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Earth Barely Dodged Solar Blast In 2012

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the close-call dept.

Space 202

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "Coronal mass ejections, with severity comparable to the 1859 Carrington event, missed Earth by only 9 days in 2012, according to researchers. The Carrington event caused widespread damage to the telegraph system in the U.S., and a similar occurrence would be devastating to modern electronics, it is thought. From the Reuters article, 'Had it hit Earth, it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous.' The potential global cost for such damage is pegged at $2.6 trillion."

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Huh? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46535991)

"Coronal mass ejections, with in 2012, according to researchers."

What..

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536127)

Perhaps the coronal mass ejections are helping to slowly weed out the morons.

Re: Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536641)

Yeah, what the hell is the summary talking about at all?

I mean, we get the idea from the title, but the summary adds nothing...

ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 months ago | (#46535999)

We had no control over this, and there's no means to mitigate it, and it didn't happen. So lets panic and blog and post video submissions to nerdy websites!

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

TWX (665546) | about 4 months ago | (#46536023)

I have a way to mitigate it, at least to an extent. I have a car with a points-type distributor in my garage to drive around if the electronic ignition controls in the other cars are roasted...

Maybe I should put a couple of fresh '70s-era ECUs into the safe, just to electrically isolate them, so I'll have more than one functional car...

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536131)

As long as gunpowder still works, my pistol will too and I'll jack that hoopty for myself. If I need it. Otherwise, you can keep it.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536353)

Guns can be taken away from foolish little tough guys.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46537103)

Not really, this isn't Hollywood and you ain't Jackie Chan.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

TWX (665546) | about 4 months ago | (#46537245)

you gotta sleep/eat/defecate/bathe sometime...

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#46536141)

I thought that merely disconnecting equipment from large surface wire loops (a.k.a. long cables) should help in many cases? It's not like the charged particles travel at the speed of light toward Earth, there's time to do that.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536187)

Basically, I would have to unplug the Tesla from the charger, and turn off the circuit breaker to the house in the basement. I'd be pretty safe then.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 4 months ago | (#46536835)

If the energy surge is traveling through space to hit power transformers, what makes you think its not traveling through space to hit every electronic device on the planet? It's not like things are damaged because that energy is traveling through our electric grid....

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (3, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#46537037)

Because it's not a random "energy surge", it's a cloud of charged particles. It won't travel through the atmosphere to destroy your electronics, it will need the geomagnetic field to do its dirty job. It's precisely because the energy gets converted into current in large looped conductors why things get damaged. Such as - you get it - the power grid. Or metallic telecommunications, for that matter.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46537197)

Uhh..? It's exactly like things are damaged because that energy is traveling through our electric grid. Powerlines act as collectors for the incomming energy. If you have thousands of miles of power lines strung around the country then you can generate some huge potentials in the system and fry anything attached to the grid.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (5, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#46536873)

The problem is not so much end-user equipment, although that alone would be pretty devastating to most people. The real problem is the destruction of the electrical grid that would result. Most of the large transformers and relays are custom-made one-off pieces, and backorder time for them under normal circumstances is 3 months to 2 years. There are no procedures available to collapse the grid in preparation to a CME to protect that equipment, it's really not doable at this point. Imagine most of North America without electricity for a series of months. Electricity is used to pump natural gas around the country, so most of that's unavailable. Electricity is used in gas pumps, so even if your car still works you have no fuel for it. Farmers have the fuel in their tanks, but after that their tractors are going to be parked for the duration. Many railroad switches can no longer be thrown by hand and schedules are all computerized, so big chunks of the rail network are going to be down. Most hospitals have 3 days of fuel for their generators, beyond that they're back to doing surgery by candlelight.

The repercussions are enormous.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#46537071)

I hope that one of the repercussions will be that such procedures will get established. I mean, the generals playing with their tin soldiers are preparing for all sorts of crazy emergency scenarios, why not get prepared for things we know that actually happen in nature quite regularly?

