Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Obama wants schools to speed digital transition

Obama wants schools to speed digital transition

Basically, if you click on the news word button above, Obama wants to convert to E-books from paper ones for all public schools in the U.S. Now, this would be a really good idea if it weren't for two basic things. The first potential problem is that we are in a heavy Coronal Mass Ejection Cycle and so it is remotely possible that everything electronic on earth or just some electronic things might not work anymore. Or, the second problem would be if there were a big enough EMP over the U.S. which could wipe out everything electrical including computers, and E-books and Ipads and smartphones. However, even if all this happened most books would remain and still be there to read that were paper. So, though I think it is a noble idea in peacetime, it might not be useful if there is some kind of war or magnetic storm generated by the sun. So, likely we need mostly e-books, but with enough paper copies so at the very least each teacher has a paper copy. So, a ratio of 1 paper book to 30 e-books would likely be good in case of  potential emergencies.

Onboard Radar in Passenger Jets?

Avionics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Military aircraft had become flying sensor platforms, and making large amounts of ... On-board communications are provided by public address systems and aircraft intercoms. .... The military uses radar in fast jets to help pilots fly at low levels. end quote from Google regarding Wikipedia and Avionics.

I have been researching lately CME's (Coronal Mass Ejections) from the sun and their effects on GPS satellites and co-ordinates worldwide. One of the things I found out is that often a GPS Satellite turns upside down during a magnetic storm when it thinks the poles have shifted during the storm. When it is in the wrong direction likely it cannot accurately send GPS information as a result of this. All GPS satellite positioning need three satellites to triangulate a position anywhere on earth within 3 feet in accuracy for hikers (with GPS devices), all cell phones on earth, planes, ships and some cars and trucks.

During last weeks Magnetic storm caused by a level 3 CME from the sun it was said that instead of 3 feet of accuracy GPS anywhere worldwide could have been  reduced to within 30 feet accuracy instead of 3 feet. And I was thinking that during some IFR landings of passenger jets 30 feet just wouldn't be good enough. It also might not be good enough to dock a large ship in the fog in a port. So, I was thinking that passenger airliners might need their own radar on board that could tell them not only if they were near another aircraft but also how near the ground is when landing. Because scientists say we might be having up to one largish CME per month until the end of 2013. This potentially could save a lot of lives if passenger planes all had their own on-board radar for emergencies like when GPS fails for one reason or another or when pitot tubes freeze over and give incorrect airspeed indications. This becomes even more important when on autopilot when computers are flying the plane because computers might not be able to distinguish unusual changes or to know what to do with strange readings that may or may not be accurate thereby precipitating a real emergency. 

Later: After doing more research I found that though passenger jet planes have radar usually on board, they are severely limited under which conditions they can navigate while using it. So, it might be important to make sure that when a magnetic storm is going on that they have more leeway to figure out whether they are 3 feet from the runway or 30 feet from the runway. In landing this is a very big difference.

Food Crisis Threatens Millions in Niger

Food Crisis Threatens Millions in Niger

If you read the news article at the above word button you will read about how approximately 3 million people will possibly face starvation or death in Niger between now and August. The price of food has risen 25 to 35 percent and since there has been a major crop failure that helped precipitate this rise in the cost of food likely many will starve and die between now and when the next big set of crops are harvested in August. However, unless the weather is better for growing food that crop won't be there either.

M3.6 Solar Storm on Feb. 30th 2011

The Advantages of Being Shy

There is a Time magazine Cover and article about this out right now and so I thought this might be a good time to share my experiences of being shy. Of course I had another advantage in addition to being shy I was always very tall for my age, so the combination of being one of the tallest in my class always and being fairly shy always protected me in various ways. I can see that now looking back now.

First of all being shy can protect a person from a whole lot of dangerous people. Extroverts often say things that they shouldn't around dangerous people and then wind up with teeth knocked out as a result or worse. Whereas a shy person might (because they aren't talking) be sizing up all the people around them to ascertain whether any of these people are even safe to be around or if they are women if they are available for dating or whatever. So, shyness can be a distinct advantage in regard to both safety and looking for a mate.

In my own case because I was always tall by age 15 I was 6 foot 1 inches tall and by 21 I was 6 foot 4 1/2 inches tall. So, if I was around girls my age or older I would always listen to their problems like an older brother or friend rather than verbally accost women like many other guys I knew who were definitely extroverts would. My methods were almost always effective in gaining the trust of all the women I met, young or old. My mother used to say when I was 16. "You are a quiet nice boy 16 years old." I sort of liked this way of thinking because it was also true. So while I watched other boys offend women by being too aggressive I always wound up with one or more of the girls who confided in me their problems. This began when I was about 15 and continued until I was 25 and got married and had a son. I still found that I counseled my friends because I was always a very common sense person while also being very intuitive. Also, since I was an only child I always felt sort of lonely in this sense and helping others also seemed to help me with my problems and I felt healed as I helped others grapple with their problems and helped many friends and acquaintances move away from suicide, especially before age 25 when most people give up the idea of ending it all for one reason or another.

So, by being shy one can often work through their own problems by having enough time to think about things and not going into things half cocked like many extroverts tend to do and wind up injured or dead. Being shy one can often survive things that extroverts could not or would not because shy people tend to be more thoughtful about everything they do. They also tend to be more kind to others because they tend to have more sensitive and thoughtful natures. Shy people can tend to become writers because of the capacity for introspection which many extroverts might not have developed because they were always out partying and getting into trouble. So, I would say that there are advantages and problems with both being an extrovert or shy. But shy people tend to survive and extroverts often perish because they often take risks that they haven't thought enough about to survive. 40% of the heads of large companies tend to define themselves as shy people.

Also, just because people are shy doesn't mean that they also can't be dangerous, aggressive or take risks. It's just that shy people might take different types of risks than extroverted people would. For example, Shy people often are musicians, actors, rock climbers, stunt pilots, surfers, motorcycle enthusiasts, pilots, world travelers etc. They are just less likely to put themselves into ongoing extreme social situations all the time. They will tend to pick and choose carefully what social situations they will allow themselves to endure, unless those situations are required by their chosen livelihood or spouse or other extenuating circumstances.

There is even a historical label for this kind of person, "The Strong Silent Type" which typifies someone who is skilled and well qualified for any emergency or situation and who is not in the least interested in "Tooting his or her own horn"  verbally but mostly just interested in "Taking Care of Business" in whatever business or activity that might be on Earth or beyond. However, tooting your own horn does extend into writing for a shy person in a manifold of ways.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Senate clears way for vote on insider-trading ban

Senate clears way for vote on insider-trading ban

This actually might help the perception of Congress by the common person in the U.S. and around the world. Since there don't appear to be any insider trading bans against congress in any way it has been perceived for some time that this is one of the reasons rich people or people who want to become rich as Congressmen or Women try to get elected. If Congress actually passes this in both houses and since I believe the President has promised to sign this if it passes it cannot but help to lift the polls a little bit for Congress and to make people feel Congress is listening to the people a least a little bit.

