Coronal Mass Ejections: Are You Paying Attention?

 

On February 7, 2020 I posted Coronavirus 2019n-CoV: Are You Paying Attention? Little did I know then how our world would change and would continue to be affected. I am posting today about coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and the present magnetic storm that is invisible to us except in its effects. And those effects at the moment seem regionally inconvenient, just as did coronavirus in early 2020. And had it stayed there it would have been of little moment. But it did not, and CMEs have civilization-ending potential as much or more than a disease. Before you tune out, let me assure you that if this was just some “prepper” concern, entertaining as it would be for a niche audience, I would not bother to post. My intention, as it was in 2020, is to put something on your radar for consideration and thought.

There probably isn’t a better starting point than this tweet from Bret Weinstein:

Existential risk from geomagnetic storms is only rivaled by risk from all out nuclear war. Even if our climate models were accurate (which is exceedingly unlikely) it’d be absurd to turn civilization upside down over warming while ignoring the vulnerability of the grid to CMEs.

Weinstein, as many of you may be aware, is an evolutionary biologist who, along with his wife, Heather Heying, gained popular notoriety when they publicly opposed forced racial segregation at Evergreen State College in 2017. They were “canceled” as a result and have pursued independent research and writing ever since. Weinstein was canceled a second time in raising skepticism about governmental policies in response to Covid including, most recently, the mass inoculations with mRNA “vaccines.” His objections, when raised, have always been on scientific, not political, concerns. He views the world through an evolutionary lens, but with humility — not overselling and readily acknowledging what is not known. Although an evolutionist, he is not antagonistic to religious faith. Although not persuaded that there is a G-d, my understanding is that he sees religious practice as an adaption that humans have found useful in successfully managing and improving their existence. In this regard he stands as a contrast to Richard Dawkins, a committed atheist and religious antagonist. (At least that is how I would contrast them from this October 2018 debate. The discussion I am focusing on occurs about 60 minutes into the discussion.)

This is a bit of a long introduction intended to offer Weinstein as a thoughtful and careful man, not prone to bomb-throwing and shallow analysis. So when something concerns him, I want to know more. And this is what concerns him:

  • Our civilization is interconnected in ways heretofore never experienced. That interconnection is based on electrical energy.
  • Our civilization is becoming fundamentally digital, reliant on electrical devices for nearly everything. And when he (I) say everything it includes every step of the supply chain that provides things that we no longer make for ourselves, the movement of goods and materials within those steps, and the financial system that compensates and procures assets for the entirety of the process.
  • This electrified system could not exist given the constant bathing of our planet by sun-sourced electromagnetic phenomena, absent the invisible but measurable magnetosphere that shields us.

From Weinstein’s perspective humans have evolved and developed systems that support more and more people in better and better ways. We also engage in destructive behaviors and systems. But the source of his (small “p”) progressive philosophy is that we will make adaptive choices that better secure our futures. And so it is that he contemplates that a series of choices have been made to bring us to where we are and to the quality of life that we enjoy, but he worries that there are two great threats to our future: nuclear war and the destruction of our electrification system.

The former is wholly within the control of collective humanity. The latter is not. But there is variance in the damage to human existence that the combination of celestial events and human decisions produces. And here is where Weinstein’s focus lies: We need to understand the risk we are taking when we are dependent on electrification and do little or nothing to protect those systems from CMEs.

In order to understand the risk, we need to understand the variables. And that is why, on Weinstein’s podcast of May 10, he had Space Weatherman Ben Davidson on to both discuss the current space “storm” affecting Earth and what the science surrounding these storms is currently revealing. I recommend you watch the entire podcast if you can because the following summary of mine may not be as thorough or accurate as I want it to be:

This weekend our planet is engulfed in a space “storm” of an unusually high amount of electro-magnetic energy both generated by our sun and actually reaching the earth. The magnetosphere operates to shield us like an umbrella against rain. The magnetosphere is centered on two magnetic poles that in tandem form a barrier against that form of solar energy. Absent that barrier we would be constantly flooded with electro-magnetic energy and periodically that level of energy would increase to enormous levels when CMEs occurred and our planet happened to be in the path of the CME. But with the barrier in place we only have levels of electro-magnetic energy that might occasionally interfere with electronic transmissions of radio signals and electric transmission.

