Search this Topic:
Jun 10 10 2:06 AM
The sun is about to get a lot more active, which spells bad news for Earth's satellites, power grids, and other trappings of modern living.By SPACE.com Staff / June 9, 2010
The sun is about to get a lot more active, which could have ill effects on Earth. So to prepare, top sun scientists met Tuesday to discuss the best ways to protect Earth's satellites and other vital systems from the coming solar storms.
Solar storms occur when sunspots on our star erupt and spew out flumes of charged particles that can damage power systems. The sun's activity typically follows an 11-year cycle, and it looks to be coming out of a slump and gearing up for an active period.
"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," said Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division. "At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we're getting together to discuss."
Fisher and other experts met at the Space Weather Enterprise Forum, which took place in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club.
Bad news for gizmos
People of the 21st century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. But smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity.
A major solar storm could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina, warned the National Academy of Sciences in a 2008 report, "Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts." [Photos: Sun storms.]
Luckily, much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. That's why better understanding of solar weather, and the ability to give advance warning, is especially important.
Putting satellites in 'safe mode' and disconnecting transformers can protect electronics from damaging electrical surges.
"Space weather forecasting is still in its infancy, but we're making rapid progress," said Thomas Bogdan, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo.
Eyes on the sun
NASA and NOAA work together to manage a fleet of satellites that monitor the sun and help to predict its changes.
A pair of spacecraft called STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) is stationed on opposite sides of the sun, offering a combined view of 90 percent of the solar surface. In addition, SDO (the Solar Dynamics Observatory), which just launched in February 2010, is able to photograph solar active regions with unprecedented spectral, temporal and spatial resolution. Also, an old satellite called the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), which launched in 1997, is still chugging along monitoring winds coming off the sun. And there are dozens more dedicated to solar science.
"I believe we're on the threshold of a new era in which space weather can be as influential in our daily lives as ordinary terrestrial weather." Fisher said. "We take this very seriously indeed."http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0609/Coming-to-Earth-soon-Nasty-solar-stormsBlack Blade: Strange that the forecasts are for all kinds of calamities such as a strong hurricane season, solar storms, crashing economy, etc. and it's not even 2012 yet.
Jul 15 10 3:52 AM
Over the past thirty years, Kappenman has accumulated a vast and compelling body of evidence indicating that sooner or later a major blast of EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from the Sun, a space weather Katrina, will knock out the electrical power grid and bring society to its knees.
"Historically large storms have a potential to cause power grid blackouts and transformer damage of unprecedented proportions. An event that could incapacitate the network for a long time could be one of the largest natural disasters we could face," he declares. A bluff, friendly man, half science nerd, half overgrown farm boy, Kappenman insists that solar EMP blasts the size of those that occurred in 1859 (before society was electrified) and 1921(before the power grid had developed to the point where it played any significant role) would today result in large-scale blackouts lasting for months or years.
Kappenman was a major contributor to the landmark report, Severe Space Weather Events: Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts, published by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in December, 2008. Founded by Abraham Lincoln during the height of the Civil War, the NAS is the closest thing there is to a Supreme Court of scientific opinion for the United States, and much of the rest of the world.
"Electric power is modern society's cornerstone technology, the technology on which virtually all other infrastructures and services depend... Collateral effects of a longer-term outage [such as would almost certainly result from a massive space weather event] would likely include, for example, disruption of the transportation, communication, banking, and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of lack of refrigeration. The resulting loss of services for a significant period of time in even one region of the country could affect the entire nation and have international impact as well," says the NAS report.
As examined extensively in my book, AFTERMATH, (Broadway/Random House, July, 2010) more than 100 million Americans could be affected by this blackout for months or years. Recovering from a future severe magnetic storm would cost $1 to $2 trillion per year-- ten to twenty times the cost of Katrina. Of course, the damage would be immeasurably worse if such a massive, protracted catastrophe were to touch off social unrest sufficient to undermine the agencies and institutions in charge of the reconstruction effort.