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (4, Informative)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#46537387)

Probably because the electrical grid is controlled by for-profit corporations run by executives hyper-focused on short-term revenue to get their next bonus.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536165)

I don't think you'r home electronics are really at risk though. Not enough antenna. You need something with a long cable to pick up the effects of a CME.

So probably our powergrid would be fried. And probably all the copper internet cables (though optical calbes will propably be fine? ) and the switches they end in.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 4 months ago | (#46536209)

Back to electric fields for you. Twisted pairs are good. Coax is good.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536391)

Common mode currents are the problem here. Back to electric fields for you too.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#46536379)

I don't think you'r home electronics are really at risk though. Not enough antenna. You need something with a long cable to pick up the effects of a CME.

The power surges created on those long wires will travel to their endpoints. Anything plugged in may be fried, depending on just how good your surge protection is. How good is your surge protection on your cable and phone lines?

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (4, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | about 4 months ago | (#46536441)

Really good.

And many supplies have MOVs and LC networks that would help mitigate the problem. In the old days, telegraph wires weren't earthed, and so became enormous antennas that could readily be charged by ionization.

Satellites are less protected, and there, sensitive low-power (especially CMOS) products might easily fry. However, they're already shielded and exposed to the elements in a way unlike us on the ground.

We're smart enough to tie most neutrals to earth in home wiring boxes. OTOH, the skin effect could fry stuff. Your car's ECM might be just fine because it's under a metal hood, albeit insulated from the earth by the tires. As such, it's not really a capacitor or joule/coulomb tank.

Major electrical grid problems would ensue, but recovery might not be as tough as you think.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#46536613)

I have surge protection, but it's wimpy on my phone lines - a lighting strike to the phone lines would end in tears. If I were actually worried about this I'd do something to prevent that (if you live in lightning country, a lighting protector at the main breaker box is a wise move in general).

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 4 months ago | (#46536711)

If I used phone lines, I'd have MOVs on them. Many telcos over-earth where necessary, just to ensure low damage. I ground together my cable box with my other earths, but hey-- I'm an engineer.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 4 months ago | (#46537125)

A lighting strike to the phone lines would end in tears? What the fuck do you plug into your phone jacks?!

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#46537165)

My DSL modem, which my PCs are wired to. Better a lighting strike than sending money to a cable company!

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 4 months ago | (#46536537)

All of the data coming into my house is over fiber. Doesn't even need to be grounded because no wires enter my house. Verizon FiOS does have wire that enters the house, so it needs to be grounded.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#46536577)

Oh, sure, lord it over us data peasants why don't you? Shall we knuckle under when you ride by on your mighty data horse?

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 4 months ago | (#46536721)

You just gave me a most wonderfully humorous image. you put a smile on my face. :-)

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536887)

So...um... how does your computer and modem receive power then?

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46536685)

Incredibly good if I unplug everything, and considering it typically takes 1-5 days for a CME to reach Earth I should have plenty of warning. The danger is more to infrastructure (power, phone, and cable lines) which may overload from the induced current, and stuff that can't readily be disconnected from the grid. But even then I suspect with a day or two warning of a dangerous CME it wouldn't be a huge deal to simply have the whole country go dark until it passed, if the logistics were in place to do so. Disconnect the generators, tell everyone to unplug everything in their house, and hope for the best for the various street lights, etc. that can't be readily unplugged. All the incidental damage would still be expensive, but things would likely be mostly up and running again in a couple days.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#46536719)

Oh, sure, if people take the warning seriously and take appropriate preventive measures we're fine! Meanwhile, here in America, after Katrina predictably trashed the levees in Louisiana, we rebuilt them just as before so the next major storm to hit would trash them again. But maybe this will be different, and we'll all act like smart people?

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536191)

Anything electric will not work properly. Points ignition is like technologically similar to the telegraph system that failed in 1859.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

fnj (64210) | about 4 months ago | (#46536401)

Anything electric will not work properly. Points ignition is like technologically similar to the telegraph system that failed in 1859.

