Friday, June 19, 2009

Bad News for 21st Century Folk

Friday, June 19, 2009
I bring news for the 21st century people! Here ye, here ye!

But first, lets take a look at the two images below.
Picture 1: The aurora borealis /northern or southern lights
Picture 2: The mighty sun
You will soon see that these two pictures are related. Though you may not like the connection.
Have you ever seen the northern lights before? Me neither. (laughs) In real life, no. Just through pictures. Like the one above. Even in pictures alone, the lights are totally beautiful.
I have good news for you then! You can probably see them on..September 2012. And you don't have to go to the north or south pole. Just stay where you are, and you can still see them.
The bad news is, that's probably the last kind of light you'll be seeing in a long time.
Want to hear the worst news in a century? It's this; there's a very big possiblity that we will be losing electricity by 2012.
Scientists predict that on 2012, the sun will reach a peak in its activity, creating a mighty solar storm that will strike the earth.
Why is a solar storm something to worry about?
And what's the connection between a solar storm and the beautiful display of lights in the sky, like in the first picture above?
To question 1: The sun regularly ejects huge masses of subatomically charged particles ejected from the sun's outermost layer, the corona into the outer space. These masses of electrically charged particles are called coronal mass ejections.
This means that the earth gets hit by these ejections regularly. Thanks to the atmosphere, earthlings are saved from their potentially harmful effects.
However, every 11 years, the sun will reach its peak in activity, whereby when the time comes, will eject a very powerful burst of these particles into space. We call this activity of the sun as a solar storm.
The next solar storm is predicted on September 2012. Scientists say its chances of happening are very high and real. And even if earth gets lucky, the next solar storm will happen another eleven years, on 2023. And so on. It is inevitable.
If earth gets hit by these electrically charged particles, it will somewhat provoke the balance of our own electric and magnetic field. For those who learn physics, they know that electric and magnetic fields are very closely related and can affect each other a lot.
A solar storm is a cause for concern simply because it will shut down our electricity supply. And we know how much we depend on electricity.
From powering dams to ensure the supply of clean water, to hospitals that depend on electricity to power up most if not all of the machinery, some used to keep people alive while others are used for treatment purposes. The general public also need electricity to get on with their daily lives; to recharge their cellphones, laptops, washing machines etc. Electricity is the pillar of life in this century.
In 2012, humanity faces great danger, partly because we depend so much on electricity. When the solar storm strikes, humanity faces its worst nightmare ever; life WITHOUT electricity.
As to how the mechanism works, I'm completely clueless. But what really matters is the AFTER EFFECTS of the storm.
As stated in the New Sunday Times, April 26, 2009, "With no electricity , we would not just be in the dark. We are dependent, to a degree perhaps few of us appreciate, on a functioning grid for our survival. All our water and sewage plants run on electricity. A couple of days after a solar superstorm, the taps would run dry. Within a week, we would lose all heat and light as reserves ran out, the supermarket shelves would run empty and the complex supply and distribution networks upon which our society depends would have started to break down. No telepones, no medicine, no manufacturing, no farming and no food. Global communications and travel would also collapse."
That's just the summary. The effects may be even worse than what we can imagine.
To question no 2: Ironically, the solar storm's first sign of its arrival to planet earth is not the immediate realization that humanity has lost all the power its life so depends on, but the beautiful streaks of light on the night sky, very similar to that the folks on the north and south poles see every year. This time, even those living in the tropical countries or at the equator can also see "the northern lights", unaware that those are the only lights they'll be seeing in a LONG TIME..
I first found out about this scientific discovery on, of course, the Discovery Channel somewhere in February this year. Back then, I was sitting on a sofa in my institute's library, watching the show. It was intriguing at first, but then it slowly turned to my worst nightmare as the scientists on the show calmly said that the next solar storm was predicted at 2012. It was kind of hard to's almost something like doomsday. I thought, "Man, I haven't even finished my degree yet." And it kind of sucks. (laughs)
But that just shows how small and weak humans actually are. Whenever a plague or a pandemic virus breaks out, or even natural catastrophes like a solar storm is predicted to come, what is there really to be done? Sure, we can control the virus, take precautionary measures, inject vaccines, but we can't escape death. We'll all die eventually. Whether we'll die buried in an earthquake or get infected in a flu, we'll all destined to die. It's our dessstiny! I'm making dying sounds like fun, aren't I? No, it's not really. Not that I know what death feels like, but it's just that its' rather funny or ironic, seeing humans everyday trying to cheat death.
Well, that's the bad news for us, then.
Another funny thing about this storm, is that the poorest countries will be least affected, because they don't depend so much on electricity. What's even funnier is that the poorest nations in the world, are mostly muslim countries.
A blessing in disguise, perhaps? (smiles knowingly)
note: for more details, try reading nst online, sunday, 26 april 2009

Posted at 1:01pm

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