Here’s a definition that should send chills down the spines of investors: “An unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences.” This sums up a black swan event. Nassim Nicholas Taleb mainstreamed the concept through his writings. His points became particularly topical through his book, The Black Swan, around the time of the financial crisis — a major, destructive event that many people found unexpected and, beforehand, maybe even impossible.
There’s a similar risk brewing on the horizon. Climate change could be the next black swan event that causes an ugly ripple effect through our lives and economies. The majority of current investment strategy comes up short on modeling, even considering that this as a legitimate concern, at least for our lifetimes.
Here’s a lesson in extreme irony: The term originated when people didn’t believe black swans existed at all. Because no one had ever seen one, it certainly looked as if Read more…
Our little planet faces many poorly understood perils from beyond
Photograph by: Associated Press, NASA , London Daily Telegraph, The Associated Press
Considering the dangers lurking out there, it’s a wonder that our little planet is not in the firing line more often. We are just 150 million kilometres from a star that, while mostly well-behaved, occasionally has temper tantrums that could bring our civilization to its knees. Our solar system is home to a swarm of comets, rocks, boulders and flying mountains, tens of thousands of which are big enough to wipe out anything from a small city to the entire biosphere. And further out lurk delinquent stars whose death explosions are the largest since the Big Bang. If one of these went off nearby, it would be curtains for all of us.
In fact, Earth can be considered rather lucky to have not suffered a total cataclysm in at least 3.5 billion years – the period during which we have an unbroken record of life existing on the Earth’s surface. Before then, global sterilization events, caused by collisions with huge space rocks, almost Read more…
Arctic sea ice in the summer. Creative Commons: Guido Appenzeller, 2011
“The record or near-records being reported from year to year in the Arctic are no longer anomalies or exceptions. Really they have become the rule for us, or the norm that we see in the Arctic and that we expect to see for the forseeable future” – Jackie Richter-Menge, US Army Corps of Engineers
Last week’s ‘State of the Climate’ report confirmed it: ice is melting in the Arctic at one of the fastest rates in human history. Researchers and climate scientists monitoring ice melt in the Arctic have started using the ominous term ‘death spiral’ to describe what’s happening at the top of the world. But what does it mean? And is Read more…
The Apparent reversal of solar wind is actually a second solar wind. This is a 2D simulation and wind that is moving away from point of view may actually show up as a reversal. The arrows on simulation indicate wind speed so reversals with long arrows could be very close to a reversal. Since solar wind cannot reverse the only conclusion one can draw is that we are seeing a second wind from a second star.
LONDON – The discovery by NASA rover Curiosity of evidence that water once flowed on Mars—the most Earth-like planet in the solar system—should intensify interest in what the future could hold for mankind.
The only thing stopping Earth having a lifeless environment like Mars is the magnetic field that shields us from deadly solar radiation and helps some animals migrate, and it may be a lot more fragile and febrile than one might think.
Scientists say earth’s magnetic field is weakening and could all but disappear in as little as 500 years as a precursor to flipping upside down.
It has happened before—the geological record suggests the magnetic field has reversed every 250,000 years, meaning that, with the last event 800,000 years ago, another would seem to be overdue.
“Magnetic north has migrated more than 1,500 kilometres over the past century,” said Conall Mac Niocaill, an earth scientist at Oxford University. “In the past 150 years, the strength of Read more…
WASHINGTON – The sun is about to flip its magnetic field, at the peak of its 11-year solar cycle or at the half-way point of what scientists call a solar maximum – when it is at its most violent in terms of solar flares and the Earth is most vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse.
That’s the surge of sun energy that scientists say could in an instant return the developed world to an agrarian society, essentially without any electronics, and leave millions dead.
This mid-way point is expected in about four months – a December/January time frame – putting Earth in a position of greatest vulnerability even as the solar maximum diminishes well into 2014.
Scientists for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, have said the sun will reach its most intense period this year and well into next.
Others have suggested that even until 2020 Earth still could be exposed to solar flares that if they hit Earth directly could knock out the U.S. national grid system and fry electronic components and automated control systems not only in the U.S. but in other industrialized countries.
“It looks like we’re no more than three to four months away from a complete Read more…
One of the expectations of Earth Change researchers is that with the evidence of the folding of the tectonic plates under the Pacific Ocean and the collapsing or subduction of the Western Regions of the Ring of fire in the Far East, that these collapsing plates will eventually pull the Northern Regions of South America to the west into the Pacific Ocean and tear away South America from Central America.
Recently it was noticed that the buoys along the Cocos and the Nazca Plates were deactivated. At the same time the earthquakes along the eastern regions of those same plates that were jutting up against South America along the Andes, from the tip of South America upwards to Peru were increasing exponentially.
As the South American coastline is being pulled over the Nazca Plate, what has been called the “South American Roll” has been activating earthquakes that would have been noticed by the buoys rising or collapsing with the rolling earthquakes are now silent. It would be expected that the officials in charge of the buoys deployment and activation would hesitate to let the southern Read more…