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Space Science

Cosmic Ray Intensity Reaches Highest Levels In 50 years 263

Posted by samzenpus
from the start-the-mutations dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A NASA probe found that cosmic ray intensities in 2009 had increased by almost 20 percent beyond anything seen in the past 50 years. Such cosmic rays arise from distant supernova explosions and consist mostly of protons and heavier subatomic particles — just one cosmic ray could disable unlucky satellites or even put a mission to Mars in jeopardy."
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Cosmic Ray Intensity Reaches Highest Levels In 50 years

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  • Use ECC Memory (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @09:34PM (#29601309) Homepage

    I guess now would be a good time to use ECC RAM in consumer PCs and not just servers anymore. In fact, I've always been in favor of ECC in every workstation. At least nVidia is talking it seriously.

    FYI. Cosmic rays have been known to cause bit-flips in RAM. That's why using ECC is important in preventing data corruption committed back to disk.

  • WTF??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vrmlguy (120854) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <esywmas>> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @09:35PM (#29601315) Homepage Journal

    Centuries ago, cosmic-ray concentrations grew to be as much as 200 percent more intense than they are now, yet humankind survived.

    How do we know this? Who was measuring cosmic-ray concentrations centuries ago, and how did they measure them? How accurate were the measurements, and how certain are we of that accuracy?

    According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org], "In 1910 Theodor Wulf developed an electrometer (a device to measure the rate of ion production inside a hermetically sealed container) and used it to show higher levels of radiation at the top of the Eiffel Tower than at its base." That sounds like a bit less than "centuries ago".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @09:49PM (#29601381)
    Clearly, we need a longer school year and racist Supreme Court Justices.
  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @10:04PM (#29601495)

    I don't know about longer school years but the US has never had a shortage of racist Supreme Court Justices.

  • Re:Clinton's fault (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile@NospaM.mindless.com> on Thursday October 01, 2009 @02:40AM (#29602799) Journal

    So just because a guy is black it automatically means he is a criminal?

    No, just because a guy is a politician it automatically means he is a criminal.

  • What kind of rays? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bromskloss (750445) <auxiliary DOT ad ... privacy AT gmail> on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:20AM (#29603205)

    just one cosmic ray could disable unlucky satellites

    What is the nature of these "rays"? Duration, frequency, intensity and width would be of interest.

  • Re:global cooling (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Joren (312641) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @06:08AM (#29603693) Homepage
    Not having access to anything but the abstracts, I have to ask...

    What does a one year difference in date have anything to do with reaching drastically different claims using the same data source? According to GP, in 2008, MODIS data was inconsistent with cosmic rays causing cloud formation. According to your "newer research" in 2009, MODIS data magically became consistent with the theory. They both claim reliance on MODIS data and reach opposite conclusions. So... what gives? Either they played with the data selection process or they had different criteria for deciding what's a correlation and what's not. That doesn't sound like being "out of date" to me...that sounds more like having different presuppositions and methodologies going in. A one year difference isn't enough to wave the wand and make all prior research go away - you've got to demonstrate that either the methodology or the data of the old research was flawed.

    * I'm not claiming I know which research is closer to the truth. It could be this year's, it could be last year's. The date isn't going to tell us.
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @08:58AM (#29605045)

    I don't know... Near the end of the Clinton Administrator Big gas guzzling SUV were all the rage and status symbols. At the end of the Bush Administration Small light hybrid cars were all the rage. In many ways the Bush administration threw "Tough Love" actually changed american behaviors more then any other president. Letting us go to far make huge mistakes and take the consequences, Seems to help alter our culture far better then just normal regulation where people just see it as Nanny state.

  • Re:global cooling (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01, 2009 @11:11AM (#29606991)
    It's not healthy to get all your information from one clearly biased source.
  • Re:global cooling (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Joren (312641) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @11:42AM (#29607403) Homepage
    Did you even read my post? Specifically, did you read the following?

    * I'm not claiming I know which research is closer to the truth. It could be this year's, it could be last year's. The date isn't going to tell us.

    They both claim reliance on MODIS data and reach opposite conclusions. So... what gives?

    To be honest, it sounds like you skimmed what I wrote and decided I was a global warming nut. If you enjoy arguing against them, then by all means have fun pretending that I am one. By all means, tell me what "my attitude" is - I'm sure it'd be news to me, since I never expressed an opinion about what should receive funding and what should not. But I digress...

    My main point isn't about which one's right or wrong - frankly I don't know or care. It's about the rules of logic. You're saying the other research is "a little old" when it's only one year older than the link you cited. It matters little which side a person is on - what matters is that they follow the rules of logic and provide a refutation that goes beyond "it's [one year] old." They both use the same MODIS data and reach different conclusions - that points to a difference that cannot be explained by one being a year older than the other. There must be different methodologies, and one has to decide which one is closer to the truth. I would like to know what the difference in how they assess the MODIS data is - unfortunately, I can't know, because I don't have access to anything beyond the abstract of the research you cited. The full papers seem to require paying for access.

  • Re:Clinton's fault (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01, 2009 @05:07PM (#29611665)
    Hate to bust your fanboy bubble, but Clinton inherited a post-recession booming economy (5% growth by the time of the election, well before he even took office). To the extent that anyone took action resulting in a reduction of the deficit, you can credit Newt Gingrich, although the dot-com boom had more to do with it than any particular policy or budget. Clinton's team was actually opposed to a balanced budget at the time.
    I can't disagree with much of the vitriol heaped on Bush II, although the federal level Katrina screw-ups were more PR than factual. They are hamstrung by local sovereignty even to this day.
    As far as creating the biggest budget deficit in American history, I'm afraid he's ceded that title to our current Dear Leader. We've managed to run up a bigger deficit this year than the entire Iraq war cost or Bush's entire first term in office. Wow. In fact, this year's deficit is larger than the entire tax receipts of the Federal Government. Seriously. We spent way more than twice what we took in. Holy crap, that takes a lot of effort.
    And that doesn't even count the trillion dollars spent by the federal reserve increasing our money supply. Holy Inflation, mcgrew!
  • by pkphilip (6861) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:27AM (#29614291)

    I posted this to Slashdot but it appears that the editors are more interested in Cosmic rays.

    To quote from Theregister:

    The world's source for global temperature record admits it's lost or destroyed all the original data that would allow a third party to construct a global temperature record. The destruction (or loss) of the data comes at a convenient time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia - permitting it to snub FoIA requests to see the data.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/13/cru_missing/ [theregister.co.uk]

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