A car ignition system does not have an antenna hundreds of km to over a thousand km long. Neither does a cellphone or laptop or your brain for that matter.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 4 months ago | (#46537347)

Anything electric will not work properly. Points ignition is like technologically similar to the telegraph system that failed in 1859.

A car ignition system does not have an antenna hundreds of km to over a thousand km long. Neither does a cellphone or laptop or your brain for that matter.

So, the only thing that can act as an antenna is something that is hudreds of kilometers long? What is incredibly amazing to me is how people that are completely totally and unquestionably wrong can use their wrongness to accuse people who are correct of not having brains.

But perhaps you can enlighten me on how a little WiFi yagi antenna that I have sitting in front of me needs to be so big in order to work.

A braod band RF impulse is pulsing at many frequencies. And some of them might just be at frequencies that a hunk of wire is resonant at, and can induce a big current in. This fellow's points might weld shut. There is a capacitor on the point system that would likely fail. The ignition coil might fry as well. There is no doubt that his point system is less vulnerable, but is not invulnerable.

Just as an example. A radio station that I maintain had an internal network. When not in use, the antennas and radios are disconnected. and unplugged. A near by strike induced a current in the router, which then traveled to the computers, and then to the radios. destroyed the whole network, computers, and radios. All unplugged. No kilometers of wire needed. The current induced in the router was not all that much unlike an EM pulse from a coronal event.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536549)

Yes, because point-ignition systems typically come attached with continent-spanning wires. Idiot.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 4 months ago | (#46536199)

Crank away on that points-equipped car -- the ignition coil will be fried, and so will the copper windings in the starter and altern/generator.

There were no solid-state chips then, and, still, unconnected telegraph receivers were tapping away receiving imaginary messages from the ZOMG to earth.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536425)

Crank away on that points-equipped car -- the ignition coil will be fried, and so will the copper windings in the starter and altern/generator.

There were no solid-state chips then, and, still, unconnected telegraph receivers were tapping away receiving imaginary messages from the ZOMG to earth.

Old and Modern cars will be unaffected by a CME. They are not usually damaged by EMP pulses which are stronger than a CME so a CME will be a non-event for cars and trucks. CME's are damaging to things with long wires attached to them. Phone cables, Power cables, Data Cables that go long distances or more likely the things that connect to these long cables are what will be damaged.

Not that a power grid failure wouldn't be bad enough...

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (5, Informative)

fnj (64210) | about 4 months ago | (#46536501)

Crank away on that points-equipped car -- the ignition coil will be fried, and so will the copper windings in the starter and altern/generator.

There were no solid-state chips then, and, still, unconnected telegraph receivers were tapping away receiving imaginary messages from the ZOMG to earth.

Think. I know it's hard, but try it. We're not talking about magic here. The car does not have an antenna hundreds of km to over a thousand km long. Electric fields are measured in volts per meter, not volts per fairy tale.

Inducing a 20 mA current in a telegraph line hundreds of km long (which is all it takes to "tap away") is slightly different from inducing tens to hundreds of thousands of amps for tens of seconds to minutes. That's what it would take to "fry" the windings in a starter or alternator. And the antenna length of the wiring attached to the starter or alternator is no more than a couple of meters, INSIDE a faraday cage.

An ignition coil would take less current to burn out than a starter or alternator, but still a whole hell of a lot more current than it would ever see inside the faraday cage of the car body.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

bigpat (158134) | about 4 months ago | (#46536705)

Electric fields are measured in volts per meter, not volts per fairy tale.

Damn. I knew I was doing something wrong in my E&M class.

A faraday cage has to be grounded to earth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46537009)

A car's body is grounded to the negative battery terminal. The entire structure is isolated from earth by rubber tires.

