Only In America . . . TM

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.


It doesn't rain all the time in Seattle anymore. The folks there make sure they have sunny days for weekends, community events and sports games by projecting a laser hologram of the sun on the bottom of their ever-present clouds.

The sun hologram is the brain child of Art Spitzer, inventor and astronomy buff, who founded Star Bright Industries (SBI) fifteen years ago so that he could study the stars from his Seattle condo even on cloudy nights. "I got tired of having to go to mountaintops to see the stars," Spitzer said, "so I came up with a way of projecting a star map hologram on the bottom of the cloud cover so I could star gaze whenever I felt like it."

The original system only projected star-grams, but Spitzer was asked to add planet holograms after astrologists in the area became interested. "We need to be able to see the alignment of the planets every day in order to create accurate astrological charts for our clients," Morganna Spacely, president of Star Power Amid the Zodiac (SPAZ), said. "Before the holograms were available we had to pay consultants in Arizona and New Mexico - where the night skies are much clearer - huge fees to cast our charts for us," she explained, "but now we can do our own. We would have gone broke if Star Bright hadn't come along when it did."

Astronomers and astrologists and the occasional Star Trek fan would have been the only users of the system if Spitzer hadn't tried to create an artificial sunrise. It was raining - as usual - the morning Spitzer made his test run with the sun hologram, and as soon as it was projected on the clouds the rain quit. And every time the hologram was switched on and off for testing, the rain stopped and started at the same time. It was an easy jump from there to using the system to create sunny days.

The system has proved to be a boon to rain-drenched and flood-prone areas all over the world: it has been used to stop monsoons in Asia, prevent flooding in middle America, and to relieve depression in Portland, Oregon. SBI has even developed portable units that can flown anywhere in the world in a matter of hours.

There is also a cloud show hologram that can be projected onto a clear blue sky to create a cooling overcast. It has been used to alleviate summer weather in the deserts, as a means of providing rain clouds for farmers, and for ending droughts.

Of course, there is one little bug in the ointment: if you can project holograms of clouds and stars and planets into the sky, then advertisements can't be far behind. The only good thing about the ads is that there isn't any sound . . . so far. SBI is working on a Music Laser and Sound Bomb, which should be out some time next year."

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.