Essay Samples


Essay Samples

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Pre-Written Essay Sample

Perhaps as early as the aquileges, there were other men who sought added supplies of water. These men looked, not beneath the ground, but up into the sky. The first of the rainmakers simply danced or conducted elaborate rituals to implore the rain-gods to release more of the precious liquid for earth. Some of these rites are still performed today, including such colorful ceremonies as daubing witch doctors with blood and then applying feathers to their bodies to make them look like birds. Arizona's rain dances persist, and sometimes it does rain after these beseechings. Sometimes it does not, and sometimes it rains even when no dances have been performed. After the dancers and witch doctors, came other men who decided to assist the gods as much as possible. Huge bonfires were burned, and perhaps smoke particles did indeed form condensation nuclei for water droplets. The French became particularly fond of firing cannon into the sky in efforts to make rain. In Italy and Switzerland, villagers for many years have fired guns and rockets, and rung church bells to prevent damaging hail and turn it into rain.

Rainmakers have had some interesting experiences. In the early 1900s one was hired to bring rain to the city of San Diego, California. He brought it -- some 15 inches of rain that swept away the dam in Sweetwater Valley and did millions of dollars' damage. He had been promised a fee for making rain, with a bonus for each inch of precipitation. Faced with a multitude of lawsuits resulting from the flood, the city fathers refused to pay up unless the poor rainmaker would assume responsibility for all the claims against the city. There are some people who wryly claim this is why rainfall has been light in the area for decades: the rainmaker has seen to it that very little falls.

Perhaps some early rainmakers did succeed in causing precipitation, or at least in increasing what fell naturally. But scientific rainmaking dates only from about 1875 with the work of Coulier in France, 1880 with John Aiken of Falkirk, Scotland, and especially with the "cloud chamber" demonstrations of C. T. R. Wilson in 1897. Here finally was proof of exactly how rain was formed. In 1931 a Hollander named Veraart pioneered the "seeding" of clouds with dry ice. The German Findeisen conducted similar experiments in 1938. In the United States, Vincent Shaefer, Jr., discovered the rainmaking properties of dry ice quite by accident while working at General Electric Research Laboratories. Cloud seeding began in July of 1946.

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