Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Brave new weather

Switters's post raises a natural question. Imagine weather engineering has been perfected and all parameters can be set to your wishes: temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind speed, cloud formation (for more options, click "Advanced"). You have the remote.

What would your day look like? Your year?

Thinking about it absent mindedly, my ideal day seems like a sunny 70 degrees, a steady 15 mph wind, packs of silver clouds roaming the sparkling skies like floating camels. But then, I also like variation (temporally and spatially) and surprise. I'll trade ten years of my life for the four seasons, the sudden afternoon thunderstorm or a surprise morning frost. We curse the big chill and the sweltering heat wave, but overall experience seems enriched by the extremes, at least in small enough doses.

I foresee two problems. It's hard to visualize myself programming in the awful stuff (at least not often enough). "Hey kids, don't forget your rain jackets. It's flooding day!" Getting the remote is likely a sentence to sameness and placidity. You may try setting the program to random, but there's always manual override when shit starts happening.

The other problem is that weather, unlike your drawing room temperature, is a collective choice. It's going to open up a whole new stinking dimension in politics. Spring fundamentalists blowing stuff up. Moderate winterists urging quadrupartisan consensus. The Supreme Court legislating from the bench with summery judgments. It's a recipe for social instability.

Controlling the weather is like ordering a programmable android lover. I think we need to give climate its free will. There are good arguments even if you choke the more sinful thoughts (aren't twisters too damn beautiful?)

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