Unlike most doom prophecies, this one has potential for a happy ending. As examined further on, there is a comparatively quick and economical way to defend against solar EMP. " Sunblock for the grid" recommendations are at the core of the GRID bill, HR-5026, passed UNANIMOUSLY by the U.S. House of Representatives this June. No mean feat in today's poisonously partisan climate. But the true day of reckoning will probably come later on this summer in the United States Senate, where things are not looking very good at all. The World's Largest Lightning Rod
The world's power grids, of which the United States has the most extensive, have in essence become giant antennas for space weather blasts. Just as a lightning rod attracts any lightning bolts that might otherwise strike a roof, the power grid, which is designed specifically to be extremely efficient at conducting electricity, attracts space weather bolts. Problem is that, unlike lightning rods, the power grid is gravely vulnerable to such shocks.
So how would a solar blast keep your toilet from flushing? By disrupting the power grid system at its weakest point: the transformer. Transformers receive power from high voltage transmission lines which in turn receive their power from substations directly connected to the main power plant, be it coal, oil, gas, hydroelectric or nuclear. High voltage transmission lines, the ones held up by those big Y-shaped metal trellis structures that can be seen stretching along the highway, carry the current as far as 300 miles. The farther the distance, the higher the voltage required, just as more water pressure would be required to produce a steady, reliable stream of water out of a long hose than out of a short one. (Volts are essentially units of pressure, while amps are units of volume. The simplest analogy is to water: volts would measure how hard the water rushes out of the hose, amps would measure how much water is flowing.) The power from the transmission lines is fed into the transformers, whose job is to then step it down from the level of hundreds of thousands of volts to tens of thousands of volts, then split the current into several directions via a device known as a "bus." The bus sends the electricity through the network of power lines one sees everywhere held up by utility poles. Transformers in communities then drop the voltage down to levels used in homes and businesses, so the flow of electricity requires transformers at many points in the network and if transformers are damaged, then no electricity can flow.The power lines feed into businesses and homes, most of which rely on electric pumps to supply the water necessary to flush one's toilet, unless, of course, the electricity has been shorted out.
Transformers in the United States operate at levels as high as 765kV or 765,000 volts in the United States and up to 1000kV in China. Transformers in Europe typically use lower voltages, in the 400KV range. At one point, the Swedish electrical utility was considering upgrading to 800KV but protests from groups concerned about the human health impacts of the new ultra-high voltage lines put the kibosh on that. Right for the wrong reason, one might observe. The higher the voltage processed by a transformer, the narrower the tolerance for error and the more vulnerable it is, therefore, to the extra electrical jolt that would come from the GIC's (geomagnetically induced currents,) caused by solar EMP.
According to Kappenman's research, a repeat of the geomagnetic storm that occurred in 1859 or 1921 would see the copper windings and leads of the 350 or so of the highest voltage transformers in the United States melt and burn out. These transformers connect nearly one third of the entire US power grid infrastructure, damage levels of unimaginable proportions from any other threat. Transformers weigh over 100 tons apiece and usually cannot be repaired in the field, and because of their size they cannot be flown in from overseas factories where they are now made. In fact, most transformers damaged by space weather incidents cannot be repaired at all, and need to replaced with new units. Currently, the worldwide waiting list for transformers is about three years, and about half of those made fail either in test or prematurely while in service.
"We've been stacking risk multipliers on top of risk multipliers. The scientific community has developed a false sense of security regarding the power industry. We've got to preserve our capability and prevent wide spread catastrophic damage to this vital infrastructure!" declares Kappenman.
So why haven't we been zapped yet? There was no power grid to zap to speak of until 1950's. Before then, each city had its own generators, but there was no significant swapping of power from one city to the next. Today, megawatt loads zip instantaneously around the North American grid. The growth of what is known as open access transmission, whereby larger and larger amounts of energy are whizzed around the grid to meet consumer demand, makes it all the likelier that a sudden and unexpected injection of GIC electrical energy could blow out the system. Stressing the power grid with heavier and heavier loads, while good for profits and energy savings, does seem like tempting fate, given the looming danger of solar EMP assaults. Sleeping through the Wake-up Calls
"We have already slept through at least one wake-up call, the geomagnetic storm of 1989," Kappenman contends.
On March 13,1989, two solar blasts each about a tenth the size of the ones that hit in 1859 and 1921 knocked out the Hydro-Quebec electrical utility, causing it to go from fully operational to complete shutdown in 92 seconds. On the computer simulation, the blast looks like giant red, toothy mouths taking bites out of the top of the Northern Hemisphere. Millions of customers in Quebec lost power but within nine hours power was restored. No big deal in the grand scheme of things. True, a number of nuclear, oil and coal-powered plants as far away as Los Angeles subsequently reported transmission anomalies, but nothing blew up, although one large transformer at a Nuclear plant in New Jersey melted.
