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back to article NASA: 2012 solar flares could DEVASTATE CITIES!

In an attempt to defuse internet hysteria regarding the purported end of the world next year as the Mayan calendar long-count completes, NASA has stated that next year's solar maximum will see solar flares which are "a problem the same way hurricanes are a problem". That's a very big problem, then. As the US National Oceanic and …

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Pirate

trains wouldn't move, traffic would be gridlocked - Sounds like a normal day to me. My wife is often in gridlocked traffic and communting from the Southeast into London is rarely without problem.

phones and the internet wouldn't work - So move away from blackberry and BT Internet?

the financial markets would be devastated - And this is differerent from today how exactly?

planes and ships would be lost and wrecked - OK, we don't see planes and ships being lost every day but it happens.

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WE'RE DOOMED.....

We're dooomed, I say it again dooooomed I say dooooooooomed!

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Nasa warns : Solar flares from huge space storm will cause world wide devastation!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Br7w-4OgGU

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Mayan Balderdash

The "Mayan calendar long-count completes" is codswallop. It's actually the "Maya" calendar. The Long Count doesn't end in 2012 or ever for that matter. There's no five thousand year cycle in the Long Count. December 21, 2012 is the completion of a bak'tun - a period of 144,000 days. 12.19.19.17.19 is followed by 13.0.0.0.0. There are no Mayan prophesies regarding anything happening on this date. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesoamerican_Long_Count_calendar

Who cares about all about the complete crap promoted by new-age morons regarding this date anyway? But at least you could get your story straight regarding the Long Count.

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So it's the Maya version of Y2K?

Hmm, that'll be a tricky one to spot, Maya is a weird flaky bit of software at the best of times.

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Right!

In fact, the "end" is more or less the Mayan equivalent of Y2K as their units span much more than 12 baktuns. The difference is that Y2k was caused by us humans writing last-2 digits encompassing 100 year intervals, while the Mayan Long Count was commonly written in a 5000 year period. The "common day" calendar used a 54 year cycle, which resets much quicker than the LongCount. Yet nobody was shouting "end o the world"!!!!

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Trollface

OMG! It must be true!

I have a despair calendar on my wall...and I hate to tell you guys this, but there are NO PAGES AFTER DECEMBER!!!

WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!

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Isn't Mayan Balderdash all those poems that were said at Obama's inauguration?

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@ Billy Bob Gascan

" It's actually the "Maya" calendar "

Perhaps in the Mayan language the adjective is "Maya", and indeed in Spanish, too, but there is definitely enough corpus evidence to say that in English, the adjective is Mayan. Just like "French" people aren't "Fronsay" in English, and "Italians" aren't "Italiani". I also don't talk about speaking "català" when discussing Catalan in English, and I like "Spanish omelette", not "tortilla de patatas".

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Joke

13.0.0.0.0 - the next bak.tun

Now we know where we get the idea that 13 is an unlucky number - it's when the Mayans said the world would end.

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FAIL

Wikipedia?

For someone who's basing their opinion on Wikipedia, you sure are an arrogant opinionated fool. Of course there is a prophecy. It's a documented fact. Now you may choose to disbelieve it, as you are perfectly entitled to, but to quote you, "but at least you could get your story straight "...

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Oh my gawd/ess! We're all gonna DIE!!!! ::wrings hands::

Personally, I worry about this kinda thing like I worry about earthquakes[1] ... it is going to happen, eventually, and probably in my lifetime. When it does, we'll pick up the pieces & carry on with our lives. During the meanwhile, I'm cleaning ditches & drains for winter rains, planning my spring planting schedule, and taking care of several very pregnant mares.

Life's too short to sweat the shit that the Universe *might* throw at you.

[1] I'm typing within 400 yards of the Rogers Creek Fault, probable home of The Bay Area's NextBigOne[tm]. I'm not complacent, I'm aware. When, not if. Yes, I have enough food and water for the humans & critters for several days ... Months, actually ;-)

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Trollface

Something to look forward to

All iDevice owners will be vaporized as they clutch them tightly to their bosoms :)

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Joke

If that happens, is it ok to call 911?

:-D

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Unhappy

Get the numbers of dead Katrina victims right

Please cross check your numbers for the total dead from Katrina. Thousands died and many of those bodies were never found as they washed out into the Gulf of Mexico from that monster Hurricane.

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Anonymous Coward

Hundreds/thousands

As I understand it, at least 18 hundred people died during Katrina.

'At least' so very possibly you are accurate (albeit pedantic) when you suggest 'thousands' might be more accurate.

