This piece is going to be an attempt to take good quality easy to understand information about one topic written by someone else, combined with some more information of the same type, with perhaps a “bit” of editorial content by me.
Credit for others work will precede their own articles rather than as an index so they get all due credit I can provide. These people worked very hard on their articles and I want to make sure everyone knows this.
The article is going to be my attempt in describing a situation we currently have within our physical environment, that is at risk of being interfered with in such a way that our physical safety could be at risk.
The situation is a simple one we’ve all heard about, but traditionally filter out of our minds as we go about life. Usually within minutes of the conversation.
The problem with this however is that it is actually very important. It is so important that your physical help is even needed.
Let me ask something. If a few of your neighbors came to you and said, “We all need your help to build a small levy down the way in order to save our neighborhood from a potential flood.” How would you react?
Would you ask how likely it was a flood was imminent?
What if they said, “Well, it usually floods every 5 years or so, and it’s been 7.”
Would you question further?
Offer to help?
Deny floods even exist?
Say to the person “Well, that’s nice dear.” and go about your shopping.
Now let me ask you this.
What if someone were to tell you something just as serious, but more difficult to comprehend. Let’s say our neighbors came and said this: “Hello again. We just found out that the local power company is building a dam. We think this is going to break and kill us all. Will you please help us stop it?”
You’ll probably evaluate this information quite differently. Why? Because even though it “is” possible, your experience tells you that more likely than not these people are just being a little over sensitive.
The information I’m going to be attempting to convey to you in this piece has a very legitimate history of being filtered from peoples mind in ways similar to the second scenario. (People hear it and disregard it simply out of hand for various reasons)
Here’s the problem. The problem here is actually real. In fact, it is so real that once you actually understand this information, you will most likely become rather frightened for your life. I’m sorry, but it is true.
Why would you be frightened?
Because you would understand how likely this is to occur.
You would see how it is actually somewhat “imminent.”
The severity of the damage done and the difficulty in recovering from it.
The severity of the immediate and long term impacts.
And if we did it right, you would understand just how real the threat is.
One problem that keeps this threat a reality is the difficulty in getting people to understand the importance of it. As it stands, I’ve probably lost your interest already.
Here’s a proof to show I know some of these barriers, and help prove the reason you and nobody else takes it seriously. If I guess right, my proof will be that your mind is working in similar fashion to the common person, and this causes the threat to be dismissed.
So here’s my prediction.
I predict that by now you are thinking things like, “This guy is going to sell me something.” “It’s a conspiracy theory.” “What is it killer asteroids or something?” “Ah, this is all crap.” (You haven’t even heard it yet!) lol Etc.
But,….now you’re a little curious.
Then I tell you.
Your response in your mind will then be something along the lines of ,” Yep. Conspiracy theory” or “I’ve heard this, it’s serious, look squirrel!” or It’s not really “that” big of a threat. …is it?” A small chuckle?
Regardless, it’ll be something that will immediately e given a low priority if even given credit at all. Not because of any invalidity to the info, but because of simple social filtering mechanisms we have within our culture.
That all being said, my request is this.
UNDERSTAND this information. It’s really simple.
There are a number of ways we can lose our power grid.
There is a strong likelihood that one of the mechanisms able to cause this event “will” happen, and is likely to be somewhat imminent. (The others not so much, but still possible.)
That the grid “can” actually be damaged by these events unless changes to it are implemented.
That the risks of failure under the conditions expressed have not been over exaggerated, in any form. In other words, yes it can happen easily, yes, repairing them afterward will be almost impossible and will take years of repairs.
That human life will not be prepared to survive without electricity during this time.
That one of the mechanisms with the potential to cause this happens often (solar flare), and one withe the right conditions is very overdue statistically.
MY HOPE AT THIS TIME:
Would be for you to follow the information I’ve provided so that you can get a better understanding of the whole thing, and hopefully come to realize the reason I went to so much trouble to explain why simply discounting this information is very dangerous.
Once you have this understanding, all I ask is that you do what you can to convince others. To “work” to overcome these barriers as I’m trying to do, and make sure they understand!
Finally, become pro active if that’s something you have within you. Take charge, help change it.
And prepare yourself. Find out who knows nuts and berries in your area. Learn how to make and use a bow and arrow or a snare. Learn how to make fire. Etc.
