STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
NASA vs. the Sun
By Staff News & Analysis - June 07, 2010

As the sun awakens, NASA keeps a wary eye on space weather … Earth and space are about to come into contact in a way that's new to human history. To make preparations, authorities in Washington DC are holding a meeting: The Space Weather Enterprise Forum at the National Press Club on June 8th. Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division, explains what it's all about: "The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we're getting together to discuss." The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled "Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts." It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina. Much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. Putting satellites in 'safe mode' and disconnecting transformers can protect these assets from damaging electrical surges. Preventative action, however, requires accurate forecasting. – NASA Science News

Dominant Social Theme: NASA will provide guidance so that the private market can counteract the effects of solar disruptions.

Free-Market Analysis: Once upon a time, this might have been a frightening prediction. But there are so many of them these days. Here at the Bell we call them dominant social themes. They are, in our opinion, (in many cases, anyway) actually fear-based promotions generated by a power-elite that has spent at least the past century refining this sort of mass psychological intimidation in order to disrupt people's confidence and gain additional control and wealth. The end-goal is mercantilist global governance.

By now we are adept meme watchers. We think we know what this beneficent conference portends, or at least we can hazard a guess – or even a series of them. Sure, it may be that imminent catastrophe looms, or an errant planet is wending its way into our cozy galaxy, but given recent history we do tend to doubt it.

So … first will come the further presentation of the problem – as is happening now. Various panels replete with eminent "authorities" will then be charged with returning in months' or years' time with "solutions." The solutions, we predict, will call for NASA to take certain actions to ensure that the threat is averted or at least ameliorated.

Once the eminent authorities have provided their solutions, their "work" will be publicized via press release. At this point the mainstream media will take over. There will be reports about the terrible problem of solar interference. Eventually, the short articles will become longer. Scientific journals will suddenly appear devoted to the issue of solar interference. They will have long, incomprehensible titles and will publish articles that are similarly incomprehensible but that "scientifically prove" that the threat is real.

Eventually, these articles will form the basis of what will come to be known as "established science." Once the science is established, it will become increasingly difficult to present alternative views in these journals. Those who attempt to do so will be looked upon, increasingly, as "unserious."

Instead, there will be interviews with concerned NASA officials – repeating the additional evidence that has been communicated within these increasingly hermetic journals. There will be much complaining about a general "lack of action" and even a lack of funding for further research. Someone will inevitably propose that a US$100 billion telescope be constructed and positioned halfway between the sun and earth to further monitor the sun's growing instability. The proposal is debated in the popular press and becomes a popular topic for doctoral theses in the area of applied astronomy.

But events will not move fast enough to satisfy those who feel responsible for protecting others. The sun's irritability soon will be seen as building aggressively. Eventually Foreign Affairs, or some such publication (perhaps the Atlantic), will come out with a long and serious story by a "top brain" decrying the lack of action on the part of government officials and indicating that such a lack of action once again illustrates the general uselessness of government.

Now the New York Times will leap into action with a cover story: "The Solar Threat – Congress Fumbles the Sun." As the horror at Congressional lack of action begins to permeate the blue "power states" of the US North, there will be considerable agitation for Congressional hearings. It will emerge, somehow, that various think tanks have been pondering the very issues that the New York Times has raised. The hearings will therefore be well attended by scholars and learned activists – all very concerned about "SI."

There will be more articles. Politicians will call for action and some will raise the possibility that NASA does not have a large enough budget, or that NASA is incompetent and needs to be restructured in order to combat the latest existential threat. At some point, the United Nations will add its perfumed notes to the building symphony. It will be said that the UN itself has empaneled experts in the area and is budgeting tens of millions for further study.

At this point, a furor will spring up in the US Congress. Some US Republican Congressmen will call for the US to leave the UN. TV talk shows will begin to debate the topic. Much anger will be expended on both sides. CATO will write an elaborate white paper calling for limited action on the issue of solar interference and requesting that the private sector provide most of the solutions.

In Congress, Republicans will seize on the CATO white paper and argue that the serious crisis of solar interference (known universally as "SI" by now) ought to be in private hands. Democrats will decry private involvement. A compromise will be reached involving Olympia Snowe of Maine. Republicans will declare a victory in principle, though another US$50 billion or so will have been shoveled in the direction of NASA for "solar defenses."

However, the bill will mysteriously not be made public until the last minute. And when it is revealed, it will show that billions have been apportioned to the Pentagon as well for "solar military prevention." Additionally, various civil penalties will have been attached for those businesses and individuals who fail to properly protect their homes and networks from solar attack. The IRS will be put in charge of collecting penalties.

Finally, there will be vague references to terrorism. Eventually, it may even emerge that bin Laden has recorded a tape blaming the sun's unrest on the "Hand of Allah" and Western depredations in the Middle East, especially Jewish ones. This will be seen as an escalation by Western intelligence agencies that will now begin to target weather stations around the world for subversive activities.

After several years, it will be revealed the UN has an active working group involved in combating solar interference. The working committee's investigations will be buttressed by NGOs throughout the West deeply concerned about the problem. An international conference will be planned in Brussels – known formally as "Blue Skies Over Brussels."

At the initial conference, a platform will be adopted that calls for further immediate action to combat solar interference. It will be noted that mysterious contrails have been discovered throughout the West, and that these are the result of said interference. It will also be noted that not all corporations can take the necessary action. It will therefore be suggested that an exchange be created to trade solar-interference credits. It will eventually be shown that many multi-national corporations and most investment banks are in favor of such SICs. There will be much debate, but eventually a group of entrepreneurs mysteriously located in the City of London will create such an exchange – and it will meet with an unexpectedly enthusiastic reception in the larger market.

After Thoughts

The UN will begin to issue a steady stream of white papers regarding the threat of solar interference. Eventually it will become evident that the "modern way of life" is threatened by solar interference. (A splinter group will emerge to argue that the best way to combat SI is simply to revert to a pre-technological era.) Eventually, the UN will suggest that it administer an international tax to combat the problem and that nations form some sort of rump or rudimentary global governance to speak with one voice. The UN will also provide evidence that if humankind does not take these sorts of actions in the immediate future, then the world will end.

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