Scientists at the University of Central Florida and the University of Arizona are trying to develop a system of lasers that they claim would theoretically be able to trigger rain and lightning in clouds, effectively "controlling" the weather.
Water condensation and lightning activity in clouds are linked to large amounts of static charged particles. Stimulating those particles with the right kind of laser holds the key to possibly one day summoning a shower when and where it is needed.
The concept of being able to actively control the weather has long been a fantasy of humans since ancient times, but modern scientists have had limited success. The closest thing to active weather modification we've come is cloud seeding — which has worked in a limited capacity on a few occasions — but it's still a controversial and relatively untested science.
Conspiracy theorists, though, have come up with plenty of batshit theories of how they think the Evil World Government is able to control the weather. They think that the condensation trails left behind by high-flying aircraft are really chemicals meant to control the weather and make you sick (neither is true), and they also subscribe to the wacko idea that a batch of high-frequency radio antennas in Alaska (called HAARP) is able to control the weather...but they don't want you to know it!
The idea that these scientists will have success in controlling the weather with lasers is far-fetched, but it's going to provide fodder for the conspiracy theorists for years to come.
[Image via Getty | h/t Stephen Uzick]