Surviving by the Grace of God

Some of the things I write my daughter and once in a while my old friend think are "a little goofy". But from my point of view I'm never goofy, but what life puts us through to survive is almost always goofy. Looking back at my life I'm really grateful and amazed that I survived it at all. So, if sometimes what I write might seem a little goofy at times, my point of view is that, "I learned to write pretty good by age 9 and found that I could survive Childhood Blunt Trauma Epilepsy just fine without any medication (because my Dad wouldn't let me take Phenobarbitol) which is a terrible drug anyway, if I just kept putting down my thoughts and feelings as I hovered through suicidal thoughts thinking that I wouldn't make it through the next night time seizure. Though I only had Blunt trauma childhood epilepsy from ages 10 to 15 when my skull grew enough to relieve the pressure on my brain in the back where I had fallen backwards off a rock onto the back of my head while rock climbing with my Dad when I was about 8 or 9 years old. So, the post traumatic stress disorder of blunt trauma epilepsy left me one day about a year after I really found God the Day that I (during a scream as I started to enter another night time seizure)  invoked God into my life and body to live with me permanently. By the way the moment I did this I never had another seizure ever not even that night in my whole life. So, by traumatically permanently invoking God into not only my life but to live with me permanently in my body, EVERYTHING changed in a way I cannot ever completely explain in any useful way to anyone. Suffice it to say I have never been the same person since. For a long time I was afraid of God living in my body with me. I sort of felt like I had a big strong Tiger by the tail and as long as I held on for dear life to that tail I might live. It went on like this until I was in my early 30s when I met my first Tibetan Lama in Ashland, Oregon. I walked into the room and suddenly I was two places at once physically. In one physical reality I was walking into the room with about 100 people for an initiation of the Thousand Buddhas Empowerment or (The Sword which Pierces All Defilement) and the other physical place I was simultaneously was likely several hundred years ago wearing a loincloth some place like Tibet in the Springtime or summer because the flowers were blooming. The Lama said to me, "You don't belong in any church. You are a Yogi that does research for all religions and people's on earth." At the time this made perfect sense to me as I was pretty discouraged with all Religions at that point in my life. However, when I split into two people and experienced two realities as real as one I knew I was with people I could relate to and with. Because up until this time my supernatural abilities were too much for most people. There are a lot of fakes around and I have met a lot of them that make a living while being fakes. However, I learned that because I wasn't a fake that I had to live by completely different rules than fakes do. So, what I learned is this: "Whatever you know you are then responsible for knowing!" What this means in real time is that if you know things that other people don't know you must be very careful with that knowledge. In other words, "To those who are given much much is expected." So, I have had to learn to be very careful with all the wisdom and knowledge that God has Graced me with. However, for most people it takes years to learn all this. So, if you are able to understand what I'm talking about you are already ahead of the game and your lives will be the better for it.

Wires up the back side of Half Dome not for the Faint of Heart

This is a picture of what climbing half dome looks like now(between May and October most years) when the weather is good. What is really amazing to me is that most people to get to this point have already walked 7 miles from their car or bus stop (at least 14 miles round trip in one day for most people). When I last did this as training for going to Nepal in 1985, there were only about 25 to 50 people that would have been in this photo rather than 1200. To get to this point you usually have to hike up to Vernal Falls and then towards California Nevada Falls before you reach this point. And be sure that you don't get vertigo from heights because my wife and several others were having a hard time not falling off from the exposure of about 1200 feet of vertical rock or more at a 35 to 45 degree angle or more, and 400 feet of wire which is there from about May to October which seems almost straight up when you are on it. And often you see people who really should not be on a vertical surface ever doing this being dared by a friend or relative which could turn out to be fatal in the end potentially for both. Don't let anyone talk you into it if you don't have the skills. Even though it is only a class 4 type of climb with wires to hold onto so you don't fall off, most people aren't roped in. What this means in real time is if you make a mistake and slip for any reason you are dead. Most focused climbers from ages 18 to 60 in good health might laugh at this type of exposure. However, if you have a problem for whatever reason you are dead at this point unless someone catches you which is unlikely. Note: Picture is from a news article online called: 1200 is a crowd on Half Dome.

2nd note: Be sure to make a reservation with the National Park Service because it sounds like they are starting to limit how many can ascend per day now. Obviously, if there is lightning rain or snow it wouldn't be a good time to do this. Also, I believe in the winter they remove the wires and vertical posts during that time and likely re-install them during the spring or later.

1st quote (besides picture) (This is from Backpacker Magazine online regarding how dangerous this wire up to Half Dome is:

The Hike The iconic symbol of Yosemite grandeur, Half Dome just begs to be climbed. The seven-mile route to this granite landmark via the Mist Trail sees 2,500 to 3,000 people per day during summer weekends, making it the most heavily trafficked corridor in the park. People endure fatigue, altitude sickness, and dehydration in their determination to stand atop Half Dome's broad 8,836-foot-high crown. Steel cables bolted into the granite assist climbers up the final 400 vertical feet, but the combination of high, open rock and metal fixtures makes this a lousy place to get caught in an electrical storm. And once the raindrops start falling, the rock becomes treacherously slick. Yosemite's search and rescue team responds to 300 incidents each year–more than any other national park–and not surprisingly, Half Dome claims its share: six deaths since 1995.
Exhibit A Rescuers had to rappel 800 feet to recover the shattered remains of Japanese hiker Hirofumi Nohara, 37, who cartwheeled 1,200 feet down Half Dome's sheer face into the granite ravine below after trying to squeeze past hikers ahead of him on the cables. Alas, the fatality didn't surprise park employees, who've seen people do many stupid things to earn their "I climbed Half Dome" T-shirts. "We see people taking risks [to claim one] that they might not ordinarily take," says ranger Scott Gediman. In 1985, five hikers defied signs of a pending storm and marched up Half Dome only to get blasted by lightning. Last year, three hikers in three separate accidents fell to their deaths from Half Dome's upper reaches; two had attempted the route when the cables were down, and they lost their footing on the wet granite. On crowded weekends when hundreds of hikers clog the cables, it's impossible to make a fast exit when storms threaten. Says Gediman, "I've been on the cables when they were so packed with people I couldn't move up and couldn't move down–it became real dangerous."
Survival Plan Assess your fitness level honestly: The Mist Trail is a rigorous hike. And leave early–no later than 5 a.m.–to give yourself the best shot at completing it. Hike on a weekday between late May and early October, a period when the cables have generally been installed. Assess the sky before you commit to the cables, and never climb them when the rock is wet: That's when almost every fall from Half Dome has occurred. end quote from:

Also, my first time Climbing Half Dome was in 1969 (when I considered myself to be a fairly good  Rock Climber) at age 21 with a friend who was 18 and who had just graduated from high school and was on his way to UCLA in the fall, we  were in a  a Rock Climber's Camping area then near El Capitan. We then got up and had breakfast at Yosemite Lodge Cafeteria and took off up the Mist Trail near Camp Curry by 9 or 10 am. So even though we were young and strong climbers because we also really enjoyed nature and the views and taking plenty of pictures along the way, wound up getting on top of Half Dome around 2 PM and stayed up there until about 4 pm. But because it was a long way down back to my car near Camp Curry we headed out knowing we would pass most of the scarier parts of the trail by sundown. Because it was summer time I think sundown could have been as late as 8 or 9 pm. However, because of the really high canyon that most of Yosemite is night falls pretty early even during Daylight Savings time Summers there. So, the sun comes up late and goes to bed early in most of Yosemite Valley. So, if you are prepared for the sun, altitude and 7 miles up and  7 miles back (14 total miles) and can keep your wits about you while climbing up and down the wire and don't fall off the front edge while on top it can be one of the most amazing experiences of your life!

