Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hack the Planet: How I solved Global Warming in my sleep

I'm a level 1 hippy, and I think the best way to save the planet (because that's the sexy thing to do these days) is to be conservative in what and how I consume. The problem is that requires changing a whole bunch of angry kids (Americans) minds about how to live. Instead, I wonder as I lay in bed wondering things that could be: what if I hacked the planet?

How could I make the world cooler? Well, we can't build a giant air condition because that's just heat exchange and it wouldn't work. Bummer. We need to hack the planet, and either vent excess heat or prevent heat from entering.

Simpsons did it.

So, how do we block out the sun? If we go far enough out into space, then the projected distance of whatever we build would leave a larger shadow. Think of an eclipse where the moon blocks out the sun. If we go out farther, then we don't need to build a moon. (Although honestly, we need to build a moon and control it; how cool would that be).

What if we built a disc out of aluminum foil (you know, to enable it to gracefully degrade to deal with all the junk in space that will hit it) and sent it out into space? Yay! How much would it cost? How big does it need to be? How far does it need to go? What evil plans could I unleash onto the world if I controlled the sun? Could we position it to allow us to effectively negate heat waves in large regions and control temperatures per city? It could pay for itself if an global auction took place to cool cities and save energy!

Well, a few Google searches away, I found this interesting document that I would like to bring to your attention:

Global Warming and Ice Ages
I. Prospects for Physics-Based Modulation of Global Change

And, low an behold, they did the math and it costs less than $1 billion dollars per year. Seems like a heck of a good investment. So, I'll post this on HN and maybe influence the movers and shakers to move and shake.

I on the other hand will go back to bed knowing there is viable solutions to global warming, so tomorrow I can be guilt free in building yet another web framework.


  1. Erm... the farther away from Earth your solar shield is, the smaller it will appear from Earth, right? Thus, the less effective it will be at blocking out the sun, which isn't a single point light source. Otherwise, every transit of Mercury would result in total eclipse :-)


  2. S06E07 of Futurama. Watch that. You will feel better.

  3. @Dan Parsonson, have you never played with shadows before? Or did you skip physics at school?

    Further to your idea, if we made a disk shaped shadow projector, we could also block out harmful solar flares to some degree and tilt the disk in order to allow sunlight again.

    The problem would be getting it to orbit earth and not get destroyed by collisions with 'roids and or other planets etc. That said, I hear there be a lot of space.. out there in space..