Not content with being the world's richest man, Bill Gates is planning on extending his power to control the weather. More specifically, he has filed a patent for a system that he hopes will prevent the next Katrina.
Along with ex-Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, Gates has applied for five patents that call for a fleet of specially equipped vessels to be deployed in a hurricane's path—vessels that are capable of reducing the surface temperature of the ocean by mixing in colder water from greater depths. This would reduce the heat-driven condensation that fuels hurricanes.
Of course, significantly altering the surface temperature of a large body of water is going to require many, many ships...a reality that is not lost on Gates. In the patent filings, there are a few proposals on how an endeavor like this one could be financed—including selling insurance policies in areas that are prone to major storms. While I seriously doubt the plausibility of such a scheme, if anyone can pull it off it would be Bill Gates. Besides, even if this doesn't work out he always has his important work with high tech kegs to fall back on. [Patent via Tech Flash via Slashdot via PopSci]