So when the Mail (UK) ran a story last week saying we just missed a Carrington level event destroying life as we know it, it was a new low in alarmism. It's one thing to exaggerate and another to fabricate; this is making up a story entirely out of thin air. But it isn't the Mail's story, at least not exclusively.
The mail, in turn, is quoting the Washington Examiner, who quoted some dood named Peter Vincent Pry:
"There had been a near miss about two weeks ago, a Carrington-class coronal mass ejection crossed the orbit of the Earth and basically just missed us," said Peter Vincent Pry, who served on the Congressional EMP Threat Commission from 2001-2008. He was referring to the 1859 EMP named after astronomer Richard Carrington that melted telegraph lines in Europe and North America.The folks at Watts Up With That, though, reviewed the Space Weather in the period two weeks prior, and as NASA's Dr. Tony Phillips said,
Many readers are asking about a report in the Washington Examiner, which states that a Carrington-class solar storm narrowly missed Earth two weeks ago. There was no Carrington-class solar storm two weeks ago. On the contrary, solar activity was low throughout the month of July.Mr. Pry is probably lying like this for one of two reasons: either to get funding for a program to protect the grid (not a bad idea at all) or to soften the battlespace so that if bad forces shut down the power grid and millions die, it can look natural. In other words, he's either deceitful or completely evil. Not a good introduction, Mr. Pry.
It seems every few months someone is trying to warn us another bad flare is imminent and we're all going to die because of it. The ironic thing is I'm sympathetic to the cause, although more from an EMP standpoint than the solar flare/CME side. I just can't stand the exaggeration or outright lying. If I owned a power company, I'd invest in protecting my infrastructure and serving my customers, but I don't think we should drop everything else to do it. Do it in with the regular maintenance. Order replacements for vulnerable equipment. Spares. "Two is one, one is none". To quote myself from one of those prior posts:
So what do you think the chances of another one are? [edited to add: another Carrington level event] According to someone quoted by Reason, the chances of another one between now and 2020 are 12% - 1 in 8. So something that hasn't happened since 1859, through all those solar cycles, including the strongest cycles on record, has a 1 in 8 chance of happening now? In this weak, erratic solar peak - in the next 8 years? Really, dude, you don't have to say between now and 2020. The next 2 or 3 years should locate the peak pretty well.
I don't buy it.