Okay. Here’s the info.
Could an extremely powerful solar flare destroy all the electronics on Earth?
A song written by Hy Zaret and Lou Singer, later popularized by the band They Might Be Giants, claims that “the sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace.” Upon closer examination, it appears that this initial classification of the sun is a little too narrow. It turns out that the sun is a complex body that we still don’t understand fully.
But here’s what we do know: The sun is a massive object comprised of intensely hot, ionized gases. We call this kind of gas plasma and it’s the most common state of matter in the universe. The atoms that make up the gases in the sun are so hot that they can’t hold on to their electrons. The gases flow in currents through the sun, carrying electrons with them.
If you’re familiar with electromagnets, you know that an electrical current can create a magnetic field. That’s the case with the sun. The sun has an enormous magnetic field around it. The rotation of the sun perpetuates this magnetic field.
To make matters more complicated, hot objects tend to expand. The sun is an extremely hot object. But the sun is also large and dense, which means it has a strong gravitational pull. The sun’s gravity balances out its tendency to expand.
The combination of these forces can cause the sun’s surface to change in dramatic and sometimes violent ways. The currents of gas cause magnetic field lines to twist. That can prevent hotter gases from the sun’s core from rising to the surface, creating sunspots. Sunspots appear darker than the rest of the sun’s surface. They are also cooler than the brighter areas that surround them.
The hot gas trapped beneath sunspots exerts pressure on the magnetic field lines that prevents the gas from reaching the surface. This winds the magnetic field lines into tighter coils. Sometimes, even more field lines become entangled. Once in a while, the magnetic field lines will uncoil without much incident and the sunspot fades as the hot gases rise to the surface. But sometimes the pressure continues to build until the magnetic field lines snap out suddenly, causing a solar flare.
SOLAR FLARES AND CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS
A solar flare isn’t just an explosion of hot gases. It pushes out waves of light all across the spectrum. That includes light we can’t see — including radiation in the form of X-rays and gamma rays. These rays can be dangerous to humans. Fortunately, the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs most of these high-energy rays.
That’s not to say everyone is in the clear after a solar flare. Humans in space or at high altitudes — on board an airplane, for example — could risk exposure to intense radiation. Short-term damage could include skin irritation. Long-term consequences might include an increased risk of developing skin cancer. But it’s likely that any affected human would eventually recover from the exposure.
Electronics are also vulnerable to these rays. If high-energy rays were to hit a satellite, they could strip electrons from the metal components, ionizing them. As electrons break free, they could short out the electronics within a satellite. They could also create a magnetic field that would damage the satellite’s systems. Some satellites have shielding to protect them from these rays, but many are still vulnerable.
Because our atmosphere absorbs most of these dangerous rays, terrestrial systems are fairly safe from solar flares. But another solar event called a coronal mass ejection (CME) can cause serious problems for electrical systems here on Earth. During a CME, the fluctuations of the sun’s magnetic fields cause a large portion of the surface of the sun to expand rapidly, ejecting billions of tons of particles out into space. Sometimes CMEs accompany solar flares — but not all solar flares produce CMEs and not all CMEs accompany solar flares.
Unlike a solar flare, a CME doesn’t produce intense light. But it does produce a magnetic shock-wave that extends billions of miles out into space. If Earth is in the path of that shock-wave, our planet’s magnetic field will react to the event. It’s similar to what happens if you put a weak magnet next to a strong one. The weak magnet’s field will align itself to the strong magnet’s field. A magnetic shock-wave from the sun could cause the alignment of the Earth’s magnetic field to shift unpredictably.
Pretty lights aren’t the only consequence from a CME. The magnetic fluctuations can cause compasses to fail. And since magnetic fields can induce electricity, any conductor could become an inductor. A powerful CME could induce electricity in large, powerful conductors. That could overload electrical systems and cause massive damage.
Next, we’ll take a look at exactly how badly off we could be after a massive CME event.
FRYING ELECTRONICS WITH THE SUN
While a solar flare alone might not be enough to cause problems on Earth’s surface, a powerful CME is another story. In fact, massive CMEs have affected the Earth in the past. But we weren’t as advanced in electronics, nor did we depend upon them as heavily the last time a CME really smacked us around.
