Solar activity to flare up; communications problems to follow

No sooner did telecommunications providers breathe a sigh of relief that a rogue satellite, lost and drifting threateningly about in space, would not impact other satellites when the federal government went to defcon 3 about the reemergence of solar misbehavior. The sun, it seems, has been relatively quiet for the last 11 years, and that's about to end.

"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," said Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division, which, in itself sounds impressive. The bad news is, he said, "our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms" ranging from cable TV systems to GPS and even to the energy grid.

If nothing else, this sounds like a great plot for a movie-of-the-week. But then it might never get broadcast because of ... get ready for it--solar activity.

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