(Let me momentarily contrast CMEs with more popularly known phenomena EMPs [electro-magnetic pulses]. When “peppers” talk about EMPs they are usually referring to an effect created by a high-altitude explosion of a nuclear weapon. This explosion occurs within the atmosphere and within the barrier created by the two magnetic poles. The effect of an EMP and a CME are essentially identical if you have no magnetosphere.)

The magnetosphere is not fixed. That is, both the location of the poles and the strength of the magnetosphere vary over time. In fact, the polarity of the magnetosphere has reversed on our planet several times that scientists have detected and appears to have a periodicy of 6,000 years*. When the earth is in the process of a polarity reversal the magnetosphere weakens. And in its weakened state, more electro-magnetic energy from the sun reaches the earth. If CMEs occur within that time period and the earth is in its path, then the phenomena is intensified. If the intensity of the storm is high enough and the shield weak enough, then all electrical devices and systems are basically “fried.” And, by the way, we’re due for a polarity reversal now*.

But this isn’t the worst. There appears to be a type of EMP that is galactic in scale. I don’t think the source of that has been demonstrated, but the phenomena has apparently strong data support. And there is also a periodicy to that phenomena which (IIRC) is 12,000 years. The pulse is omnidirectional so that all galactic objects, including our sun, are subjected to this pulse. It is believed that when a sun is subjected to the pulse it can stimulate a “micro” nova which does not tear the sun apart but does generate enormous CMEs that either destroy or radically affect planets orbiting that sun. And, there is a possibility that the galactic EMP and our polarity reversal will coincide in time.

Taken together the calculus is pretty straightforward: When the magnetosphere weakens (which it already has and will) your electronic systems are a higher risk. If you do nothing to “harden” those systems (shield them from solar-sourced electromagnetic pulses) you are ensuring that when the magnetosphere weakens your electrical systems will fail when a strong enough space storm comes. There may be nothing that you can do to protect yourself, but doing nothing puts you at higher risk.

What does this mean for us individually or even nationally? As Davidson and Weinstein discuss, humans are likely to survive in some form, short of a massive micronova. If it’s you, you will likely be without power, so you need to think about that. There is reason to believe that there have been micro nova events in relatively recent geologic time that have affected life forms in various parts of the planet but, planetarily, humans survived. The loss of magnetosphere protection during a polarity reversal, even absent a micro nova, will almost certainly create civilizational disruption. Can society actually do anything to minimize that disruption and avoid significant consequences? Yes, we could focus on decentralizing our power sourcing (think small nuclear generators) and hardening transmission systems and even structures that house electronic systems. Would that secure us against any and all cosmic storms? No, but not doing it exposes us to avoidable and predictable disruption and chaos. We insure our houses, property and our lives not because it will save us, but to mitigate loss. And when we consider how vulnerable we really are, it is just this side of insane not to do anything. And yet that appears to be where we are. After all, there is money to be made in gender affirming care, carbon sequestration, solar panels, wind farms, and (in the future) bugs as entrees.

Don’t say no one invited you to pay attention.

*But see Comment #1 for a contra view.

P.S. In the podcast there is a fascinating discussion about evidence that the earth’s crust and the mantle decouple periodically. Weinstein is intrigued but not persuaded. But whether or not that happens, the movement of the magnetic poles and polarity reversal appears to now be well established and is the basis for this post.

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  1. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Rodin: In fact, the polarity of the magnetosphere has reversed on our planet several times that scientists have detected and appears to have a periodicy of 6,000 years.

    https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/it-true-earths-magnetic-field-occasionally-reverses-its-polarity#:~:text=These%20reversals%20are%20random%20with,was%20about%20780%2C000%20years%20ago.

    These reversals are random with no apparent periodicity to their occurrence. They can happen as often as every 10 thousand years or so and as infrequently as every 50 million years or more. The last reversal was about 780,000 years ago.

    https://science.nasa.gov/science-research/earth-science/flip-flop-why-variations-in-earths-magnetic-field-arent-causing-todays-climate-change/

    During a pole reversal, Earth’s magnetic north and south poles swap locations. While that may sound like a big deal, pole reversals are common in Earth’s geologic history. Paleomagnetic records tell us Earth’s magnetic poles have reversed 183 times in the last 83 million years, and at least several hundred times in the past 160 million years. The time intervals between reversals have fluctuated widely, but average about 300,000 years, with the last one taking place about 780,000 years ago.

