Thursday, March 8, 2012


Today Could Be Weird

Sun-flare energy from Tuesday's "biggest solar storm in five years" is apparently hitting the planet as we speak, meaning there might be GPS wackiness, unexpected auroras, and wild power surges. ("Power grid operators have all been alerted," says a space-weather scientist (!). "It could start to cause some unwanted induced currents.") Or the whole thing could pass us by undetected. But, a brief quiz.

1. Which is better?
a. "The storm is expected to create strong disruptions due to an odd combination of intense magnetic, radio and radiation emissions."
b. "The storm is expected to create strong disruptions due to an odd combination of intense magnetic, radio and radiation emissions."

78 Comments / Post A Comment

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

Look, just tell me if I could possibly get superpowers from this or not.

Edith Zimmerman

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood Look, just tell me if I could possibly get superpowers from this or not.


i'm satisfied reading your article@t


now that you mention it, a really bad sunburn does kind of seem like the muggle version of the cruciatus curse


@redheaded&crazy welp here i am talking to myself as usual

Porn Peddler

GAAAAH I want to see auroras! My boss alerted me to this last night and said if it didn't get cloudy, there would be auroras in the area...but no, it was way cloudy.

The aurora borealis is totally on my shit-to-do list. It actually appears white in my region, when it does show up, but wah I was right on Lake Ontario already!


@Third Wave Housewife I went to college in a place 2 hours east of you, and I saw green and pinkish auroras once! So you have to be up on when/where they'll appear (my astronomy prof told us to watch for them), but you can see cool ones in upstate NY!

Porn Peddler

@SarahP EEEEEE! That is so exciting! My boss is very into knowing about things like planets and stars and solar activity (she is a quirky lady) so she has been known to interrupt work conversations with this information...and I've definitely seen pictures from Lake Ontario. I just need to be diligent apparently. It was such a dry winter and I was always up all night, I should have been thinking about this more often...


@Third Wave Housewife I saw them in London once, so Lake Ontario should be able to see them!


@Third Wave Housewife No! Auroras are creepy and weird and sometimes THEY COME AT YOU! And I've never heard them make noise, but I hear they sometimes do and that's not right.


Okay, so I have recently become a "Sun Alarmist" according to my fb friends (LOOK, I AM SCARED OF SOMETHING WITH THE POWER OF BAZILLIONS OF HYDROGEN BOMBS, I don't see why that is so weird). But basically, this is a mild storm, of the type that happens a lot during peak years (we're in the beginning of a bunch of peak activity!)

But you should definitely read all about the Carrington Event - the sun went so crazy you could see the aurora as far south as Baltimore (which would be cool, cuz seeing the Auroras is on my bucket list) and also, some telegraph machines (basically some of the only electronics back then I think) SPONTANEOUSLY EXPLODED.

Alternately, it could get weird tonight because I'm going out drinking with my friends and might be hitting on random ladies - which might induce some electric, but I (in my best james carville voice) guar-un-tee it will be desired.

Tragically Ludicrous

@leon.saintjean I'm way more north than Baltimore! Auroras for all! Except this is the Netherlands in March so the sky is basically a giant grey cloud.

Judith Slutler

@Tragically Ludicrous The sun just came out here in Berlin, you best believe I'm gonna stand on the balcony drinking wine and waiting for the Aurora tonight.

Last time I remember there being sun-flare activity, this must have been like 2001 or something, the entire sky slowly turned MOTHERFUCKING BLOOD RED and then aqua-green in my hometown. My friends and I laid on the back lawn and stared at it for hours. This was back in the States though.


Stop edithing the comments!


I want something weird to happen today, even if it's just the satellite TV in my office losing its signal for a while.

If something dramatic happens in space, I want drama here too, darn it. (But safe, non-life-threatening drama.)


@SarahP me too, even if it's just a massive yet temporary power outage necessitating everybody to go home for the day .....


@redheaded&crazy Like a snow day without the slide-y roads!


@redheaded&crazy That is EXACTLY what I want.


@SarahP I'm pretty much over Large Scale Weather Drama here, we went from 70s and tornados and storms on Friday to 4 inches of snow on Monday to high 60s on Wednesday to rain today. I am OVER THIS SHIZ, YOU HEAR ME, KENTUCKY?

ms. alex

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Being in a state next to Kentucky is kind of stressing me out lately, even though I'm in almost-Michigan.

(I was raised by someone who instilled in me a useless fear of the weather.)


@Maria AND nice springtime temperatures!


@SarahP I'm going to go ahead and assume this is why the elevators in my building have been INSANE all day.


I'll tell you what's weird! People are saying it's International Women's Day. And yet my BF wants me to walk the dog!


@carolita A friend of mine encountered a really drunk guy the other night who informed the women in the group that March 8 was International Women's Day, and that if any men they know didn't get them flowers, they should stop hanging out with said men.

So far I have received 0 flowers.


@SarahP My grocery store was advertising bouquets for International Women's Day, and I thought it was a joke? I mean, I'll take health care funding for low-income women over flowers any day. And I LOVE flowers.