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Bingo

So devistation reigns..and a new ice age will start a few years after.,...HMMMMMMMMM...then whe better get this old earth as warm as possible before that happens so the decreas in temps will not be as severe right? Get lots of carbon and greenhouse gasses in the air.It is our only help...The sky is falling, the sky is falling RUN RUN chicken little...Quote " The more intelligent and educated we become the more reason and common sense are pushed aside from our enlarged egos"

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Bingo

So devistation reigns..and a new ice age will start a few years after.,...HMMMMMMMMM...then whe better get this old earth as warm as possible before that happens so the decreas in temps will not be as severe right? Get lots of carbon and greenhouse gasses in the air.It is our only help...The sky is falling, the sky is falling RUN RUN chicken little...Quote " The more intelligent and educated we become the more reason and common sense are pushed aside from oner enlarged egos"

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Coat

What is this devistation you talk about

All I could find was this

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Maximation%20to%20the%20devistation

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Go

Especially given that the Sun will eventually burn out and expand to such an extent it will engulf the inner part of the solar system - which cialisenespana.com includes Earth.

Don't worry, we've a few million years to either find a fix, and wipe ourselves out first.

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FAIL

The author of this article is an idiot.

The mere thought of this is amusing, but the authors sincerity makes this one for The Onion. This shit is not in any way true. Devastate cities? Get F*cking real dude.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/fail_32.png

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Trollface

The author of this article is a troll.

You're on The Register. Get used to it.

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Joke

Having trouble recognizing sarcasm?

This is Lewis at his finest, taking some story that has a bunch of scaremongers doing their best at scaremongering and making great fun of it.

Then again, he might be off his meds...

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Go

he is new. He is still dragging the emoticons to the text input form.

like this:

VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/mushroom_32.png

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Yankdar alert!!

" The mere thought of this is amusing, but the authors sincerity makes this one for The Onion. This shit is not in any way true. Devastate cities? Get F*cking real dude."

WARNING! WARNING! CLUELESS YANK DETECTED!

It's called Satire, 'Dude'. He wasn't actually being sincere at all... see no one else in 50+ comments has taken it seriously.

We commentards welcome people of all nationalities to this very British site with very British humor (the clue is in the .co.uk domain name) but it's probably best to have some idea of what you're wobbling on about before spouting bollocks like this.

A thick skin is also useful!

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Oh really ?

"There simply isn't enough energy in the sun to send a killer fireball 93 million miles to destroy Earth"

Is it just me, or does that sound like another tragic Last Word moment ?

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It does a bit... Especially given that the Sun will eventually burn out and expand to such an extent it will engulf the inner part of the solar system - which includes Earth.

Don't worry, we've a few million years to either find a fix, and wipe ourselves out first.

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Ru
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Boffin

Re: Oh really?

There's a world of difference between something like a Nova, or a star reaching EOL and becoming a red giant and a star that could generate a coronal mass ejection capable of frying a magnetosphere-equipped planet that's a hundred million miles away.

A big blast like the Carrington event (1859? too lazy to look it up) would be quite bad enough, and apparently we get those every 500 years or so according to ice core isotope studies. Even that didn't set much on fire other than telegraph equipment. Going back even further, there'd be evidence of planet-toasting solar activity in ice cores (which would have a record of this sort of thing going back hundreds of thousands of years) and before that, in geological studies... seems like sun just doesn't do that sort of thing.

Having said that, go look up 'superflare stars'. Can't find much useful information about those, but they're capable of generating flares powerful enough to blast off a planet's ozone layer, turn midwinter temperatures into summer ones and have a good go at melting surface ice to boot... but even they couldn't torch a planet with an earthlike orbit.

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FAIL

And they couldn't his an elephant at this distance.

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@Ru

" Going back even further, there'd be evidence of planet-toasting solar activity in ice cores ..."

Surely the evidence of planet-toasting solar activity would be a *lack* of ice cores...?

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OMFG what dose this mean? Thomas Aquinas says that “it is clear that blasphemy, which is a sin committed directly against God, is more grave than murder, which is a sin against one's neighbor. … it is called the most grievous sin, for as much as it makes every sin more grievous.”[11]

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Sir

OMFG - Old Mother Fucking Gimp,

at least that what the preacher told me it meant.

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I'll have a go

OMFG is shorthand for Oh My F-word Glands where f-word glands is, oddly, longhand for testicles. The term is used in reference to something so totally shocking that the shock, if not the actual pain and anguish, is similar to being popped in the nuts with a force appropriate to make the eyes instantaneously water, the knees buckle and expel all traces of oxygen from the lungs for an extended period of time. So, I don't see how Tommy A. would think it a sin as there was no actual use of the f-word and frankly I don't see what is so wrong with the word fornicating even if Tommy had a fucking problem with fornicating.[12]

[12] A dozen, perhaps that is the daily dose.

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No doubt about it

We'd better start sacrificing virgins and goats pretty bloody quickly. We must appease His wrath!

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"Food would rot, trains wouldn't move, traffic would be gridlocked"

So... no change there then?

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Meh

They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...................

