magnetic pole-shift = end of the world?
i've been 'watching' the movement of the north magnetic pole since i was a child. If i say "this could cause the end of the world" (as we know it), i fear i'll be labeled a 'chicken little' or lupine fearing boy .. So i've stayed away from this topic .. But the magnetic pole has been moving faster lately and drawing more attention:
These are two links which look into the phenomenon and the coming ice-age.
If the first link has any basis, The Day After Tomorrow will look like a poor middle-school version of reality. Seriously.
So we should all just buy life insurance and leave it up to god, right?
The basic problem is: we haven't observed one first-hand before - so we don't know all the bad things that could happen during a magnetic pole reversal (magnetic north becomes south and possibly repeatedly). We could lose all non-military operating electronic devices (for instance). Temporarily losing Earth's magnetic field could wreak havoc on our electronic/electrical systems. Only military devices, manufactured under more stringent requirements, may survive a magnetic pole reversal. There's no guarantee they won't be affected as well.
As usual, the solution presents itself from a proper perspective. If our most sensitive devices will be microelectronic controlled devices, we need to 'harden' them against the worst-case-scenario or start building devices with no microelectronics. So for instance, if you have a ham radio built in the 80s (or before), you can actually be a part of our global/national emergency response team. You have a device that is less likely destroyed by solar flares directly impacting on our ionosphere .. In a sense, you now have three choices: buy 'old' (pre-90s manufacture), invest in devices that are not microelectronic controlled, or invest in 'hardened' chips.
What's our alternative? Collectively stick our head in the sand? (Or perhaps somewhere less aromatic?) .. Many years ago i worked for the Lansing Board of Water and Light (a local municipality). i had a discussion with an engineer in the electric planning department. We talked briefly about preparedness for catastrophic system failure. Because the possibility was so remote, they could not justify expenditure on any preparedness. But that is equivalent to ignoring the looming pole-shift. It's going to happen. The consequences? They could be equivalent to a burp or fart .. Or quite possibly: a heart attack. We can't afford it? (Preparing for a global equivalent of a heart attack.) Can we then afford our own collective funeral?
.. For the longest time, i've been trying to wrap my head around '2012' .. What could conceivably happen naturally that could affect life on a planetary scale? Melting of the ice-caps? Takes too long and we'd notice. Gyroscopic pole-shift (where our physical poles get disturbed)? Highly unlikely. Ozone destroyed? Could be .. Could be .. But i think we'd notice that too .. The only thing i can imagine, that's realistic, is magnetic pole-reversal (thereby affecting Earth's magnetic field and therefore affecting anything sensitive to magnetic fields / solar wind). All life is sensitive to solar winds. i think it's safe to say: without Earth's magnetic field to protect us, there'd be no life.
In much the same way our ozone protects us from harmful UV, our magnetic field protects us from solar wind (imagine the solar wind as many particle beam weapons aimed directly at us from the sun - we wouldn't stand a chance without our magnetic field there to protect us). Imagine it as a shield protecting us from the lethal stream of particles emitted by the sun. Without that shield, we die.
As with our protective ozone, even good things take time to be destroyed. i don't predict 'all hell let loose' at the end of 2012 .. Things take time - good and bad. The real problem with magnetic pole-reversal is: we can't stop it. We can mitigate consequences, but we can't stop it. There's no pollution we can stop producing to avert this particular disaster; nothing we know about is causing magnetic pole-shift; it's just happening .. So what do we do? Ignore it? Pretend nothing will happen? Or start preparing?
The time-tested idioms resurface as needs require .. Better safe than sorry .. Better safe than sorry..