In 1859, an enormous CME caused massive magnetic fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetosphere — the magnetic field surrounding the planet. People living as far south as Cuba witnessed the northern lights phenomenon. Compasses and telegraph systems failed. Scientists and academics debated the cause of all the commotion. We now know it was due to a CME. The CME was so massive that it caused what we call a solar super-storm.
Today, we depend much more heavily upon electronics and electricity than we did in 1859. If a similar solar super-storm were to hit us now, we’d be in trouble. The magnetic forces would induce electricity in any large conductor. That includes power transformers and the power grid itself.
That’s not the end of the bad news. The power grid in North America operates at near capacity. It wouldn’t be able to handle the increased electrical load from a solar super-storm. Power lines could sag and even snap as a result. Massive power outages could affect much of the continent. The magnetic fluctuations would interfere with radio signals, and communication and satellite systems would collapse as well.
It could take weeks or months to repair the damage. During that time, people would have no way to find out what was going on. Emergency services would face serious challenges. While the magnetic fields would probably not short out individual electronics devices like cell phones or computers, communications systems could fail regionally. In other words, small devices would still work but would lack the services they require to be useful.
It’s possible that a CME could even affect your computer and cause glitches. In most cases, a simple reboot would solve the problem. But with the loss of the power grid, you’d be limited by your battery’s charge. Once that ran out, you’d be stuck.
There’s no way to prevent a solar super-storm but there are steps we can take to limit the impact of a CME. One is to overhaul the power grid system. We need a smart grid that isn’t operating so close to capacity as our current grid. We also need to develop shielding to protect our electrical infrastructure from magnetic fluctuations as much as possible.
Even in these worst-case scenarios, the super-storms don’t wipe out all electrical systems across the planet. Some regions would remain relatively unaffected. It would require a solar event of unprecedented magnitude to wipe out the electrical systems across the planet. But even a modest CME could demonstrate how vulnerable we are to the sun’s magnetic temper tantrums.
Are You Ready Series: Rolling Blackouts
By Tess Pennington
The U.S. power grid, as it exists today, is dying a slow and miserable death. Experts in the private and public sector are also concerned about the weakness of the grid and suggest we are one major catastrophic event away from a complete meltdown in America.
The largest blackout that occurred in U.S. history was on August 14, 2003, leaving over 50 million people without power in the Northeast, Midwest and parts of Canada. The blackout’s primary cause was a software bug in the alarm system at a control room of the FirstEnergy Corporation in Ohio. Operators were unaware of the need to re-distribute power after overloaded transmission lines hit un pruned foliage. What would have been a manageable local blackout cascaded into widespread distress on the electric grid.
In 2012, the San Diego Gas & Electric Company shut down, affecting power in Southern California and Arizona. The blackout affected 1.4 million homes and 5 to 6 million people. Flights out of San Diego International Airport were suspended. There were people trapped in elevators, cell phones and land lines went dead making it impossible to call for help. Moreover, gas stations were shut down.
Most recently, the Polar Vortex is threatening rolling blackouts as well due to the heightened demand from utility companies. Operators of the electric grid have urged consumers to conserve power to help overcome a potentially devastating combination of record demand and unexpected supply disruptions, both caused by the extreme cold enveloping much of the country. If voluntary conservation is not followed, then rolling blackouts will occur.
This outdated and aged infrastructure has been in need of a major update for decades; however, instead of investing in a new, more efficient power grid that utilizes renewable power sources (such as solar and wind), regulators instead chose to patch it up to make it work for the time being. This “duct taped” approach is no match for the constant power stream needed to keep population dense areas functioning or for the extreme weather we have experienced over the last decade.
(click to enlarge)
Our grid is long overdue for investment and upgrades. Begun in the early 1900’s when the power system consisted of large, isolated power plants, our current grid is ill-equipped to serve smaller, innovative solar or wind facilities. The majority of the existing system was built more than 30 years ago and has only received incremental investment since. Today, 70 percent of the lines and large power transformers are more than 25 years old, and we don’t have enough of them in areas of the country with the best new energy resources.
There is No Official U.S. Power Grid
To begin, our grid is really three interconnected grids: the eastern, western and Texas interconnection, that are each independently owned and operated by different power plants and transmission lines. This privatization can only lead to further issues down the line.