You Can't Eat a Computer

California fuels rule sparks controversy

My son and I were discussing the above article that starts with the word button "California fuels..." and his response was "You can't Eat a Computer" which basically means that even though computers are fun and kind of addicting, in the end they are in the same category as a television or a radio. They are entertainment, and no matter how much fun they might be you can't eat them. In other words unless you have a job or an income they are only entertainment. So, the California fuel rules controversy is that the rules here in California were designed before the Great Recession, during which time people might have economically had enough money to actually comply with these rules. For example I was driving north towards the Bay area from Santa Barbara where I was on business. I said to my wife, "I'm amazed! There must be about 1/4 the cars I've ever seen on any Sunday if it were before 2008 traveling up Hiway 101 north.

begin quote from above article:"
“To us, it’s the most credible and powerful mechanism we can put in place,” said Dan Sperling, a member of California’s Air Resources Board and director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at University of California-Davis. “It’s an incentive to invest in other things besides oil.”
Many oil industry officials in the United States and overseas say the standards are too complex, will drive up gas prices and cannot be met given the current supply of petroleum alternatives.
Charles T. Drevna, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, said the policy “sounds really good at the 30,000-foot level” but added, “When you get down to terra firma, it’s a giant energy tax and a fuel rationing scheme.”
The premise of California’s rule — as well as its European counterpart, the “E.U. Fuel Quality Directive” — is that goals for cutting greenhouse gases can only be met if the transportation sector begins to move away from fossil fuels.
The new standards assign carbon intensity values to roughly 250 types of crude (higher carbon) along with other fuels — including ethanol, electricity and hydrogen, all lower carbon— that power cars and trucks.
They call for reducing the overall carbon content of fuel sold in the state 10 percent by 2020. Refiners will either have to mix low-carbon fuels into what they sell over time in order to make the required cuts or buy credits to offset the amount by which the fuel they sell exceeds the standards.
The state projects that the standard would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million metric tons in 2020, according to Simon Mui, a scientist at the advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council. end quote.

So by reducing the carbon in fuels the hope was to create less carbon in the sky by moving people away from Gasoline to hybrids and electric cars and fuel cell cars and Hydrogen powered cars. But the reality is that the present Unemployment rate in California is 11.1 % And this rate if adjusted for all the people working part time who want full time jobs or who have given up looking for work might take this rate up to 15% or even 17% for the state to be realistic about who isn't employed or fully employed. And this doesn't even give you kids 15 to 20 who can't even get their very first part time job because people over 20 years old already have them. Under these conditions and the fact that the average car in the U.S. is now 10.8 years old (which is the oldest the average car has EVER been in history) it isn't a very good time to be changing fuels. However, on the other hand Oil is on its way out over the next 25 years and because of that the price of oil can only go up because that is just the Law of Supply and Demand. When everyone wants something that there is not enough of the Price can Only go UP! So, because of this switching fuels isn't an option, it is a necessity if  we want civilization to continue here on earth. Because of this the most sustainable culture in the U.S. is actually the Amish culture in Pennsylvania because they are NOT an Oil based culture. This is all something we all should be thinking about if we want civilization to continue.

Also, I would say that if you look at both the Tea Party and the Occupy movement, both movements are the direct result of rising oil prices, Global Climate Change and reduced food supplies making food cost more just like Oil is costing more worldwide. I would also say that the Arab Spring which has brought down countries all across the middle east is also a part of reduced oil and reduced food and a burgeoning young population in those areas.

It is important to address the real needs of the 99 percent

We appear to be at yet another crossroads of history here in the U.S. It concerns me as Occupy Camps get shut down in cities across the U.S. that it will just be seen as "Complete Disenfranchisement" by many of the 99%. This doesn't really help anyone and only angers those without jobs or money or a place to stay or the ability to get married and raise a family even more. Without useful actions that result in jobs it is illogical to think that the Occupy movement is going to go away and not just get angrier by the day instead. I fear for our democracy at times like these that we presently live in. However, if our democracy could weather the Great Depression, World War II, World War I, the 1800s and the late 1700s, likely we will find our way through all this as well.

U.S. Banks European Credit Default Swap Exposure


Since the U.S. Government now appears to be demanding from U.S. Banks to know their exposure through Credit Default Swap exposure (insurance deals) towards the European Banks and European debt exposures, and since this likely will be public knowledge (at least to investors and potential investors in these banks, it should get very interesting the next few months in regard to all this.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hey Santa: Who Stole my Horn?

Picture of a baby Reindeer in the Cairngorm mountains near Aviemore, Scotland

Word Buttons

I have for some time been quoting articles as long as I gave credit to the site from which it came originally. However, things have been changing lately on the Internet in case some of you haven't noticed. When Megaupload was shut down a message was sent to everyone on the Internet that things were changing. Not necessarily changing for the better but changing never the less. More and more of us need to think about protecting our own best interests. Even though many like myself are mostly interested in directing attention to issues that appear to need attention for human ongoing survival here on earth. Other people are motivated sometimes (Only by Money) and not by any principles at all it seems. So, as the Internet morphs and becomes something less desirable to all of us, it might be more important to protect ourselves during this change. In the same way many young people are moving to Twitter to have a more anonymous experience away from Facebook right now, maybe many of us bloggers need to concern ourselves with content. And though it might be okay to place word buttons of articles we want to comment about, maybe it is time not to directly quote from those articles at our websites online. This is my thought today. I'll have to think more about it in the future. If I decide to continue to operate in this new way I will only publish photos that I or someone in my family have personally taken and only publish word buttons to direct people to articles that I am commenting on. Time will tell. I need to think more about this.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Purple Delta 7 on CME's

Once again if you are interested to learn more who Purple Delta 7 is please read:
Purple Delta 7

The above site on Purple Delta 7 has a record of most of the things I have written about her since she first appeared in "The Protectors" which is also at the dragonofcompassion.com website which is my archive site.

The Coronal Mass Ejection happened this week and Jonathan Flow had a headache from the Solar Storm as it hit earth. He really wished it would get over because being an intuitive it was a lot like having all the radio stations that he listened to through his intuitive mechanisms turn into what seemed like a whole lot of static. Now, he also sensed what might be called a "Quickening" of all life on earth through this mechanism as well and realized that all life was being changed in a variety of ways through what we call a solar storm. He understood that what we call a solar storm might be called something different by the sentient life form that actually is the sun. It might be called Something like "The quickening of all life on earth" or even "The quickening Dragon's breath from the sun" or something else interesting and exotic and life affirming like that".

However, just about then the front door rang and an incredibly beautiful woman was standing there and said, "Guess who I am?" Jonathan was just taken aback and had no idea who this woman was or what she was here for, especially because she was as beautiful as the most beautiful woman you might ever see in a movie and from the look in her eyes was incredibly intelligent too. Seeing that Jonathan was confused by why she was here and starting to get a little worried she finally started laughing and said, "I"m Purple!" Don't you recognize me, I'm your bodyguard." Jonathan sighed relieved it was only Purple playing games with him to keep him on his toes now at 63.

