Oh, this is fun: My living room gets flooded, and suddenly here comes Apocalypse Now to ruin my Thursday. Boy, do I feel rotten!
Last night's rain totally flooded my living room; now here comes a team of NASA senior scientists, saying there's this cataclysmic force from the heavens on its way to trash life as we know it. Here's the gory details, from the files of The Scotsman of Edinburgh:
The sun, these scientists say, is awakening from a long, deep slumber --- and is now set to embark upon a period of violent solar activity that could send devastating electromagnetic radiation racing toward Earth.
A single massive storm on the solar surface, 93 million miles away, would have enough power to literally knock out power grids, destroy satellites controlling all GPS and other communications networks, ground every last airline you can name on your fingers ..... and practically toss the world's banking systems into an unprecedented state of utter chaos.
The disruption to the fuel chain and the subsequent breakdown in social order could leave every government on the Planet completely powerless, and deprive tens upon millions of human beings of clean water, and access to fresh food and sterile medicines, according to the team's findings.
Don't laugh. These guys were apparently so serious about this that they took their concerns to a team of government officials, disaster response managers, power company chiefs and certain other interested Mortals, all of whom had just happened to be in town for a space weather forum in Washington, D.C. the other day.
Basically, your bearer of bad tidings is Chris St. Cyr, senior astrophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Baltimore. "A storm of this magnitude would be a low probability event but would have a very high impact," he says. "It might not happen as often as hurricanes, earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, but we're more vulnerable now than ever before. Now, we use satellites for mobile phones, navigation, communication; just running your Visa card through to make a purchase. Our power grids are interconnected, and would act as one giant antenna in a huge geomagnetic storm. There's a need to highlight all these facts to those in decision-making positions, and to get them to understand that this is a natural hazard that we didn't have to worry about in the 1970's, but now we do."
Chris and his homeboys, working out of NASA's Division of Heliophysical Sciences, based at Goddard, and dedicated to studying the sun and its relationship to Earth and the other planets, explain that solar activity runs in cycles averaging about 11 years, and the next peak is due around late 2012 and well into 2013. "We have been in an extended phase of minimal activity, which typically lasts 2 to 3 years," says Chris, "but this time has been a little over four years."
Under normal conditions, the Earth's magnetic fields defend us from the constant stream of energized particles coming from the sun. But one "perfect storm" of a huge, hyper-charged ball of plasma and pure energy on course for Earth at lightspeed could have enough strength to overwhelm the Planet's defenses and set up an unprecedented global economic disaster, says a NASA-financed study written up by the National Academy of Sciences.
And the cost to the United States alone would exceed the $2 trillion level in just the first year, the report goes on.
Basically, kids, we're talking Apocalypse Now. I'm sure ol' Nostradamus, the Man Who Saw Tomorrow, and a frequent guest-blogger in this Diary of Magecraft, is gloating about how right he was. As for your Dragonmaster, this puts the damper on an already-ruined Thursday, 24 hours removed from me damn living room being flooded by the rain last night. Fortunately, we're back to sunshine mode upon the morrow, according to NY1's Weather on the 1s. It better stay that way, dammit!
I gotta go, Mortals. I'm in mope mode right now, and you do not wanna be on ol' Blackwolf's bad side when I'm in mope mode. C ya!