Bad Sun Shining

September 24, 2010

Beyond peak oil, climate change, the financial meltdown, peak soil, the GOP’s “Pledge to America,” the death of Eddie Fisher, the population bomb, etc., etc. — what else could possibly disrupt my golden years?

From NASA: “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. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms” — Richard Fisher, head of NASA’s Heliophysics Division.

From NASA’s “Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts” — It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

(Illustration found here).

Fisher also reported “I believe we’re on the threshold of a new era in which space weather can be as influential in our daily lives as ordinary terrestrial weather. We take this very seriously indeed.”
He added “…but it turns out that our data have practical economic and civil uses. This is a good example of space science supporting modern society.”

Hey, dude, is that one of them game-changing,  but

From the UK’s the Telegraph (h/t RawStory):

Experts say the “low hanging fruit” of scientific knowledge, such as the laws of motion and gravity, was attained using simple methods in previous centuries, leaving only increasingly impenetrable problems for modern scientists to solve.
Uncharted areas of science are now so complex that even the greatest minds will struggle to advance human understanding of the world, they claim.

Russell Stannard, professor emeritus of physics at the Open University, argues that although existing scientific knowledge will continue to be applied in news ways, “the gaining of knowledge about fundamental laws of nature and the constituents of the world, that must come to an end”.
He said: “We live in a scientific age and that’s a period that’s going to come to an end at some stage. Not when we’ve discovered everything about the world but when we’ve discovered everything that’s open to us to understand.”

The end of science? WTF — I wanna go back to sleep.

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