Just back from the high desert between Victorville and Barstow, where the Geminids put on a pretty good show, despite partial overcast. As predicted, not a very high rate, but a very high proportion of slow meteors with visible trails.

Looking up at those shooting stars and thinking about how small they actually are — I read somewhere that the little ones are roughly grains of sand, while something as big as a tenth of a gram is fairly substantial — I wondered how much it would cost to put up a satellite with a payload of a few kilograms of sand and gravel, and how you could convert that payload into a meteor storm in honor of, say, the Fourth of July. Given that the whole country could see it, it might be a cost-effective fireworks show.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: