2008 Rockefeller New Media Foundation Proposal
"Call Me Ishmael" (1: 1a model/project development)- Over recent centuries, since Benjamin Franklin's famous experiments with thunderstorms, humans have developed sufficient understanding of electromagnetism that the power of lightning might now be harnessed and put to useful purposes. A work of art could be constructed that might, by itself, help reduce the fury of storms, restore balance to the atmosphere -- even interact with extraterrestrials using a medium that spans to nearby stars. Here, a proposal is offered to help develop such a project. In particular, this proposal calls for construction of a 1:10 working model of three 96-foot shafts of aluminum angled upwards into the sky and forming a single, 106-foot tower designed to precipitate lightning discharges into itself. It will have at its core several robust electrical parts that could locally "lase" nitrogen in the atmosphere, in order to transform chaotic pulses of lightning into coherent shafts of light. It would be a massive UV laser that could beam energy from ground level back up into the atmosphere and then, out into space.