Monday, January 01, 2007

Hail, cannons?

California farmers, desperate to ward off hail, are buying hail cannons again.

The best recent newspaper article on hail cannons is by Joe Garner in the July 10, 2006, Rocky Mountain News. Garner writes, in part:
The October 1919 edition of Popular Science magazine had a cover story on "Hail Fighters and Their Strange Devices," complete with an illustration of cannon barrels pointed skyward.

"By 1919, hail cannons had been discredited, but people intent on changing the weather refuse to give them up," the magazine headlined almost 90 years ago.

Today, Mike Eggers Ltd., based in New Zealand, is the principal manufacturer of hail cannons used in the United States for "horticultural protection." The sticker price is $50,000 a unit to provide coverage over a radius of one-third of a mile, would-be purchasers said. Eggers declined to talk price.

Ultimately, Eggers is selling hope, which history has shown is more potent than any cannon ...

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