This is quite an article. Read the whole thing to understand how this all works and how utterly unprepared we are for it.

Wired has some articles about our power grid: here, here, here and here.

IT IS midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colourful light. […] Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power.

A year later and millions of Americans are dead and the nation’s infrastructure lies in tatters. The World Bank declares America a developing nation. Europe, Scandinavia, China and Japan are also struggling to recover from the same fateful event – a violent storm, 150 million kilometres away on the surface of the sun.

It sounds ridiculous. Surely the sun couldn’t create so profound a disaster on Earth. Yet an extraordinary report funded by NASA and issued by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in January this year claims it could do just that.
The surface of the sun is a roiling mass of plasma – charged high-energy particles – some of which escape the surface and travel through space as the solar wind. From time to time, that wind carries a billion-tonne glob of plasma, a fireball known as a coronal mass ejection (see “When hell comes to Earth“). If one should hit the Earth’s magnetic shield, the result could be truly devastating.

The incursion of the plasma into our atmosphere causes rapid changes in the configuration of Earth’s magnetic field which, in turn, induce currents in the long wires of the power grids. The grids were not built to handle this sort of direct current electricity. The greatest danger is at the step-up and step-down transformers used to convert power from its transport voltage to domestically useful voltage. The increased DC current creates strong magnetic fields that saturate a transformer’s magnetic core. The result is runaway current in the transformer’s copper wiring, which rapidly heats up and melts. This is exactly what happened in the Canadian province of Quebec in March 1989, and six million people spent 9 hours without electricity. But things could get much, much worse than that.

  1. Winston says:

    Cold fusion is heating up:

    237th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, March 22-26, 2009

    Low Energy Nuclear Reactions
    Introducing low energy nuclear reactions Jan Marwan
    Low-energy nuclear reaction research: 2009 ACS update Steven B. Krivit
    Condensed matter nuclear science discoveries
    Scott R Chubb Sr., Talbot A. Chubb
    From cold fusion to condensed matter nuclear science: 20 years of research Michael Charles Harold McKubre
    Twenty year history of LENR research using Pd/D codeposition Frank E. Gordon, Stanislaw Szpak, P. A. Mosier-Boss, Melvin H. Miles, Lawrence Forsley
    From the proof of principle to a working prototype
    Antonella De Ninno
    Practical use of nuclear quadrupole and internal magnetic field augmented LENR Dennis Cravens, Rod Gimpel, Vince Golubic

    Low Energy Nuclear Transmutation

    Composition of particles in heavy water electrolyte after electrolysis John Dash, Qiongshu Wang
    Transmutation with glow discharge
    Irina B. Savvatimova, John Dash
    Reproducible generation of nuclear particles during electrolysis Richard A. Oriani
    Nuclear transmutation of isotopes in biological systems: History, models, experiments and perspectives Vladimir Vysotskii, Alla Kornilova
    Nanonuclear reactions in condensed matter
    Lawrence Forsley, Frank E. Gordon, Pamela A. Mosier-Boss
    Isotopic changes of elements caused by various conditions of electrolysis Tadahiko Mizuno
    Characterization of distinctive materials with which to generate nuclear transmutation
    Hideo Kozima
    Effect of hydrogen stoichiometry (x) on the lattice expansion in metal-Hx systems Nicolas Amanet
    Understanding the palladium–hydrogen (deuterium) electrochemistry as crucial step to approach low energy nuclear reactions Jan Marwan

  2. righteous indignation says:

    You are correct!! It is a movie!! It’s called “Knowing”, I saw it last night, stars Nicholas Cage. It was a pretty good movie until it got churchy, but I suppose that was to be expected. Trying to explain creationism via aliens and cosmic danger. Seems either a lot was cut out or it was just a bad story to begin with.

  3. MikeN says:

    Since the beginning of time the Sun has yearned to destroy man.

  4. smartalix says:

    Okay, okay dammit, the Mayans. Satisfied?


  5. Dallas says:

    Don’t you hate it when people copy/paste a bunch of shit they google that nobody reads?

  6. Ron Larson says:

    So you have 3 years to go buy yourself a small generator and some fuel. Then if the grid fails, you can at least get some juice at home from time to time. Hell, the Iraqis have mastered the home-grown electricity biz since their grid was, is, and remains a joke.

  7. OvenMaster says:

    Great! Yet one more thing to keep me up at night worrying!

  8. Proud Aliens says:

    Neah, another long tale from those darn Libs. As long as i have my Big Mac, my gun and my Bible, I don’t give a damn.

  9. AlgoreIsWorseThanHitler says:

    Cool. Looking forward to it.

  10. Hugh Ripper says:

    It clearly another scientist getting all dramatic in a bid for more funding.

  11. Mark T. says:

    Wow, it sounds like a great time to buy an electric car!

    I love science but I still marvel at the new and ingenious ways that scientists have come up with to scare the bejeebers out of the citizenry with apocalyptic disaster scenarios. I suspect this guy is hunting for a grant.

    New ice ages, runaway hurricanes seasons, ozone holes, faltering oceanic conveyor belt currents, magnetic pole swaps, global warming, global cooling, meteor strikes, tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, atomic research that results in the earth being sucked into a quantum singularity, rising oceans that cover the entire planet (ala Waterworld). Sheesh!