Another wake-up call came on Halloween, October 31, 2003. Kappenman was testifying before the Environment subcommittee of the House of Representatives Science Committee on the impact of the blackout of August 14, 2003 and potential impacts for severe space weather. The August 2003 blackout, not space weather related, is believed to have cost between $4 billion and $10 billion in repairs and collateral economic damage. As luck would have it, the day of Kappenman's testimony turned out also to be a day of a powerful solar storm, known in space weather circles as Halloween 2003.
"During breaks in the Committee meeting, I was frantically sending out email advisories about the storm," Kappenman recalls.
The solar flares for the Halloween 2003 event was much more powerful than the March 1989 storm, but its impact was less severe because it struck mostly at the poles, and did not swoop down as far south into populated areas. Nonetheless, Halloween 2003 did cause a brief blackout in Malmo, Sweden, and also fried fourteen 400 KV transformers in southern South Africa. In part because of the difficulty in recovering from the Halloween 2003 transformer burnout, South Africa has since had enormous problems supplying electricity to its customers, to the point where basic commerce and security have been impaired.
Kappenman's Halloween 2003 testimony regarding solar EMP did result in his receiving partial funding by the US Congressional Electromagnetic Pulse Commission, though the commission lost its funding in late 2008. Since then, Kappenman has struggled financially, depending on the odd consulting assignment, and grateful that his wife, Lisa, earns enough to support them and their seven year-old son.
"I would say the odds are against us," he acknowledged when we first met in April, 2009. Then he choked up a bit. "It's the social breakdown... During Hurricane Andrew, which only affected several counties in Florida, the worst hit areas, without any electricity or anything, the National Guard, all they could do was leave jugs of fresh water at intersections and hope people would come take them... In the case of space weather the impact areas would cover major portions of the US at the same time, Oil and water pumping would cease, natural gas, too. There would be no ability to refuel a vehicle... rail transport, no ability to supply meaningful support from neighboring unaffected regions, because those regions would be extremely remote. No one keeps fuel at their factories any more, just-in-time manufacturing took care of that. You can't just restart a nuclear power plant. For one thing, you need the operators to show up."
Sunblock for the Grid
It turns out that the grid can be protected from solar EMP devastation by outfitting it with surge suppressors, much like the ones that protect our computers and plasma televisions at home. In a nutshell, solar EMP blasts hit the Earth and discharge massive electrical currents into the planet's surface, some of which current surges back up and into the grid. Surge suppressors placed between the surface and the transformer would protect the transformer from the space weather-induced electrical currents coming up from the ground.
Each surge suppressor would be about the size of a washing machine, and would cost $40,000-$50,000 apiece; with some 5,000 transformers in the North American grid, that works out to $250 million or so, according to Kappenman's reckoning. Let's say this estimate is overly optimistic and that the inevitable cost overruns occur. Even if the final price tag for protecting the power grid from space weather attacks ends up being more in the $500 million range, that's less than 0.3% of what it cost to bail out AIG for gambling on toxic mortgages, or 1.0% of what Bernie Madoff is said to have bilked from his investors. Given that electrical industry revenues in the United States totaled approximately $368.5 billion in 2008, according to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration, a one-time space weather security surcharge of less than 0.2% should amply fund the surge suppressor project. With around 115 million households in the United States, this surcharge would work out to less than $5 per.
Money is not the problem. Indeed, resistance to the surge suppressor program is less about budget than the culture of the power industry, an antiquated crazy quilt of public and private companies, commissions and authorities, regulated state by state, though often serving multi-state consumer bases, with technical specifications vetted by a variety of different professional organizations. The reason for this mishmash is that the North American power grid was not constructed as such, but rather is composed of local and regional power systems that have coalesced into a grid over the past century.
The real impediment, one might observe, is the resistor built into the psyche of the electrical utility industry, which spends only between 0.3% and 2% of its revenues, depending on the estimate, on research and development. This meager proportion puts it almost dead last compared to other major American industries, less than the pet food industry according to Wired.com magazine. Computer and pharmaceutical manufacturers reinvest 10% or more of their revenues or more in R&D.
