News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • This month's GALILEO shutdown: a warning to our world.

    Posted on OscarCP Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums Outside the box Rumors and what-ifs This month's GALILEO shutdown: a warning to our world.

    Viewing 18 reply threads
    • Author
      Posts
      • #1896800 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        What if GPS and its Chinese, European and Russian counterparts were to go down because of some cosmic catastrophe, most likely a huge solar flare frying the satellites. Such as the one in 1859 that, at that time, caused some damage to telegraph systems, because of the very high voltages, induced by the very fast changes it produced in the Earth magnetic field, in the very long loops formed by the long-distance telegraph lines. But that was all the important electric equipment that was vulnerable to such flares then. Things have changed.

        We could have had a taste of this earlier this month, when not a huge flare, but an obscure, as yet undisclosed problem (that is looking worse as time goes by without a forthcoming explanation from those in charge) that caused the European equivalent of GPS, known as GALILEO, to go out, completely, for about one whole week. Fortunately, most equipment that uses it, from cell phones to the controls of nation-wide power distribution grids, switched automatically to GPS and things kept going as usual and people hardly noticed:

        https://www.wired.com/story/galileo-satellite-outage-gps/

        But what if we had the kind of problem that can bring down GPS and the other satellite systems, from positioning and timing (e.g., GPS, GALILEO, GLONASS and Beidu) to weather monitoring and a myriad other applications of artificial satellites in this day and age?

        What will happen is this: until the satellites are replaced, because they cannot be repaired in orbit, there will be no navigation assistance to airplanes, ships, delivery trucks, ambulances, etc. No Internet, that depends both on computer servers and on GPS satellites and their like to keep working in good and synchronous order, so no Web either, no Internet of Things, no smart self-driving vehicles, no effective control of power grids, and so on and so forth. Of course, the power grids would not work anyways, because there would be massive black outs caused by the transformer substations burning down, if nothing else. So most industrial equipment, including those needed to make replacement satellites, will be left off line, and the world will have to get back to a semblance of civilized order in the middle of a huge humanitarian crisis. Without GPS and its counterparts to help figure things out.

        While a few of the GPS-like satellites might survive, (for example , and with great good luck, those on the night side, during the few days, twice a year, when they are in deepest, longest eclipse) it is unlikely that there will be enough of these for the various software applications that use their signals to find position and time to be able to do much, if anything, with them, because they are generally designed to work with as many satellites as possible, and that means at least more than 24 of them available at any time.

        Such is the warning the GALILEO shutdown has given the world. But the world has hardly noticed. Have you?

         

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

      • #1897000 Reply
        b
        AskWoody Plus

        No Internet, that depends both on computer servers and on GPS satellites and their like to keep working in good and synchronous order, so no Web either, no Internet of Things,

        Are you sure about the internet, web, IoT?

        I’m not, as there are 260 earth-based atomic clocks and the 24 GPS satellites are merely alternatives.

      • #1897001 Reply
        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        … Do you mean positioning service outage, general satellite outage, or a full-on EM flare down to surface installations?

        For the latter, well yeah, full grid outage is bad.

        Military-type scenarios already included that we can’t rely on satellite signals getting through unjammed so power grids, emergency services and such aren’t allowed to just rely on those, over here.

        Public NTP servers are a good thing AND should always have several peers.

        Paper maps are also a good thing, as are offline copies of electronic maps.

      • #1897046 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        The scenario I have posited is the very worst, but it will not take that much to create a really tremendous mess. True that there are alternatives, if you have time to find them and use them. However, much of everyday life,  these days, is highly dependent on GPS, and to a lesser extent on the other systems, mentioned in my note, from Europe, Russia and China, and those rely implicitly on GPS as a stopgap alternative.

        In the USA there has been much talk about having a ground based alternative, such as the advanced eLORAN system of ground based radio beacons. The original LORAN was dismantled and its stations were destroyed as a money-saving measure, when GPS was found to be just as useful. The eLORAN precise navigation and timing system is already under deployment in Korea, for example, but in the USA, for several years  now, there has been much talk in Congress and some preliminary studies, but with no firm decision yet to fund it in order to move forward towards its actual full-scale deployment.

        The real root of the problem is that GPS, compared to any other navigation and surveying tool, is cheap and easily integrated with any number of digital technologies. That gives politicians an excuse to look both good at keeping taxpayers safe from being taxed to fund more big government expenses and for looking in the know when it comes to matters technologically cool. Along many years of following developments, I have seen the alternatives to be scrapped, archived, or simply lost as well as the teaching of the pre-GPS techniques discontinued, all this with the consequent ever-increasing dependence on this satellite system, and now, also progressively so, on its counterparts from other countries.

