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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

Solar flash mobs?
August 18, 2011 - 10:00am

The past couple of weeks have been a wild ride. Financial markets around the globe have been rocky. Significant numbers of Brits have been hitting the streets. The Republican party is offering to decide that what the country needs is another Texas governor in the White House. Meanwhile, federal legislators have gone outside the Beltway so that they can ignore the needs of their constituents on a more personal, individual basis.

Meanwhile, of course, weather patterns continue to be extreme, greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, reputable scientists continue to talk only to other reputable scientists (while disreputable scientists talk to anyone who will listen, on behalf of anyone who will pay).

One of the "theories" (really, conjectures) that has been proposed from time to time is that climate change is the result of solar activity. Getting empirical data to show a strong correlation has been a challenge, but this morning I stumbled across a potentially interesting logical explanation. (Or, illogical explanation, as will soon become evident.)

As reported by Reuters, there's a correlation between the sun's coronal mass ejections and human stupidity. When the ions ejected in CMEs get here, they perturb the Earth's magnetic field. And when the magnetic field is perturbed, not only do migrating birds go off course, but incidences of human depression, suicide and pessimistic attitudes (as reflected in market decisions) increase.

One of the major expressions of clinical depression (particularly in males) is an overwhelming certainty that nothing's going to change, nothing's going to improve, no effort is justifiable or even possible. At times when a major change of course is required, no preventative works better than a good case of depression.

So maybe changes on the surface of the sun really are to blame. But maybe the causal change runs not through atmospheric, but emotional, currents. If so, rational/cognitive approaches are unlikely of success. (Or, that could just be my depression talking.)


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