     

    [All emphasis added]

    • #1
  2. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Forstchen, who wrote One Second After, has a book about a doomsday solar event and saving a body of humanity to emerge from their safety to repopulate the earth. It is based on science with the fiction being people involved and drama to secure a spot (elites try to force themselves into the shelter instead of human expertise needed to survive and return….a Noah’s underground shelter. 

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    All of these words, and no mention of the Carrington Event?

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Also, the way this is going, in 2030, the great catastrophe will involve the Corona poetic form.

    • #4
  5. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Rodin: In fact, the polarity of the magnetosphere has reversed on our planet several times that scientists have detected and appears to have a periodicy of 6,000 years.

    https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/it-true-earths-magnetic-field-occasionally-reverses-its-polarity#:~:text=These%20reversals%20are%20random%20with,was%20about%20780%2C000%20years%20ago.

    These reversals are random with no apparent periodicity to their occurrence. They can happen as often as every 10 thousand years or so and as infrequently as every 50 million years or more. The last reversal was about 780,000 years ago.

    https://science.nasa.gov/science-research/earth-science/flip-flop-why-variations-in-earths-magnetic-field-arent-causing-todays-climate-change/

    During a pole reversal, Earth’s magnetic north and south poles swap locations. While that may sound like a big deal, pole reversals are common in Earth’s geologic history. Paleomagnetic records tell us Earth’s magnetic poles have reversed 183 times in the last 83 million years, and at least several hundred times in the past 160 million years. The time intervals between reversals have fluctuated widely, but average about 300,000 years, with the last one taking place about 780,000 years ago.

     

    [All emphasis added]

    Thank you, @miffedwhitemale. I will add a note to make sure that someone sampling the OP is directed to your comment. 

    • #5
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Forstchen, who wrote One Second After, has a book about a doomsday solar event and saving a body of humanity to emerge from their safety to repopulate the earth. It is based on science with the fiction being people involved and drama to secure a spot (elites try to force themselves into the shelter instead of human expertise needed to survive and return….a Noah’s underground shelter.

    Great series. I have read them all. 

    • #6
  7. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Arahant (View Comment):

    All of these words, and no mention of the Carrington Event?

    Fair point. It was an example of how strong CMEs have been in the past and, had it occured now would cause massive effects. Society was not electrified then as now. 

    • #7
  8. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Also, the way this is going, in 2030, the great catastrophe will involve the Corona poetic form.

    Could also make a reference to Frost’s Fire and Ice poem. 

    • #8
  9. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I remembered seeing this last fall and then not much follow up. I think the emphasis was on failure to take action to protect the grid.

    https://www.thewrap.com › dennis-quaid-hannity-power-grid-documentary-fox-news-video

    • #9
  10. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I remembered seeing this last fall and then not much follow up. I think the emphasis was on failure to take action to protect the grid.

    https://www.thewrap.com › dennis-quaid-hannity-power-grid-documentary-fox-news-video

    One point in the podcast Davidson and Weinstein talked about the seeming silence on this topic. And yet we get reports of billionaires building bunkers. Curious. 

    • #10
  11. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I remembered seeing this last fall and then not much follow up. I think the emphasis was on failure to take action to protect the grid.

    https://www.thewrap.com › dennis-quaid-hannity-power-grid-documentary-fox-news-video

    Protecting grid is invisible to voters and doesn’t get them votes. 

    • #11
  12. E. Kent Golding Moderator
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    I am more concerned with an intentional EMI pulse attack.   A nuke detonated at the right altitude over the USA would fry most electronic devices.   Again, protecting against or preventing this won’t buy votes.

    • #12
  13. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    My knowledge on this is very limited, but the following is plausible  to me.  Don’t remember where I read this info.

    A solar event, like the Carrington event, produces EMPs with extremely long wavelengths.  This will affect long conductors, like power lines (rail roads, bridge cables, wire fences, etc.)  much more so than smaller conductors which are simply too small to be affected.

    That is not to say that everything connected to the grid wouldn’t get cooked.  But, as I understand it, any small electrical devices or appliances which were isolated from the grid might survive unaffected.  With adequate warning, I might set aside a generator, and disconnect (with enough gap to defeat electrical arcs) appliances with an expectation they might survive.

