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Old 09-12-2014, 12:39 AM   #1
REACTOR
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Exclamation Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

I thought I would mention to you guys that a solar flare would be coming soon and that everyone should backup their data if it means a lot to them!

http://spaceweather.com/
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

Ohh, I do like solar flares. Much bigger issues on our hands than lost data though, these things have the capability to knock out satellites if they're strong enough. Typically only felt on earth near the poles because whats where the Earths magnetic field directs the charged particles (hence lots of auroras). The images of these things leaving the sun look absolutely amazing though, and the research going into them is fascinating as scientists don't really know what causes them as such.
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

Scientists like to think they know everything, but there is a whole lot they haven't discovered.
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Old 09-12-2014, 11:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

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Scientists like to think they know everything, but there is a whole lot they haven't discovered.
True story bro
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

Quote:
Originally Posted by REACTOR View Post
Scientists like to think they know everything, but there is a whole lot they haven't discovered.
Hijacking this comment to say postpositivism is still pretty awesome.
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

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Originally Posted by REACTOR View Post
Scientists like to think they know everything, but there is a whole lot they haven't discovered.
"Science knows it doesn't know everything. If it did it would stop" - Dara Briain

Truer words have never been said in a comedy act.
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

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"Science knows it doesn't know everything. If it did it would stop" - Dara Briain
And the next bits good too. "Just because science doesn't know everything, doesn't mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever nonsense you want to."

Besides, backing up the data will do nothing. If a flare can wipe your drive, it will likely also wipe any backups you have unless you are storing them in something like punch tape or manual switches.
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Old 09-12-2014, 05:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

Wait a minute, oh yes, I think I forgot to say to put your hard drive or computer into a metal enclosed box or an alumunium foiled ordinary box with an aluminimum foiled cover.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

As a electrical engineering student, I can tell you that won't help much. Punch cards are clearly the way to go.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

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As a electrical engineering student, I can tell you that won't help much. Punch cards are clearly the way to go.
Can you explain your reasoning?

Oh wait, punch cards! A joke I see?

Last edited by REACTOR; 09-12-2014 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

Punch cards are an ancient (see: not ancient), way of inputting programs into computers - no keyboard or mouse for you. Heck my Dad signed up for college classes using punch cards.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

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Originally Posted by Megadog View Post
As a electrical engineering student, I can tell you that won't help much. Punch cards are clearly the way to go.
But wait, why won't it help too much? I thought that method of creating your own faraday cage and using it to keep data inside would be the most effective against a solar storm...
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

It's hopeless wrapping your computer in metal since all magnetic storage will be wiped clean regardless of its position on Earth. Right now I'm transferring the entirety of Wikipedia to vinyl LPs so that the next sentient life that rules the world will know of our follies and create even stronger civilizations. Yes, I'm saying that tonight is the apocalypse.

Make sure that when you go to bed tonight the items in your house are arranged in an intuitive and informative manner; you need to put your best foot forward for the successor species, and whatever archaeologist is sifting through the ruins of your city in the future will appreciate how easy you've made it.
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Old 09-12-2014, 10:05 PM   #14
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

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Originally Posted by OurEminentDoomsayer View Post
It's hopeless wrapping your computer in metal since all magnetic storage will be wiped clean regardless of its position on Earth. Right now I'm transferring the entirety of Wikipedia to vinyl LPs so that the next sentient life that rules the world will know of our follies and create even stronger civilizations. Yes, I'm saying that tonight is the apocalypse.

Make sure that when you go to bed tonight the items in your house are arranged in an intuitive and informative manner; you need to put your best foot forward for the successor species, and whatever archaeologist is sifting through the ruins of your city in the future will appreciate how easy you've made it.
I still don't know what you mean in the first paragraph?

Vinyl LPs would be a good and solid way to hold data, but how can you get hold of them anymore, and how fast can you transfer data onto them.
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Old 09-13-2014, 01:51 AM   #15
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Default Re: Back Up Your Data NOW - Solar Flares

This discussion has piqued my interest. Time for some physics. Anyone else want to do physics?

There are a couple ways a solar flare can in theory corrupt or erase data. The first is via photons ionizing the material the data is stored in. (Si and Si- for an SSD, and Cobalt-Chrome-Platinum alloys in your standard HDD) I think I'm going to not do mat at 1 AM this fine morning because while I'm interested I'm tired, and besides while I can do the math on data corruption in a single atom setup (and then scale up), i suspect there might be complications from alloys. Onto the physics-y part. A Faraday cage would protect against this, but then again so is the casing for the hard drive itself, not to mention your house and the atmosphere etc.

OK fine a bit of math. At the earths surface the sun produces approx 1kW/m^2. This comes out to (assume avg photon is 600nm) 10^22 photon*sec/m^2. (photon-seconds per square meter. Doncha love units?) A hard drive is about 4 square inches, simple math says that if you stuck a hard drive in direct sunlight about 2*10^19 photons hit the thing every second. In theory the majority of these photons could ionize Si-. (I found a doc that says this ion has an ionization energy of like 1 or 2 eV) Because I can carry a laptop around with me in direct sunlight and it works they obviously don't. Without doing any math (beyond what's already done), I think I can hazard a guess that if you are worried that you are getting enough photons that you need to worry about data corruption via light you have bigger problems. Like you no longer have an ozone layer big.

Method number 2: magnets. Turns out a thing that can accompany flares is a big chunk of stuff that comes out of the sun, called a coronal mass ejection.(CME) These things can really screw with the Earth's magnetic field - which isn't very good for a couple reasons. The big thing is that changing a magnetic field - quite possibly intensely - will induct current into various things we don't want currently inducted to. A faraday cage can protect against this, but probably shouldn't be touching the drive - especially the connector - and should be grounded. Aluminum foil meets neither of these requirements. This can in theory lead to some charge getting stored in the drive itself - which (I'm tired and would have to noodle around with this more to be sure) I'm guessing can affect the drive. Of course if you are inducting enough charge that this matters then you probably once again have bigger things to worry about. Like having no electricity, and nuclear power plants melting down.
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