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Jason Sack (M, 34)
New York, NY, US
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    Apocalypse by Solar Flare
    I just read this article on Wired about yet another speculation of apocalypse in 2012. Unlike other theories that involve out of earth object collisions, weather, disease, etc - this seems pretty scientifically possible. The next 'period of maximum turbulence' with the sun, sending massive solar flares towards earth, destroying power grids all over earth. Mass hysteria ensues.

    Perhaps our technological advancement will be our downfall? Perhaps...

    here's the article:

    For scary speculation about the end of civilization in 2012, people usually turn to followers of cryptic Mayan prophecy, not scientists. But that’s exactly what a group of NASA-assembled researchers described in a chilling report issued earlier this year on the destructive potential of solar storms.

    Entitled "Severe Space Weather Events — Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts," it describes the consequences of solar flares unleashing waves of energy that could disrupt Earth’s magnetic field, overwhelming high-voltage transformers with vast electrical currents and short-circuiting energy grids. Such a catastrophe would cost the United States "$1 trillion to $2 trillion in the first year," concluded the panel, and "full recovery could take 4 to 10 years." That would, of course, be just a fraction of global damages.

    Good-bye, civilization.

    Worse yet, the next period of intense solar activity is expected in 2012, and coincides with the presence of an unusually large hole in Earth’s geomagnetic shield. But the report received relatively little attention, perhaps because of 2012’s supernatural connotations. Mayan astronomers supposedly predicted that 2012 would mark the calamitous "birth of a new era."

    Whether the Mayans were on to something, or this is all just a chilling coincidence, won’t be known for several years. But according to Lawrence Joseph, author of "Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation into Civilization’s End," "I’ve been following this topic for almost five years, and it wasn’t until the report came out that this really began to freak me out."

    full article:

    Thu, May 7, 2009  Permanent link

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    nagash     Wed, May 20, 2009  Permanent link
    we are now under a solar-minimum period, and the next solar-maximum will occur in 2012. it happens every 11 years, but this one is predicted to be the strongest of the last two centuries. last time we had a "perfect solar storm" it was in the XVIII century and they say the magnetic pole of earth expanded so much that boreal lights could be seen in Rome.

    It is not certain that the earth will be hit by a CME (coronal mass ejection) it is just high likely. you can't know for sure what is going to happen in that scenario, but our satellites and networks and maybe also our power networks will be thrashed. if something like that really happens, we will see how dependent we are of our technology...

    the subject of the Mayan Prophecy is very interesting, but people use to take it wrong. it's not really a prophecy in the mystic bullshit way, but based on astronomic data.
    the Mayans had the most precise calendar of all civilizations. they measured time better than the europeans, and tracked not just weeks, lunar phases, months and years... but also large cycles based on Venus orbit and periods of about 5000 years that account for the rotation of the entire Milkyway. so, 2012 marks the end of that galactic-year, and the best part is: our sun will be aligned with the core of the galaxy.

    It is something that happens every ˜5000 years, but we have no clue of how big an event it is. maybe nothing will happen and we just keep with our lives. maybe a solar storm pushes us back to the stone age, we get wars and panic. maybe we lost Earth's magnetic field, and it's really the apocalypse people brag about so much... let's wait and see : )
    sv     Wed, May 20, 2009  Permanent link
    I remember reading about this a couple of weeks ago, too. It was really the only article that kind of freaked me out, as well. I guess only time will tell