    The same info indicated that a man-made EMP would have a much shorter wavelength and might indeed damage free-standing electric devices.

    In either case it would be disastrous.

    • #13
  14. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I remembered seeing this last fall and then not much follow up. I think the emphasis was on failure to take action to protect the grid.

    https://www.thewrap.com › dennis-quaid-hannity-power-grid-documentary-fox-news-video

    Protecting grid is invisible to voters and doesn’t get them votes.

    Until it becomes darkly visible to the voters. 

    • #14
  15. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I remembered seeing this last fall and then not much follow up. I think the emphasis was on failure to take action to protect the grid.

    https://www.thewrap.com › dennis-quaid-hannity-power-grid-documentary-fox-news-video

    Protecting grid is invisible to voters and doesn’t get them votes.

    Until it becomes darkly visible to the voters.

    By which time it’s too late.

    • #15
  16. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    When Texas suffered power failure on a large scale a couple of years back, it clearly demonstrated the perverse effect so-called “green” energy subsidies have, as all their recent investment had been into solar and wind, and neither reliable sources nor upgraded infrastructure.

    Here in WA, our largest power company touts everywhere its commitment to the climate change madness. Meanwhile, the Democrats and environmental wackos (h/t Rush) want to destroy several dams that supply a huge portion of the state’s electrical power, even through reliable hydroelectric generation is a tried and true technology, and eminently sustainable. It also just announced,for the coming “wildfire season,” to expect rolling power outages to reduce the occasions when weather conditions down power lines and spark wildfires. But they are committed to “net zero carbon by 2045.”  Madness.

    Is it really politically impossible to subsidize hardening the grid and protecting the distribution infrastructure? Not just from sun storms or EMPs, but also from saboteurs and terrorists? Maybe there’s less opportunity for graft there than in the climate cult world, but the dollars still would go to companies and workers who would be actually doing something useful.  What a concept.

    Or nah?

    • #16
  17. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    My knowledge on this is very limited, but the following is plausible to me. Don’t remember where I read this info.

    A solar event, like the Carrington event, produces EMPs with extremely long wavelengths. This will affect long conductors, like power lines (rail roads, bridge cables, wire fences, etc.) much more so than smaller conductors which are simply too small to be affected.

    That is not to say that everything connected to the grid wouldn’t get cooked. But, as I understand it, any small electrical devices or appliances which were isolated from the grid might survive unaffected. With adequate warning, I might set aside a generator, and disconnect (with enough gap to defeat electrical arcs) appliances with an expectation they might survive.

    The same info indicated that a man-made EMP would have a much shorter wavelength and might indeed damage free-standing electric devices.

    In either case it would be disastrous.

    This is the damnable problem: You can do everything to protect your electronics and they will become useless pretty quickly if the infrastructure is down. If you don’t have plan for a post-electric world, for organizing your community against the predation of others, you don’t have a plan. In the past there have been memes about SMOD (Sweet Mother of Death) in response to adverse political events. EMPs and CMEs of sufficient intensity are SMOD. 

    • #17
  18. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Lightning took out Spectrum cable all down the street. My landline still works. So does my internet now that they replace the fried modem (I use kinetic for landline and internet).  Amazing since the strike made the cover of the telephone patch cable fly off). Preppers, have a landline, too.

    • #18
  19. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Fritz (View Comment):
    But they are committed to “net zero carbon by 2045.”  Madness.

    They never figure the amounts used to produce solar panels and windmills in China, and to ship them over, and get them to where they are going, and install them, and maintain them…  And absolutely not what it takes to “retire” them!

    • #19
  20. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rodin (View Comment):
    SMOD (Sweet Mother of Death)

    Meteor.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lightning took out Spectrum cable all down the street. My landline still works. So does my internet now that they replace the fried modem (I use kinetic for landline and internet). Amazing since the strike made the cover of the telephone patch cable fly off). Preppers, have a landline, too.

    Ideally a REAL landline, not the cable TV “landline,” etc.

    • #21
  22. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lightning took out Spectrum cable all down the street. My landline still works. So does my internet now that they replace the fried modem (I use kinetic for landline and internet). Amazing since the strike made the cover of the telephone patch cable fly off). Preppers, have a landline, too.

    Ideally a REAL landline, not the cable TV “landline,” etc.

    It is real. Don’t have cable tv. Have dish.

