Friday, December 09, 2005


The light shift

This was a strange week. I could not explain why I had feelings that so conflicted with my usual composure, my natural brightness and my ability to balance a cup of coffee on my nose. Then I discovered that Earth's north magnetic pole is drifting away from North America and toward Siberia. Ah ha, I thought. Indeed, it is moving at such a clip that Alaska might lose its spectacular Northern Lights in the next 50 years, according to scientists.

I asked my neighborhood scientists if there is a possibility that Earth's modestly fading magnetic field will collapse. He said, “It is remote, but who knows?”

But the shift could mean no more sky lights known as auroras, except in southerly areas of Siberia and Europe. Aurora fans in Alaska have already begun to pack.

As we all know, the magnetic poles are part of the magnetic field generated by liquid iron in Earth's core. Their shift can affect the personalities of ultra-sensitive people, said my local scientist. “Exactly why this happens is a mystery,” he said confidently.

Now that it is confirmed that the north magnetic field has shifted significantly in the last thousand years, I don’t have to worry about that recent urge to hear Michael Bolton sing. I will adapt, now knowing the reason for my malady.

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