Solar flares ate my GPS
Worse to come in 2011?
Did you get lost while out driving in December? If you did, blame the solar flare that zapped signals sent out by the GPS satellite network to keep travellers travelling in the right direction.
According to researchers at New York's Cornell University, two major solar flares observed on 5 and 6 December emitted blasts of radio noise that were ten times more intense than than the worst burst then on record, Reuters reports.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology measured the radio activity and found the flares generated 20,000 times more noise than that emitted by the rest of the sun's surface.
When the radio waves reached the Earth they disrupted connections between GPS satellites and receivers.
Details of the GPS-busting event were revealed at the Space Weather Enterprise Forum conference currently being held in Washington.
The concern is the timing of the event. December's radio blasts took place during one of the sun's regular, 11-year quiet times. Equally, the sun experiences peaks of solar flare and sunspot activity during the so-called 'solar maxima', which likewise occur every 11 years.
The next minimum is due mid-2007, after which solar activity will rise before reaching the next maximum in 2011.
Pay as you Drive
So when all our cars are locked down with Pay-as-Drive (tracking) systems, and our cars won't start because the GPS network is floored. Then what are we supposed to do? Sit on the drive and admire the dash-panel?
It's obvious what's going on here. Solar flare activity has been increasing ever since mankind developed radio technology. Obviously we're polluting the solar system's electromagnetic climate, and we must be stopped!
A new excuse being formed right now
Sorry I'm late. Bit of a bugger on the way to work - solar flares interfered with the GPS.'
But it does offer a (literal) get-out-of-jail-free card for the MoD when it comes to explain why our boats ended up in Iranian waters.