    • #22
  23. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    The company we work for is in the business of testing electronic components for radiation hardness — mostly for space applications. Some of our senior people are pretty expert (PhD physicist-level) in such matters. We had a lunchtime presentation by one of them a couple of years ago on just this topic. Very interesting and I won’t be able to repeat it all accurately, but a couple of items that stood out. . .

    The Carrington Event caused telegraph stations to catch fire. Pretty disruptive even for a somewhat primitive electrified system. 

    If a politician were to take this seriously, they might use the campaign slogan — “it’s the transformers stupid.” 

    I don’t remember any discussion of a “galactic EMP” and, for our purposes, I don’t think it much matters. Neither did our physicist talk about the flip of the magnetic poles that I recall. Solar activity (a Carrington Event-level CME) is the source of the threat for us in both cases. He compared CMEs to EMPS as follows — Severe CME >>> EMP. One is a somewhat localized man-made disaster. The other is global. 

    The manufacture and replacement of grid components is the issue, if I understand correctly. And right now, we don’t have the capability to do either in a timely manner. 

    As I ask my prepper family — just how far into the zombie apocalypse do you want to live? There are worse things than death.

     

    • #23
  24. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    The company we work for is in the business of testing electronic components for radiation hardness — mostly for space applications. Some of our senior people are pretty expert (PhD physicist-level) in such matters. We had a lunchtime presentation by one of them a couple of years ago on just this topic. Very interesting and I won’t be able to repeat it all accurately, but a couple of items that stood out. . .

    The Carrington Event caused telegraph stations to catch fire. Pretty disruptive even for a somewhat primitive electrified system.

    If a politician were to take this seriously, they might use the campaign slogan — “it’s the transformers stupid.”

    I don’t remember any discussion of a “galactic EMP” and, for our purposes, I don’t think it much matters. Neither did our physicist talk about the flip of the magnetic poles that I recall. Solar activity (a Carrington Event-level CME) is the source of the threat for us in both cases. He compared CMEs to EMPS as follows — Severe CME >>> EMP. One is a somewhat localized man-made disaster. The other is global.

    The manufacture and replacement of grid components is the issue, if I understand correctly. And right now, we don’t have the capability to do either in a timely manner.

    As I ask my prepper family — just how far into the zombie apocalypse do you want to live? There are worse things than death.

     

    Very good question. For the eldest of us it won’t really be much of a choice. It’s only a matter of how comfortable you can keep yourself. But for families with small children this is something that has to take up some thought along with the college fund. While there could be a single civilization-ending event, the likelihood favors a series of regional disruptions that ultimately no government is able to respond to and provide aid. (I don’t think Ukraine will be helping us out when the time comes.) The questions are: Is there a cycle (the answer appears to be “yes”)? How long is the cycle (there is some dispute)? Can we predict where we are in the cycle (I am working on a post that fleshes out Davidson’s observations)? Is a civilization-threatening event something that is likely to happen within the next 20 years?

    If Davidson’s observations are correct then the threat of difficult-to-recover-from regional events is increasing and coming sooner rather than later. How many transformers do you have to lose before the power grid in an area is useless? How big can a regional disruption be before it exceeds the capacity for meaningful help? This means that there could well be micro zombie apocalypses like Haiti is today. At what point will a government simply cordon off an area and hope that the zombie phenomena is contained?

     

    • #24
  25. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    The company we work for is in the business of testing electronic components for radiation hardness — mostly for space applications. Some of our senior people are pretty expert (PhD physicist-level) in such matters. We had a lunchtime presentation by one of them a couple of years ago on just this topic. Very interesting and I won’t be able to repeat it all accurately, but a couple of items that stood out. . .

    The Carrington Event caused telegraph stations to catch fire. Pretty disruptive even for a somewhat primitive electrified system.

    If a politician were to take this seriously, they might use the campaign slogan — “it’s the transformers stupid.”

    I don’t remember any discussion of a “galactic EMP” and, for our purposes, I don’t think it much matters. Neither did our physicist talk about the flip of the magnetic poles that I recall. Solar activity (a Carrington Event-level CME) is the source of the threat for us in both cases. He compared CMEs to EMPS as follows — Severe CME >>> EMP. One is a somewhat localized man-made disaster. The other is global.

    The manufacture and replacement of grid components is the issue, if I understand correctly. And right now, we don’t have the capability to do either in a timely manner.

