It is a long time since we had one of those “we are all going to die” posts, and I’m worried you might be missing them (hi Kendall!), so here’s a doozy.
Via Damien G. Walter I discover this article in New Scientist that suggests there’s something wrong with the sun. It is a very interesting survey of our knowledge of sunspot cycles, which appears to be somewhat lacking because there are currently nowhere near as many spots on Lord Ra’s face as predicted.
Of course this is hardy surprising. The sun is billions of years old, and we have only been observing it seriously for a a couple of hundred of them. Our data is incomplete. But there’s a prevailing view that sunspot activity is a bit like earthquakes or volcanoes: if you don’t get a lot of action for a long time, something big is probably on the way.
That something big is unlikely to be death rays, but it could play havoc with our technology. NASA, who have more interest in what happens in space than most organizations, is understandably worried. Cue the Daily Telegraph warning of “devastation”. Sadly they forget to mention Mayan prophecies or movies based thereon.