The utility industry's objections to implementing a space weather defense program are thus more inertial than economic. Why go to all the trouble of preventing a space weather blackout when no (serious) one has ever happened, at least not in the United States? Then, there's the commonsense reluctance to complicate a system that has thus far functioned so admirably. Inserting surge suppressors would also require installing high speed switching circuits to bypass the transformers when necessary, yet another "moving part" that could potentially break down. Aggravating matters further is the inescapable fact that the more complex the network, the less control grid operators have over it."We have had no recognition of this potential space weather problem in our power grid network design codes, though we do take into consideration many other environmental factors such as wind, ice, lightning and seismic disturbances," says Kappenman, who draws an analogy between securing the power grid in this manner and adding seismic retrofits to buildings before the hazards of earthquakes were fully understood.
Once installed, the surge protector system should be capable of preventing at least 70%-75% of space weather-related power grid failures in the event we were hit by the equivalent of the great geomagnetic storms of 1859 and 1921. Such protection would mean the difference between major inconvenience and societal collapse. In 2008, the surge suppressor program was recommended to Congress by Electromagnetic Pulse Commission which, as noted, has since lost its funding.
The House-Senate Compromise
But Kappenman never gave up. After thousands of hours of lobbying, presenting and cajoling, mostly at his own expense, Kappenman's plan caught fire in spring, 2010, when it was understood less as a matter of federal regulation than as essential to national security. The fantastic news is that the House of Representatives bill, HR-5026, known as The GRID Act, was approved unanimously by the full House when it came to the floor on June 9, 2010. The bill enables the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to mandate protection of the power grid from both man-made and solar EMP. Utilities are authorized to recoup such costs by adding a minor surcharge to their bills.
The not-so-fantastic news is that the corresponding Senate measure, S-1462, known as the ACELA, American Clean Energy Leadership Act, is a vast, highly controversial amalgam of energy-related initiatives, essentially the Obama administration's energy bill. However, the Senate bill currently makes no mention of protecting the grid from EMP, only from cyber-attacks.
Kappenman, raised Roman Catholic and still bearing respect for his religion's moral teachings, does not confide in me the content of his prayers. I'd have to suspect, though, that he'd be thankful if the House-Senate compromise included the Senate bill's jurisdiction over the entire power grid, and the House bill's language protecting the grid from solar and man-made EMP, he would drop to his knees and thank the good Lord above.
Whatever legislation passes must do so before the fall elections and a new Congress takes over in the January, 2011. Otherwise the process has to start all over again. But what's the rush? It turns out that the next red zone, the next time solar EMP storms peak in frequency and ferocity will, by scientific consensus, commence in late 2012. Mayan prophets and New Age doomsayers harkening to that perhaps fateful year would not be surprised to further learn that the current solar cycle climaxing in 2012 bears an uncanny resemblance to the one that produced the 1859 mega-blast, a repeat of which would almost certainly destroy our way of life for years, perhaps decades, to come. On the marked similarity between the 1859 and 2012 solar cycles, even Kappenman, who generally puts no stock in 2012-related oojie-boojie, agrees.
Mayhem aside for a moment, wouldn't we kick ourselves all the way to hell if the power grid did go down, and along with it, our society, for lack of surge suppressors, a simple, affordable, un-grandiose, quick-fix?
AFTERMATH: A Guide to Preparing for and Surviving Apocalypse 2012 will be published by Broadway/Random House on July 13, 2010. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-e-joseph/the-solar-katrina-storm-t_b_641354.html
Sep 29 10 3:40 PM
By John Brandon
Published September 29, 2010
Oil plumes threaten to choke the oceans and methane gas explosions shoot sky high -- and those are hardly the biggest threats facing the Earth. From cosmic rays to asteroid impacts to the threat of general destruction, our planet may be less safe than you think.
Here are the top eight risks to life as we know it, detailed by scientists and science fiction writers -- and whether it's even possible to save ourselves.
1. A sudden gamma ray burst strikes
When a supernova explodes, it unleashes a massive gamma ray. Thankfully, most of these tremendous bursts of energy are so far away that they’re harmless. But if one were too close ..."Were a supernova to explode within 30 light years from the sun -- which is just around the corner in terms of cosmic scale -- it would blow away a portion of the Earth's atmosphere, produce global fires, fry the atmosphere, and kill the majority of species alive on the planet within months, even for species that live underground and hundreds of meters under water," said Annie McQuade, who is working on a book about global calamities.
