#ContactForm1 { display: none ! important; }

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Science that Needs to be Fiction

File this under things that fiction writers should not be told about...

In what can only be an attempt to get notice by COBRA's recruiting division, retired engineer Louis Michaud has filed a patent for a device that would generate tornadoes and then harness them for power generation.

Think of it as the Xtreme version of wind power. Also, unless you're reading this on a holographic display generated by a cybernetic cheerleader in your secret mountain lair, you should really think of it as the coolest thing you've ever heard.

The principle is that you can set up the conditions that create the tornado, then harvest the energy after it has naturally grown from "pattern of hot and cold air" to "terrifying twisting column capable of scarring the earth like God's own drill bit". Mr Michaud suggests that we can be even more economical by using hot water generated by a nearby nuclear power plant to provide those initial conditions.

Since this hot water is normally generated as a waste product, this is both an inventive and efficient use existing technology and a demonstration that - if sufficiently diabolical - a person can sit down and produce a complete design and patent application without ever realizing "Wait a minute, I'm telling people to create tornadoes right next to a nuclear reactor!"

Posted by Luke McKinney on the Daily Galaxy

Can we say fun? All the Evil Authors who want their own tornado maker raise their hands.... or, better yet, some kid who wants to get out of school, lawn chores, and being forced to leave their Wii to play outside.

Extra points to Mr. McKinney for using the word diabolical in a sentence without the words scheme or evil villain.


  1. color me paranoid, but I wouldn't want any manmade tornados to be rigged adjacent to a nuclear power plant!

    The idea is cool, but like the burning water as fuel thing that ran like wildfire around the net recently, I figure it will be more of an energy suck than an energy producer.

    As far as a fictional device goes, it might be a cool terrorism ploy for your writerly version of Dr. Evil; but I can't see this becoming a useful tool for peacetime. Maybe for war, though; although even there the set up seems a bit ambitious.

  2. It's good for people to think outside the box when looking for alternative energy, but I agree, I'm not sure a tornado is what I want. Maybe if there were a way to keep it contained, create the tornado, and diffuse it all at once as energy. That would be nice.

    But just making tornadoes and letting them loose? I think it's better as fiction.

  3. Nice post! I think this really is one of the coolest things I've heard. I can think of all sorts of scenarios....

    *rubs hands together*