    As I ask my prepper family — just how far into the zombie apocalypse do you want to live? There are worse things than death.

     

    Very good question. For the eldest of us it won’t really be much of a choice. It’s only a matter of how comfortable you can keep yourself. But for families with small children this is something that has to take up some thought along with the college fund. While there could be a single civilization-ending event, the likelihood favors a series of regional disruptions that ultimately no government is able to respond to and provide aid. (I don’t think Ukraine will be helping us out when the time comes.) The questions are: Is there a cycle (the answer appears to be “yes”)? How long is the cycle (there is some dispute)? Can we predict where we are in the cycle (I am working on a post that fleshes out Davidson’s observations)? Is a civilization-threatening event something that is likely to happen within the next 20 years?

    If Davidson’s observations are correct then the threat of difficult-to-recover-from regional events is increasing and coming sooner rather than later. How many transformers do you have to lose before the power grid in an area is useless? How big can a regional disruption be before it exceeds the capacity for meaningful help? This means that there could well be micro zombie apocalypses like Haiti is today. At what point will a government simply cordon off an area and hope that the zombie phenomena is contained?

    The question isn’t “if?” but “when?” And what size “region” are we talking about? If the eastern half of the North American continent goes under, the West will suffer tremendously, and vice versa. Our global interconnectedness makes it a problem for the whole world if a technologically advanced portion goes down. Think of the economic impact alone.

    I don’t see what young families can do about grid disruptions when the monetary system is buh-bye and there’s a mass supply chain collapse — especially food supplies. It’s another thing we’re not voting our way out of. Our whole civilization is unserious about what it takes for human flourishing as shown by geriatric lefties trying to destroy the Magna Carta and governments endorsing the “green” project while scaring young people about the CO2 they exhale with every breath and a possible(!) 2 degrees C temperature rise in average global temperature over a 100 year timespan. 

    I don’t see any governments getting serious about this any time soon. The Left dominates and it has always ginned up fake evils (AGW, Islamophobia, right-wing authoritarianism in America, . . .) to win over voters and avoid having to combat real evils.

    • #25
  26. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    @rodin didn’t you write a similar post several years ago, maybe ten or more? The points are no less well taken, but was getting a bit deja-vu-ish. Good stuff and thanks.

    • #26
  27. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    All of these words, and no mention of the Carrington Event?

    Fair point. It was an example of how strong CMEs have been in the past and, had it occured now would cause massive effects. Society was not electrified then as now.

    I have had people reply to any angst I express when the fire storms which Californians experience result in a three day blackout  with indifference and scorn.

    “No biggee,” observe those who do not experience such an ordeal.

    But it is a big deal for people who are affected. To stay up and running, many households and businesses  now have generators. Some of these are solar generators so that Newsom can’t say we aren’t being environmentally unconcerned and then use some state law to seize such.

    But it still means the outside world won’t work as it did prior to a blackout.

    What do you lose when the lights go out for  a lengthy period of time?

    No ability for heating or AC.

    Plus a massive solar event would strip us of the use of generators, vehicles, including farm vehicles, computers and comm devices, cash registers, the gas pumps, airliners, and the military.

    You are back to washing clothes by hand. If the event were to be a national one, with no power restored for months or  years, the water the clothes are washed in will not longer be water run through a local water sanitation plant. So your drinking water would be abysmal in taste and perhaps with serious harms should the household not have some weeks worth of water stored.

    The Amish and others who are off grid would still get by, until the government decided that it had the right to seize everything they use for the sake of distribution to other groups of people.

    ###

    • #27
  28. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    The company we work for is in the business of testing electronic components for radiation hardness — mostly for space applications. Some of our senior people are pretty expert (PhD physicist-level) in such matters. We had a lunchtime presentation by one of them a couple of years ago on just this topic. Very interesting and I won’t be able to repeat it all accurately, but a couple of items that stood out. . .

    The Carrington Event caused telegraph stations to catch fire. Pretty disruptive even for a somewhat primitive electrified system.

    If a politician were to take this seriously, they might use the campaign slogan — “it’s the transformers stupid.”

    I don’t remember any discussion of a “galactic EMP” and, for our purposes, I don’t think it much matters. Neither did our physicist talk about the flip of the magnetic poles that I recall. Solar activity (a Carrington Event-level CME) is the source of the threat for us in both cases. He compared CMEs to EMPS as follows — Severe CME >>> EMP. One is a somewhat localized man-made disaster. The other is global.