Gamma rays or other radiation could also cause damage to satellites orbiting the planet. But not to worry, said Chris DePree, a professor at Agnes Scott College and the director of the Bradley Observatory. He noted that the explosion would not only need to be close to Earth, but also pointed in our direction. And there are precious few high-mass stars that could explode, he said, so the probability of the event is quite low.
2. A deadly mind virus kills us all
In his book, Directive 51, sci-fi author John Barnes explained how a "mind virus" could destroy the world.
"In recent years, the Internet has made it possible for ideas to spread very fast and develop very quickly," Barnes said. "There is nothing that says humanity can't collectively come down with a truly bad idea -- something self-destructive, short-sighted, maybe just the equivalent of a mass tantrum."
Sci-fi author Walter Jon Williams detailed the idea in his 2008 novel Implied Spaces. Williams told FoxNews.com that it could be possible in the future to introduce what he called a nano-reconstructor (or some other mind-altering agent) to use a region of your brain for nefarious purposes -- to introduce some other agent that causes you to act violently, for example.
There is no obvious protective measure from a mind virus, but Barrett Caldwell, an aeronautics and astronautics professor at Purdue University, likened it to the known "mass psychogenic illnesses" that have infected people in the past and that were self-contained and isolated.
"The genocide in Rwanda is the closest example I can think of for this kind of behavior," elaborated Howard Davidson, a physicist and Stanford professor. "It required active measures by a large group of instigators, and quite a bit of time to get started." But not to worry, he said. "Even in these cases only part of the population is entrained," he told FoxNews.com.
3. The North and South Poles flip-flop
Every few hundred thousand years, the Earth's magnetic poles reverse. When that happens, they can swirl around for a while before finding their new home. Or they might pick multiple spots on the planet. "The problem is not the poles flipping, but that the Earth's magnetic field draws down solar radiation around its poles," Williams explained. "So if one of the poles parks itself over, say, Chicago, a lot of inhabitants could get burned."
"Magnetic poles do reverse and have done so in the past, but it does not happen suddenly," added Caldwell. "The energy involved makes this unlikely at a rate that would lead to a sudden cataclysm."
Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, told FoxNews.com the real danger is the period during the magnetic reversal when the Earth would be unshielded from atomic particles from space. He said we’d need to protect ourselves using goggles and headgear -- or stay indoors at all times.
4. The universe keeps expanding … and expanding
Williams calls it the Big Rip. We already know that dark energy causes the universe to expand. As it expands faster and faster and stars move farther away from each other, a curious thing happens: The observable universe get smaller -- and atomic particles that can't see each other can't interract.
At that point, "none of the protons or electrons will be in the same universe as another, which means they can't interact via the strong, weak, or electromagnetic force. Which means all matter will fly apart," he said.
Howard Davidson, a noted physicist and Stanford professor, agreed that it could happen. "The atoms get very cold. If you wait long enough some versions of the Standard Model have protons decaying, so they go to neutrons and electrons, and we have some spare electrons left over. Very dull, cold, quiet, end of the universe."
Of course, this process takes eons -- and there is no proof that the expanding universe is in imminent danger. There's also no way to prevent this fateful event from occurring.
5. Extreme science experiments go too far
As past history has shown, the greatest danger to man is often man himself. McQuade explained that modern experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, where scientists are looking for signs of the Big Bang, could lead to strange anomalies. One such potential: creating "strangelets" from reassembling quarks, or elementary particles.
"Strangelets could grow by consuming ordinary nuclei, which would liberate energy, and since there is nothing to stop it, they would ultimately produce a catastrophic explosion," McQuade said. "Smashing particles could also trigger a series of reactions that would result in vacuum instability. Though vacuum instability sounds innocuous enough, it could tear the fabric of space itself."
McQuade said most scientists view these events as extremely unlikely, but as these experiments push the envelope, there is more chance of them going awry. DePree said a more likely doomsday scenario is not that the actual experiment unleashes peril on the world, but that we use the research in a world-ending way. "The most likely way for experiments to go awry is not the experiment itself, but in its later use by humans," he said.
