#2. Dubai Controls the Weather
Dubai is in a crazy footrace against Japan for the title of Craziest Tiny Nation on Earth (the prize is "more crazy,") but in this case, we aren't talking about any crazy buildings, or more crazy buildings, but the weather.
But let's not forget, Dubai has some crazy-ass buildings.
In Dubai, as in other parts of the Middle East, it is very dry. This is what scientists call a "desert" and they also note that it is dry because "there is not much rain." But rather than merely accepting defeat by the natural cycles of Earth and either adapting to their environment or just moving somewhere else, Dubai decided that even the weather was something that money could be thrown at if you didn't like it. The technique they used is called cloud seeding and it's a process where either silver iodide or dry ice are dispersed into the air by airplane or rocket which then provokes rainfall.
Shoot nature in the face; she bleeds rain.
This only works if the water in the rain clouds is super-cooled, of course. As long time Cracked readers might recall, supercooled water is water that is below freezing, but still liquid, and needs a "seed" to form crystals. This principle is not only useful for mildly impressing inter-nerds, but also makes heavily laden clouds release that precious precipitation. In Dubai, they flew over the counter-intuitively super-cooled desert rainclouds and dumped dry ice into the sky. Sure enough, they got their rain--possibly at the expense of the wrath of a spurned Earth goddess, but it was rain nonetheless.
Considering Dubai is in a desert, it stands to reason that they don't typically get a great deal of rainfall. But things are slowly changing. The cloud seeding seems to be having a lasting effect, because the amount of annual rainfall has been increasing over the past few years. Incidentally, all the rain has not done a damn thing to stop Dubai from being a desert, but it has increased the number of shrubs in the area, and also scrubs the pollution out of the air. Which is a fine stop-measure for now, until Dubai finally buckles down and just builds themselves a new sky.
#1. Inuvik, Canada - Morning
The Northwest Territories in Canada suffer the same dim fate every year when the Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the sun and plunges the area into prolonged darkness. The kind of bullshit you have to put up with is staggering: depression, cabin fever, cold...
Vampires that seem awesome at first until they start talking...
So what's a good Canadian to do? Blockade the windows, turn on all the lights and drink until you forget what warmth feels like? See if you can watch all the pornography on the Internet? Move to somewhere that doesn't remind you of the impending oblivion awaiting you at the end of life? Nope! Build a motherfucking sun.
Tropicana doesn't just make orange juice; they apparently also make the source of all life as well. As anyone who lives in a part of the world that experiences winter can attest to, the shorter days and cold can have a profound negative effect on people, and most of those people typically get at least some sun. But in Inuvik, they get none and the psychological effects of not seeing a giant orb of light in the air for months on end can lead to seasonal depression or even an upswing in appreciation for Morrissey. So Tropicana stepped up with a giant helium balloon covered in lights - which sounds like kind of a sad replacement until you consider the scale of the thing: The artificial sun was 36-feet across and was roughly 70,000 watts.
The raising of the fake sun was done on the eve of Inuvik's annual Sunrise Festival, which celebrates the return of the sun after weeks of hiding behind the rest of Earth. Wait a second... the "return of the sun" was happening the next day? Tropicana gave Inuvik a sun to fight off the month of darkness on the night before the sun comes back? Way to step up, guys. Vitamin C may improve your immune system and protect against cardiovascular disease, but it apparently doesn't do a fucking thing to help with your sense of timing.
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To see how else mankind flips Mother Nature the bird, check out Man's 6 Most Ridiculous Attempts To Take On Mother Nature and 7 Insane Military Attempts To Weaponize Animals.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 05.28.10) to see Seanbaby having his way with Mother Nature.