Home Engineering The dark side of technology
Which areas of the globe are at risk?
If I assume that New York is at the lower edge of the latitudes seriously hit by the storm, then in European terms this means everywhere north of Madrid will be equally vulnerable. The pattern of damage, chaos, social collapse, and effectively national bankruptcy will prevail across the whole of Europe. Although there have been solar storm-induced power failures in South Africa, I have taken the hopeful view that if the intensity is only critical to latitudes higher than 40° (i.e. north of New York, Madrid, or Beijing), then virtually all countries in the southern hemisphere would be exposed to much lower total damage, as there are fewer major cities. If the sunspot activity were more intense, then electrical storms would of course cause disasters at lower latitudes in both hemispheres.
Overall, our vulnerability to a sudden major collapse of advanced civilization is the potential price of dependence on high-level technology. Without communications, food distribution, and means of sustaining government, the dangers are initially from within. People will sink to a level of personal survival, which may well be highly selfish. The external factors are equally unpalatable, as the European countries plunged into chaos will be unable to mount strong defences against invasions from expansionist military neighbours who have survived. We will equally be obvious targets for religious crusades by extremist fundamentalists. If we consider what happened to Central America with the expansionist/ religious invasions in the fifteenth century, then the prospects for current European generations are remarkably bleak.
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