If your car's body gets a significant electrical charge imparted onto it the car's electrical systems are going to get fried.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46537423)

Of course it won't. Unless you have a magnetar at 12 feet, there isn't enough AREA to intercept enough field to get enough power to damage something like that. Stop spreading your Hollywood-level science BS.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536375)

I have a way to mitigate it, at least to an extent. I have a car with a points-type distributor in my garage to drive around if the electronic ignition controls in the other cars are roasted... Maybe I should put a couple of fresh '70s-era ECUs into the safe, just to electrically isolate them, so I'll have more than one functional car...

Your cars will still work just fine. Cars and trucks are not going to sustain damage even from an EMP (nuclear blast initiated pulse), so a CME isn't going to be a serious issue. What may be damaged is power distribution systems and phone lines. So what you *really* need is fuel for the cars and generator, until they can get the power grid back up.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 4 months ago | (#46536817)

Better include a bunch of fuel tanks at your home that use a hand pump. Because you're not filling your car from the gas stations (which have a chip-based control system).

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46537215)

Master Blaster runs Bartertown.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536103)

No need to prepare or anything like that either. Let's just pretend these never happen.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 4 months ago | (#46536227)

Let's not try to get Mars either as all the previous giant asteroids never wiped us out.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46537225)

Obviously "we" weren't wiped out. Mars? Are you fucking kidding? This Mars shit is like an atheist religion with its doomsday scenario, its savior, its sinners and its worthy ones. Get a brain exam and maybe some remedial high school physics and math.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46536259)

1. Knowing something is possible is better than not knowing
2. We can't mitigate it? Turn in your nerd card right this instant
3. Who is panicking?
4. You'd rather this get submitted to some non-nerd website? I agree that seeing grandmothers starting to wear tinfoil hats to avoid solar flare problems might be really really funny, but this is exactly the type of submission for slashdot and vice versa.
5. I find your sig ironic in this context.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536317)

We had no control over this, and there's no means to mitigate it, and it didn't happen. So lets panic and blog and post video submissions to nerdy websites!

Uh, WHAT?!! We may not be in control of CME's, but we certainly have ways of mitigate the damage one of these would cause. CME's are effectively EMP like, and it might be somewhat costly to mitigate the damage one can cause but it IS possible.

At the very least, we can and should design our power distribution infrastructure to not be significantly damaged by such events. It's not likely necessary to keep the system operating during such an event, only keep it from being damaged in ways we cannot quickly repair.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 4 months ago | (#46536565)

CMEs are quite different. CME does it's damage through ions that create an electrical charge difference, but EMPs create an electromagnetic pulse, which has nothing to do with ions. CME ions are just trying to get to ground. Just shunt it. Yes, it's a lot of amperes, but it can be done.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 4 months ago | (#46536813)

This is not how a CME effects earth at all.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

delt0r (999393) | about 4 months ago | (#46536801)

CMEs cause the earths magnetic field to buckle and fold thereby inducing currents in conductors. But to get any kind of voltage/amps that affect anything, you need loops of wire hundreds of km long or more. ie power lines. Its nothing like an EMP.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (3, Insightful)

Bengie (1121981) | about 4 months ago | (#46536507)

My understanding, which could be wrong or incomplete, is that the ions would cause a tremendous surge of DC current to be conducted into our power-lines, causing transformers to be melted. This can simply be shunted, but we need to invest a few hundred mil to protect from a few tril of damage. No one wants to be the guy that spent more money, so no one invests into this simple and quite effective protection.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 4 months ago | (#46537045)

the easiest solution is simply disconnecting the transformers when a CMP is coming.

But that requires a number of satellites in orbit around the Sun (not Earth)...and that backs up you're money point...sigh

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536735)

Considering all the nuclear plants that could blow up from such an event, just be thankful we haven't experienced it, yet!

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46537175)

What, zero?

