|A tiny portion of a Hall Weather Machine|
at 90,000 ft. This density may be
able to ameliorate global warming/cooling,
but would not be able to control weather.
The Hall Weather Machine is a thin global cloud consisting of small transparent balloons that can be thought of as a programmable and reversible greenhouse gas because it shades or reflects the amount of sunlight that hits the upper stratosphere. These balloons are each between a millimeter and a centimeter in diameter, made of a few-nanometer thick diamondoid membrane. Each balloon is filled with hydrogen to enable it to float at an altitude of 60,000 to 100,000 feet, high above the clouds. It is bisected by an adjustable sheet, and also includes solar cells, a small computer, a GPS receiver to keep track of its location, and an actuator to occasionally (and relatively slowly) move the bisecting membrane between vertical and horizontal orientations. Just like with a regular high-altitude balloon, the heavier control and energy storage systems would be on the bottom of the balloon to automatically set the vertical axis without requiring any energy. The balloon would also have a water vapor/hydrogen generator system for altitude control, giving it the same directional navigation properties that an ordinary hot-air balloon has when it changes altitudes to take advantage of different wind directions at different altitudes.What's particularly impressive about the weather machine is that controlling a tenth of one percent of solar radiation is enough to force global climate in any direction we want. One percent is enough to change regional climate, and ten percent is enough for serious weather control.
The implications to remedial ecology, geoengineering, and technogaianism in general are profound, to say the least.
But as research engineer, and friend to the transhumanists, Tihamer Toth-Fejel notes in his article, "The Politics and Ethics of the Hall Weather Machine," managing the social and environmental implications of such a control system could prove to be tricky, if not completely untenable.
The weather machine could prove to be a disaster, either through misuse, abuse, or just plain ignorance.
For example, the global coordination of the reflective weather machine would allow for the bouncing of concentrated solar energy around the globe, making it possible to set cities on fire—the type of fire caused by dropping a nuclear bomb per second for as long as desired. As Toth-Fejel notes, "the potential for abuse is rather large." The temptation to weaponize such a device may be overwhelming. The whole project could start various arms races, including efforts to bring the entire system down.
In the article, Toth-Fejel considers a number of other scenarios and possible implications, both good and bad. Having a weather machine in place introduces a slew of fascinating implications, ranging from the environmental to the political. Toth-Fejel offers no easy answers or trite solutions, and instead uses the article the raise awareness about this important possibility.