Journalist and science consultant Lawrence E. Joseph discussed how fluctuations in the sun's behavior provoke shifts not only in the climate, but also in our personal lives. He explained why he believes it's time for human beings to stop taking the sun for granted by assuming it will shine with unwavering intensity until it burns out billions of years from now. A landmark report by the National Academy of Sciences called Severe Space Weather Events concluded that if a solar blast hit, such as the ones from 1859 or 1921, "up to 130 million Americans could be without electrical power for months, or years," he warned.
And while in June 2010, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously to take the steps necessary to protect the power grid from a solar EMP, the bill was scuttled in the Senate. Joseph suspects this may have been due to the utility industry lobby, who resent regulatory incursion into their territory. He would like to see this important issue revived as a topic during the presidential debates.
People suffer from not getting enough sun, or getting too much sun, he noted. "The sun empowers us, the sun destroys us. It heals our bodies, it sickens our bodies. It's the greatest, most magnificent, most terrible constant in human history," Joseph declared. He shared his "Moody Sun Hypothesis," which suggests that our star is surprisingly turbulent with solar weather conditions, and can exert a great influence upon us, when it undergoes changes. Curiously, it's been discovered that the sun has been sending a "secret warning" via piles of medical waste-- radioactive isotopes decay a little more slowly when a sunspot is about to issue a flare, he detailed. If we established monitoring stations using this type of knowledge, it could give us up to two days warning of an incoming flare, he proposed.
Political commentator Prof. Robert Watson (1st half-hour) and body language expert Greg Hartley (2nd half-hour) offered analysis of the first 2012 presidential debate. There were no knockout blows or major gaffes, and both candidates were competent debaters, though the advantage went to Romney who was more aggressive, said Watson. Romney may get a slight bump in the polls as a result of the debate, he added. Obama showed some signs of "fight or flight," with at times a stammered voice, and scattered thinking, and may not have been as prepared as Romney, Hartley commented. For more, check out our C2C Insta-Poll on the debate.
Sunspots 1579 and 1582 are so large that observers have been able to see them without the use of a solar telescope. While the sunspots are each as wide as the Earth, they are not particularly active, and pose only a small risk of damaging flares. Photo by Lauri Kangas of Ontario. More at Spaceweather.com.
Bumper music from Wednesday October 03, 2012