Judith Slutler

@Sarah P Aw! You just reminded me that this time last year, a guy from Sierra Leone was briefly rooming in my apartment while one of the regular roomies was on a long trip. He brought me and my other female roomie flowers for Int'l Women's Day, it was awesome. What a sweetheart. I hope he's doing well.

Porn Peddler

@SarahP and cuminafterall I would like, for international women's day, to send period blood covered flowers to John Boehner, Rick Santorum, and the rest of that pack of barbarians.


@SarahP The chef in the dining hall hid a hash brown under my breakfast sandwich so the cashier wouldn't see it and charge me for it. Does that count?


@Third Wave Housewife My boyfriend has a theory that Rick Santorum keeps his wife's period blood in jars in a closet in his house, to save all the unfertilized eggs that never turned into babies.


@SarahP Or they could give chocolate bunnies! When Mr. Siniichulok (who is from an International Women's Day-celebrating country) and I were first dating (in the United States, where I'm from), he came running up to me on March 8th, beaming and clutching a large chocolate bunny. "Look! They have chocolate bunnies for International Women's Day! Americans have great ideas! Happy International Women's Day!" I eventually told him that they were Easter bunnies, and he still gets me one every year as a joke.


@siniichulok that may have been the cutest thing i have ever heard.


c. Space-weather scientist.


@youresmalltime Right?! I wish I could say I was a space-weather scientist. Actually, I'm just gonna go ahead and call myself that from now on.


I gave up coffee for Lent. If shit gets crucial, somebody wake me up, 'kay?


@MoonBat Quick, bad Lent jokes, everyone

"I gave up giving things up for Lent!"


@MoonBat This Lent, I'm just giving up.

Any One Ninja Plot

@itmakesmewonder I don't know how to insert pictures, but: http://www.butnotyet.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/lent-astley.jpg


I'm only participating because of the boyfran. His first announcement was, "I'm giving up sex for Lent!" Then when we finally stopped laughing, he decided to give up chocolate. I thought I'd be supportive.

.....is it Easter yet? 0_0


@MoonBat The year I gave up chocolate, my housemate said it was like living with someone going through a terrible breakup and please never do that again.

Going vegan for Lent was easier.


@PistolPackinMama Oh it's the worst, I'm plying him with peanut butter cookies and strawberry cheesecake, just so that he won't bite.

sugar cubism

My phone short-circuited on the elevator into work just now!! Is it happening to me??


People can get a story written by a spider anywhere, ok? They come to the Hairpin for the atmosphere and the attitude. That's what the flare's about. It's about fun.

Porn Peddler

omg guys: http://annfriedman.com/blog/slutty-women-gifable-0

Judith Slutler

@Third Wave Housewife LOVE.

ms. alex

@Third Wave Housewife That is the best!

Quinn A@twitter

This may be the weirdest "wow, I'm glad I'm not still doing my old job" moment I've ever had. The last time we had disturbances from solar flares, it meant I had to listen to constant "falling" noises on a marine radio frequency for twelve hours. You know, the sound you get in old cartoons when a character falls off a cliff? That noise. FOR TWELVE HOURS.

God, I love not doing my old job.

Princess Slayer

@Quinn A@twitter What job WAS that? Coast Guard radio operator?

Quinn A@twitter

@Princess Slayer Yep!

Princess Slayer

@Quinn A@twitter Where, if you don't mind my asking? I have to hear marine radio often and I wonder if you were anywhere near me!

Quinn A@twitter

@Princess Slayer Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. But you might have heard me on 2182 anyway; I used to hear all kinds of crazy stations on that frequency. And once a friend in British Columbia texted to me to ask if I was working, because he was sure he'd just heard my voice (and he was right). Can I ask what you do that you hear marine radio often?

Princess Slayer

@Quinn A@twitter My dad is a Sea Tow captain/franchise owner and I help sell memberships at boat shows on weekends when I'm in town. He has a radio with him all the time and it talks alllllllll the time. I'm down in Florida though so I have probably not heard you!


@Princess Slayer
Quinn A@twitter

Can't resist repeating this OLD one:

ACTUAL transcript of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. This radio conversation was released by the Chief of Naval Operations on 10-10-95.

Americans: "Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision."

Canadians: "Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision."

Americans: "This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course."

Canadians: "No, I say again, you divert YOUR course."


Canadians: "This is a lighthouse. Your call."


@atipofthehat Aye, the hot pants.


Does anyone remember that episode of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" where the solar flares made her powers all wonky? I was all, "Such a downside I never considered while fervently wishing I could be a teenage witch!" I still wish I could be a teenage witch.

Also, a lot of my sentences start out with "Remember that episode of 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch'..."


@MoxyCrimeFighter I REMEMBER THEM ALL.


So I should be saving my documents frequently, in case of blackouts? (On a more magical note, I am quietly hoping that a phoenix egg falls through my skylight while I am at work and I come home to find a baby firebird cheeping at me from the bathroom floor.)


@area@twitter It's not bad enough right now for blackouts, but that could change, especially since it can last until tomorrow. I would just in case.


Man, I hope we lose electricity. Like, not in a catastrophic way, but just enough so that I can go hang out outside where it is GORGEOUS and SUNNY for a few hours.


