Space Weather Forecast Is Ominous
Space weather experts estimate that in the next decade, there is a 12% chance of a solar storm causing major disruptions to our electricity grids, which remain woefully unprepared.
What's the Latest Development?
Scientists estimate that within the next decade, there is a 12% chance a solar storm will cause massive power outages on Earth, yet our electrical systems remain woefully unprepared for this eventuality. The last solar storm to do significant damage occurred in 1989 when Quebec's electricity grid crashed, leaving 6 million people without power and costing $2 billion in repairs (at 1989 prices). To better understand space weather patterns, Mike Hapgood, a space weather scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, England, wants to convert historical data taken from newspapers into sets of digital data points.
What's the Big Idea?
Solar storms, distinct from solar flares, are disturbances in the sun's magnetic field which cause the sun's plasma to erupt, hurling charged particles outward from its surface. If those particles head in the direction of Earth, our own magnetic field is vulnerable to disruption. And given our reliance on modern power systems for even basic tasks, such as pumping water into houses and waste out of them, we are more vulnerable to disruptive space weather than we imagine. "The biggest step is to make more and more people aware of the issue," said Hapgood, "so they're thinking about it in the way they design things. That's the most critical part."
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
- The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
- Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
- Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.
In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.
What do the inventions of the future look like?
- Self-sustaining space colonies and unlimited fusion energy would bring humanity to a new point in our evolution.
- Flying cars and robot butlers could be the next paradigm shift in our tech appetite for change.
- Death and consensus reality might soon become obsolete.
A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.
- Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
- If all goes according to plan, Pikachu will be the second cat to enter space, the first being a French feline named Felicette.
- It might seem frivolous, but the cat-lovers commenting on Munt's GoFundMe page would likely disagree.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.