Feb 012008

*originally printed in Red Shtick Magazine – February, 2008 (pdf)

Any geologist worth his basalt will tell you that the Earth is overdue for a Brunhes-Matuyama reversal. That’s when the Earth’s magnetic poles flip-flop like they’re running for office. This impending geomagnetic reversal means that, sometime soon, magnetic north will be south and vice versa.

Scientists are still debating what causes this event, let alone the consequences. The prevailing theory is that the Earth’s chewy, caramel interior ripens and becomes too delicious. This induces subterranean unicorns to poke holes in the Earth’s candy shell to equalize the flavor gradient.

There is a great deal of speculation about what consequences this shift may bring. Some say it will be another Y2K nightmare. Still others say that this event deserves a much more ominous acronym, something including a hexadecimal so only nerds understand it. However catastrophic the impending shift of the Earth’s magnetic poles may or may not be, the most catastrophic thing we can do in the meantime is not worry about it incessantly.

The Sun, the source of so-called “solar energy,” is actually a giant fusion reactor run by Entergy. It floats around in deep space and says, “What?! What?! That RIGHT, yo! I’m the Sun, beyotch! Ya’ best step!”

For all its boasting, the Sun isn’t really that macho and likes having friends like the Earth. The Earth is part of the solar system, and without a bumpin’ system, the Sun couldn’t impress other stars at red lights.

Turns out, the Earth’s magnetic field isn’t just planetary mating plumage. We have a symbiotic relationship with our Sun, but it is wicked powerful and likes to fling devastating radiation at us for no reason. To protect us from this lethal exposure, the Earth backs up her big, sexy, tight, round, magnetic field and takes one for the team.

When the Bruno-Whatever reversal takes place, the Earth’s magnetic field will temporarily weaken and become saggy, lumpy, sort of flat but still bulging around the sides, and all dimply. It will provide no protection when the Sun gives us a spanking.

Some scientists have concluded that the reversal will be slow and will not affect us for another thousand years. Other scientists believe that those scientists should get bent, because they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. These scientists have found evidence that God is pissed, and He’s about to get His wrath on.

The prevailing Caramel and Unicorn Theory suggests, by its nature, that this shift will be a rapid and apocalyptic one. Caramel is like Kryptonite to unicorns and so, to equalize pressure across the candy layer, they must poke holes rapidly through the shell. Scientists who support this theory suggest that the effects of this rapid poking will be initially satisfying, but may ultimately leave the Earth colder and less responsive to our needs.

If the Earth’s magnetic field is disrupted, even for a short time in geologic terms, it could mean the end of human civilization as we know it. Even if we could protect ourselves from exposure, the intense radiation would make any surface activity or communications intensely dangerous. Unfiltered solar radiation would cook electronic devices and electrical equipment instantly. It could also give you a deep, brown, luxurious tan – on your bones. Scary stuff. Scarier than Armageddon: The Musical.

Our mighty scientists have yet to offer any technological breakthroughs that could offer salvation. Einstein is dead and his brain is pickled. Hawking is still alive, but he’s too busy doing cameos and pissing off evangelicals to really tackle the issue. Not to mention, neither of them is a geologist.

With Einstein dead and Hawking gone all celebrity on us, who can we turn to for help in geology? Do you know any helpful geologists? No, they’re all running around, picking on helpless rocks. We could look it up on Wikipedia, but that is full of useless facts. What we need are opinions, loosely based in science, but interpreted for us so that they don’t offend or frighten us, unless it’s profitable or consolidates power.

The most trustworthy opinions come from people who are outside of mainstream science, because they are not subject to the “groupthink” that has come to be called “the scientific method.” That’s where I come in. You’re welcome.

I’ve come up with the most obvious solutions: build a giant magnet, or go underground and live with the unicorns. Since I am openly prejudiced against all unifolk, including Cyclopes, I support an initiative to build a giant magnet, possibly coercing unikind to serve as a labor force.

Fortunately for you the reader, it is statistically probable that you won’t have to worry about any of this nonsense. Even if this article weren’t a complete fabrication, loosely based on about three sentences of actual geology, statistics prove that most cataclysmic events take place in the future. The future is really, really big, and so is the past. Turns out, you don’t have to worry about anything big happening in your lifetime, because it just won’t be that screaming long. The likelihood of you being alive during any event on a planetary scale is astronomically low.

It’s okay to not worry about things that will certainly wipe out your species, as long as you’re sure you won’t be a part of that species when it happens. Truth is, the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal probably will not occur for thousands of years, and I’d hope, by that time, we’d all be able to cruise out to Proxima Centauri until things settled down. If not, our descendants will have to deal with it. Screw them; I’ve got rent to pay.

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