6. Supervolcanoes wipe out the planet
73,000 years ago, a massive supervolcano in South East Asia turned India to cinders. The volcanic winter lasted another two decades and wiped out about 75% of the nascent human race. Of the six supervolcanoes in the world today, Williams said, three happen to be in the United States. One famously lies beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; the others are in Long Valley, Calif., and Valles Caldera, N.M.
DePree said there is also a chance of "catastrophic volcanism," which can trigger major tectonic plate movement on the planet. Unfortunately, scientists have no counter-measure for supervolcanoes. If they erupt, there's no stopping them. However, DePree offers one small consolation: It’s unlikely that more than one supervolcano would erupt at once.
7. Computers take over everything
One potential cataclysm could already be happening -- one we've created ourselves. As computer technology becomes more advanced, "thinking machines" could eventually emerge that control banks, stock markets, and airports. It sounds like something out of the Terminator movies, but the reality is that "self-aware" machines could become self-replicating.
Initially, this could mean just a bug that infects computer systems controlling transportation and finance, leading to mass pandemonium. Yet a more dangerous threat is from artificial intelligence (AI). McQuade suggests that AI could become more advanced than human intelligence. Once it does, the machines could develop their own programming routines -- or decide that humans aren't necessary. Or take over nuclear armaments and other stockpiles.
"AI is a field that seeks to engineer not just faster-than-human intelligence, but qualitatively better than human intelligence," McQuade said. "Because AI could learn extremely fast (through recursive self-improvement), it would have the capacity, in a short period of time, to make significant leaps in 'intelligence' until it demonstrates qualitatively better-than-human intelligence."
8. A cough goes round the world
One of the most dangerous threats to the world population is a simple cough -- that is, a deadly flu that spreads quickly around the world. Caldwell noted that H1N1 turned out to be very contagious but not very deadly, for which most experts think we were lucky. A more dangerous contagion could spread just as quickly but cause vastly more harm.
Fortunately, Shostak explained, most flu outbreaks tend to be "self-limiting"; usually pathogens kill some of the people all of the time, not all of the people some of the time. That "usually" part is not exactly reassuring, though.
"The flu or some other plague is always a threat, particularly considering how fast the disease could travel in airplanes, trains, and other modern forms of transportation," said Williams. "Another problem is that modern hospitals have become so reliant on antibiotics that they're very careless about sterilization procedures. You'd have to go back to methods practiced in the 1940s for strict sterilization and isolation, and no one remembers how to do that."
The main counter-attack to massive flu outbreaks is simple hygiene. The more we wash our hands, take precautions in public places, and cover our coughs the less likely that a pathogen will replicate quickly. Scientists are also quick to develop vaccines to dangerous flu viruses, so it's unlikely one could spread worldwide.
FoxNews.com's SciTech section is on Twitter! Follow us @fxnscitech. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/09/29/end-of-the-world-potential-armageddon/?test=facesBlack Blade: Obviously some of these scenaios are really far-fetched but interesting nonetheless.
Oct 6 10 3:47 AM
Oct 9 10 7:34 AM
Oct 12 10 5:37 PM
The giant rock, which is 20ft (6m) wide, will come its closest shortly before midday, though astronomers are not sure what its exact path will be.But experts, who named the asteroid 2010 TD54, said that despite passing very close to the planet it would not enter the atmosphere, and that even if it did it would burn up before reaching the ground.Nasa's Asteroid Watch said on Twitter: "Small space rocks this size would burn up in our atmosphere & pose no ground danger."The group added that a "moderate telescope" would be required to make out the rock, which will at times be closer to Earth than some satellites, and significantly nearer than the moon.Emily Baldwin, of Astronomy Now, told The Times: "Fortunately it seems this one will miss us. But it is a reminder that the Earth is still in the middle of a cosmic shooting gallery and we need to keep constant watch for incoming asteroids".http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8058005/Asteroid-to-skim-past-Earth.htmlBlack Blade: So what if NASA is wrong? It would likely burn up in the atmosphere but one day we could very well be facing a major impact.
