måndag 9 augusti 2010

Folk som förutsåg framtiden - John Jacob Astor IV

John Jacob Astor IV var arvtagare till en av Amerikas största förmögenheter och en given i New Yorks sociala kretsar runt förra sekelskiftet. Förutom att vara en affärsman som bland annat byggde Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Han var dessutom författare och skrev bland annat boken A Journey in Other Worlds år 1894. Boken är science-fiction och utspelar sig 2088 och i den beskriver han geoengineering:
"GENTLEMEN: You know that the objects of this company are, to straighten the axis of the earth, to combine the extreme heat of summer with the intense cold of winter and produce a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round. At present the earth's axis -- that is, the line passing through its centre and the two poles -- is inclined to the ecliptic about twenty-three and a half degrees. Our summer is produced by the northern hemisphere's leaning at that angle towards the sun, and our winter by its turning that much from it. In one case the sun's rays are caused to shine more perpendicularly, and in the other more obliquely. This wabbling, like that of a top, is the sole cause of the seasons; since, owing to the eccentricity of our orbit, the earth is actually fifteen hundred thousand miles nearer the sun during our winter, in the northern hemisphere, than in summer. That there is no limit to a planet's inclination, and that inclination is not essential, we have astronomical proof. Venus's axis is inclined to the plane of her orbit seventy-five degrees, so that the arctic circle comes within fifteen degrees of the equator, and the tropics also extend to latitude seventy-five degrees, or within fifteen degrees of the poles, producing great extremes of heat and cold... "The way to accomplish this is to increase the weight of the pole leaving the sun, by increasing the amount of material there for the sun to attract, and to lighten the pole approaching or turning towards the sun, by removing some heavy substance from it, and putting it preferably at the opposite pole. This shifting of ballast is most easily accomplished, as you will readily perceive, by confining and removing water, which is easily moved and has a considerable weight.  
Kanske hade han utvecklat ännu fler idéer om han inte varit i Europa våren 1912 och haft oturen att boka en returbiljett till USA ombord Titanic.

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