Nuke plants don't blow up, unless they're stupid design (positive void coefficient) and the operators are performing a stupid test against all regulations and ignoring alarms, like at Chernobyl. And that was a steam explosion.

twit

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 4 months ago | (#46536875)

There are plenty of ways to mitigate this. Satellites are built with safeguards to prevent this exact problem. However, they aren't functional in 'protected' mode so you need to be very careful when you turn them off. i.e. you don't want to do it unless you absolutely positively have to do it.

With satellite's monitoring the Sun we can see when these things are coming hours ahead of time - they don't travel at light speed. That gives us plenty of warning to set things into protected mode.

Same goes for transformers on the electrical grid. If they aren't connected to the grid when this hits, they simply won't be affected. But obviously you won't have electricity while they're disconnected.

So the key thing here is having satellites in orbit around the Sun that watch and tell us when this is coming. Unfortunately we aren't replacing the sats that do this fast enough and we're going to have serious gaps in our coverage before too long.

Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (2)

arvindsg (1757328) | about 4 months ago | (#46537227)

Decades into the future such a ejection will prove as turning point in our war against machines

Westboro Church founder dies. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536003)

Fred Phelps has now gone to be with God in Heaven. RIP, brave soldier of Christ. RIP.

Re:Westboro Church founder dies. (0)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 4 months ago | (#46536089)

Fred Phelps has now gone to be with God in Heaven. RIP, brave soldier of Christ. RIP.

I guess Lucien Greaves will be making a trip to his grave to turn Fred Phelps' soul gay any day now. [washingtontimes.com]

Re:Westboro Church founder dies. (0)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46536183)

We made a road trip to his grave to piss on it but the line was too long.

Re:Westboro Church founder dies. (0, Offtopic)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#46536201)

Too late. I noticed a while ago that the site that turns Dead Mormons Gay, while it says holocaust victims are ineligeble, happily converted Anne Frank for me....turns out, it accepts non-mormons too: http://alldeadmormonsarenowgay... [alldeadmor...nowgay.com]

So I converted Fred already. Too late. Not only is he now Gay for all eternity, he is a Gay Mormon for all eternity, just like Anne Frank.

Re:Westboro Church founder dies. (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 4 months ago | (#46536269)

I'm pretty sure the people on both sides are fixated at the grade-school level, and our political leaders aren't much further along. I half expect Obama and Putin to "double-dog dare" eachother at some point.

Re:Westboro Church founder dies. (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 4 months ago | (#46536399)

No, he went the other way. I understand that Richard Nixon has already named Phelps as Shadow Secretary of State.

Proofread (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536047)

Proofread your shit!

Re:Proofread (4, Funny)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 4 months ago | (#46536405)

Proofread! You're shit!

Considering... (1)

DiEx-15 (959602) | about 4 months ago | (#46536105)

Considering how dependent we are to things that require electricity, perhaps we are lucky we squeaked by...

However, there will always be this threat It is just the nature of the universe. Perhaps it would be wise to consider ways to mitigate or minimumize damage done if such an event happened again. Yeah, it'd be costly to do. However, it certainly would beat the lives lost and damage done if doing the usual "Wait till it happens and then run around like a chicken with their head cut off while pointing fingers at others" approach as these events are not just foreseeable, but inevitable.

Re:Considering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536163)

I always wondered where chicken fingers came from. Now I know - the headless chickens!

Re:Considering... (1)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#46537239)

The problem is that the electrical grid is run by for-profit corporations lead by executives hyper-focused on short-term profits. I unfortunately don't see any likelihood of remediation efforts ever being put into place.

who edits this crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536111)

Coronal mass ejections, with in 2012, according to researchers.

What?

Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536129)

JFC.. I know the 'editing' here is a joke but this is pretty absurd.

Dodged? (5, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46536161)

Yeah, I know, I'm being a bit picky here, but... dodged?

The CME barely missed; Earth didn't do anything, the lazy git.

Re:Dodged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536239)

We don't have to worry about asteroid anymore now then, we can just dodge out of the way?

