Not even Newt could beat this one

Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have no sympathy for the politics of Newt Gingrich, but do have a sneaking admiration for his willingness to flaunt his nerddom in public.

Warnings about electromagnetic pulse weapons and proposals for a Moon base have provided both interest and entertainment. Though I am not sure whether Newt has had much to say about the threat posed by the biggest EMP weapon in the region – namely the Sun.

But not even Newt could think of a plan to defeat one threat to humanity’s existence – a quantum tunnelling effect as part of our universe transforms from a “false vacuum” to a “true vacuum”.

The idea is that there is a scalar field (an energy field) pervading the universe that could could fall to a lower value, releasing its stored energy. If this were to happen in our universe then the released energy would be seen in the rapid (speed of light) expansion of the new, lower energy bubble. And as this bubble would hit us at the speed of light we’d have no warning at all – indeed we’d be here one second and gone the next.

Is it a real threat? Possibly – there is some evidence that our universe might be in a false vacuum (higher energy) state. Is there anything we can do about it? No. Is it worth worrying about? No.


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