(TMU) — Earth’s magnetic north pole is moving at unprecedented speeds and scientists are still unsure of why this is the case.
What makes these recent changes so interesting is the sheer speed at which they are occurring.
Some fear that the rapid movement of the magnetic north pole could cause problems for Global Positioning Systems (GPS), military operations, airliners, and other navigation systems that rely on pinpointing where precisely the pole is located.
Migratory animals such as birds, butterflies, and whales also use the magnetic field for directions.
The latest report from NOAA, the “World Magnetic Model” for 2020, shows the pole rapidly speeding in the direction of Siberia. However, the trajectory of the pole will likely change.
NGA in partnership with @NOAA and the @BritGeoSurvey, has released the World Magnetic Model 2020 update, providing more precise navigational data for all military and civilian planes, ships, submarines and GPS units. pic.twitter.com/VGyfui42MB
— NGA (@NGA_GEOINT) December 17, 2019
This isn’t the first time that this has happened—polar wandering has been constant since the North Pole was first discovered, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NOAA’s National Centres for Environmental Information explained:
“Since its first formal discovery in 1831, the north magnetic pole has travelled around 1,400 miles (2,250 km).
This wandering has been generally quite slow, allowing scientists to keep track of its position fairly easily.”
As recently as 2000, the magnetic North Pole was clocked at moving 6.2 miles per year toward Northern Russia, but data for the next two decades shows the average rate suddenly increasing to roughly 34 miles per year in the same direction, while the latest readings in 2019 show it slightly decreasing to about 31 miles per year.
The World Magnetic Model predicts the average speed will slow down to roughly 25 miles per year from 2020 to 2025.
“The WMM2020 forecasts that the northern magnetic pole will continue drifting toward Russia, although at a slowly decreasing speed—down to about 40 km per year compared to the average speed of 55 km over the past twenty years.”
For the first time in recorded history, the pole has even passed by the Greenwich meridian—the imaginary line used to indicate 0° longitude and determine time zones.
Geomagnetic specialist Ciaran Beggan from the British Geological Survey (BGS) told the Financial Times:
“The movement since the 1990s is much faster than at any time for at least four centuries.
We really don’t know much about the changes in the core that’s driving it.”
The team of researchers that maintain the World Magnetic Model has updated it and released it a year ahead of schedule. The newly updated model shows the magnetic north pole moving away from Canada and toward Siberia https://t.co/nUzvCLmwsb pic.twitter.com/wZn2YXxekt
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) December 18, 2019
The new model also confirms that Earth’s magnetic field is weakening. If this continues, scientists say the field could collapse entirely and flip polarity—changing magnetic north to south and vice versa—and the consequences could be dire for the planet.
But before we begin to panic, we should remember that the Earth’s magnetic poles have already flipped up to 100 times in the past 20 million years, the last reversal occurring roughly 773,000 years ago.
Earlier this year, the rapid movement of the North Pole garnered headlines when scientists revealed that the north was moving so fast that they had to update their model of the planet’s magnetic field much earlier than expected.
At the time, the Mind Unleashed reported:
“The drift is the result of processes deep in the center of the planet, where the liquid outer core comprised of iron and nickel spins and flows like water, serving as a conductor for Earth’s magnetic field.
The recent change in the flow of the fluid is believed to be similar to the formation of a jet stream in the atmosphere, leading to changes in the planet’s magnetic field.
… these changes are all part and parcel of the natural behavior of the Earth and have not been caused by human activity. Rock samples reveal that the Earth’s magnetic field has been in perpetual motion for millions of years.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison geologist and NOAA study author Brad Singer told CNN that while the shifts in the pole could, in the long term, lead to impacts on satellites, communication, and navigation, researchers will likely have generations to deal with any major instability in the magnetic field.
“The decrease in geomagnetic field is much more important and dramatic than the reversal,” said Dr. Nicolas Thouveny from the European Centre for Research and Teaching of Environmental Geosciences (CEREGE) in Aix-en-Provence, France.
“It is very important to understand if the present field will decay to zero in the next century, because we will have to prepare.”
FBI Seizes Capitol Building LEGO Set From Alleged Rioter’s House
Many of us know, either from our childhood or even our adulthood, that building and collecting LEGO can be a fun hobby that allows us to tap into our creativity in a relaxing, stress-free way.
But what if someone’s LEGO hobby is something much more nefarious – or even seditious in the eyes of the government?
Such may have been the case when special agents with the FBI confiscated a fully completed LEGO set of the U.S. Capitol Building from the home of Robert Morss, 27, whom they allege participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to court documents published by The Smoking Gun.
The large LEGO set is comprised of 1,032 pieces and was released in 2016 and is no longer available for retail. The agents seized the finished set along with other items matching those they believe Morss had in his possession when he allegedly stormed the building – including a neck gaiter, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a military-style satchel, a black tourniquet, and military battle dress uniforms.
The documents also note that he “had three different firearms including a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle” in his possession.
According to LEGO, the United States Capitol Building set “focuses on the structure’s neoclassical style facade, steps and lawns” and is “finished with a decorative ‘US Capitol’ nameplate.” In 2019, the product was “retired” – which has less to do with politics and more to do with the limited availability of the company’s unique product lines.
Morss, who is from Pennsylvania, was arrested last month on a range of federal charges. According to the Department of Justice, his alleged crimes “include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; and robbery of personal property of the United States.”
An FBI investigator’s affidavit notes that Morss joined rioters in direct confrontations with officers guarding the Lower West Terrace doors of the Capital in “an intense and prolonged clash between rioters and law enforcement.”
Law enforcement officers claim that they also found a notebook in Morss car that had instructions on a “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia” that included a list of names, equipment, and sections on “ambush,” “battle drills,” and “formations.” The notebook also contained notes that said “bring assault rifle,” “4 magazines,” and “bring kit/body armor.”
However, the court documents do not indicate whether the LEGO set was deployed in tactical drills prior to the botched uprising.
The DOJ says that roughly 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related the events of Jan. 6.
Neptune, the Roman God of Water, ‘Emerges’ From Waves in Photo During UK Storm
If we were to believe our eyes, it would seem that the ancient Roman god of water himself made an appearance on the shores of New Haven, England, on a day of especially rough surf.
What appears to be the “face” of Neptune was captured on Tuesday when photographer Jeff Overs of the BBC was taking photos of waves crashing over the harbor wall in the port city.
Of course, one is free to believe that the ferocious deity emanated from the depths of the sea to remind us puny humans of his wrath.
But alas, it was likely a simple example of pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces and figures in otherwise random or ambiguous everyday objects.
The photographer snapped the shot amid high tide and winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (80km/h), namely because of the violent nature of the shore.
“It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall,” Overs explained.
“The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like ghoulish faces.”
Overs added that one of the small foreground waves even resembles a hand – albeit a pareidolic one.
“It’s a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all,” he added.
Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change
Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”
Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.
However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.
The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.
“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.
“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.
“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”
“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.
Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.”
“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.
Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.
On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.
“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.
According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.
However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.
“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.