Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by Nathan_Orin
Ok. The breakdown and rebuilding of the solar magnetic field over a period of months is "officially" a flip.
groovy. to be honest, i don't really care if you call it a flip, and inversion, a gradual shift, a frontside somersault with a twist, or a
hairdresser. i was just pointing out how pointless it is to argue over semantics when the exact definition of a word isn't the issue at all. if you
can understand what a person is implying with a statement, then get on with actual conversation. if you are unclear, then ask for clarification so
that you can get on with the conversation.
and, no, i'm not suggesting that you call michio and ask for his definition of terms. i'm referring to the conversation at hand.
I'm still a little confused about how to determine when the flip actually occurs though. Apparently what happened in the 2000-2001 solar max is that
the northern hemisphere of the sun began to flip in early 2000, leaving the sun with two north poles and two south poles in November. The south pole
did not complete its flip until May of 2002.
I found this article which does a pretty good job of describing what happened. A period of intense activity ran from 1999 to 2000. During this period
there were more than 5 CMEs each day, sometimes a lot more than that. Even though sunspot activity peaked in July of 2000 the increase in CMEs
continued until October of 2002.
So it took two years for the sun to complete its magnetic flip. Intense activity started in the year prior to the beginning of the flip and continued
for months after the flip was completed. Maybe it's just me but it sounds a bit melodramatic and alarmist to say, "Every eleven years the sun's
magnetic field flips, releasing a shockwave of radiation." I think more than a few people take that to mean there is going to suddenly be this
tremendous blast from the sun.
That's not the way it works. The activity rises to a peak then subsides. At any time during that period there can and will be flares and CMEs, some
stronger than others. Some will be pointed at Earth and others won't. It happens every 11 years. We are more vulnerable in some aspects because of
our dependence on electricity and satellites and maybe that's why Kaku was being so dramatic, to drive the point home. But there is no reason to
anticipate a catastrophic event.
perhaps the entire process is the flip (or hairdresser, if you prefer)? i mean, even during a rapid succession of events, such as a diver flipping
through the air, which, i think may better fit your personal ideology of the word, it would be absurd to watch a slow motion replay of the event and
debate over when the precise moment occurred in which we can all unanimously agree that a 'flip' has taken place. the flip had a beginning, a
middle, and an end. i think only, possibly, on a quantum level could an instantaneous 'flip' take place...
as to the rest, yes...i assumed that it was our growing dependence upon electronic equipment that he was worried about.
if satellites are down across the world, and thus communication as well, there could potentially be some drastic consequences. communication is
vitally important to law enforcement, emergency healthcare, etc.
and what if it was only a certain portion of the world that was affected? what if it were only the u.s., for instance? it would put us at a serious
military disadvantage if someone decided to plan an attack during such a vulnerable time, don't you think?
sure, we shouldn't assume a definite catastrophe, but we should definitely look at the situation seriously and see what we can do to be prepared fora
"an ounce of prevention...blah blah, blah."