Score:4, Funny)

      by soft_guy (534437) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:03PM (#15616501)
      Martian global warming, which by some evidence matches terrestrial warming

      Think of the effects this will have on the Buggalo!
    • Re:Warming (Score:3, Funny)

      by QuantumG (50515)
      Who gives a shit if humans are causing it. We can't stop being human. The only solution is planetary engineering.
  • by LionKimbro (200000) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:30PM (#15616209) Homepage
    This idea is totally not new.

    The only problem is, last time we simulated it, humanity ended up enslaved by robots. [warnerbros.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:31PM (#15616222)
    How to Cool a Planet (Maybe)
    By WILLIAM J. BROAD

    In the past few decades, a handful of scientists have come up with big, futuristic ways to fight global warming: Build sunshades in orbit to cool the planet. Tinker with clouds to make them reflect more sunlight back into space. Trick oceans into soaking up more heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

    Their proposals were relegated to the fringes of climate science. Few journals would publish them. Few government agencies would pay for feasibility studies. Environmentalists and mainstream scientists said the focus should be on reducing greenhouse gases and preventing global warming in the first place.

    But now, in a major reversal, some of the world's most prominent scientists say the proposals deserve a serious look because of growing concerns about global warming.

    Worried about a potential planetary crisis, these leaders are calling on governments and scientific groups to study exotic ways to reduce global warming, seeing them as possible fallback positions if the planet eventually needs a dose of emergency cooling.

    "We should treat these ideas like any other research and get into the mind-set of taking them seriously," said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington.

    The plans and proposed studies are part of a controversial field known as geoengineering, which means rearranging the earth's environment on a large scale to suit human needs and promote habitability. Dr. Cicerone, an atmospheric chemist, will detail his arguments in favor of geoengineering studies in the August issue of the journal Climatic Change.

    Practicing what he preaches, Dr. Cicerone is also encouraging leading scientists to join the geoengineering fray. In April, at his invitation, Roger P. Angel, a noted astronomer at the University of Arizona, spoke at the academy's annual meeting. Dr. Angel outlined a plan to put into orbit small lenses that would bend sunlight away from earth -- trillions of lenses, he now calculates, each about two feet wide, extraordinarily thin and weighing little more than a butterfly.

    In addition, Dr. Cicerone recently joined a bitter dispute over whether a Nobel laureate's geoengineering ideas should be aired, and he helped get them accepted for publication. The laureate, Paul J. Crutzen of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany, is a star of atmospheric science who won his Nobel in 1995 for showing how industrial gases damage the earth's ozone shield. His paper newly examines the risks and benefits of trying to cool the planet by injecting sulfur into the stratosphere.

    The paper "should not be taken as a license to go out and pollute," Dr. Cicerone said in an interview, emphasizing that most scientists thought curbing greenhouse gases should be the top priority. But he added, "In my opinion, he's written a brilliant paper."

    Geoengineering is no magic bullet, Dr. Cicerone said. But done correctly, he added, it will act like an insurance policy if the world one day faces a crisis of overheating, with repercussions like melting icecaps, droughts, famines, rising sea levels and coastal flooding.

    "A lot of us have been saying we don't like the idea" of geoengineering, he said. But he added, "We need to think about it" and learn, among other things, how to distinguish sound proposals from ones that are ineffectual or dangerous.

    Many scientists still deride geoengineering as an irresponsible dream with more risks and potential bad side effects than benefits; they call its extreme remedies a good reason to redouble efforts at reducing heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide. And skeptics of human-induced global warming dismiss geoengineering as a costly effort to battle a mirage.

    Even so, many analysts say the prominence of its new advocates is giving the field greater visibility and credibility and adding to the likelihood that global leaders may one day consider taking such emergency steps.

    "People used to say, 'Shut up, the world isn't read
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:31PM (#15616223) Journal
    that plants now receive far less light. Less light, means slower growth, less uptake of CO2, etc.