Nov 21 10 12:28 AM
A New SHTF Movie Coming Soonhttp://www.remnants-movie.com/v2/synopsis.htmlIn the tranquil suburb of Excalibur Estates, ART, his wife GWEN, and their CHILDREN lead contented lives. Art cajoles with his neighbors,MERL and LANCE, then spends another quiet evening with his close-knit and loving family. They don’t notice news reports about an odd cosmic anomaly – an unusually bright star and a series of impending gamma-ray flares. Despite these strange warnings, Art prepares for another day at work.At the office, the routines of daily life are interrupted when breaking news broadcasts a government press conference. Authorities describe recent cosmic activity from a type of super-dense star that has released a burst of gamma rays. This massive electromagnetic storm is heading toward Earth and will affect every part of the planet – disrupting electricity grids, cell phones, and every other modern convenience. As the government declares martial law in urban areas, requests to remain calm go unheeded as everyone in Art’s office panics and flees to get back home before the gamma rays cripple the planet’s infrastructure. Art and Gwen struggle to get through the dangerously gridlocked traffic to reunite at home. When the catastrophe hits, there is little outward effect – the skies light up as the electricity and all communications are disabled indefinitely. Art and his family provide emotional support to one another, wondering what it is that is happening – some sort of end times? No one knows, but they are resolved to stick together as a family and a community.
The residents of Excalibur Estates awake to a very different world. As they survey their neighborhood, they learn that they must survive in a simpler lifestyle than they’d previously enjoyed. Merl, a former military man who has been prepared for such an event, is stocked up with supplies. The neighborhood falls into contentious chaos, conflicts arising particularly from the antisocial MORRIS. Art becomes an unexpected peacemaker as he takes a stand and gives an impassioned speech – imploring his peers to take charge of this situation and band together to turn their community into one that thrives despite this adversity. Art’s leadership inspires the residents of Excalibur to brainstorm, discuss how to manage their resources, and create their own list of rules for maintaining law and order in a world where those systems have disappeared. The development buzzes with activity as they pool their skills and supplies, create stockpiles of food to be rationed, work out hunting and gardening systems, develop a defensive perimeter. Soon, they’re having fun and bonding in ways they never did when they were reliant on mindless entertainment – now they’re enjoying each other’s company in a more pure way than ever before.
Their peace is disrupted when they find that Morris has been stealing food. According to their rules, Morris is imprisoned. When he tries to escape, his sentence is lengthened. Meanwhile, Art, Lance, and Merl see a box of Red Cross supplies dropped a few miles away. They arm themselves and venture out. They are ambushed by THUGS but manage to escape, now aware that other neighborhoods haven’t fared as well. When Morris is released, he tries to attack Art’s family. Restraining his desire to kill Morris, Art banishes him from the community. The maligned Morris wanders to another town, run by THUGS. He negotiates his own survival by telling them about the wealth of supplies within Excalibur. These lowlifes send spies, which alerts Art, Merl, Lance, and the others to the possibility of attack. As Morris deceptively fuels the flames of hatred, the thugs arm themselves with makeshift weapons and launch a brutal invasion of Excalibur. Residents fight back to defend the prosperity they’ve built with their own blood, sweat, and tears. As the two villages clash, many good people are lost in the bloody, intense suburban war.
Nov 24 10 3:22 PM
Nov 24 10 3:31 PM
Dec 2 10 2:18 AM
Dec 31 10 2:31 AM
On Earth, power lines, data connections and even oil and gas pipelines are potentially vulnerable.
An early warning of the risk came in 1859, when the biggest CME ever observed unleashed red, purple and green auroras even in tropical latitudes.
The new-fangled technology of the telegraph went crazy. Geomagnetically-induced currents in the wires shocked telegraph operators and even set the telegraph paper on fire.
In 1989, a far smaller flare knocked out power from Canada's Hydro Quebec generator, inflicting a nine-hour blackout for six million people.Recurrence of a 1921 event today would fry 350 major transformers, leaving more than 130 million people without power, it heard. A bigger storm could cost between a trillion and two trillion dollars in the first year, and full recovery could take between four and 10 years.See Link: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.bdf9ddce1297325e1b97e06696026e73.111&show_article=1
Jan 1 11 9:18 PM
Jan 26 11 7:11 AM
Snippit:It's like something one of those disaster movie trailers with a basso profundo voiceover: Man, or perhaps woman, on a family vacation takes in the breathtaking scope of nature found in Yellowstone National Park--only to see the earth beneath their feet violently explode. Will our hero and his or her family be swallowed in the molten horror of -- "Supervolcano"?