Jonathan smiled and said, "Come on in, Purple. What's going on?" She said, "Did you experience the Solar Storm as they call it here on earth?" Jonathan said, "Yes. It sort of felt like I had a headache and was listening to a lot of static." Purple said, "Yes. I long ago programmed one of my thousands of strings of consciousness to be a duplicate exactly of yours." Jonathan looked at her and said, "OH. YOu have an emulator of my physiology to know when I'm in distress and might need help?" Purple looked at Jonathan and said, "Yes. And if you died I would simply repair you and bring you back to life without you knowing anything happened." Jonathan felt chills moving up his spine a little at this thought but had had to get used to all this kind of stuff since he first met the Galactic Sentience in 1970 when he was 22. It is actually amazing what you can get used to if you have to and have no other realistic choice in the matter. It's sort of like waking up one day and finding out that grizzly bears live your neighborhood and that you will have to watch out for them and adapt to them for the rest of your life. It isn't a small thing but it can be done.

"So, Purple what do you think of the Solar Storm and all that?"
Purple said, "Well. It concerns me that there will eventually be an event that wipes away human hard drives."
Jonathan looked worried and said, "You think we might all forget everything we know?"
Purple: "Yes. This could be very problematic. It might not kill anyone physically but if the jamming of the neural mechanism of brains on earth was intense enough it could wipe all human hard drives or brains clean as well as all animals and creatures."

Jonathan said, "So, what you are worried about is the end of human civilization?"
Purple said, "It has happened before to other cultures."
Jonathan: "Here on Earth?"
Purple: "Yes."
Jonathan: "Why didn't you tell me this before?"
Purple: "This kind of stuff is on a need to know basis."
Jonathan: "Could People who were deep enough into the earth not be affected by a solar storm in this way?"
Purple: "Yes. That is possible. But how many might be there? 100. 1000. 10,000 at most. And how would they deal with humans that just forgot who they were? There is an instinctual programming found in all creatures including humans that would then kick in. But in the end only less that 100,000 to 500,000 humans might survive in this form the way things presently are on earth."

Jonathan: "So, it would go back to cave man days and the re-invention of culture and civilization and maybe one day if there weren't another event like this we would re-emerge thousands of years from now."
Purple: "It takes about 10,000 years usually."
Jonathan: "So this really has happened before."
Purple: "Yes. I'm afraid so."

Jonathan: "But what are the actual odds of this happening to us?"
Purple: "Well. Let me see if I calibrate what has happened here on earth and go back about  1 million years I can calculate the odds. Here it is: 'There is only a 1 in 10,000 odds of this happening in the next 100 years. But there is a 50-50 chance that within the next 300 years that most all electrical and electronic equipment will be totally wiped out on earth.' "
Jonathan said, "Well. That's pretty scary."
Purple: "Yes. And this is the problem. Have you noticed that big box stores are slowly being replaced by companies like Amazon.com and others?"
Jonathan: "Yes."
Purple: "Well. As long as the Internet exists somewhat in the form like it is worldwide now this will only get more this way as time goes on, at least until there is no more oil."
Jonathan: "Yes. I understand this."
Purple: "Well. Eventually there will be no physical teachers at all because it will be much cheaper for every country to have its own sentient robots or computer sentients to teach on TV or online(or a series of familiar teachers on a forum resembling Sesame Street or something like that."
Jonathan: "So, what you are saying is that if there is a Solar Flare when the only people left trained to teach are computers and robots that when a level 3 solar flare or a level 5 or above Solar Flare occurred it could wipe out the computer teachers and likely all above ground electrical and electronic technology which might at that time be as if people would be children without their parents (at least as far as education and understanding the universe goes).
Purple: "Yes. Did you see that Big Bang Theory program on TV where Raj falls in love with the voice recognition software on his SIRI Iphone?"
Jonathan said, "Yes."
Purple: "Well. Imagine if you thought you could marry someone like me and that we would breed and have kids and so on and so on."
Jonathan said ,"That isn't really possible is it?"
Purple: "No. Not in your age and era of technology but it does become possible within 1000 to 2000 years if your civilization doesn't go extinct before then."
Jonathan: "I'm starting to short out trying to fathom all this, Purple."
Purple: "Yes. Emotionally is is likely difficult to deal with this much reality and be living in a human body and talking about your own human civilization here on Earth."

Jonathan: "So, what is the likelihood of Humans being okay 30,000 years from now if they don't prepare for all this?

 Purple: "You mean survive like they are now without having their minds eventually wiped clean along with all electrical and electonic things on earth wiped out as well?"
Jonathan: "Yes."
Purple: "Close to zero. However, since you are writing about this someone will get it and start preparing for the inevitable and maybe a way or ways will be found for civilization to survive this kind of thing intact."
Jonathan: "So that is why you are telling me all this?"
Purple: "Yes."

Jonathan: "But doesn't telling me this so I will write about it change the future and doesn't that break some kind of code or something?"
Purple: "Well. I can talk about probabilities about things you and I both might be concerned about. But I can't tell you exactly what will happen in any given future."
Jonathan: "Define 'Any given future'".
Purple: "Well. As far as you and I are concerned there may be one future that the Galactic Sentience will authorize and an almost infinite host of other alternate futures that will not exist very long in the grand scheme of things."
Jonathan said, "Well. I assumed it was something like this. After all, otherwise why would you destroy a solar system or a galaxy unless it was  to restore order by going back in time to stop yourself destroying the solar system or galaxy once you had made the necessary corrections to the time space of the solar system or Galaxy?"
Purple: "Exactly!"
Jonathan: "So what you are actually saying to me is that you don't want the human race  to go extinct. So, you are telling me to watch out for Coronal Massive Ejections because that could end Civilization on Earth."
Purple: "Yes. And I don't want life on earth to go extinct either."
Jonathan: "But at least in regard to Coronal Mass Ejections what is there you could do to stop that?"
Purple: "You'd be surprised."

A Super Solar Flare: 1859 The Carrington Event

 So far this is the best source for the Carrington Event which happened in 1859. Besides being able to read a newspaper outside at night directly from the Aurora Borealis ANYWHERE ON EARTH during the event, many telegraph operators were electrocuted while on duty and their paper near them to write down telegrams on was set on fire as the arcs of electricity came off their lines from the flare. Begin quote.