    Off hand, all the solutions (CO2 sequestering,etc) that allow us to keep our oil/coal dependancies will probably come back to bite us. Far better to bite the bullet now, and switch to nukes(fission and fusion) and alternatives.
  • by MarkByers (770551) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:32PM (#15616230) Homepage Journal
    ...then the flamewar from this thread will start it.
  • by Optic7 (688717) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:32PM (#15616231)
    We'll be having rave parties 24x7 then. Cue the Matrix soundrack. Where are the hot chicks in post-apocalyptic skimpy outfits? I see these scientists have started using their recreational drugs even before the raves have started!
  • I've often thought that regardless where you stand on the cuases of climate change, the fact is conditions on this planet have been in the past, and probably will be in the future, pretty inhospitable for us. So thinking long-term, the only safe thing to do is start to establish some sort of control, preferably in ways that have an effect on a shorter scale than controlling emissions.

    Now I'm off to read TFA, and see whether I'm on-topic or not ;)
    • Now I'm off to read TFA, and see whether I'm on-topic or not ;)

      Better late than never, I suppose, although a true slashdotter never bothers to RTFA. After all, it's so much more fun commenting when you have no idea what's going on other than the (usually inaccurate) summary.

  • FTA:"Geoengineering is no magic bullet, Dr. Cicerone said. But done correctly, he added, it will act like an insurance policy if the world one day faces a crisis of overheating, with repercussions like melting icecaps, droughts, famines, rising sea levels, coastal and flooding..." ...not to mention solar powered sentient robots bent on exterminating the human race.
  • Great... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Doc Squidly (720087) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:34PM (#15616251)
    Now that we might be able to block out the sun, its ok to burn fossil fuels.[end sarcasm]
  • Finally... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tribbin (565963) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:35PM (#15616259) Homepage
    ... a cure against skin-cancer ... and an increased possibility of slashdotters mating.
    Everybody will be as pale as we are! Yey!
  • ...solutions like this because they seem intuitively like they would work; I've often wondered if we couldn't simply coat large parts of the poles in tin foil as a way of cooling the area down by effectively stopping radition of heat. Restricting the light could cause problems but if it was controlled in such a way that made it easy to start/stop then we could just use bursts every now and again
    • Not only that, but you then have the secondary effect of preventing the government from reading penguins' minds! Eh, ha.
    • Eh, the poles are about as reflective as they're going to get. Adding tinfoil wouldn't really help. Plus it'll corrode, and Sn ions, while slightly better than lead, are not really something you want to dump into an area connected to the world's water en masse. Same for Al, if you were using 'tinfoil' to mean 'aluminum foil'.

      And even if you solve the corrosion problem, occasional precipitation would just cover it up anyhow.

      Good that we haven't lost our ability to think in hyperbole on /., though. A lo
  • Life imitates art (Score:2, Redundant)

    by nEoN nOoDlE (27594)
    "Mankind has always dreamed of destroying the sun" -- Mr. Burns

    This plan has already been covered [wikipedia.org]
  • "This giant mirror will block out 30% of the sun's rays, thus cooling the Earth."

    "Wormstrom!"

  • by Macdude (23507) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:39PM (#15616294)
    Date line Aug. 17th, 2017:

    NASA has confirmed that it was an error converting metric to imperial measurments that caused the death of almost seven billion people and the started our current ice age.

    In other news; Today's high is expected to reach -65 celcius.
  • Given that we don't conclusively understand the way the earth works, it strikes me as insanely arrogant to think we can CONTROL the biosphere. We should work on controlling our own (that is, INDIVIDUAL) actions before we try to tell "mother nature" what to do ..
    • > Given that we don't conclusively understand the way the earth works, it strikes me as insanely arrogant to think we can CONTROL the biosphere. We should work on controlling our own (that is, INDIVIDUAL) actions before we try to tell "mother nature" what to do ..

