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Thursday, June 22, 2006

How to end a drought

Everybody knows how to make it rain. It's easy: wash your car. There is a perfectly logical scientific explanation for this involving the evaporating water droplets from your newly-washed car serving as nucleation sites for moisture in the atmosphere, effectively seeding the clouds and making it rain.*

But that only works briefly and locally, usually directly over your car. What if you're going through a long dry spell? How do you end it and make it rain in your entire region?

The answer, I have discovered, is equally simple: begin painting your porch and steps. Any major outdoor painting event will probably do, but one that involves multiple days and multiple coats is probably the best suited. The science probably involves the evaporation of paint solvents. In this case I'm using latex paint, so the solvent is water.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a major storm system headed this way. I think I need to take shelter.

*I seem to recall reading this explanation in a scientific theory contest in OMNI magazine more than 25 years ago. Another theory involved a proposed system for levitation created by strapping a piece of buttered toast butter-side up to the back of a cat and throwing it from some height. Since the inviolable physical requirements that the toast land butter-side-down and the cat land on its feet cannot be simultaneously satisfied, the toast-cat system will be incapable of ever touching the ground and will continue to spin and hover just above it.

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