WEIRD SCIENCE

No Rain? No Problem

What's that about tampering in God's domain? In an effort to undo the effects of a record-breaking drought, China has rocketed chemicals into the sky, unleashing a blanket of snow on the capital city. The sight of snow in Beijing has become so rare that the London Times is reporting that many locals are taking the day off to enjoy the novelty. But further north, the lack of rain for 100 days is threatening harvests, hence the ominous-sounding "Beijing Weather Modification Command Centre" stepping in. The environmental consequences of "cloud seeding" are often debated, and many studies have found it to be ineffective in undoing drought. However, the Chinese government is suspected of using the technique frequently. The last time it was confirmed was during opening day of the Olympics, when it was used to ward off rain clouds.