There simply isn't enough energy in the sun to send a killer fireball 93 million miles to destroy Earth ... even at their worst, the sun's flares are not physically capable of destroying Earth.

Famous last words?

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Joke

"It may not be time to wrap all your electronics in tinfoil just yet."

Or maybe you should to keep them warm through the "mini Ice Age"!

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Mushroom

Might slightly increase the likelyhood of meltdowns

The main concern about "the grid" during a solar storm is large DC currents flowing through the windings of the transformers that terminate long distance transmission lines. To save save and money on electrical insulation, the high voltage windings are Wye "Y" connected with a grounded neutral. This allows the common mode (zero sequence) currents to flow from the ground on one transformer to the ground of another. The concern is that there is not enough resources to repair more than a handful of the transformers in a short period of time.

The simplistic way of preventing damage to the transformers is to open up the disconnect switches or circuit breakers. The problem is that these devices are designed to open currents with zero crossings (i.e. AC) and may have problems disrupting a large DC current.

A better solution is to equip the long AC lines with series capacitors, which will also improve power flow. These would prevent DC current from flowing (realizing that DC current is redundant) and likely prevent the damage from geomagnetic storms.

HVDC lines may be a different story.

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Perfect article!

Exactly the kind of article that has earned The Register it's stellar reputation for journalistic integrity...

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mj1

oh well

nothing that cant be sorted with a new taxhttp://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/facepalm_32.png

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What's that mate?

Phone not working?

Front end receiver buggered by Solar Flares?

Awwwwh Shame.

Should have bought an iPhone like mine with a 'for shit' aerial from The Prophets.

I shall dial for two Pizzas using my patented Pizza ordering finger swipe. One for me and one for me. You may starve and have a Darwin award along with all the other non-iPhone users.

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha.

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Perfect article!

Exactly the kind of article that has earned The Register its stellar reputation for journalistic integrity.

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Meh

what about zombies though? the internet said there would be zombies reanimated by solar flares. NASA is being curiously silent on that front. obviously they don't want to cause a panic by telling people about the coming zombie apocalypse as predicted by the Mayan's calander, but I think by remaining silent on the subject they are just confirming that the zombie threat is real and they can't stop it.

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Pint

OMG!!

Hide the electronics? Hell no! Dig out the old 10m SSB rig and enjoy!

(27MHz CB'ers too. Just, please, stay in your band. Thanks.)

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Anonymous Coward

Valves

Just make sure it's finals are valves, you'll be knackered if it uses these new-fangled transistor thingies.

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Anonymous Coward

Too right... Now where did I put that beam antenna...?

I know it's round here somewhere... Honestly how can I have misplaced that?

It's not the UK CB'ers I worry about, it's those damn Italians! I swear half the country is using badly aligned RF equipment, and for some reason feel they need 100watt+ to talk to mother just down the street! I just hope they've moved onto skype these days.

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Anonymous Coward

If there's any justice

All iPads will get fritzed by a massive EMP because they forgot to patent some screening technology.

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WTF?

Wait a minute..

"devastate modern civilisation" blah blah, "bringing down power grids" yawn and "frying satellites en masse" /shrug. "Food would rot, trains wouldn't move, traffic would be gridlocked", who cares? crisps don't go off for months, "phones and THE INTERNET WOULDN'T WORK".. O.M.F.G.

So what you're saying is this could be the End of the World of Warcraft (tm)? And I notice none of the important questions have been asked.. Is the downtime expected to be more than an hour? Will deleting my WTF folder and running a repair restore my WoW connection? Does WoW have it's own backup of the internet just in case of catastrophic, world-wide destruction? Given we are forecasting solar flares, a solar genny for my WoW laptop will be just the ticket right? Do the Red Cross have adequate supplies of spare laptop batteries for all major manufacturers?

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FAIL

Is this a joke?

The author has clearly bought into the sensationalism (maybe to get more views) regarding solar flares and "DOOM." Even if every satellite gets knocked out of the sky and every chip gets fried on earth, it's not going to kill everyone in planes or ships. Every commercial Boeing aircraft has a full hydraulic backup for the control surfaces, so even in a complete electronics failure the pilot can still land safely. That's not to mention the thousands upon thousands of smaller aircraft which are controlled by cables attached to the yolk... In addition, every air and sea captain worth their salt/wings can navigate if their electronic systems fail. Control Towers and aircraft have light-guns/maps/E6-B's and ships have lighthouses/maps/Sextants.

More realistically, if only the satellites go offline for GPS and other telecommunication, there is still the LORAN system and its offspring that can be rapidly put back into service (see: flip the "on" switch)

Not to mention many amateur radio systems still use old tubes which are far more impervious to a little burst of radiation than the transistor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighthouse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation_light_signals

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_flight_control_system

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sextant

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E6B

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LORAN

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_tube

Is it really hard to do a bit of research before such grandiose claims of gloom and doom (and the inability to prevent it) are made?

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