TolkiEinstein writes "The New York Times reports that, relatively speaking, compasses may soon point South. It's long been known that Earth flips magnetically every half-million years or so, and, with the north pole's magnetic field at about 10-15 percent [less than] its strength of 150 years ago, many geologists feel a flip is coming up. Computer simulations also suggest that the current state of the magnetic field is indicative of an upcoming flip. Though it would take hundreds of years to complete, the impact on life may be significant but not catastrophic, including phenomena such as power-outages, satellite malfunctions and disruptions in the rhythmic functions of some animals such as loggerhead turtles. The EU plans to launch a trio of satellites in 2009 to assume polar orbits & monitor the field." (Cross your fingers for some nice solar wind.) Update: 07/13 17:02 GMT by T : Note: the summary here originally misstated the Times' article; the field 's strength has decreased 10-15 percent, rather than to 10-15 percent.