Survival in a post-apocalyptic world

A couple of days ago there were various stories in the media about a near miss solar coronal mass ejection that, had it hit the earth, would have resulted in an Amish lifestyle for all of us. Anything that requires electricity would no longer work, meaning no lights, no air conditioning (yikes!) or heat, and no water, not to mention no computers, telephones, radio or other communication. And no medical care.

Could you survive the deprivations and social upheaval that would occur with such an event? I like to think I could, but I am not really a prepper–I do not have months of food and water stored, for example. I am more of the gadget type guy, with water purification stuff, knives and tools, etc.

Here are some “life hacks”–survival pointers and skills from a rather unusual source. At least one is incorrect, but there are a couple that had not occurred to me.

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Almost, but not quite

The Northern Lights are moving south, but quite far enough.

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The mass coronal ejection from the sun a couple of days ago has reached Earth, and should put on quite a display. The Aurora Borealis should be visible (absent cloud cover) over half of the lower 48, but not quite far enough to be within driving distance. It remains on my bucket list.

Aurora Borealis in Manitoba

Giant sunspot emits X-class flare

Solar astronomers have been keeping an eye on giant sunspot AR1944, and as it turned towards Earth today, the sunspot erupted with a powerful X1.2-class flare. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center said the flare sparked a “strong radio blackout” today, and they have issued a 24 hour “moderate” magnetic storm watch indicating a coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with the flare may be heading towards Earth. A CME is a fast moving cloud of charged particles which can interact with Earth’s atmosphere to cause aurora, so observers in northern and southern latitudes should be on the lookout for aurora, possibly through January 10.

My friend, Steve Bienvenu, has been watching the huge spot through a filtered telescope, and says that today it could be seen without magnification through #14 welding goggles.

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