      So, I gather that you don't go for the idea of importing weasels to destroy the snakes that you imported to destroy the frogs that you imported to destroy the flies that you imported to destroy the...
    • Yes, because we're obviously just stading there going "Nature, you will cool down by five degrees Centigrade! By my mandate as master of beasts, I command it!" Definitely not approaching it as an engineering problem by researching the underlying mechanisms and tweaking them or anything.
  • by creimer (824291) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:42PM (#15616315) Homepage
    Seems like a lot of people want to avoid the one fact that sticks out like a sore thumb. Just as nature adapts to the environmental effects of humans, humans need to adapt to the environmental effects of nature. Instead of trying to stop the ice caps from melting, maybe it's time to move the houses on the shorelines back a mile or two and put in better flood control.
    • Seems like a lot of people want to avoid the one fact that sticks out like a sore thumb. Just as nature adapts to the environmental effects of humans, humans need to adapt to the environmental effects of nature. Instead of trying to stop the ice caps from melting, maybe it's time to move the houses on the shorelines back a mile or two and put in better flood control.

      The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progre

    • Whatever (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xstonedogx (814876)
      Do you also advocate moving away from places like Canada and Norway rather than building heated homes?

      In the context of humans adapting to nature vs. adapting nature to humans, there is no fundamental difference between preventing the icecaps from melting and putting in better flood control. We are still adapting nature to our needs (i.e. controlling nature), not the other way around. In fact, preventing the ice caps from melting is an example of better flood control.

    • humans need to adapt to the environmental effects of nature
      You've just stated this with no kind of argument to back it up. Why should humans adapt if we're capable of adapting nature? And how is 'flood control' humans adapting to nature. It's a clear example of humans controlling nature.

      I can't believe this kind of trite unreasoning nonsense gets modded 'Insightful'.

  • This be overseen by people in Washington, which says it all.

    Even the "think tanks" and scientists do not know enough to start tinkering
    with the weather on a large scale. It is not understood fully.

    One screw up and we have the next disaster movie, in 3-d.
  • Trees Hug Back (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:43PM (#15616322) Homepage Journal
    What's wrong with spending that money on engineering to reforest the huge deforested areas of every continent? Just replanting the native vegetation sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere, increases energy absorption by the greener surface, and produces material to consume. And lets the plants do all the hard work. Without another risky meddling in the poorly-understood, vastly complex feedback system we all depend on.

    Instead we should blot out the Sun? That's insane, and therefore even more likely to burn us harder and faster.
    • Re:Trees Hug Back (Score:2, Informative)

      by Control Group (105494)
      Planting trees will not change the total amount of carbon currently participating in the carbon cycle. To do that, we'd have to re-sequester it underground, where we got it.

      Which is a non-trivial task. Although perhaps less non-trivial than making the sun set...at three PM!
      • Re:Trees Hug Back (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:04PM (#15616504) Homepage Journal
        Currently participating in the carbon cycle is not the problem. Carbon clogging the atmosphere is the problem. Reforestation is an extremely effective way to sequester the carbon [google.com] out of the atmosphere, where it's safe. Without expending much energy to clean up the pollution. In fact, absorbing lots of warming energy in the sequestration process instead.

        It's nontrivial, but less nontrivial than leaving the CO2 in the air, leaving the deforested areas bare, or messing with the basic source of practically all energy used by Earth's life, including us.
  • Holy Cow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chipset (639011) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:44PM (#15616331) Homepage
    Some people just don't get it. Perhaps the earth is supposed to get warmer. What happens when they decide block the sun and the earth cools too fast, or photosynthesis doesn't occur like it's supposed to?

    The same people who can't get beyond the Rule of Unintended Consequences want to something like this?

    Can I take the next ship to another planet now? Either let it evolve or destroy it, but try not to do both.

    Why is it the same people who love evolution are the same people who want to keep everything the same?
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:14PM (#15616577)
      You can see that in all facets of life, and thus in weather as well. However the weather used to be that's "normal" in the minds of most people so when it changes in any way that's "abnormal" and thus a problem. Even if they intellectually understand it most people don't really grasp that the only constant on the world is change.

      I will say that such a plan, as a last resort isn't a bad idea because regardless of what the Earth would naturally do we want to keep it habitable for humans. The Earth may go through a natural cycle that would kill us off and we want to stop that, if we can.