    And this leaves out the thousands of diseases, wars, and man made disasters that are also heaped onto our rattled collective psyche. Guess what? You can do nothing to stop it any of it. Learn to live with it and get on with your lives. If it happens, it happens. Life will go on.

    The worst part is that virtually all of them will be used as an excuse to either spend your tax dollars or take away your freedoms.

  12. deowll says:

    We are a million miles from being ready to deal with one of these events and we will get hit sooner or later. The only reason it matters is the junk in orbit and power lines and such.

    The other point is solar storms are down and that should mean a cooler climate. The last time we had one was the little ice-age. During that the Thames River froze every winter. London must have had a climate like Moscow.

  13. Nature Boy says:

    In any event, what fun reading all y’alls’ comments. I haven’t had such a good string of laughs for a while, and there’s something appropriate about getting it via an apocalyptic scenario…My Big Mac, my gun and my Bible, lol.

    But seriously. Whatever the threat may be, or combination of threats, it will come from our breakneck race to be sperpopulated, supersophisticated and superconnected, which ultimately makes us vulnerable from any number of quarters.

    With the human population ballooning, and the rest of the populations of plants and animals which support the viability of life on the planet crashing, and local areas dependent on continent-wide food/power grids–the homo sapiens aircraft is heading into a nosedive, people. It could be terrorists, volcanos, military and/or solar events–the point is that almost none of us, with the possible exception of the Amish, are prepared to take care of ourselves should the Grid be compromised. For just one other example, our bloated numbers inhabiting mostly urban environments are prime habitat for mutating germs eager for the feast…In the past (under what we might call the Gridde–i.e., Nature), if one spot in a certain territory got damaged or wiped out, at least part of the rest would just go on fuctioning its local way, like a worm that’s cut in half will just grow back the other half.

    Our civilization may never be hit with a huge solar storm, but it still makes sense to plant gardens and put in cisterns and create earth-friendly energy sources, and to scale down our population and economic “growth”. Doesn’t it? Any way you slice it, at some point in the foreseeable future our unsustainable path is going to boomerang back on us, and people are going to die off in huge numbers, hell on Earth, and, yes, you could make a movie about it.

    As for the scientists fishing for grants, that cuts both ways: some get, and keep, their grants and their food on the table by telling their sponsors how safe their products and practices are. Which cautionary tale do you go with, Chicken Little, or Peter and the Wolf?

  14. Nature Boy says:

    …you could make a movie about it, but that movie would only take into account one main factor, so as to be able to fit it into an entertaining two-hour format, and leave room for (Nicholas Cage’s?) romantic interest to develop its passion-friction-distance-reunion cycle, which would make the whole idea of the cataclysm look silly, and make it fodder for on-line bulletin-board smart-asses, and rightfully so…..

    Here’s the rub: the further we push the makeup of our world away from the world within which we evolved–the ecosystem to which we are adapted–the less adapted we will be, and the more vulnerable to any threat, great or small. Compare the Earth we live on now to that on which we first appeared–in terms of viable biomass: She, and as a result we, are much less stable.

    Rats, if too many of them live in too small a space, will go insane and tear each other apart.

    We are the rats.

  15. Nature Boy says:

    Rats with guns. Rats with nukes.

  16. Nature Boy says:

    Wikipedia notes the following as to the rate of occurrence of “Solar Superstorms”.

    Ice cores show evidence that events of similar intensity has a reoccurs(sic) rate of 500 years. Since 1869, less severe storms have occurred in 1921 and 1960, when widespread radio disruption was reported.[3]

  17. rebecca says:

    do yu guys ever read the freakin bible!!

  18. Rose says:

    I hate to admit it, but I am scared. I have a new grandson {My only one}, and I don’t like the thought of him reaching the age of 4 and suffering though some terrible things that are suppose to occur in 2012, especially on Dec.21.
    My heart goes out to all the innocents of this world, and I pray to God for all of them. Maybe if we all prayed for this to pass with no problem, it would work. I keep hoping I hear some good news from scientist like the planets aren’t really going to aline as much as we thought they would and the sun isn’t going to appear in the center of the milky way to cause us all the problems.

  19. Yeahsure says:

    Uh huh. Right, we’re all gonna crash and effing burn in 2012. Please, give me a break. If that was true and if scientists were truly concerned, then we’d be scrambling like maniacs to get our asses safe. But no. Instead we get lovely articles like these telling us to ‘worry worry worry’ over nothing. And I agree with #49. Just saying.

  20. Lauralee says:

    If I’m not mistaken the bible says that God promised no more catastrophic, world wide floods! Ok…this means we shouldn’t have to worry about the huge Sunami as depicted in the movie ‘2012’ but it does say that this time the earth will be destroyed by fire…whether it be depleting the ozone or whatever…. and that man will bring on his own distruction. It WILL happen one day, however; I don’t think it will be this year ’cause I believe there is still alot that needs to happen first that is in the last pages of the Bible. But I did read an article a year ago that stated that the Scientests think we could have some minor issues such as a few days without power until they can bring it back online and maybe a few quakes and valcanic activity that we normally wouldn’t have. I am not expecting anything catastrophic but if it happens….well, then I’m am spiritually ready for it anyway so I don’t worry to much about it either way.

  21. IrishChocolate says:

    Awesome, So we’ll burn to death. Please don’t let it happen, Jesus. We love you :[


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