Re:Dodged? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 4 months ago | (#46536273)

I saw that move.

It will be harder to put the earth back into it's orbit. When we dodged, we had the sun's gravity helping us.

Re:Dodged? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536471)

Yeah, I know, I'm being a bit picky here, but... dodged?

The CME barely missed; Earth didn't do anything, the lazy git.

Hey yo! Dis is the Earth talkin' here! And yeah, I saw dat dere' mass coronal eruption ting comin' at me from a few million miles away, if it was a mile! I didn't dodge it? I dodged, I weaved, did a little rope-a-dope wit' it, and it never even came close to me. Whatever lies dat bum the Sun has been feedin' youse' guys..., well, it just didn't happen. Ya' hear me now?!

Re:Dodged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536477)

Sorta like a Wack-A-Mole on a universal scale...

Missed me! Try again!

Governments & Infrastructure (-1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 4 months ago | (#46536245)

The whole purpose of government is to provide & MAINTAIN a sound and safe infrastructure so people and businesses can reliably go about their work.

Instead we have people quibbling about more important issues like "diversity!"

Time to get some serious people in office who understand basics first.

Re:Governments & Infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536301)

So you have a problem with NASA spending your money on Muslim outreach programs? Islamophobe.

Re:Governments & Infrastructure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536329)

Time to get some serious people in office who understand basics first.

Where are we going to find some of those?

Re:Governments & Infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536509)

um, nice rant but this story's about another thing entirely.

Re:Governments & Infrastructure (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 4 months ago | (#46536747)

You do realize that even if the government were to shield every power line and transformer in the country, they'd be sending power to billions of doorstops. Pretty much every device you want the government to protect power for has a chip that would completely blown out by a CME of this magnitude. You could maybe plug in something simple like a drill. But your phone, your refrigerator, your tv, your CAR.... They would all be irreperable pieces of shit. And I say irreperable, because if the chips in the devices were blow, so would all the replacement chips in the world, AND all the equipment used to make more.

I can't wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536257)

If they could give a weeks warning or something like that, I think it would be an amazing experience.
I would fly back to my parents and stay with them for the duration.
I think it would be very eye opening and give us all a chance to realize just how dependent we are on everything, and also how we could make ourselves less dependent.

Re:I can't wait (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 4 months ago | (#46536773)

Yeah, you could be there with your parents in the moment you realize no one is shipping more food to your area because all the trucks, planes and ships are inoperable.

wait, what? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#46536265)

I'm fairly certain in either 2012 or 2013 we did get hit by a significant CME that was enough to cause extremely southern northern lights in the sky. They said days before that it would knock out satellites and it never did. It didn't affect the electrical grid either. So are they saying there was a bigger one that missed us?

Fragment much? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536279)

"Coronal mass ejections, with in 2012, according to researchers."

Er, what? (2)

imroy (755) | about 4 months ago | (#46536343)

Quoth the intro:

Coronal mass ejections, with in 2012, according to researchers.

Someone screwed up copying the text there.

Saw the same thing (3, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#46536403)

Sounds like the CME didn't quite miss EVERYONE...

Editing? Verbs? (3, Funny)

Lorens (597774) | about 4 months ago | (#46536431)

"Coronal mass ejections, with in 2012, according to researchers.

Yea, researchers for the win. According to grammar researchers (with in 2014), no verbs in this sentence either!

Re:Editing? Verbs? (1)

jc42 (318812) | about 4 months ago | (#46536745)

Yea, researchers for the win. According to grammar researchers (with in 2014), no verbs in this sentence either!

Yeah, but you violated another well-known of grammer's rules: Don't use commas, which aren't needed.

What does this mean? (1)

log0n (18224) | about 4 months ago | (#46536493)

I'm sure this is very naive. I'm not doubting, or even skeptical, I just want further understanding.

