Sunday, August 15, 2010
Our highly technological modern society is great in a lot of ways...and really, really bad in one specific way: it's very delicate.
The electronics, computers, and circuit boards that run everything in our lives could be instantly fried by either a naturally occurring solar flare, or the "electro-magnetic pulse" of a single nuclear weapon fired high in our atmosphere.
Electricity would be shut off. Water, pumped from afar, would stop coming out of faucets. There would be no communications. Most recent cars wouldn't run. Access to food and emergency care would be cut off. And in the resulting chaos, there are estimates that as much as 90% of Americans could die.
As if that wasn't scary enough, we're now entering a new period of strong solar activity - with a major coronal ejection only a week ago.
The good news is that scientists have determined we could "harden" our electrical grid for $100 million dollars, and the House unanimously passed a resolution saying "Yes! Let's do it! Quick!"
But in the Senate, they said "where are the votes for us if we fund this?" and, not finding any, they killed it. And maybe us.
Of course, $100 million is a lot of money. But it's only 1/1650th of what congress added to our debt in just one week. And only 1/260th of what the Democrats just decided to give to teachers' unions to buy more votes for November.
By comparison, potentially saving the Earth seems like it could have been a pretty good deal. But since it didn't happen, we can all continue to look toward the sun...and hope for no change.