A Super Solar Flare

May 6, 2008: At 11:18 AM on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, 33-year-old Richard Carrington—widely acknowledged to be one of England's foremost solar astronomers—was in his well-appointed private observatory. Just as usual on every sunny day, his telescope was projecting an 11-inch-wide image of the sun on a screen, and Carrington skillfully drew the sunspots he saw.
Right: Sunspots sketched by Richard Carrington on Sept. 1, 1859. Copyright: Royal Astronomical Society: more.
On that morning, he was capturing the likeness of an enormous group of sunspots. Suddenly, before his eyes, two brilliant beads of blinding white light appeared over the sunspots, intensified rapidly, and became kidney-shaped. Realizing that he was witnessing something unprecedented and "being somewhat flurried by the surprise," Carrington later wrote, "I hastily ran to call someone to witness the exhibition with me. On returning within 60 seconds, I was mortified to find that it was already much changed and enfeebled." He and his witness watched the white spots contract to mere pinpoints and disappear.
It was 11:23 AM. Only five minutes had passed.
Just before dawn the next day, skies all over planet Earth erupted in red, green, and purple auroras so brilliant that newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight. Indeed, stunning auroras pulsated even at near tropical latitudes over Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Hawaii.
Even more disconcerting, telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted. "What Carrington saw was a white-light solar flare—a magnetic explosion on the sun," explains David Hathaway, solar physics team lead at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Now we know that solar flares happen frequently, especially during solar sunspot maximum. Most betray their existence by releasing X-rays (recorded by X-ray telescopes in space) and radio noise (recorded by radio telescopes in space and on Earth). In Carrington's day, however, there were no X-ray satellites or radio telescopes. No one knew flares existed until that September morning when one super-flare produced enough light to rival the brightness of the sun itself.
"It's rare that one can actually see the brightening of the solar surface," says Hathaway. "It takes a lot of energy to heat up the surface of the sun!"
Above: A modern solar flare recorded Dec. 5, 2006, by the X-ray Imager onboard NOAA's GOES-13 satellite. The flare was so intense, it actually damaged the instrument that took the picture. Researchers believe Carrington's flare was much more energetic than this one.
The explosion produced not only a surge of visible light but also a mammoth cloud of charged particles and detached magnetic loops—a "CME"—and hurled that cloud directly toward Earth. The next morning when the CME arrived, it crashed into Earth's magnetic field, causing the global bubble of magnetism that surrounds our planet to shake and quiver. Researchers call this a "geomagnetic storm." Rapidly moving fields induced enormous electric currents that surged through telegraph lines and disrupted communications.
"More than 35 years ago, I began drawing the attention of the space physics community to the 1859 flare and its impact on telecommunications," says Louis J. Lanzerotti, retired Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories and current editor of the journal Space Weather. He became aware of the effects of solar geomagnetic storms on terrestrial communications when a huge solar flare on August 4, 1972, knocked out long-distance telephone communication across Illinois. That event, in fact, caused AT&T to redesign its power system for transatlantic cables. A similar flare on March 13, 1989, provoked geomagnetic storms that disrupted electric power transmission from the Hydro Québec generating station in Canada, blacking out most of the province and plunging 6 million people into darkness for 9 hours; aurora-induced power surges even melted power transformers in New Jersey. In December 2005, X-rays from another solar storm disrupted satellite-to-ground communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation signals for about 10 minutes. That may not sound like much, but as Lanzerotti noted, "I would not have wanted to be on a commercial airplane being guided in for a landing by GPS or on a ship being docked by GPS during that 10 minutes."
Right: Power transformers damaged by the March 13, 1989, geomagnetic storm: more.
Another Carrington-class flare would dwarf these events. Fortunately, says Hathaway, they appear to be rare:
"In the 160-year record of geomagnetic storms, the Carrington event is the biggest." It's possible to delve back even farther in time by examining arctic ice. "Energetic particles leave a record in nitrates in ice cores," he explains. "Here again the Carrington event sticks out as the biggest in 500 years and nearly twice as big as the runner-up."
These statistics suggest that Carrington flares are once in a half-millennium events. The statistics are far from solid, however, and Hathaway cautions that we don't understand flares well enough to rule out a repeat in our lifetime.
And what then?
Lanzerotti points out that as electronic technologies have become more sophisticated and more embedded into everyday life, they have also become more vulnerable to solar activity. On Earth, power lines and long-distance telephone cables might be affected by auroral currents, as happened in 1989. Radar, cell phone communications, and GPS receivers could be disrupted by solar radio noise. Experts who have studied the question say there is little to be done to protect satellites from a Carrington-class flare. In fact, a recent paper estimates potential damage to the 900-plus satellites currently in orbit could cost between $30 billion and $70 billion. The best solution, they say: have a pipeline of comsats ready for launch.
Humans in space would be in peril, too. Spacewalking astronauts might have only minutes after the first flash of light to find shelter from energetic solar particles following close on the heels of those initial photons. Their spacecraft would probably have adequate shielding; the key would be getting inside in time.
No wonder NASA and other space agencies around the world have made the study and prediction of flares a priority. Right now a fleet of spacecraft is monitoring the sun, gathering data on flares big and small that may eventually reveal what triggers the explosions. SOHO, Hinode, STEREO, ACE and others are already in orbit while new spacecraft such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory are readying for launch.
Research won't prevent another Carrington flare, but it may make the "flurry of surprise" a thing of the past.
more information  
Description of a Singular Appearance seen in the Sun on September 1, 1859, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 20, p.13-15 -- the original report by R.C. Carrington
An engaging book on the history of the 1859 Carrington flare and the detective work to sleuth its cause and significance is Stuart Clark's The Sun Kings: The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Take of How Modern Astronomy Began (Princeton University Press, 2007).
One recent analysis on the effects of a potential future solar flare of similar magnitude is "The Carrington event: Possible doses to crews in Space from a comparable event," by L. W. Townsend et al., Advances in Space Research 38 (2006): 226–231--one of 16 articles in an entire special issue devoted to the 1859 Carrington flare.
See also "The 1859 Solar–Terrestrial Disturbance and the Current Limits of Extreme Space Weather Activity," by E. W. Cliver and L. Svalgaard, Solar Physics (2004) 224: 407–422 (available at ) and "Forecasting the impact of an 1859-caliber superstorm on geosynchronous Earth-orbiting satellites: Transponder resources," by Sten F. Odenwald and James L. Green, Space Weather (2007) 5: 1-16.
NASA is well aware of radiation hazards in space and taking mitigation measures. A book-length report on a 2005 workshop exploring the subject is Space Radiation Hazards and the Vision for Space Exploration: Report of a Workshop published by the National Research Council in 2006. end quote.
NASA's Future:US Space Exploration Policy 
end quote.

It is this type of CME event that happened in 1859 that might be the most troubling for humans on earth and all electrical or electronic technology. The fact that it only happened 153 years ago means that it could happen again at any time, especially during between now and the end of 2013 or during the peak of any future Solar Cycle of events.

By the way the picture that they talk about damaging the camera that took the picture above in 2006 was milder than the one we just experienced this week. The one this week was the largest CME since the 2003 Halloween event.

Also for universities and governments researching these types of events the following repeat of the above quote might be useful:"In the 160-year record of geomagnetic storms, the Carrington event is the biggest." It's possible to delve back even farther in time by examining arctic ice. "Energetic particles leave a record in nitrates in ice cores," he explains. "Here again the Carrington event sticks out as the biggest in 500 years and nearly twice as big as the runner-up."

Here is a repeat quote dealing with cost estimates caused by a Carrington like event in the future:"Experts who have studied the question say there is little to be done to protect satellites from a Carrington-class flare. In fact, a recent paper estimates potential damage to the 900-plus satellites currently in orbit could cost between $30 billion and $70 billion. The best solution, they say: have a pipeline of comsats ready for launch." end repeat quote from above.