      However in general we shouldn't screw with things like this because it's clear we have a very poor graps of how climate actually works.
    • Re:Holy Cow... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:32PM (#15616716)
      Some people just don't get it. Perhaps the earth is supposed to get warmer.


      Perhaps it is. Perhaps human civilization isn't supposed to continue. Ultimately I for one don't care much about supposed to. There are rather serious consequences for us if the earth does continue its current—and unprecedented in the history of human civilization—rapid and accelerating warming.

      I don't mind at all that people are researching potential ways to prevent those disastrous consequences before they materialize. Some of them might have unintended consequences, but that's more, rather than less, reason to investigate them as far in advance of the need to implement as is possible.

      Why is it the same people who love evolution are the same people who want to keep everything the same?


      Its not about "loving" evolution. People who acknowledge the demonstrated reality of evolution are, however, unsurprisingly also likely to recognize that drastic changes in environment can be very bad for life forms that are very successful in the old environment.

      OTOH, people that believe in invisible fairies devoted to protecting them from all material harm as long as they clap hard enough—a kind of immature religious faith that is sadly common in the US—are prone to ignore the facts and just ask everyone else to just clap harder.
    • Re:Holy Cow... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @07:02PM (#15616905) Homepage Journal
      Riiiiiight. Better to modify ourselves to the environment than modifying the environment to ourselves. Oh wait, no, making the world the way we want is what being human is all about.

      Fuckin' Luddites.
      • Re:Holy Cow... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dasher42 (514179)
        No, being human is about making intelligent, forward-thinking decisions. Ignoring the billions-year-old balance of life that we depend on for our gadgets sounds robotic to me!
  • by zecg (521666) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:47PM (#15616355)
    Please don't forget to make it reversable.
  • by CHK6 (583097) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:47PM (#15616356)
    The ideas where we have a orbiting sun shade isn't to bad. If it becomes harmful (we will know as the shade is being built and gets larger) then we can trash the project set adift the shade into the cosmic junk pile. But ideas of pumping chemicals into the environment is much harder to reverse once the effects are in motion. If they wanted to cool the planet why not trigger massive volcanic erruptions?

    Heck countries could pay for logos on the shade or time under it's umbrella. Maybe even by then allow the sun screen to project movies in the sky. 'Honey, I saved you a lawn chair in the backyard. The movie is about to start.'

    However convincing cooks that they aren't living the Truman life when a panel falls to earth will be another social issue to deal with.
    • Rather than making the sunshade orbit earth, wouldn't it be easier to put the shade at some point between the sun and the Earth? Say at one of the Lagrange points?

      It wouldn't have to be a solid shade, either -- just truck a lot of water out there and spray it out through a nozzle, and create a cloud of ice crystals. They'd diffuse the incoming light rather than blocking it completely, and as a "fail safe," perhaps you could put them in a slightly unstable orbit, so that over time they'd stop shadowing the p
  • > if the world one day faces a crisis of overheating, with repercussions like melting icecaps, droughts, famines, rising sea levels and coastal flooding.

    Sorry dude, but the Great Meltdown has been in progress for years already. Go count the glaciers at Glacier National Park, and then look up how many there were a few decades ago.

  • I never really considered this as a thing to intentionally do. I've thought about it as a side-effect of orbiting solar arrays beaming power back to the surface, and contemplated what overall impact cutting down incident light would have on the planet... ...but only in terms of whether it's something we could live with, not whether it's something we should hope to accomplish.

