lördag 21 mars 2009

Electricity dependence

Pylons in the landscape

An article in this week's New Scientist described the doomsday scenario that would result from a solar flare - an energetic outburst from the sun occuring when sunspots become particularly active. Huge current surges would be generated in electricity transmission systems. They would be ruined and much electronic equipment would be damaged. It would take months even to begin to get services started again.

The last event was in 1859, and although telegraph transmissions were disrupted, life carried on much as usual. The next time the effects will be catastrophic. The lights would go out and telephones would stop working. Computer systems would shut down and possibly suffer irreparable damage. Gas and water supplies and sewage systems would come to an immediate standstill as electric pumps stopped. So would all electric railways. Fuel supplies would cease shortly afterwards.

We are far too dependent on electricity and high technology information systems.

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