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6/27/2014
10:11 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
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Geekend: The Great Wall Of Oz

Can giant walls stop tornadoes and bring an economic boost to the Midwest?

to stop the tornadoes, it could conceivably take 1,000 miles of walls. Assuming the walls are the same length as the mountains, the total cost, at $160 million per mile of the wall, would be $186.9 billion. That amount isn't inconceivable, but it represents 10 times the annual budget of FEMA. Sure, if you could guarantee there'd be no need for FEMA after building these walls it makes sense, but this is only one of many of FEMA's responsibilities.

And there may be an even bigger reason not to do it. Citizens of the Great Plains know more than anyone what man can do to change an environment for the worse. The Dust Bowl, one of America's greatest environmental disasters, was created in the 1930s when too many plains grasses were removed for farming. The grasses held the soil, and when a drought came, the winds sweeping across the plains created vast and terrible dust storms called black blizzards.

While the walls could very well stop the tornadoes, no one has any idea what they would do to the weather in the area or even miles away. If you believe in the "Butterfly in the Amazon" effect, such walls could actually change world weather patterns. Even small wind farms are causing changing weather patterns.

Still, I'm intrigued. The concept reminds me of the great public works projects from the New Deal, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority. These massive infrastructure projects helped rebuild the US economy and built some of what we think of as modern America. Building a 1,000-mile wall for $187 billion could lift the economy in similar ways.

Perhaps costs could even be trimmed by offering people space in one of the new "wall communities" for free if they work a certain amount of time near the wall, especially if more economic value could be gleaned from the walls. Perhaps the walls could be covered in solar panels to power the plains. Maybe they could serve as more environmentally secure pipelines (if people didn't live in them). The ways to make the walls more functional are nearly endless.

But the best solution I have is vertical farming. Clearly, farming space is at a premium as the population grows. And vertical farming is seen as a solution to the problem. Here's a video describing it.

As you can see, it is an environmentally sustainable way of using more land to make more food, and it has many side economic benefits. I'd love to see something like this applied to the walls so they could make economic sense and still do their job. That will attract folks to the walls as well, as jobs are created.

In the most respectful sense, this is a half-baked idea. But with the help of others, it could be a fully baked idea that could transform the country. I'd love to see this concept explored for a way to make it more than just a big brick wall, and something that could make the cost and effort worthwhile.

What do you think? Is it simply unfeasible to build a giant wall in the middle of the country to stop tornadoes? What could we add to this idea to make it work? Would you want to live anywhere near giant walls that might literally blot out the sun? Tell me in the comments section.

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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 11:55:34 AM
Re: Weather Changes
Angel,

Global Warming is as Big a Hoax as there is.

Climate Change on the other hand is the real deal.Human Activity has caused Enormous Changes in the World's Air,Water and Soil today-Almost None of them beneficial to Mother Nature in the Long run.

Climate Change is just a way of Mother Nature Biting back.

The more we try to interfere and intervene the worse its Gonna Get going ahead.

Regards

Ashish.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 11:51:21 AM
Re: Weather Changes
Nomii,

The Dutch have already built something similar(they call it Dykes).

Even New Orleans has a Dyke which burst during the Big Floods a few years back triggering massive Human Losses during Hurricane Katrina.

Sure,it can done but you have to decide which Areas are important enough to be protected by such Dykes.

Not all areas qualify.

Regards

Ashish.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 11:47:04 AM
Re: Weather Changes
Progman,

I would just give the whole thing a Big Miss..

Have  a really,really bad feeling about this .

Man has interfered enough with Nature already today;Don't think we should do more such Crazy stuff.

 

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 11:44:57 AM
Re: Calling Christo to the Rescue
Nomii,

I most certainly hope your kidding(about shifting the Himalayas);The Chinese tried something similar last year[Move an entire Mountain so as to reduce Air Pollution in a City];It FAILED Miserably.

If a Totalitarian,Dictatorial country could'nt do something similar should America even try?

I don't think so.

On the contrary the Government should be focussed on Spending Less Money today(especially outside America).

Regards

Ashish.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 8:37:21 AM
Re: Calling Christo to the Rescue
And sorry I forget, we can hire christo to do the job. 

;0
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 8:36:11 AM
Re: Calling Christo to the Rescue
@LUFU, I could not believe my eyes first but it is really remarkable. But the only problem is that its art work and not solid concrete. :)

I believe that we need to think of more ideas like shifting of himalayas to that place as a force against them. :)

How about that
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 8:30:09 AM
Re: Weather Changes
@Progman nice one. I will follow your suit. I am not sure who will take the lead but whoso ever will do it will not be doing it without ant benefit. Its a same case as people are enrolling for onr side trip to mars.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 7:07:13 AM
Re: Weather Changes
Not sure about this idea, but I'd buy stock in the companies that build them and short the companies that insure them...
LUFU
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LUFU,
User Rank: Strategist
6/28/2014 | 7:36:16 PM
Calling Christo to the Rescue
Well, while the idea may seem a bit ludricous and silly, there's one person who could maybe take the anti-tornado wall project on. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, Christo!
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 2:25:54 AM
Re: Weather Changes
@Angelfuego I believe that we ned to work out a plan which can serve various purpose. If we are building a wall and somehow it works, whether we will do it where tornadoes and earthquick are a major natural calamities. What about oceans.I think big wall is more suited in case to stop flooding and storms rather tham tornadoes where you are not expecting its touchdown position.
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