Interesting article over at the New Scientist about the possibility of using supersonic jet fighters to neutralize hurricanes. The concept depends on our understanding of hurricanes as delicately-balanced dynamic systems that depend on that balance for self-reinforcement and building strength. Apparently, the math supports the concept of interfering with this delicate balance using the sonic booms created by a pair of jet fighters weaving in and out of the storm. There are challenges, of course, such as the demands of long cruising at supersonic speeds, but overall the article posits a very interesting (and probably verifiable) theory that would be very interesting to test.
Therein lies the rub, however. The article is all about a patent. Yes, kids, a patent. I take this to mean that if someone wanted to try and stop a hurricane from ravaging the coastline of some hapless country, they would run the risk of getting sued by the patent holder unless the licensing fees were paid. This seems kind of crazy, especially since lives are potentially involved- are they really going to stop someone from saving lives with this approach? Sheesh.