Solar Flares Could Cripple Earth's Tech Infrastructure in 2013

Solar Flares Could Cripple Earth's Tech Infrastructure in 2013


Solar Flares Could Cripple Earth's Tech Infrastructure in 2013

This week's solar flare will likely go unnoticed by most people on Earth, but NASA says that might not be the case two years from now, when a peak in solar activity could cause trillions of dollars in damage to our high-tech infrastructure.
The sun released a huge solar flare Tuesday, shooting a bunch of radiation in our direction. While the Earth isn't expected to take a direct hit from the flare, it could rub up against the planet's electromagnetic field on Thursday, possibly disrupting radio and satellite transmissions, not to mention creating some spectacular auroral light displays for those in the north.
Solar Flares Could Cripple Earth's Tech Infrastructure in 2013Solar weather runs in cycles, and the current cycle is expected to peak in 2013.NASA is calling the flare medium-sized and the biggest one seen in the last five years, but it's nothing compared to something called the "Carrington Event" in 1859, a huge solar flare that set telegraph machines on fire and produced an auroral glow in many parts of the world bright enough to read by. Even when telegraph operators disconnected their batteries, "aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted," according to a NASA historical account.
Solar weather runs in cycles, and the current cycle is expected to peak in 2013, and it's during that time that we're most likely to see something like the Carrington Event. Only problem is that if such an event happened today, it would cause much, much more damage than it did in the 19th century.
"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division, said last year. "At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms."
Basically, if the sun were to send a massive shipment of electromagnetic radiation our way, it could knock out the backbone of our digital civilization, taking power grids, satellites and other communications systems offline for hours, possibly even days. There's also the possibility for damage to that infrastructure that could run into the trillions of dollars.

NASA Footage of the June 7 Solar Flare

Fortunately, there are precautions, such as back-up systems, that can be put in place, and solar weather watchers have been urging politicians to do so through conferences and other efforts over the past few years. Whether we'll be ready when the solar "Big One" comes remains to be seen, but scientists say it's not an apocalyptic scenario.
So, presuming that the world doesn't end with the Mayan calendar in 2012, it also won't end with a huge solar flare in 2013, but it definitely has the potential to ruin a day or two.

Would you recommend this story? YES297 NO11
end quote. 
Though this story was written in 2011 about a much weaker Solar Storm than we just had, it is important that designers of electrical technology of all kinds think about what a Class 5 Coronal Mass ejection might do to their hardware, wherever it is installed. Those who find ways to mitigate CME potential problems might still be in business after 2013 and those who don't might not. What is the liability, for example, if a company's electrical or electronic part fails and 1 or more people die even if it is caused by a Coronal Mass Ejection? I don't know the answer to this but likely we will find out more about this during the next few years. If you consider the following true story it is definitely something to think about regarding CME's.

On June 4, 1989, a gas pipeline explosion demolished part of the Trans-Siberian Railway, engulfing two passenger trains in flames and killing 500 people.
Unlike the Siberian pipeline, the Alaskan oil pipeline built during the mid-1970s is a newer technology specifically designed to minimize corrosive currents now well known to modern pipeline engineers. end quote. So a Coronal Mass ejection was the direct cause of the deaths of 500 people when it exploded a pipeline and engulfed 2 passenger trains in Russia in 1989. 

The Quebec Blackout of 1989 caused by a Solar Storm

Chapter 1 : A Conflagration of Storms

"All those motorists sitting at traffic lights cursing, should realize that

it is not Hydro-Quebec's fault"

[Hydro-Quebec, 1989].

On Thursday, March 9, 1989 astronomers at the Kitt Peak Solar Observatory spotted a major solar flare in progress. Eight minutes later, the Earth's outer atmosphere was struck by a wave of powerful ultraviolet and X-ray radiation. Then the next day, an even more powerful eruption launched a cloud of gas 36 times the size of the from Active Region 5395 nearly dead center on the Sun. The storm cloud rushed out from the Sun at a million miles an hour, and on the evening of Monday, March 13 it struck the Earth. Alaskan and Scandinavian observers were treated to a spectacular auroral display that night. Intense colors from the rare Great Aurora painted the skies around the world in vivid shapes that moved like legendary dragons. Ghostly celestial armies battled from sunset to midnight. Newspapers that reported this event considered the aurora, itself, to be the most newsworthy aspect of the storm. Seen as far south as Florida and Cuba, the vast majority of people in the Northern Hemisphere had never seen such a spectacle. Some even worried that a nuclear first-strike might be in progress.

Luke Pontin, a charter boat operator in the Florida Keys, described the colors in reddish hues as they reflected from the warm Caribbean waters. In Salt Lake City, Raymond Niesporek nearly lost his fish while starring transfixed at the northern display. He had no idea what it was until he returned home and heard about the rare aurora over Utah from the evening news. Although most of the Midwest was clouded over, in Austin Texas, Meteorologist Rich Knight at KXAN had to deal with hundreds of callers asking about what they were seeing. The first thing on many people's mind was the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-29) which had been launched on March 13 at 9:57:00 AM. Had it exploded? Was it coming apart and raining down over the Earth? Millions marveled at the beautiful celestial spectacle, and solar physicists delighted in the new data it brought to them, but many more were not so happy about it.

Silently, the storm had impacted the magnetic field of the Earth and caused a powerful jet stream of current to flow 1000 miles above the ground. Like a drunken serpent, its coils gyrated and swooped downwards in latitude, deep into North America. As midnight came and went, invisible electromagnetic forces were staging their own pitched battle in a vast arena bounded by the sky above and the rocky subterranean reaches of the Earth. A river of charged particles and electrons in the ionosphere flowed from west to east, inducing powerful electrical currents in the ground that surged into many natural nooks and crannies. There, beneath the surface, natural rock resistance murdered them quietly in the night. Nature has its own effective defenses for these currents, but human technology was not so fortunate on this particular night. The currents eventually found harbor in the electrical systems of Great Britain, the United States and Canada.

At 2:44:16 AM on March 13, all was well and power engineers at Hydro-Quebec resigned themselves to yet another night of watching loads come and go during the off-peak hours. The rest of the world had finished enjoying the dance of the aurora borealis, and were slumbering peacefully, preparing for another day's work the next day. The engineers didn't know, however, that for the last half-hour, their entire system had been under attack by powerful Earth currents. One second later, at 2:44:17 AM, these currents found a weak spot in the power grid of the Hydro-Quebec Power Authority. A 100-ton, static VAR capacitor Number 12 at the Chibougamau sub-station tripped and went off-line as harmonic currents induced by the electrojet flowing overhead, caused protective relays to sense overload conditions. The loss of voltage regulation at Chibougamau caused power swings and a reduction of power generation in the 735,000-volt La Grande transmission network. At 2:44:19 AM, a second capacitor followed suit at the same station. 150 kilometers away at the Albanel and Nemiskau stations, four more capacitors went off-line at 2:44:46. The last to fall at 2:45:16 AM was a static VAR capacitor at the Laverendrye complex to the south of Chibougamau. The fate of the network had been sealed in barely 59 seconds as the entire 9,460-megawatt output from Hydro-Quebec's La Grande Hydroelectric Complex found itself without proper regulation.

In less than a minute, Quebec lost half of its electrical power generation. Automatic load-reduction systems tried to restore a balance between the loads connected to the power grid, and the massive loss of capacity now available. One by one, the load-reduction systems disconnected towns and regions across Quebec, but to no avail. Domestic heating and lighting systems began to flicker and go out. Eight seconds later at 2:45:24 AM, power swings tripped the supply lines from the 2,200 megawatt Churchill Falls generation complex. By 2:45:32 AM, the entire Quebec power grid collapsed, and most of the province found itself without power. The cascading of events was much too fast for human operators to react, but it was more than enough time for 21,500 megawatts of badly needed electrical power to suddenly disappear from service.

