Thursday, 25 September 2008

Calm Weather in Space, not necessarily good news.

Space Doesn't Blow As Much As It Should

Keeping with the space theme established this week, what with moon landings and Dr Who mix-ups, the above story seems rather apt. According to readings, solar winds are at a 50 year low. For those of you that don't know, Solar Wind is the constant barrage of matter emitted by the sun. This isn't actual wind, this isn't air moving in a general direction at speeds of about 10mph, this is solar wind, a never-ending sleet of star matter travelling at near light-speeds, hammering anything and everything in it's way. The Northern Lights, that fantastical light display you see in the far North at certain times of year (not the fictional but enjoyable Philip Pullman book), I believe that's an interaction between solar wind and the Earths magnetic field. I may be wrong, so don't hold me to that. But the Solar Wind is currently very low. Not sure what this will do to the wind-chill factor, seeing as it's still star matter, and also that the background temperature of space is near to absolute zero, it's probably not worth worrying about.
Earths atmosphere and magnetic field means we'll be fine, the big swaddling blankets around us prevent any nasty space crap from getting through. And that's what the Solar wind does. Bare in mind all stars do the same, and a lot of stars are bigger and nastier than our own friendly sun. The Solar wind extends outward in all directions for millions of miles, so the crap put out by other stars can't get into our system as our Solar wind repels it.
But now the Solar wind is low, and nasty space crap can get close to us. Not a problem for earth, but it may effect things in Earth Orbit. Long story short, the drop in Solar wind may interfere with Sky TV and communications, maybe even broadband.
Inconvenient, but I think we'll manage, we'll just have to reinforce satellites in future. But I like the way this news story reads. I think most people read news stories and think two things; Will this effect me? and What can be done about it? In this case, the answers are 'Slightly' and 'Sweet F.A.' I question whether this was worth reporting, but it's still news. I wonder if the right wing nutters will blame asylum seekers for 'taking all our sunlight', or maybe the Oil companies will try and blame global warming on this, or suggest that it will reverse it somehow. The possibilities are endless. I did laugh at the report saying that the current levels are 'thought to be well within the long-term norm'. Implying that if they weren't, they'd go have words!
But like it or not, the Sun will do as it likes. It's bigger than us, and we need it.
CONSPIRACY THEORY: I've mentioned a few conspiracy theories recently, and it occurs to me that they all start somewhere. So let's see if I can start some of my own.
Last years confirmed renewal of the British Nuclear defense system 'Trident' won't happen. It is a cunning ploy on behalf of top government officials. The proposed revamp will cost £20bn, enough for 4 Large Hadron Colliders. However, the actual cost of the revamp will be more like £280, the cost of the Spray paint necessary to give each missile a new coat of paint to make them look new (known as the British Rail manoeuvre). No-one would ever know about the con unless a nuclear Holocaust takes place, at which point people will have more important things to worry about than whether or not our missiles were duds.
The £billions earmarked for investment in the renewal will actually be spent on Tony Blair's undersea volcano and pork pies for John Prescott.

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