Scientists say …

Its not at all unusual these days to read just about any story which includes the magical words “scientists say”. Mostly, these will be stories of impending catastrophe, or backing up some government scheme to separate the electorate from many billions in new taxes.

The most recent is a warning that we face a “Solar Katrina” due to the Sun becoming more active. What prompted this is a solar flare which is the largest in four years.

Yes. You read that right. Four years. Not forty, not four hundred, not four thousand, but four. That is, since 2007.

Since our electronic communications devices didn’t all fry four years ago (that I noticed), I am forced to wonder exactly what prompted this group of illustrious scientific minds to think the current flare worthy of such a dire press release. One has to wonder if it wasn’t motivated by perhaps a desire to see their names in print, or perhaps to try to stir up some panic to help direct research funds their way?

Solar flares, which in turn cause Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) have been known since 1st September, 1859 when an English astronomer, Richard Carrington, observed a large solar flare, which caused a CME to head directly for Earth. It took 18 hours for the storm of highly energetic particles to reach the Earth. When they did, bright Aurora were seen all over the earth and telegraph systems burned out.

Should such an event reoccur (and it will), communications satellites will probably fail, electrical systems will probably fail, and lots of electronics will probably be irreparably damaged – possibly including the electronics in most vehicles.

So calling this a “Katrina” event is vastly understating the issue, and a small flare which caused a CME headed well away from Earth, just has they have done innumerable times since 1859 is hardly unusual. Finding this worthy of a press release seemingly designed to try to incite panic seems at least a little odd. But “scientists” said it, so we are suppose to sit up, take notice and fork over lots of cash for them to research the issue.

This all prompted me to do a quick Google search on the phrase “scientists said”. The results are interesting. In the very recent past, scientists have also told us the following:

  • Earth could be hit by an asteroid in 2036.
  • Ancient Brits were cannibals.
  • Scientists are drowning in a sea of data of their own creation.
  • 97% of man-made climate change is real.
  • NRA stymies firearms research.
  • Using social networking can increase workplace productivity.
  • Men with monotonous voices are irresistible.
  • Dophins should be treated as people.
  • Sex in space is dangerous due to radiation.
  • The Sun is behaving strangely.
  • Climate Science puts scientist’s credibility at risk.
  • La Nina looms.
  • Warming threatens state’s coast.
  • Gulf oil spill altering food web.
  • Dieting does not work.
  • US Scientists told to alter findings.

Apparently, scientists say the strangest things.