How to Protect Your Home/Electronics from Solar Flares

Posted on September 05, 2014 by Nickie Thetsy | 0 comments

The sun’s magnetic and sunspot cycles are expected to peak in 2013, bringing a stormy season to our solar system and an increase in sun related damage here on Earth. While you don’t need to grab a tinfoil hat and head for the nearest bunker, it’s a good idea to take precautions to protect your home from possible damage caused by solar flares and solar storms.

Impact of Solar Storms

Our sun is a massive ball of superheated gases that swirl with incredible currents and magnetic fields. At times the pressure builds up into sunspots, which can explode out from the sun in events known as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

These “solar storms” bombard the solar system – and Earth – with radiation and magnetic shock waves that can wreak havoc on magnetic fields, power systems, and electronics devices. The Earth’s atmosphere shields us from much of the radiation, but solar storms can still do quite a bit of damage, including:

Northern lights over home caused by solar activity

Northern lights from solar activity.

  • Short out satellites and take down GPS, cell phone, Internet, and TV services.
  • Cause damage to electronic devices and computers.
  • Disrupt the power grid resulting in overloads, widespread power outages, and dangerous power surges.
  • Increase corrosion and breakage of gas and fuel pipelines.
  • Confuse compasses and electromagnetic gadgets.
  • Cause light displays (like the “northern lights”) in the sky.
  • Knock out communications, including radio, military communications, and early warning systems.

Shielding from Solar Radiation

The biggest threat of solar storms is on a systemic scale (such as taking out cell phone service) rather than an individual scale (like damaging individual cell phones). However, the magnitude of solar events is unpredictable, and we don’t always know the effects solar radiation will have.

If you’ve done any reading on the subject, you’ve found all levels of paranoia about shielding yourself and your home from radiation, with all manner of solutions. My favorite was to build your house with a radiation-shielding pool of water on top – who doesn’t love a rooftop swimming pool?

Short of such radical measures, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, and one of the easiest ways to shield items from electromagnetic radiation is with an insulated, sealed metal box called a Faraday cage. It can be made of solid metal or wire mesh and needs to be completely enclosed, with an insulated liner so that nothing inside comes into contact with the metal.

A Faraday cage is easy to make using a cardboard box wrapped with aluminum foil.

To protect emergency backup electronics such as a radio or laptop, put them (unplugged) inside a sealed cardboard box, then wrap the box completely with aluminum foil. Another solution is to line the inside of a metal garbage can with cardboard. During peak radiation storms, it’s a simple matter to put your small electronics inside and close the lid.

If you’re really into radiation protection or are concerned about the health effects of solar storms, the same principles can be applied on a larger scale. People have gotten pretty creative with this principle by lining rooms (and even entire houses) with radiation-shielding metal mesh. And yes, some even try to shield their bodies with Faraday inspired suits and hats.

Keep up with the latest solar storm predictions at Today’s Space Weather on the NOAA website.

For more info, go to http://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-to-protect-your-home-from-solar-flares-and-solar-storms/

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Is Your Kelp Safe from Radioactive Ocean?

Posted on May 26, 2014 by Nickie Thetsy | 1 comment

Is Your Kelp Safe from Radioactive Ocean?

Kelp is used in many products such as cosmetics, ice cream, and iodine. After the disaster of Fukuskima, how do we know that the ocean water and all of its living things are safe to use?

Kelp Watch 2014 is a project that uses coastal kelp beds as detectors of radioactive seawater arriving from Fukushima via the North Pacific Current. It is a collaborative effort led by Steven Manley, marine biology professor at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), and Kai Vetter, head of applied nuclear physics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and a nuclear engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
The new results are from samples primarily collected from Feb. 24 through March 14.

Read full version, click here.

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