@alphabiddycity Oh man that would be THE BEST. It is amazing here in Florida today, and I can alllllllmost see the ocean from my office window. Jolie would lurve all these noseprints I'm making, trying to see the beach. Sorry, A Clean Person!

Princess Slayer

@MoonBat It IS amazing here today. I'm going to go for a picnic on an island and possibly see dolphins! Fuck yeah Florida!


did anyone else wish they'd remember to unplug their laptops? why am i not using a surge protector anyway? what's wrong with me?


I am a total space geek so this is the coolest thing to happen since, like, Neptune completed its first observed orbit, or whatever.

/has a Hubble calendar
/and a space desktop wallpaper theme
/is going to watch Wonders of the Solar System now


@camanda Can't beat that Carl Sagan quote- "we are made of star-stuff".


@area@twitter Netflix just put Cosmos back on Instant. I think I know what I'm doing later, then.


@camanda I'm going to have to read me some Sagan now. Any recommendations?


@area@twitter Hmmm. It depends on what you're looking for, I guess? Pale Blue Dot is probably the best place to start if you haven't read any Sagan (but have seen Cosmos and so don't need to read the book). My favorite is Demon-Haunted World. I guess my best recommendation is to look at Amazon's list of his books and see what topics jump out at you.


@camanda Cosmos is the best when you have the flu or whatever. Just let it wash over you. So soothing and interesting for the moments when you have the energy to pay attention.

If you want to make an apple pie, first you have to invent the universe.


@camanda @laurel Thanks! I haven't actually seen Cosmos (I am a latecomer to Sagan's awesomeness) so I might start there.


@area@twitter Highly recommended! I'm looking forward to the sequal with Neil deGrasse Tyson, as well.

@laurel It definitely does have that quality. I like to do that with the Wonders series, too, which has the added bonus of Professor Brian Cox.


@area@twitter Do it, it's so great (with some charmingly cheesy early CGI) and so easy to watch. It's not a chore at all.

The part in the first episode about Hypatia and the Library of Alexandria always gives me chills. I think it's all on youtube too.


Aw, space, that's the nicest thing you could have gotten me for my half-birthday!

New Hoarder

YOU GUYS. A hefty solar storm aided the vampires' rise to power in the Guillermo del Toro books. I'm scurred. =-/

ms. alex

Today better be weird! I can't think of a better day off from work than one with auroras or something.


"Draw near, draw near!" cried Edith, with a voice of thrilling exultation. "Behold the very Fountain and Heart of Life as it beats in the bosom of the great world. Behold the substance from which all things draw their energy, the bright Spirit of the Globe, without which it cannot live, but must grow cold and dead as the dead moon. Draw near, and wash you in the living flames, and take their virtue into your poor frames in all its virgin strength--not as it now feebly glows within your bosoms, filtered thereto through all the fine strainers of a thousand intermediate lives, but as it is here in the very fount and seat of earthly Being."

We followed her through the rosy glow up to the head of the cave, till at last we stood before the spot where the great pulse beat and the great flame passed. And as we went we became sensible of a wild and splendid exhilaration, of a glorious sense of such a fierce intensity of Life that the most buoyant moments of our strength seemed flat and tame and feeble beside it. It was the mere effluvium of the flame, the subtle ether that it cast off as it passed, working on us, and making us feel strong as giants and swift as eagles.

We reached the head of the cave, and gazed at each other in the glorious glow, and laughed aloud--even Job laughed, and he had not laughed for a week--in the lightness of our hearts and the divine intoxication of our brains. I know that I felt as though all the varied genius of which the human intellect is capable had descended upon me. I could have spoken in blank verse of Shakesperian beauty, all sorts of great ideas flashed through my mind; it was as though the bonds of my flesh had been loosened and left the spirit free to soar to the empyrean of its native power. The sensations that poured in upon me are indescribable. I seemed to live more keenly, to reach to a higher joy, and sip the goblet of a subtler thought than ever it had been my lot to do before. I was another and most glorified self, and all the avenues of the Possible were for a space laid open to the footsteps of the Real.

Then, suddenly, whilst I rejoiced in this splendid vigour of a new-found self, from far, far away there came a dreadful muttering noise, that grew and grew to a crash and a roar, which combined in itself all that is terrible and yet splendid in the possibilities of sound. Nearer it came, and nearer yet, till it was close upon us, rolling down like all the thunder-wheels of heaven behind the horses of the lightning. On it came, and with it came the glorious blinding cloud of many-coloured light, and stood before us for a space, turning, as it seemed to us, slowly round and round, and then, accompanied by its attendant pomp of sound, passed away I know not whither.

So astonishing was the wondrous sight that one and all of us, save She, who stood up and stretched her hands towards the fire, sank down before it, and hid our faces in the sand.

—H. Rider Haggard


Was it just me, or was anyone else like "huh? mag-ic???" before realizing, "ohhhhhhh MAGIC."


Apparently the auroras will only be in northern Europe/Asia, which makes me sad. I wanted to see an aurora without having to go somewhere cold and remote!


The US misses out on all the main slogans-on-banners parade days. Also, auroras.

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