But this scenario isn't the stuff of Hollywood fantasy--scientists caution that there's a chance that Yellowstone could blow. One day, anyway.So is the "swelling magma reservoir" ready to blow? Well, scientists say it will eventually--and when it does it could spew ash as high as 25 miles into the air, rendering an estimated two-thirds of the country uninhabitable. Remember, it was a massive volcanic eruption that some scientists think wiped out the dinosaurs. And here we thought that Icelandic volcano last year was a major calamity.http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110125/us_yblog_thelookout/underground-yellowstone-supervolcano-causing-earth-to-rise-in-some-spotsBlack Blade: Yep, could be real problem one day.I live next to the volcano but fortunately we will have plenty of time to run for safer ground if Yellowstone Caldera looks to collapse. Still, it would be outright survival of the fittest in a world tossed into a volcanic winter with widespread global famine. Might even be like a "The Road" scenario. Very grim.
Jan 28 11 8:27 PM
Feb 14 11 8:56 PM
Feb 16 11 2:29 AM
Feb 21 11 1:52 AM
Snippit:When most Americans think of Yellowstone, they tend to conjure up images of Yogi Bear and "Old Faithful". But the truth about Yellowstone is much more frightening than that. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is actually sitting right on top of a massive supervolcano. This supervolcano has erupted before, and scientists tell us that when it fully erupts again it will destroy the United States as we know it. So could such an eruption happen any time soon? Well, scientists tell us that Yellowstone is actually overdue for a major eruption and there are thousands of earthquakes in the Yellowstone area every single year. In addition, scientists that monitor Yellowstone have been quite alarmed that some areas of Yellowstone have risen by as much as ten inches over the past few years. So yes, there are some good reasons to be really, really concerned about what is going on at Yellowstone.
The truth is that the Yellowstone supervolcano is the biggest volcano in North America by far. A major eruption at Yellowstone would permanently change all of our lives in just a single day.
In fact, a major eruption at Yellowstone would permanently end America's status as a superpower in just a single day.
So exactly what would an eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano look like?
What exactly would a full eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano mean for the United States and for the rest of the world?Continued: http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/could-an-eruption-of-the-yellowstone-supervolcano-destroy-the-united-states-as-we-know-itBlack Blade: I live next to Yellowstone, however, we will have plenty of warning of any imminent activity. Actually we will have warnings of magma movement for several weeks observed by surface deformation and harmonic tremors (earthquakes). Still, it is one of the more unlikely apocalyptic events but one to keep in mind however remote the possibility. I would simply have to relocate to one of my other "bug out locations" upwind (to the west).
Mar 10 11 8:12 PM
Mar 10 11 10:22 PM
Snippit: On March 19, the moon will swing around Earth more closely than it has in the past 18 years, lighting up the night sky from just 221,567 miles (356,577 kilometers) away. On top of that, it will be full. And one astrologer believes it could inflict massive damage on the planet.
Richard Nolle, a noted astrologer who runs the website astropro.com, has famously termed the upcoming full moon at lunar perigee (the closest approach during its orbit) an "extreme supermoon."
When the moon goes super-extreme, Nolle says, chaos will ensue: Huge storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters can be expected to wreak havoc on Earth. (It should be noted that astrology is not a real science, but merely makes connections between astronomical and mystical events.)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20110310/sc_space/willmarch19supermoontriggernaturaldisastersBlack Blade: Reminds me of an old geologist friend from the 1970s when he told me his theory of earthquake prediction. He has his web site where he uses the lunar cycles to predict earthquakes. Been years since i seen him but he apparently still is around:http://www.syzygyjob.com/
Apr 14 11 2:12 AM
The gigantic underground plume of partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano might be bigger than previously thought, a new image suggests.
The study says nothing about the chances of a cataclysmic eruption at Yellowstone, but it provides scientists with a valuable new perspective on the vast and deep reservoir of fiery material that feeds such eruptions, the last of which occurred more than 600,000 years ago. Earlier measurements of the plume were produced by using seismic waves — the waves generated by earthquakes — to create a picture of the underground region. The new picture was produced by examining the Yellowstone plume's electrical conductivity, which is generated by molten silicate rocks and hot briny water that is naturally present and mixed in with partly molten rock.University of Utah
© 2017 Yuku. All rights reserved.