Monday, January 26, 2009

Backup In the Event of Blackouts and Black Holes.

We've heard it all before...from Nostradamus to Y2k, predictions of doom loom large as we transition into the new millennium. The latest prophecy of doom is said to occur in the year 2012. It's easy to cast this aside as nonsense, however, although it is not the Apocalypse, this warning may go beyond fear mongering.

Scientists have found two large holes in the Earth's magnetosphere, the area around our planet that shields us from severe solar storms which scatter charged particles from the sun, that can disable satellites and disrupt power grids on Earth.

"Although it is invisible, the magnetosphere has an impact on our everyday lives. For example, solar storms agitate the magnetosphere in ways that can induce power surges in the electrical grid that trigger black outs, interfere with radio transmissions and mess up GPS signals. Charged particles in the magnetosphere can also damage the electronics in satellites and affect the temperature and motion of the upper atmosphere." - Charles Chappell, research professor of physics, director of the Dyer Observatory at Vanderbilt University who found this region.
So, if the worst happens, and the geomagnetic storms of 2012 disrupt communications and shut down power grids, considering the exponential growth of paper-reducing technologies, we could face major inconveniences, and perhaps worse.

Moreover, "historians may face a ‘black hole’ of lost information, even without the predicted events of 2012, according to some. In an increasingly paperless world, part of history may vanish if website content is not archived properly. Transforming print into digital data without hard copies may not be such a good idea if a few shots from the sun can wipe it out in seconds.

Granted, if the world caught on fire, our precious paper would be transformed into ash, but then again, so would we.

Some interesting info:

From Jupiter's Dance: "So what then is happening between the Sun and Jupiter to create the sunspots; a combined tidal effect, a focussing of magnetic fields on the Sun with the inner planet acting as a lens at the time of each synchronised pass of Jupiter and Earth, a shadow effect allowing the Sun's energies to rise to the surface. Let's look at the sky of December 21st 2012, mmmm. Jupiter, Earth, Sun in a line, Saturn, Venus, Sun in a line and Neptune, Mars, Sun in a line, auspicious wouldn't you say. It couldn't be they're all beaming their energy at our Sun simultaneously as a prelude to a mega rash of sunspots which in turn lead to...uulp!"

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