Saturday, October 28, 2006

How will you find your true North when the magnetic field flips?

Well, there's some good news and some bad news...

The bad news is that apparently the earth's magnetic field is weakening much more quickly than it was assumed to be weakening. That's an indication that the field is heading toward a flip. Don't worry, it's not going to happen tomorrow. But, it has happened in the past, quite a few times it turns out.

Yup, the north becomes south, south becomes north, dogs and cats living together...

See, apparently the magnetic field - which is believed to be created by the spinning, molten core of the earth - isn't as perfect as we were led to believe in school. It's mostly pretty even, but there are a lot of pockets, or anomalies, where the polarity is off a bit. These spots move around a bit too. Not real fast or anything, but they move around. It seems there a lot of them in the southern Atlantic Ocean area.

Anyway, they move around and come and go.

As time goes by, there starts to be concentrations of these spots and when enough of them gather in one half of the field, the field weakens. When the field weakens, poles form around the concentrations and the field becomes unstable. Eventually, the poles arrange themselves back into the nice and tidy bi-polar arrangement that we all know and love.

Unfortunately, while all this is going on, the magnetic shield that surrounds the earth isn't blocking nearly as much of the solar wind and radiation that comes with it. Sorry dudes, but some people are gonna get a bit scorched. Not cooked so much, but more blasted with double to triple the amount of the bad rays that cause cancer.

Ooops.

Better stock up on the SPF 57,000 lotion.

Fortunately, the big shift can happen pretty quickly - as in less than 200 years and even as quickly as several years. There will probably be some instability for a while, but things should be okay - except for the whole maps being backwards thing.

Anyway, that's the bad news.

The good news is that the earth is only about 8,000 years old - so none of this can be true.

Tonight, I shall celebrate the pagan holiday of All Hallows Evening - albeit a few days early. There will be costumes, drinking, and hopefully some debauchery.

Cheers.

*****

Learn more about the impending doom here.

6 comments:

tshsmom said...

Sorry dude, the fundies are saying the earth is 6,000 years old. They're basing this on counting all the begats in the Bible. And some people think I'M boring! ;)

I tend to believe the magnetic thing. I knew something was off. Every compass that we've tried over the last couple of years, has been about 5 degrees off to the west. This would put the magnetic pole somewhere in Alaska.

Does this mean that Santa will have to move to Antartica?

SME said...

Oh, creationists aren't THAT inflexible. They'll go all the way up to, say, 9500 years.

Josh said...

What does this mean for the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and its leadership?

Shawn said...

Tmom - Apparently, the magnetic north pole has been moving towards Siberia. So, all the cool northern lights in Alaska will be showing up in Japan which will be more convenient for the Japanese tourists who now have to go to Alaska. It's apparently good fortune to make whoopie under the northern lights...

SME - Yup...creationists are nothing if not flexible. Now if science could learn to be that flexible and open to new ideas...


Josh - Do you really think that the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants hasn't been thinking of ways to exploit the chaos that will no doubt occur when people start getting lost on their way to work?

They will probably start building places that look just like our offices and factories but are in the exact opposite direction. Then when the magnetic field flips, everyone will go to the wrong work and end up working for them.

Gahhhh...I hate those guys.

tshsmom said...

But, what about Santa?

Scott said...

Oh damn, it took me till 6th grade to learn Never Eat Soggy Waffles.