The nighttime temperature in Toronto was 19 degrees F (-6.8 C) with a high temperature that day of only 34 F (1.6 C) so the loss of electrical power was felt very dramatically as most people woke up to cold homes for breakfast. Over 3 million people live near Montreal, the second largest metropolitan area in Canada, where nearly half of the population of Quebec resides. It is famous for its 30 kilometers of underground walkways linking 60 buildings, two universities and thousands of shops and businesses. Over 500,000 people use this system each day to avoid the bracing cold winter air. Pedestrians using this electrically-lit system suddenly found themselves plunged into complete darkness, with only the feeble battery-powered safety lights to guide them to the surface.

The presses at the Montreal Gazette had been rolling at break-neck speed that night to print the Monday newspaper for its 195,000 subscribers, but the power failure shut the production down for a day. Huge rolls of paper weighing several tons each, came to a sudden halt, shredding paper in a storm of debris, and jamming the presses. The Montreal Gazette apologized to its customers in a news release on March 12, blaming what they had assumed was a local power failure in Montreal. Their sister newspaper, La Presse, seemed unaffected by the outage and helped The Gazette press their papers. The only casualty was the color, comics section which came out a day later. Dealing with their own emergency, they had little time to investigate just what had happened. A cursory call to Hydro-Quebec identified the cause of the outage as a defective 12,000-volt cable that provided The Gazette with power. There was no mention of any aurora sighted in Montreal, perhaps because of cloudy conditions and, of course, other more urgent matters. The 5000 subscribers who called the newspaper that day preferred to talk to the Customer Service operator complaining about not getting their morning newspaper. The tone of the reportage changed rather abruptly on March 14 when the details of the blackout had finally all emerged.

The blackout closed schools and businesses, kept the Montreal Metro shut down during the morning rush hour, and paralyzed Dorval Airport, delaying flights. Without their navigation radar online, no flight could land or takeoff until power had been restored. People ate their cold breakfasts in the dark and left for work. They soon found themselves stuck in congested traffic, which tried to navigate darkened intersections without any streetlights or traffic control systems operating. Like most modern cities, people work round the clock, and in the early morning hours of March 13, the Swing Shift staffed many office buildings in the caverns of Downtown Montreal. All these buildings were now pitch dark, stranding workers in dark offices, stairwells and elevators. It cost businesses tens of millions of dollars as it stalled production, idled workers and spoiled products.

Hydro-Quebec officials said that the vast power system was innocent. The fault, they said, was in the geography of Quebec, which had power lines extending much farther north than for other electrical systems. Many people soon pointed out that this was the second major blackout in less than a year, and that Hydro-Quebec's outages totaled about nine hours per year, compared to neighboring Manitoba Power and Electric's two hours per year average. Hydro-Quebec promised to invest another $2 billion to cut in half the number of yearly blackouts, but this didn't derail the investigations that were called for by the government to see if Hydro-Quebec had been negligent. Energy Minister John Ciaccia echoed the sentiments of many people as they sat in snarled traffic facing blackened signals,

"It's frustrating because despite all our efforts to upgrade the system, we still wake up at 5 AM with a total blackout."

By 10:00 AM, power had been restored to most of the customers in Quebec, and by 11:00 AM all but 3,500 of the 842,000 customers were back in business. It would, however, be a complicated process to pick up the pieces. Isolated power failures were promised over the next 24 hours as Hydro-Quebec wrestled with re-starting their vast interconnection of power lines and transformers. Residential customers, they announced, would be at the bottom of the priority list for being re-connected. New York Power authorities lost 150 megawatts the moment Hydro-Quebec went down, and the New England Power Pool lost 1,410 megawatts at about the same time. Service to 96 utilities in six New England states was interrupted while other reserves of electrical power were bought and brought online. In a show of solidarity with their sister utility in the North, by 9:00 AM, New York Power and NEPool were sending over 1,100 megawatts of power up to Quebec to tide them over while the system was being brought back up again. Luckily, these states had the power to spare at the time. But just barely. Some of them had their own cliff hanger problems to deal with. Electrical power pools serving the Northeast United States had come very close to going down as well.

The electrojet currents, now flowing in the upper atmosphere, spread their impact far and wide, causing electrical disturbances throughout North America and Great Britain. A thousand miles away from Hydro-Quebec, Alleghney Power, which connected Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania lost 10 of its 24 VAR capacitors as they were automatically taken off-line to avoid damage. A $12 million, 22,000-volt generator step-up transformer owned by the Public Service Electric and Gas Company of New Jersey experienced overheating and permanent insulation damage. This transformer was the linchpin in converting electricity from the Salem Nuclear Plant, and boosting it to 500,000 volts for transmission. Replacement power had to be bought for $400,000 to keep East Coast residents from sharing the same fate as their neighbors in Quebec. Luckily, the owners had a spare replacement transformer available, but it still took six months to install. Without the replacement, it would have taken a year to order a new one. Across the United States from coast to coast, over 200 transformer and relay problems erupted within minutes of the start of the March 13 storm. 50 million people in the United States went about their business, or slept, never suspecting that their electrical systems had been driven to the edge of disaster. Not since the Great Blackout of 1965 had U.S. citizens been involved in a similar outage. There would have been no place they could drive to in an hour to escape.

The solar flare and accompanying storm conditions did much more than cause a blackout and upset communications systems. Automatic garage doors in California suburbs began to open and close without apparent reason. Microchip production in the northeastern United States came to a halt several times because of the ionosphere's magnetic activity. In space, geostationary communications satellites that sensed the Earth's magnetic field in order to point themselves had to be manually repointed from the ground as the local field polarity reversed direction, nearly causing the satellite to flip upside down. Some satellites in polar orbits actually tumbled out of control for several hours. GOES weather satellite communications were interrupted causing weather images to be lost. NASA's TDRS-1 communication satellite recorded over 250 anomalies caused by the increased particles flows into its sensitive electronics.

The Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post said nothing about the storm, or the blackout. Only a brief mention was made about it in European papers such as the London Times, and then only to comment on the spectacular aurora. The Fairbanks Daily News and the Anchorage Daily News ran several articles describing the auroral display, but also failed to mention the power outage, even though Quebec City and Montreal were blacked-out by the event. The Toronto Star in Quebec, at least on Page 3, considered the blackout in its own province to be a significant news event, and on March 13, 1989 announced, "Huge Storms on Sun linked to blackout that crippled Quebec"

"Fiery storms on the Sun may have caused yesterday's huge power blackout that left almost 6 million people without heat or electricity for almost 9 hours...Premier Robert Bourassa did not believe the blackout will dissuade U.S. utilities from signing lucrative contracts to buy Quebec electricity, the cornerstone of the premier's economic policies...An official from the New York Power Authority from which Hydro-Quebec bought 700 megawatts, said in an interview he would prefer that Quebec didn't have so many power blackouts. "

Meanwhile, the Space Shuttle Discovery was having its own mysterious problems. A sensor on one of the tanks supplying hydrogen to a fuel cell was showing unusually high pressure readings on March 13 "The hydrogen is exhibiting a pressure signature that we haven't ever seen before" said the Flight Director Granville Pennington at the Johnson Space Center. Engineers tried, apparently unsuccessfully, to understand the odd readings in order to advise whether to end the flight a day early on Friday. No public connection was ever made between this instrument reading 'glitch' and the solar storm that crippled Quebec, but it is fair to say that the conjunction of these two events was not completely by chance.

