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Fuse the Sahara

Glass dont drift.
  (+16, -8)(+16, -8)
(+16, -8)
  [vote for,
against]

Desertification. It is bad. Sands blow and drift from deserts onto arable land. It needs to stop.

About once every 6 months someone posts an idea in which giant mirrors are positioned in space to concentrate solar energy. Any of these projects could be used to stop desertification. I propose that the white hot solar beam be played slowly across the sands, fusing them into glass. Dunes would be stabilized, and reflect even more light than they do now. This would also cut back windborne sand. Everyone wins.

bungston, Aug 24 2005

Nuclear glass. http://unitednuclear.com/trinitite.htm
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Aug 25 2005]

Solar Sinter http://www.markuska...m/work/solarsinter/
This was a solar-powered, semi-automated low-tech laser cutter, that used the power of the sun to drive it and directly harnessed its rays through a glass ball lens to ‘laser’ cut 2D components using a cam-guided system. [omegatron, Mar 11 2014]

[link]






       Or nukes. I vote nukes.
DrCurry, Aug 24 2005
  

       Good one [+].   

       There are too many problems to list (what happens to any living creatures in the path?, what'll keep it from breaking?, etc), but I like the creativity.
sophocles, Aug 24 2005
  

       Would be good to blind all the other planets looking at us.
Giblet, Aug 24 2005
  

       Nice idea... But I'm with the Nuke guy...DrCurry, NUKE IT! After all, the satellites after doing a stirling job of vetrifying the desert would eventually fall out of orbit... Where will they land? I'll tell you where... On the glass! That's where they'd land... and then it'd break... and someone might cut themselves. Nuke it. It's the best solution.
Dub, Aug 24 2005
  

       This sort of scheme would also be especially effective against the giant man-eating desert ants.
kevindimie, Aug 24 2005
  

       This is stupid, how stupid can you get? And it's not funny or nice. -
zeno, Aug 24 2005
  

       For days the mirrors sat there.... no glass. But the intense, concentrated heat created a strong updraft. Unexpectedly, this changed the weather pattern! +
not_only_but_also, Aug 24 2005
  

       sketchy.
Kcsolutions123, Aug 24 2005
  

       doesn't glass flow?   

         

       only kidding.
po, Aug 24 2005
  

       All you need to do, to put this idea into action, is to sign up several thousand subscribers to a satellite television service, all with their addresses in mid-desert. This will put the wheels of automated e-commerce into motion, which will cause the purchase, launch and deployment of a series of satellites aiming their radiation in a footprint at the sand-drifts. Given a short time, the transmitted radiation will do the job.
Ian Tindale, Aug 24 2005
  

       [Murdoch]You could make one serious plasma display with it! That's why it's better... It'd be big enough to be be viewed from space... then you could see it on google earth!
Dub, Aug 24 2005
  

       So, we're dropping nukes for safety, now?   

       Well, if it's for the public good...
shapu, Aug 24 2005
  

       So, I'm watching the Discover channel running series on planet Earth the other day, and the following statement, "As the Indian subcontinent moved northward into the south of Asia, its tectonic pressures raised the Himalaya mountains. Warm, moist air rose up these steep mountain slopes and was stripped of water vapor which produced rains or ice depending on temperature. A side effect of this air flow was the westerly flowing stream of dry air which settled thousands of miles to the west into northern Africa, beginning the desertification of the region which persists to this day."   

       Now, it occurs to me we have more than enough nukes to change the topology of Nepal, Tibet, and eastern India. Enlist the Chinese and there may be enough energy to reverse the Gobi desertification as well.
reensure, Aug 24 2005
  

       How about: Use mirrors to focus energy to Stirling Engines? The next big thing in energy: http://www.stirlingenergy.com/
JimSager, Aug 24 2005
  

       I think glassification could be accomplisheh better via a ground-based system: A large sand rover which heats the sand until it melts, and then cools the sand and tranfers the heat to the front:   

       <-Front --- Back-> HHHHHHCCCCCC   

       The tires would have to be huge, and far away from the hot part. The machine would move purty slow too, but all in all have less waste heat produced than space mirrors.
Madai, Aug 24 2005
  

       As regards nukes fusing the desert - I wonder if there are a few acres of fused desert at the test sites in Nevada?   

       If so, it would provide a venue to test another idea: Glass Skates.
bungston, Aug 24 2005
  

       Fishbone. The desert is an ecosystem all its own. In fact the desert is an ocean, with its life underground. Once you've been through the desert (on a horse with no name) you will understand.
dbsousa, Aug 25 2005
  

       [bungston] link.
Looks like nuclear glass isn't a smooth surface.
  

       How so goes the depth of the fusion? I've me doubts on the ?
Zimmy, Aug 25 2005
  

       I was going to propose a solar-powered dune buggy that sinters the sand with a big solar reflector, like the Solar Sinter, but rather than moving the beam around to print small objects, it drives around the desert, slowly melting long lines of glass into the sand.
omegatron, Mar 11 2014
  

       //slowly melting long lines of glass into the sand   

       I think slowly is the important word here...
not_morrison_rm, Mar 12 2014
  

       Hmm...   

       The Sahara covers about 1,700,000 square miles. It would take--well, I have no fucking idea it would take to turn it all into sand--but the point is it would take a long time, and in the interem the sand would keep blowing over, across, and around the big lines and patches of glass.   

       Sand is abrasive. Glass is brittle. Do the math.
Alterother, Mar 12 2014
  

       You would not need to do the whole thing. Just the really sandy places. You could skip the places with rare horn toads, ancient cities and things of that sort. And you could start with the windward side of the clump of sand.   

       As regards worries that the glass would get frosted by abrasive sand I think that would be ok. There is really nothing to see on the other side of that glass except unfused sand. Maybe some rare horn toads you didnt know about making blowfish faces on the underside - just as well not to see them.
bungston, Mar 12 2014
  

       What could go wrong! Am I right?!!?! Nothing!
WcW, Mar 12 2014
  

       I imagine the Bedouins would be plenty pissed off. All of their camels would have to wear Chucks. Have you ever tried to locate sixty four pairs of Converse sneakers in size 9 camel?!
Alterother, Mar 12 2014
  

       It would change the albedo and that would have weather consequences.
Steamboat, Mar 21 2014
  

       I didn't know camels had such sensitive albedos.
Alterother, Mar 21 2014
  

       //Fuse the Sahara   

       13 amp would do it? What does it say in the handbook?
not_morrison_rm, Mar 22 2014
  

       I thought it was going to be an idea to fuse the desert in attempt to turn the sand itself into a big bomb.
fishboner, Mar 22 2014
  

       On the other hand, the Gobi desert is three-phase and no earth cabling either. I tell you it's a bugger when in rains, shorts out all over the place.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 22 2014
  

       Hey, at least the people there _wear_ shorts. I can't tell you what it's like up here when there's a sudden summer downpour and all the hill people come out for a wash, clad in nought but the sky.
Alterother, Mar 22 2014
  

       Noughty!
bungston, Mar 22 2014
  

       Now, your Atacama, that's a completely different kettle of ferrets.   

       Sure it's all 110 volts, but the west Atacama sand is 50khz, and the east sand is 60khz....don't know what they were thinking of...
not_morrison_rm, Mar 23 2014
  

       Probably all that running around in the hot sun wearing nothing but their underpants. Poaches the brain, don'tcha know.
Alterother, Mar 23 2014
  
      
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