As parts of our nation absorb some of the greatest fury Mother Nature can dish out, I recall a chapter of the book "Super Freakonomics" in which one of the greatest thinkers of our time, Nathan Myhrold, offers a solution that would prevent hurricanes from forming to begin with, or at least reduce their strength.

Myhrvold proposes construction of giant inner tubes fitted with cylinders which reach down to a depth of about 600 feet.

As warm water waves lap over the tubes a hydraulic head would be produced, forcing the warm surface water to a cooler depth.These devices could be placed in strategic areas such as off the southeastern seaboard of the United States or between Cuba and the Yucatan.

There would have to be thousands of such units to become an effective energy drain, but since they could be produced out of polyethylene (the material used in our shopping bags) for only several hundred dollars apiece, the price of construction and distribution is a sliver compared to the horror and expense of our current battle with hurricane season.

The real issue in employing this genius idea is not cost or risk, but generating sufficient belief and will that mankind has a climate-related problem to begin with.

Perhaps that is where the private sector could lead the way -- a contract between a state or region and the company that builds and distributes these devices to see if they have merit.

Michael Brown, La Crosse

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