Solar Storms; Unpredictable And Dangerous



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We all know that the sun is harmful to your skin if you go out without sun screen and while everybody talks about its harmful rays, we all agree that we need it to stay alive. It makes the crops grow, it gives us our seasons by virtue of its distance from the earth during certain times of the year, and we are now just beginning to use its energy to power certain things here on earth. But there is one thing that scares scientist more than skin cancer, and that is the possibility of a massive solar storm.

Electric utilities, telecommunications providers, and believe it or not, the insurance industries are all concerned about such an event taking place. In a worst case scenario, such a storm could leave 20 to 40 million people in the Northeast without power for years as the storm would fry thousands of transformers from Washington State to Boston. That statement was made by Lloyd’s of London, the world oldest insurance market. In 1989, a solar induced geomagnetic storm left 6 million people in Quebec without power for 9 hours. And in 1859, such a storm hit Colorado, and was powerful enough to disrupt telegraph service in Philadelphia. The communications for the country was unusable for hours. It a good thing that they were not so dependant on electricity back then as we are now. Such an event today would have a undesired economic effect to the tune of $2.6 million dollars.

The possibility of a solar apocalyptic event has a lot of people thinking of alternate plans, including power companies, and airlines. I don’t have to tell you what would happen to our satellites which in itself would totally wreck communications. No television, no internet and so on, so don’t throw out those old board games yet. The space station would have to be abandoned because of first, no way to talk with the astronauts, and second, the radiation levels would rise drastically The same type of storm that hit Colorado occurred in July 2012, and missed the earth by a week.

Using 4 satellites, the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado can predict an incoming solar event when it’s 30 minutes away. The trouble is that these satellites are reaching the end of their planned lives, and fuel, with only one being replaced this year. That means that until a replacement is launched, we are at the mercy of the suns weather patterns. Maybe this would be a good time to invest in kerosene lanterns and candles.

 

Photo courtesy of NASAJPL.com

 



Kim Jong un; His Quest For Power And Respect

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As if we don’t have enough in the world to deal with, now we have to contend with Kim Jong-un, the young leader who’s rattling sabers and stomping his feet again because of a movie, “The Interview”, that depicts a plot to eliminate him as the leader of North Korea by way of assasination. Here in the real world, he still irritates everybody with his determination to obtain long range nuclear weapon to play with while trying to fill his father’s shoes and run the country with an iron fist no matter the cost, and he proved as much by having his uncle executed shortly after taking command of the country giving rise to the term that North Korea is “no country for old men”.

It was last year that he started firing off underground nuclear test challenging the world’s patience with his “I don’t care” attitude, and letting this “man-child” have access to missiles with nuclear warheads is like giving a bottle of nitroglycerine to a 2 year old and hoping he doesn’t drop it. And to even allow Kim Jong-un to experiment with nuclear power is not a good thing even though he says that his quest for nuclear power is for peaceful purposes and the betterment of his people. Yet he sufficiently annoyed China enough last year that it prompted a strong reaction from the new Chinese President, Xi Jinping, who sees Kim Jong as testing the waters as a way of seeing what he can get away with. Because of North Korea’s desperate state of poverty, it depends on China for food and fuel, and even though China has condemned many of North Korea’s actions, there are many who feel that more should be done to deter the young leader from seeking nuclear power at this time.

China has called on North Korea to renew suspended contacts with the 6 party group, the United States, Japan, Russia, South Korea, China, and North Korea, that has provided a forum for discussing Pyongyang’s nuclear program and other subjects. The six as a group hold these forums as a way to discuss the feasibility of trying to decide if nuclear power could help North Korea’s struggling economy. When Kim Jong-un showed an unwillingness to do that, the United Nations Security Council applied economic sanctions. Because Kim had stated that an improved economy was his top priority, the sanctions are hitting the country hard. China feels that by North Korea’s returning to the six party talks, would likely turn into a diplomatic triumph for all concerned.

Even though North Korea’s long distance warhead delivery technology has to this point been unimpressive, the United States feels that the six party talks need to resume, and there was some hope that Kim Jong-un would finally give in and return to the table, but that hope may have just been dashed with the release of “The Interview”, and as of right now, Kim Jong-un’s next move is unpredictable. There have been countless leaders in the world who at one time or another was the butt of a humerous shinanigan or a cruel joke, but when you make a movie comedy about the planning and the killing of a country’s leader, you strike a nerve, and one day, that could prove to be deadly.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of wikimediacommons.com