The headline sounds like the latest Snowpiercer-style geoengineering, but in fact it’s a history piece by Cynthia Barnett at Politico looking back at the original “Rain Maker”:
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In August 1891, Robert St. George Dyrenforth, a Washington patent attorney, arrived by train to the small Midland, Texas, station in a desolate stretch of the southern plains. He had sent ahead a freight car with a bewildering assemblage of rabble: mortars, casks, barometers, electrical conductors, seven tons of cast-iron borings, six kegs of blasting powder, eight tons of sulfuric acid, one ton of potash, 500 pounds of manganese oxide, an apparatus for making oxygen and another for hydrogen, 10- and 20-foot-tall muslin balloons and supplies for building enormous kites.
Dyrenforth, his odd freight, and a small group of self-styled experts—“all of whom know a great deal, some of them having become bald-headed in their earnest search for theoretical knowledge,” joked a pundit—were met by local cattle ranchers.