    Which implies that, turned around, power generation could be a side-effect of blotting out the sun. Although you'd have to exclude the
  • With as many other screw-ups as other "geniuses" suggested (frogs in Austrailia, kudzu in Southeastern U.S, Seinfeld), I think somebody suggesting we need to "fix" the Earth by a giant umbrella just smacks of a screw-up in the making--especially when we keep hearing that this may not be a man-made thing. I saw a story where they were complaining that the glacier on Mt. Kilimonjaro had been up there for 11K years, but was disappearing. So, it must be our fault. Of course, the fact that it was not there 12K y
  • by kmahan (80459)
    Now if we only had some Scrith [wikipedia.org] to make it out of. It worked for the sunshade on the Ringworld. And was useful for a lot of other things.
  • Heaven forbid we should actually attack the cause of the problem and not merely the negative consequences. The simplest solution's usually the best.
    • Sorry, I would rather find a way to make chicks more comforatable about giving head than to just go with out. Finding solutions to keep a life style is always more prefered then to change the lifestyle.
  • This is already happening (accidentally). Scientists believe that global warming would be much worse right now if it wasn't for the large ammount of light which gets reflected by airplane contrails and particulate matter which we have introduced into the atmosphere. After 9/11 (when airplanes were grounded) this theory was confirmed.

    Here's a (google video) link to a Nova program on the topic:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7369424310 394553407 [google.com]

    It's possible that as we remove contaminants from our e
  • Isn't this the same idea as terraforming. Is there a difference or did we just get a new 'engineering' word. "I'm not a terraformer, I'm a geoengineer."
  • I propose we create a giant mirror and place it in orbit, thus reflecting the rays of the sun away from the Earth.

    In fact, I've taken the liberty to place one in orbit right now! Certainly, no small thing such as a pebble in space would disturb this gigantic mirror array, turning it on the unsuspecting populace in the form of a giant space laser.

    I'll take my moon sapphires now, thank you very much.
  • by caffiend666 (598633) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:02PM (#15616494) Homepage
    A few years later: Tokyo is 'lost' after the giant sunscreen is blown to earth by solar winds, covering up all of Honshu island... The giant reflective shield blocks out all heat, light, radio signals, air, but conducts elictricity so many are electrocuted. All of the worlds scientists whom built the block would figure out a way to help the dying/freezing/suffocating Japanese but the world is too busy laughing.... Imagine it, most of Japan destroyed by a giant sheet of mylar. Is known to future generations as the Great Tokyo Jiffy-Pop Disaster.
  • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:05PM (#15616518)
    I seem to recall that the Overlords in Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End had this ability. I, for one, welcome our new Overlord overlords.
  • by ekiledal (37081) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @08:40PM (#15617410)
    http://time-proxy.yaga.com/time/archive/printout/0 ,23657,944914,00.html/ [yaga.com]

    Perhaps we should give the scientists a cooling off period before we start messing with climate control?

  • Hugely dangerous! (Score:3, Informative)

    by apt_user (812814) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @08:56PM (#15617474)
    Trying to engineer our climate doesn't count as adapting, it is as foolhardy as a little kid trying to cool his bedroom in the summer by breaking out his dad's power tools and cutting holes in the walls.

    I'm a historian, and I can tell you for a fact that the earth has been much warmer in the past than it is now, and I really do not think that we are responsible for the climate warming that we're observing now. Applying systems theory to the data doesn't work because our instumentation hasn't been good enough for long enough to really tell us much; we could be looking at a perfectly natural rise in temperature that cycles every few thousand years. The astronomers up the hall from me say that the surface of Mars has been increasing in temperature at the same rate as Earth's for as long as we've been able to observe it. They think that our climate is reflecting a cycle going on in the Sun. It could be so. In any case, a warmer climate is nothing new and nothing to worry about as long we can adapt.
  • by JimBobJoe (2758) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .traehtfiws.> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:22PM (#15617573)
    Well not exactly the reverse, but how about using a series of lenses to warm up the northern hemisphere during winter? Them equator types probably wouldn't mind missing a bit of heat during December and we Ohioans could use an extra 20 degrees 3-4 months of the year.

    A certain amount of the flora and fauna of the north depends on low temperatures, as I've understood it, and there are repercussions in that regards. On the other hand, it's a relatively easy sell environmentally--a 20 degree increase in temperature for the Northern United States (during winter) would reduce the resources used to heat homes and offices significantly--thereby reducing the accompanying pollution.

"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program." -- Nigel de la Tierre

Working...