Friday, October 31, 2014

TRICK or TREAT: Want Scary? Civilization Dodged a Death Bullet in 2012.


The Scary Fact That Earth Was Almost Hit By a
Catastrophic Solar Storm in 2012 and Hardly 
Anybody Knows the Truth! 

The Mayans were almost correct about the world ending in 2012, or at least the world as we knew it. On July 23, 2012 a massive solar storm barreled from the sun, a solar storm stronger than any witnessed since the 1850's. Luckily for us the Earth was on the other side of the sun when the eruption occurred. Had we been on the receiving side of that solar storm we would, two years later now, most likely be living in small tribes, growing our own food and defending what's ours from raiders. We would have no electronics, no government, no grocery stores, no outside help, and half of the human population might very well be wiped out from starvation, disease and violence. Sound too unbelievable to be true? It is true. It's real science and we almost entered our own Age of Strife 25,000 years before Earth did in the 40K Universe. And the truly scary part of all of this - hardly anyone knows how close civilization came to the edge of the abyss.

I am not trying to be an alarmist and trying to scare anybody; my intent is to educate. The reality is that Earth has a far greater chance of being hit by a catastrophic solar storm than a world altering asteroid. The good news is that, if we wanted to, we could make our power grid hardened against such destructive solar events. The problem, however, is that politicians would rather spend money on projects that show more immediate results that translates into more immediate votes.

OK, so still don't believe such a solar event could occur to us today? Here are the facts, in 1859 an astronomer by the name of Carrington witnessed a huge solar eruption from our sun. The Corona Mass Ejection tore past Earth some 17 hours later and was so powerful that it disrupted our magnetic fields (which acts like a shield) enough to shower the Earth with an electromagnetic radiation, thus electrifying the atmosphere and ground based electronics (of which almost none existed in Victorian times).

As far south as Cuba the aurora could be seen, something that normally only occurs far, far closer to the polar regions. The aurora was so bright that it is said Colorado miners woke up in the middle of night and started to cook breakfast because they thought it was dawn.

The 1859 solar storm brought the aurora as far south as the tropics, that includes all of the United States.
Throughout the world telegraph machines sparked or outright caught on fire. Amazingly reports of telegraphs working without being connected to a power source were wide spread. No messages could be sent because touching such an electrified telegraph would bring shocks to the user.

The whole affair was called the Carrington Event. Now fast forward to present day and imagine what such an event would do to today's massive world-wide power grids? I will admit what what follows is only conjecture but smarter people than myself have made thought experiments into the idea. It is thought that if such an event occurred today the world's power grid would go dark because the grid's massive, vital transformers would blow up, completely destroying themselves and could not be repaired. The world would be thrust into a world spanning blackout.

Doesn't sound quite so bad, does it? We can fix that right? Well, here is the real kicker. Those destroyed transformers are essential for restoring the power grid and they can't be replaced right away. Some estimates say it will take years to build enough transformers to replace all those lost on the global scale. Our society is utterly dependent on electricity and being without it only invites an inevitable decline that will start to spiral quickly out of control as the dark days turn to even darker weeks.

Don't think we will lose control? Think we can keep it together for those months or even years that we have no access to electricity? Only an optimist would say yes. Here is why ----> food. Grocery stores and home pantries would be emptied within a week. Without power on a global scale there is no new food being canned or shipped to replace the depleted food. What happens then? The bad people start raiding their neighbors for food. The good people whom starve long enough will get desperate and either turn to raiding for survival or perish. Those that are still healthy enough will head out of the urban areas to flee the escalating violence because authority figures that did remain at their jobs will be too overwhelmed to adequately protect the population.

Once in the rural areas people will band together for survival, forming tribes. Some tribes will make it, learning how to work together to hunt, scavenge and make their own food. Other tribes will fail and die off to starvation or turn to raiding. Eventually famine, disease and violence will eliminate about half of the world's population. Civilization will be over, there is nobody left in the urban centers to rebuild the power grids. There is no more central governments, only tribal law. The Age of Strife will have begun.

What it might be like after a modern Carrington-like event.
It's sort of like The Walking Dead but with raiders instead of zombies.
Case in point, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. For a month the city was in chaos, half flooded and no electricity, it started to spiral out of control from the very beginning. There was an exodus out of the city for the poor, their neighborhoods got swamped and they had no place to go. Many police abandoned their posts to look after family or where simply unable to handle the stress. People in the French Quarter formed tribes and specialized with certain jobs within the new social structure. The authorities had flood refugees living by the tens of thousands in the Superdome and by all accounts it was a lawless hell hole. The only reason the city didn't fall completely into utter chaos was the fact that outside help was available - food and water. Nobody was going to starve and have to to start preying on their neighbors. Imagine what would have happened if there was no food coming into the city? An eventual fall into total anarchy and a near total exodus from the city would ensue.

What a downer. But the global blackout chaos scenario is only conjecture, although, most experts tend to think that civilization is a fragile thing and that it will unravel quickly when facing a global disaster of epic proportions. Governments might be able to keep control for some time with martial law but eventually even they will unravel or perhaps have to retreat into a more secure area, leaving most of the population to fend for themselves.

Still don't believe me? I wouldn't want to believe me either. Here is a video link to drive home the message.

Perhaps those disaster preppers aren't as crazy as we once thought?

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