25 March 2011

In the shade

BBC Sports | Artificial clouds could help cool 2022 Qatar World Cup

Scientists at Qatar University claim to have developed artificial clouds to provide shade for stadia and training grounds at the 2022 World Cup.
I have a different solution than Qatar U: don't hold outdoor spectator sporting events in deserts.  Problem solved.

I got heat sick at a world cup game in DC for chrisake. I can only image what it would be like in Doha.

Also — that is not a cloud. Not even remotely.  Call it a "flying parasol" or "floating awning" or "mega-scale powered shade kite" or something, but it has no more in common with a cloud than a frisbee does.

Here's another idea.  Rather trying to support a shade device with propellors and lift and aeronautical whatnot, how about we support it from the ground?  It's something that might be familiar to fans of the Atlanta Falcons, the Dallas Cowboys, the Detroit Lions, the Minnesota Vikings, the New Orleans Saints, the St. Louis Rams, the Houston Texans, the Arizona Cardinals, the Seattle Seahawks, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Seattle Mariners, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Houston Astros, the Tampa Bay Rays, FC Schalke 04, Vitesse, Consadole Sapporo & the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fortuna Düsseldorf, and Galatasaray S.K. — it's an advanced piece of architecture called "a roof."

That is all.


  1. Heh. A roof, what a novel concept.

    This brought to mind the old doggerel about the U.S. and Soviet space programs of the 60's. When faced with the daunting challenge of trying to get a pen to write in zero gravity, the U.S. spent $20M researching the problem, ultimately ending with the fine CO2-pressurized pens produced by Fischer that can write in zero-g and even negative-g situations.

    When faced with the same problem, the Soviets just used pencils.

  2. The only problem that the anecdote is not quiet accurate. Here is the wiki link


    Russians also adopted the space pen since pencils in zero gravity might not be safe due to breakage. Moreover, the pen was developed independently.

  3. I already noted the inaccuracy of my anecdote by referring to it as a "doggerel" (q.v.). I'm also very familiar with the dangers of graphite particles to spacecraft avionics equipment (I work at Johnson Space Center).

  4. I came to the same conclusion as you but a soccer fan I inquired about it did not join in my laughter. He suggested that the Qatari (Qatarians? Qatides?) are trying to find a way to not build roofs because after the WC they are going to dismantle the stadia and ship them to nations in need(?) of them. So less construction, deconstruction, transport and reconstruction costs might translate into....mega scale hover shade-kites.

    I'm not sure I'm convinced, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

  5. I had heard they proposed to dismantle the stadia and ship them out. I guess I figured if you've already got the job of designing, building, unbuilding, and rebuilding something like a stadium, how hard can it be to build one that also has a roof?

    Maybe I'm way off. I know turning a car into a convertible model is not at all trivial even thought it seems like you just lop off the top bits. Perhaps adding a roof in this circumstance is more difficult than it seems. But still... flying roofs? Really? My gut feeling is that there's no way that's cheaper or simpler than the alternatives, like an awning.

  6. I should also make one thing clear. My hat is off to the Q.U. engineering department that can make these flying shade things work. It's absurd and bizarre and exactly the kind of weird stuff I want engineering researchers to be coming up with. I want engineers coming up with things that would make Jules Verne happy. Maybe this is even a good solution to the dismantle-able stadium shade problem.

    What irks me is the way this thing is being reported. If this is actually a good solution to the problem despite all intuition, then I need reporters to explain why it's good and why the intuition is wrong. If it's a silly, pie-in-the-sky solution, I want reporters saying that. If it's a publicity stunt or a look-what-we-can-do concept, I want them saying that. I don't want them running facile articles based on press releases from universities about some whimsical nonsense as if it all made sense.