The Earth’s poles may be about to flip – and the consequences could be ‘dire’

January 31, 2018 by  
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Over the past 200 years, the Earth’s magnetic field has been getting weaker . Researchers believe that this could be a sign that the poles are about to flip – and the consequences could be “dire,” according to some scientists. If a flip happens, it could knock out power grids, alter the climate, and expose us to solar winds that could puncture the ozone layer. The poles have switched regularly throughout Earth’s history. The last time they flipped was 780,000 years ago. Since the poles normally switch every 200,000 – 300,000 years – according to NASA – we are well overdue for a change. Over the last two centuries, the magnetic field generated by the Earth’s molten core has weakened 15 percent, lending further evidence to the fact that the poles are getting restless. Related: The Earth’s magnetic field is weakening ten times faster than expected If the poles flip, it could confuse animals that rely on magnetic fields for migration, and it could lead to more radiation from the sun reaching life on the planet, according to studies . This would lead to an increase in the incidence of cancer – or at least require us to protect ourselves better from the sun. In a worst-case scenario, the flipping poles could wipe out power grids by damaging satellites that control grid infrastructure and could impact the climate by changing cloud cover. According to researcher Daniel Baker , we don’t know for sure when the poles could flip. The poles have been known to shift and move, ultimately snapping back into place. And while it certainly wouldn’t be a doomsday scenario for the planet, it would be wise to prepare for the event, so that the impact isn’t challenging for humanity. Via Undark Images via NOAA,   NASA and Deposit Photos

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The Earth’s poles may be about to flip – and the consequences could be ‘dire’

‘Geomagnetic spike’ 3,000 years ago could offer insight into Earth’s hidden interior

November 30, 2017 by  
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Earth’s magnetic field shields us from damaging radiation from the sun, but its strength and ability to protect us, is variable. Scientists uncovered details about a geomagnetic spike that happened around 1,000 BC that could alter our understanding of the magnetic field and the planet’s interior – and are exploring how a similar event might impact us if it occurred today. Scientists identified 1,000 BC’s geomagnetic spike after investigating copper from slag heaps in Jordan and Israel. They began to explore what Earth’s magnetic field might have been like way back then, and found something surprising: the copper recorded Earth’s magnetic field strength rising and then falling by more than 100 percent in 30 years. Related: Molten jet stream found hurtling through Earth’s core That research was published in 2010 , but University of Leeds lecturer Christopher Davies, in a piece for The Conversation , highlighted other discoveries since pointing to high field strengths around the same time in Turkey, China, and Georgia. Meanwhile, field strengths in Egypt, India, and Cyprus were normal – so the spike may have been only around 2,000 kilometers, or around 1,243 miles, wide. Davies wrote, “Such a rapid change over such a small area marks out the geomagnetic spike as one of the most extreme variations of Earth’s magnetic field ever recorded.” Researchers aren’t quite sure what caused the spike, but the flow of iron in the core could have played a role. That said, explaining the changes that came with the geomagnetic spike requires flows five to 10 times greater than what we observe today. “The prospect that the iron core could flow faster and change more suddenly than previously thought, together with the possibility that even more extreme spike-like events occurred in the past, is challenging some conventional views on the dynamics of Earth’s core,” Davies said. Spikes must be accompanied by weak spots, which is where geomagnetic storms tend to be prevalent. So if a spike happened today, part of the planet could see power outages or satellite disruption because of a geomagnetic storm. But Davies said it’s hard to say if another spike will happen – until recently, the Jordan spike was the only such event scientists had observed. There’s now some evidence a spike also occurred in Texas around 1,000 BC. Via The Conversation Images via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr and U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joshua Garcia

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‘Geomagnetic spike’ 3,000 years ago could offer insight into Earth’s hidden interior

Skateboard Legend Tony Hawk Rides the World’s First Hoverboard (VIDEO)

November 19, 2014 by  
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Last month we reported on the breakthrough technology behind  Hendo Hoverboards . Since then, the company has almost doubled its Kickstarter goal aimed at putting the boards into production. This week they got some impressive support of a different kind — releasing a video of skateboarding legend Tony Hawk testing out one of their boards. It appears the hoverboard takes a bit of getting used to, but Hawk is put through his paces by the technology, rather than the other way around. Read the rest of Skateboard Legend Tony Hawk Rides the World’s First Hoverboard (VIDEO) Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electromagnetic , Hendo Hoverboard , kickstarter , Maglev , magnet , magnetic field , Tony Hawk , Video , watch Tony Hawk ride a Hendo Hoverboard

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Skateboard Legend Tony Hawk Rides the World’s First Hoverboard (VIDEO)

New Superconducting Magnet Breaks Records with a Lower Carbon Footprint

December 2, 2009 by  
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Florida State University has just announced that it is chipping in $1 million toward the cost of a $3 million magnet to be constructed at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory .  The new high tech magnet is expected to generate a field about 45% more powerful than the strongest superconducting magnet currently available, or roughly 3,000 times stronger than an ordinary refrigerator magnet. Behind that strength is a sustainable purpose: the new magnet will be made of a high-temperature superconductor that is more energy efficient and far less expensive to operate than its conventional counterparts.  If it proves successful – and researchers at the lab have every expectation that it will be – it could mark the beginning of a new generation of super powerful magnets that help lower both the cost and the carbon footprint of scientific research. Read more of this story »

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New Superconducting Magnet Breaks Records with a Lower Carbon Footprint

6,000 Camels to be Shot to Death in “Humane” Aerial Cull

December 2, 2009 by  
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Thousands of feral camels, in search of water, are reportedly wreaking havoc on the small Australian town of Docker River.  The dromedaries are destroying property and infrastructure and have reportedly overtaken the airstrip.   Some of the thirsty camels have been killed in stampedes at watering holes, contaminating the town’s water supply.  Authorities call the situation critical.  Read more of this story »

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6,000 Camels to be Shot to Death in “Humane” Aerial Cull

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