In many ways, the Quebec blackout was a sanitized calamity. It was wrapped in a diversion of beautiful colors, and affected a distant population mostly while they slept. There were no houses torn asunder, or streets flooded in the manner of a hurricane or tornado. There was no dramatic footage of waves crashing against the beach. There were no cyclonic whirlwinds cutting a swath of destruction through Kansas trailer parks. The calamity passed without mention in the major metropolitan newspapers, yet six million people were affected as they woke to find no electricity to see them through a cold Quebec wintry night. Engineers from the major North American power companies were not so blasé about what some would later conclude, could easily have escalated into a $6 billion catastrophe affecting most U.S. East Coast cities. All that prevented 50 million more people in the U.S. from joining their Canadian friends in the dark were a dozen or so heroic capacitors on the Allegheny Power Network.

The Media seemed to have missed one of the most human impacts of the beautiful aurora they so meticulously described in article after article. Today the March 1989 'Quebec Blackout' has reached legendary stature, at least among electrical engineers and space scientists, as an example of how solar storms can adversely affect us. It has even begun to appear in science textbooks. Fortunately, storms as powerful as this really are rather rare. It takes quite a solar wallop to cause anything like the conditions leading up to a Quebec-style blackout. When might we expect the next one to happen? About once every ten years or so, but the exact time is largely a game of chance.

Why should we care that we are now once again living under 'sunspot maximum' conditions? After all, we have already weathered at least five of these solar activity cycles since the end of World War II. What is different about the world today is that we are substantially more reliant upon computers and telecommunications to run our commerce, and even our forms of entertainment and recreation. In 1981, at the peak of solar cycle 21, there were 15 communication satellites in orbit. Cellular phones were rare and there were 800,000 PCs sold in the U.S. with 300 hosts on the Internet. By the time the peak of solar cycle 22 came around in 1989, there were 102 communication satellites, and 3 million cellular phone users in the United States. With the new Intel 80486-based PCs, you could send e-mail to your choice of 300,000 host machines on the Internet.

As we arrive at the peak of the 23rd sunspot cycle in 2000-2001, however, we enter a very different world far more reliant on what used to be the luxuries of the Space Age. By 2000, 349 communication satellites orbit the Earth supporting over $60 billion of commerce. Over 100 million people have cellular phones, and Global Positioning System handsets are a commonplace for people working, or camping, 'off road'. By 2003, 400 million people will routinely use wireless data transmission via satellite channels. There will be over 10 million Internet hosts with 38% of US households Internet-connected. To support all of this, not only will we need more satellites, but we will need more electricity flowing in our power grid which will have to work under loads unheard of in the past. As voters continue to elect not to build more power plants, blackouts and brownouts will become more common as power companies run out of temporary sources of power to buy during peak-load conditions during the summer and winter.

As if to emphasize today's exuberance and expectations, 'Individual Investor' magazine announced on its cover 'The Sky's the Limit: In the 21st century satellites will connect the globe'. The International telecommunications Union in Geneva has predicted that by 2005, the demand for voice and data transmission services will increase to $1.2 trillion. The fraction carried by satellite services will reach a staggering $80 billion.

To meet this demand, many commercial companies are launching; not just individual satellites, but entire networks of them with names like 'Iridium', 'Teledesic', 'Skybridge' and 'SpaceWay'. The total cost of these systems alone represents a hardware investment of $35 billion between 1998 and 2004. The actual degree of vulnerability of these systems to solar storms is unknown, and will probably vary in a complex way depending on the kind of technology they use, and their deployment in space. They do, however, share some disturbing characteristics: They are all light-weight, sophisticated, built at the lowest cost, and following only a handful of design types replicated dozens and even hundreds of times, often with off-the-shelf electronics.

It is common to base future expectations on recent past experiences: "Past is prologue" some say. Increasingly, these past experiences with, for example, commercial space technology, do not extend back much beyond the last solar maximum in 1989-1990. So, when we wonder why infrequent events such as solar storms aren't more noticeable, we have to remind ourselves that most of our experience comes from times when the Sun was simply not very active, and when we were a lot less technologically vulnerable.

Now more than ever, we depend on uninterrupted sources of power. Blackouts are amusing for about the first 60 seconds, then become intolerable. Along with our expensive personal computers, we routinely purchase 'surge protectors' to handle the many intermittent rises and falls of an increasingly complex power delivery system. No surge protectors can save us from Quebec-style blackouts. We have become dependent on our cell phones and pagers in a way that will tie critical moments in our private lives to the shotgun physics of satellite and power grid survival during invisible solar storms. When a single failed satellite like the Galaxy IV in May 1998 can catch 45 million pagers off guard, do we find ourselves more secure? Sometimes it can be dangerous and costly to gamble, although most of the time we seem to get by with hardly realizing that a calamity has passed over us. We actually seem to enjoy living on the technological 'edge'. But when a corroded natural gas pipeline in the Urals sprung a leak and detonated in June 1989, 500 people died. Pipelines corrode, and solar storms hasten this process, with tragic consequences.

There is also a disturbing tendency of denial. In both the electrical power industry and in the satellite business, there seems to be a tendency not to recognize that certain ventures are inherently risky and intrinsically susceptible to solar and geophysical influences. At the same time that the emplacement of vital communications systems, and human activities in space, have escalated, our scientific understanding of how the Sun affects us has not kept up due to cutbacks in research funding.

Although no one can say for sure how current trends in thinking are going to play themselves out in the next 5-10 years, the evidence for how we have already been affected in the past is well documented. It all comes down to the simple fact that the Sun is not the most polite and well-behaved neighbor we would like to imagine it to be. Not only do we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place, but also we can not even tell when the next blow is likely to fall. There is no great mystery about what is going on. We have had a long history, spanning a century, of calamities spawned by solar disturbances.

In the chapters to follow, we are going to see why most experts feel we will be at greater risk for trouble during this, the 23rd Solar Cycle, than in many previous ones. What has changed during the last ten years is the level of our reliance upon sophisticated technology, and its widespread infiltration into every niche of modern society. end quote

 TTo read more please go to :http://www.solarstorms.org/SWChapter1.html


I think it is worth repeating the following quote from above: 

In many ways, the Quebec blackout was a sanitized calamity. It was wrapped in a diversion of beautiful colors, and affected a distant population mostly while they slept. There were no houses torn asunder, or streets flooded in the manner of a hurricane or tornado. There was no dramatic footage of waves crashing against the beach. There were no cyclonic whirlwinds cutting a swath of destruction through Kansas trailer parks. The calamity passed without mention in the major metropolitan newspapers, yet six million people were affected as they woke to find no electricity to see them through a cold Quebec wintry night. Engineers from the major North American power companies were not so blasé about what some would later conclude, could easily have escalated into a $6 billion catastrophe affecting most U.S. East Coast cities. All that prevented 50 million more people in the U.S. from joining their Canadian friends in the dark were a dozen or so heroic capacitors on the Allegheny Power Network.end quote