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Earth’s Magnetic Poles Could Reverse Within Our Lifetime. How Would We Be Affected?

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A sudden reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field may sound like quite an unlikely event, but the findings of a recent study suggest that it may actually happen in our lifetime.

The analysis of the ancient sediments at the bottom of the Italian lakes allowed scientists to find out when the magnetic poles of the Earth flipped for the last time, and to conclude that a new geomagnetic reversal could take place in less than 100 years from now.

An international team of scientists from Italy, France and the United States managed to determine the age and duration of the last polarity transition. In their study, the scientists used argon-argon dating method to bottom sediments at Dry Lake, located in the Apennine Mountains near the town of Sulmona, east of Rome. The sediments had well-preserved traces of our planet’s magnetic field lines in their structure, which allowed the researchers to reveal their past directions.

The findings showed that the last reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles occurred 786,000 years ago. Moreover, it seems that it took very little time for the reversal to happen – about 100 years. Previously, it was thought that a process like this would take thousands of years.

What’s incredible is that you go from reverse polarity to a field that is normal with essentially nothing in between, which means it had to have happened very quickly, probably in less than 100 years. We don’t know whether the next reversal will occur as suddenly as this one did, but we also don’t know that it won’t,” said Paul Renne, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of the study.

The study also found that the last geomagnetic reversal was preceded by a long period of the magnetic field instability, which lasted more than 6,000 years. According to the researchers, during this time, the magnetic field of the planet had significantly weakened. It seems that the same is happening now:  according to the data collected by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite in July of this year, the Earth’s magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than expected.

So, what consequences will the transition of the Earth’s polarity have for humanity?

Here is a small piece extracted from a PreventDisease.com article:

“How Humans Are Affected

Many animals can sense the Earth’s magnetic field, so why not people, asks Oleg Shumilov of the Institute of North Industrial Ecology Problems in Russia.

2006 review of research on cardiovascular health and disturbances in the geomagnetic field in the journal Surveys in Geophysics (DOI: 10.1007/s10712-006-9010-7) concluded that a link was possible between human health and geomagnetism and that the effects seemed to be more pronounced at high latitudes.

A 2006 Australian study, for example, also found a correlation between peaks in suicide numbers and geomagnetic activity (Bioelectromagnetics, vol. 27 p 155).

Flip Could Affect Electrical Grid and Cancer Rates

Sprain and Paul Renne, director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center and a UC Berkeley professor-in- residence of earth and planetary science, are coauthors of the study, which will be published in the November issue of Geophysical Journal International.

The discovery comes as new evidence indicates that the intensity of Earth’s magnetic field is decreasing 10 times faster than normal, leading some geophysicists to predict a reversal within a few thousand years.

Though a magnetic reversal is a major planet-wide event driven by convection in Earth’s iron core, there are no documented catastrophes associated with past reversals, despite much searching in the geologic and biologic record. Today, however, such a reversal could potentially wreak havoc with our electrical grid, generating currents that might take it down.

And since Earth’s magnetic field protects life from energetic particles from the sun and cosmic rays, both of which can cause genetic mutations, a weakening or temporary loss of the field before a permanent reversal could increase cancer rates. The danger to life would be even greater if flips were preceded by long periods of unstable magnetic behavior.

“We should be thinking more about what the biologic effects would be,” Renne said.

Coronal mass ejections from the sun will also affect Earth significantly during this transition.””

Final thoughts

Magnetic field reversals have always been a popular subject of speculation about the end of the world. However, the consequences of this process are unlikely to be as destructive as described by some media outlets. There is no scientific evidence to confirm the link between the previous geomagnetic reversals and any significant disasters that ever occurred on our planet.

Yet, in our time, the flip of the magnetic poles could still have tangible consequences for us and, in particular, our electronics and systems of communication. Moreover, because of the falling intensity of the planet’s magnetic field, the reduced protection from ultraviolet radiation and cosmic rays may increase the risk of cancer, even though it is not confirmed yet. Further research should be done to study the potential consequences of the geomagnetic reversal for humans and other living beings on our planet.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna LeMind is the owner and lead editor of the website Learning-mind.com, and a staff writer for The Mind Unleashed.

Article edited by Joseph Brown, founder and lead editor of The Mind Unleashed.

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Health

3D-Printed ‘Suicide Pod’ Gets Legal Approval in Switzerland, Could Roll Out In 2022

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Switzerland is among a small group of countries, mainly in Europe, that allows for people to end their own lives under strict provisions through the assistance of a licensed physician.

However, one company in the Alpine nation is hoping to streamline legalized euthanasia by removing doctors from the process through a new invention that allows people to end their own lives quickly and painlessly. And now, the device has passed an important review by Swiss legal authorities.

Nonprofit company Exit International has produced a 3D-printed suicide chamber dubbed the “Sarco,” reports  Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. The 21st-century sarcophagus-like machine could roll out as soon as 2022.