These claims are always made but never really expand on what the repercussions are. What exactly does it mean that things would be devastating to our modern electronics? Cell phones blowing up in our pants pocket? Computers catching on fire? I doubt those things mainly because something damaging enough to cause a gadget to self-immolate likely would be just as damaging to our biology. Is it stuff as (comparatively) mundane as everything needing to be reset/restarted? I have no doubt that's a huge pain in the ass and can cause legitimate issues depending on venue (satellites, power plants, airplanes, people driving, etc). Significant inconvenience yes and unfortunately deadly for some, but it does not seem like the literal 'death from above' that this comes across as.

Electronic devices suddenly stopping, society is likely recoverable. Electronic devices suddenly self-immolating/exploding, society likely isn't recovering.

[hollywood isn't make things easier either, everything either stops dead or explodes cataclysmic-ally]

Re:What does this mean? (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 4 months ago | (#46536669)

The ramification would be that most devices with microchips would cease to function. And in today's world that's everything from cellphones, to cars, to refrigerators and the kitchen sink (literally, if it has a motion sensor to start the flow of water). The intense energy would essentially melt the circuitry in the chips, and maybe wiring in the device as well, if it were thin enough wires. It might short out and cause a fire or something. But you wont give a shit about a burn on your ass from the phone that blew up in your back pocket in a few days when you realize that every truck (and every other means of moving goods) that brings food to your local supermarkets stopped functioning, and theres no means to produce new ones because all the factories (and food producers for that matter) all shorted out too.

Re:What does this mean? (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#46537025)

These claims are always made but never really expand on what the repercussions are. What exactly does it mean that things would be devastating to our modern electronics?

I was iffy on this myself, so I read slashdot comments. Now it is crystal clear.

In the event of a major CME, just mains power, or possibly anything connected to mains power, would or would not be inoperable. Modern cars, and or, old cars would or would not work; as they may or may not be effected by EMPs which may or may not have similar effects.

Total damages are hard to estimate but could range from longer netflix streaming latency to trillions of dollars.

Hope that clears it up for you.

Re:What does this mean? (2)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#46537375)

Think of the Untied States trying to exist with 19th century technology for a couple of months. That's how bad it could be. The big equipment that runs the electrical grid is all custom made by a very few manufacturers with very long (as much as two years) backorder times in the best of conditions. End-user equipment may or may not be affected, but without power it's pretty much useless. Your car may run, but since the gasoline pumps are electric, as is all the equipment that runs the holding tanks, the pipelines and the refineries, you're not going very far with it. Food distribution system collapses without trucks, the rail system deadlocks without control systems, ships stack up in the harbor with no way to offload them. Farmers can only watch their crops whither and die in the field. Banking system goes belly up without the constant credit card traffic.

Perhaps not 'death from above', unless you need surgery (operating rooms almost never have windows), but still pretty fucking catastrophic.

"From the Reuters article" - What Reuters article? (1)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | about 4 months ago | (#46536749)

The summary says "From the Reuters article", but none of the links point to a story by Reuters. The links go to Nature, Wikipedia and UC Berkeley. The Berkeley article one doesn't mention Reuters; the Nature paper is paywalled, I can't check it's sources without forking over $32, but I would doubt it would rely on a news report as a source.

Re:"From the Reuters article" - What Reuters artic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536979)

"in 2012" is a bad link to reuters smashed right up against the nature link.

did someone say dodge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46536827)

I thought the earth had an orbit.. :)

2.3 Trillion? Ooo...SCARY! (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 4 months ago | (#46536947)

The gubmint spends that much every few years. So, we double taxes for a few years, all the damage is undone. Whew...I'm glad this article reduced the concept to a number of dollars. THAT sure helped our comprehension.

Hungarian/English phrase book (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 4 months ago | (#46536975)

"Coronal mass ejections, with in 2012, according to researchers."

My hovercraft is full of eels.

Just like 1989 in Quebec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46537289)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_1989_geomagnetic_storm

No fried transformers, just flipped circuit breakers.

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