So here I am, enjoying my new home in Connecticut with its new kitchen, and its new washer/dryer, and its quaint habit of shedding gutter covers whenever there’s a strong wind, and I come across this fun headline from the Huffington Post:
This is the kind of headline I’d more expect to find in the New York Post, except that it would be accompanied by a picture of a girl in a bikini. She’d be wearing sunglasses, though, to make it relevant.
Anyway, the article goes on to say:
A new study published in the journal Space Weather analyzed the frequency of the solar storms that cause auroras and found that there’s a one in eight chance that by 2020 the Earth will be affected by a major solar flare. The risk is far greater than previously thought.
… high-energy particles liberated by a major flare might cause “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,” according to a National Resource Council report from 2008.
(The last such event was) the so-called Carrington event of 1859, which caused widespread disruption of communication systems as well as brilliant auroras as far south as the Caribbean.
Okay, I have a few questions:
- There’s an actual publication called Space Weather?
- Can I get one of their umbrellas?
- How would one notice a breakdown in government services?
- Will I finally get to eat the canned goods we bought in preparation for Y2K?
- What sort of communication systems were disrupted in 1859? Were people suddenly unable to talk? Did the horse pulling the newspaper wagon get frightened by the bright solar lights? Did the dots and dashes get mixed up on the telegraph?
- What SPF should your sunblock be for such an event?
Of course, now that I’m a homeowner, I worry about things that might suddenly turn me into just a landowner, especially if it’s something I may not be insured for. Does a typical homeowner’s policy cover the explosion of the sun? I do not know. But I’ll tell you one thing: I’m happy we don’t have any skylights.
And here’s the most important question I have: should I bother to start watching any new TV shows? I mean, what if I had spent six years watching Lost only to have a solar storm wipe out the world before the series finale?
I would have been so pissed!
See you soon.
P.S. Believe it or not, the graphic in this post–which is even offensive to a Caucasian-American like me–was actually created by a major metropolitan newspaper, the New York Daily News, to accompany a 2010 article about how solar storms were about to destroy us. Let us all give thanks that nobody had yet heard of Jeremy Lin.