Those faced with terminal disease and other excruciating physical conditions, as well as severe psychological pain, will be able to make a clean exit from this mortal coil by lying comfortably inside the small chamber. At the press of a button, the chamber will then fill with nitrogen gas, depriving them of oxygen and terminating their life in 30 seconds.

“There is no panic, no choking feeling,” said Philip Nitschke, the nonprofit’s founder who has been dubbed “Dr. Death” by media.

The chamber is also easy to transport, allowing people to end their lives wherever they choose – be it in a cabin in the forest, at the beach, or anywhere else they might choose.

The device is controversial, however, due to the fact that it removes medical professionals from the process of euthanasia. However, Exit International hopes that it can develop an AI-assisted online exam that can gauge the mental acuity of those who wish to use Sarco.

“We want to remove any kind of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves,” Nitschke explained.

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide and live in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of helpful resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources. Resources in other countries can be found here.

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Chinese Military Satellite Smashed by Russian Rocket in “Major Confirmed Orbital Collision”

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In an incident that is likely illustrative of things to come, Chinese military satellite 1-02 was smashed after it appears to have collided into the debris from a disintegrating Russian rocket.

The collision, which occurred earlier this year, shows the increasing danger of space junk such as satellite parts and other miscellaneous jetsam littering the Earth’s orbit. An estimated 8,000 metric tons of space debris pose the risk of destroying functional equipment such as weather forecasting systems, telecoms and GPS systems – and even manned space travel missions – if the problem isn’t reined in.

The fate of the Chinese satellite was uncovered by Harvard astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.

The breakup of Yunhai 1-02 was initially reported by the U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron (18SPCS). However, it wasn’t until recently that McDowell found out what caused the breakup.

The astrophysicist soon found that it was destroyed by space junk that originated from a Russian Zenit-2 rocket that had launched a spy satellite in 1996. On Aug. 14, McDowell found a strange entry in a database on Space-Track.org: “Collided with satellite.”

 “This is a new kind of comment entry — haven’t seen such a comment for any other satellites before,” McDowell tweeted.

“A quick analysis of the TLEs show that Yunhai 1-02 (44547) and [the debris object] passed within 1 km of each other (so within the uncertainty of the TLEs) at 0741 UTC Mar 18, exactly when 18SPCS reports Yunhai broke up,” he added, noting that this “looks to be the first major confirmed orbital collision in a decade.”

However, the Yunhai satellite still remains functional and is transmitting radio signals, notes Space.com.

The incident shows the growing likelihood of such collisions in the high-traffic, littered near-Earth orbital zone.

“Collisions are proportional to the square of the number of things in orbit,” McDowell explained. “That is to say, if you have 10 times as many satellites, you’re going to get 100 times as many collisions.”

He added: “So, as the traffic density goes up, collisions are going to go from being a minor constituent of the space junk problem to being the major constituent. That’s just math.”

A worst-case scenario of such collisions is known as the “Kessler Syndrome,” and describes the possibility of one collision setting in motion a chain of collisions. Such a disaster was the premise of the 2013 film “Gravity.”

One hopes that things don’t reach that point.

In the meantime, however, there have been a number of initiatives meant to tackle the growing problem of space debris, such as the ELSA-d spacecraft launched in a demonstration mission earlier this year.

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Boston Dynamics Drops New Video Of 5-Foot Atlas Humanoid Robot Effortlessly Doing Parkour

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Robot maker Boston Dynamics has released new video of its two-legged Atlas robot effortlessly completing a parkour obstacle course, offering a new display of its humanoid machines’ unsettling repertoire.

In the video, a pair of Atlas robots can be seen leaping over large gaps, vaulting beams, and even performing backflips. The robot can even be seen jumping over a board while using its arm to remain steady.

While the display seems like anything but “free” running – as the original developers of parkour had envisioned – the routine does seem like an impressive, if terrifying, display of effective coding that took months to perfect, according to the Hyundai-owned robotics firm.

“It’s not the robot just magically deciding to do parkour, it’s kind of a choreographed routine, much like a skateboard video or a parkour video,” said Atlas control lead Benjamin Stephens.

See for yourself:

Unlike its robotic dog Spot, which controversially hit New York City streets last year before being pulled, Atlas isn’t a production robot. Instead, it’s a research model meant to see how far the limits of robotics can be pushed.

In the past, Boston Dynamics has displayed the robot’s feats with videos of Atlas jogging and even busting out some cool dance moves.

Team lead Scott Kuindersma said in a statement that in about two decades, we can expect to coexist with robots that move “with grace, reliability, and work alongside humans to enrich our lives.”

Until then, some of us will continue to reserve our right to feel a bit queasy about the prospect of people being chased down by these skilled free-running (and dancing) machines.

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