    The manufacture and replacement of grid components is the issue, if I understand correctly. And right now, we don’t have the capability to do either in a timely manner.

    As I ask my prepper family — just how far into the zombie apocalypse do you want to live? There are worse things than death.

     

    Very good question. For the eldest of us it won’t really be much of a choice. It’s only a matter of how comfortable you can keep yourself. SNIP

    If Davidson’s observations are correct then the threat of difficult-to-recover-from regional events is increasing and coming sooner rather than later. How many transformers do you have to lose before the power grid in an area is useless? How big can a regional disruption be before it exceeds the capacity for meaningful help? This means that there could well be micro zombie apocalypses like Haiti is today. At what point will a government simply cordon off an area and hope that the zombie phenomena is contained?

    Of course, as far as the government and its ability to undertake interventions, the boots on the ground might have to walk wherever the boots are ordered to go. (Unless our military planes and copters are very well shielded.)

     

     

    • #28
  29. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    All of these words, and no mention of the Carrington Event?

    Fair point. It was an example of how strong CMEs have been in the past and, had it occured now would cause massive effects. Society was not electrified then as now.

    I have had people reply to any angst I express when the fire storms which Californians experience result in a three day blackout with indifference and scorn.

    “No biggee,” observe those who do not experience such an ordeal.

    But it is a big deal for people who are affected. To stay up and running, many households and businesses now have generators. Some of these are solar generators so that Newsom can’t say we aren’t being environmentally unconcerned and then use some state law to seize such.

    But it still means the outside world won’t work as it did prior to a blackout.

    What do you lose when the lights go out for a lengthy period of time?

    No ability for heating or AC.

    Plus a massive solar event would strip us of the use of generators, vehicles, including farm vehicles, computers and comm devices, cash registers, the gas pumps, airliners, and the military.

    You are back to washing clothes by hand. If the event were to be a national one, with no power restored for months or years, the water the clothes are washed in will not longer be water run through a local water sanitation plant. So your drinking water would be abysmal in taste and perhaps with serious harms should the household not have some weeks worth of water stored.

    The Amish and others who are off grid would still get by, until the government decided that it had the right to seize everything they use for the sake of distribution to other groups of people.

    ###

    The Amish would not last for long before barbarians would arrive to take away their food. 

    • #29
  30. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    The company we work for is in the business of testing electronic components for radiation hardness — mostly for space applications. Some of our senior people are pretty expert (PhD physicist-level) in such matters. We had a lunchtime presentation by one of them a couple of years ago on just this topic. Very interesting and I won’t be able to repeat it all accurately, but a couple of items that stood out. . .

    The Carrington Event caused telegraph stations to catch fire. Pretty disruptive even for a somewhat primitive electrified system.

    If a politician were to take this seriously, they might use the campaign slogan — “it’s the transformers stupid.”

    I don’t remember any discussion of a “galactic EMP” and, for our purposes, I don’t think it much matters. Neither did our physicist talk about the flip of the magnetic poles that I recall. Solar activity (a Carrington Event-level CME) is the source of the threat for us in both cases. He compared CMEs to EMPS as follows — Severe CME >>> EMP. One is a somewhat localized man-made disaster. The other is global.

    The manufacture and replacement of grid components is the issue, if I understand correctly. And right now, we don’t have the capability to do either in a timely manner.

    As I ask my prepper family — just how far into the zombie apocalypse do you want to live? There are worse things than death.

     

    Very good question. For the eldest of us it won’t really be much of a choice. It’s only a matter of how comfortable you can keep yourself. SNIP

    If Davidson’s observations are correct then the threat of difficult-to-recover-from regional events is increasing and coming sooner rather than later. How many transformers do you have to lose before the power grid in an area is useless? How big can a regional disruption be before it exceeds the capacity for meaningful help? This means that there could well be micro zombie apocalypses like Haiti is today. At what point will a government simply cordon off an area and hope that the zombie phenomena is contained?

    Of course, as far as the government and its ability to undertake interventions, the boots on the ground might have to walk wherever the boots are ordered to go. (Unless our military planes and copters are very well shielded.)

     

     

    Some are. 

    • #30
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