Science: Whose Rain?

One Richard Haman, a ranch manager, last week filed a formal claim to the water in all the clouds passing over his 12,000-acre Rocking F Ranch near Reno. He was not cloud-cuckoo-land-crazy. He intends, he explained, to sprinkle dry ice on some of the clouds, and he wants full title to the rain he may bring down, wherever it falls.

Haman may not win his claim on the clouds as private property, but his maneuver may help to solve a legal puzzle. In many arid regions, such as the U.S. Southwest, rain falls spottily, bringing good crops to some areas and drought...

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