08:21 - Barbara is going out to dinner with friends tonight, so Colin and I are on our own. I told him that if he’d catch something I’d cook it. I hope he comes back with a squirrel or a rabbit, but he’s just as likely to bring back a good stick.
It’s currently foggy with a cold drizzle, but we’re supposed to get up to 72F (22C) today. Depending on which forecast you believe, we may have freezing rain and sleet tomorrow, with a low of 23F (-5C).
I see that congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) has reintroduced a bill to address the vulnerability of this country’s infrastructure to EMP, both artificial and natural. My own take is that an EMP attack is extremely unlikely, but the threat of a natural “EMP” event resulting from a coronal mass ejection (CME) is very real and very likely. The planet came very close to being nailed by a massive CME in July 2012, and NASA estimated the likelihood of such an event hitting the planet as 12% between 2012 and 2022. Depending on the severity of the CME, such a strike could cause anything up to and including the electrical grid being down for months to years, which would wipe out not just electric power, but communications, transportation (including food), and even water purification.
It seems that such massive events occur on average about once per century. The last one was the 1859 Carrington Event, which was also the first one that humans really noticed. Before that, we had no electricity, no electronics, and nothing else that would be affected by a massive CME. Humans just took no notice of earlier events because the only evidence of them would have been magnificent aurorae. But one thing is for sure: we’ll notice the next one. One credible study suggested that a Carrington-class event occurring today would result in the die-off of 65% to 70% of the US population within 12 months, most by starvation.