        The military also will certainly  have serious problems if the satellite navigation systems went dark, but as long as there is no war going on, the impact will be more dire, immediate and inescapable on the civilian side. During the previous government, the Secretary of Defense declared that he “hated GPS” and proposed funding a number of initiatives based on some exotic technologies, such as cold-atom accelerometers for building very stable inertial navigation units that might be a solution long-term, but mostly have resulted, so far, in some companies started as spinoffs of their research by personnel of University Engineering and Physics Departments, some of whom I happen to know, getting funded to do proof-of-concept studies.

        Full disclosure: I have spent a good deal of my career in the last quarter of a century — and still am at it — studying and developing techniques for the use of GPS in applications that require finding position with great precision (better than 2 inches in three dimensions), particularly of moving vehicles such as: airplanes, both manned and unmanned, ships, buoys (including for detecting tsunami waves), people surveying sites on foot and artificial satellites with precise altimeters to map the surface of sea and ice caps, all carrying GPS receivers on them. Besides making some technical contributions that have found general application, I have also, of course, followed with interest the developments in this field and considered the actual and potential consequences of such developments, discussed them often and at length with colleagues from different countries, and given them considerable thought. None of which means that I am right in what I wrote to start this thread, but at least might explain what has motivated me to do so.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

      • #1911430 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        Of course this is all assuming the electric grid is still functional. And electronics in general have not been fried.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

        good bye facebook

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #1911435 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Wavy: In that case, there will be a huge business opportunity opening to anyone who knows how to shape stones to make useful things with them.

           

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

      • #1911457 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        or reuse what is there already ….the detritus of the old civilization…

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #1911458 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        I will be practicing my Clovis though..

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2211195 Reply
        prachtexemplar
        AskWoody Lounger

        As an older type human I can remember when we didn’t have all this fancy new stuff we have these days and I admit that all this fancy new stuff makes things a fair bit more comfortable and the definition of “things” should be asked for; but I think that answer would be way, way too long.  Let’s just state that “things” means even my ability to write this post right now.

        I very much appreciate the advances humans have made to allow me to do this post and communicate with a whole mess of folks all over this planet, but if this means of communications suddenly popped out of my world I would be not so happy for about a week and then finally snap out of it and go back to doing a whole bunch more writing and then start taking a little more interest in my neighbors and then start moving that circle of interest to reach out to maybe my neighbor’s neighbor and farther.

        In other words, I would simply be going back to a life when the telephone was a plain black thing and maybe there were some high class folks with those carry-around phones that had them long stick things they pulled out to use that carry-around telephone — I think that is called an antenna, yes?

        And I don’t think the younger folks on the planet would take too long adjusting to that world — maybe longer than a week, because they don’t have my memories to fall back on; but they would also adjust.

        Because humans have been adjusting to change for a whole bunch of long time that I thing we can safely state goes back thousands of years.

        Folks, you can’t eat your computer when you are hungry.  You sure can’t crawl into your cell phone when it starts to rain.  I think with all this easy to get food and water and stuff that some folks do forget that we survive on food and water and not signals running through the air.  Sure, our happy communications all over the planet will get super messed up if the Sun has a bad burp and throws that nasty burp-stuff at our planet, but if we can still eat and drink water, we will survive.

        And then you’ll have to rely on face-to-face communications and a whole smaller audience when doing that communications thing with only your voice waves to carry the signal out.

        Maybe more people will be singing and humming in those days, if there is an unfortunate happening and that sort of world returns.  But we’ll get over it and then maybe in a year or so Woody will be able to get this platform working again and maybe I will have written down my ID here and the password and so I can get back on the New Net and do a post again.

        We’ll survive.

        Well, if the Sun’s burp isn’t too bad.  Things could get a whole bunch bad if the Sun gets a really, really upset stomach and does a super, super burp.  Then that GPS thing will be totally forgotten as you look for food for yourself and your loved ones.  That’s when a bit of TKD will be a whole bunch more important than that GPS.

         

      • #2211200 Reply
        prachtexemplar
        AskWoody Lounger

        I have two screen grabs of a post I just did and then I tried to do an edit and I can no longer find my post, but there is an indication that the forum software has the record of my post and I have that screen grab, too.

        Could somebody please explain to me what I am doing wrong? Or what I did wrong? Or what this software did wrong?

        Thank you.

        • #2211202 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          You were caught in the spam filter. It happens when the submit/edit/submit/edit operation is too fast for the system to update. Slow down on that and it won’t happen 🙂

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2211210 Reply
        prachtexemplar
        AskWoody Lounger

        You were caught in the spam filter. It happens when the submit/edit/submit/edit operation is too fast for the system to update. Slow down on that and it won’t happen 🙂

        Might you please point me to the documentation that explains what you mean by I was caught in the spam filter?

        And does your software have that post in some sort of folder where you can retrieve it? Or do I have to rewrite that post?

        • #2211212 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          A common spamer operation is multiple posting in rapid sequence. If you submit, then edit, than submit, the system thinks you are multi-posting (like a spammer) because it didn’t have time to update in between. So it removes your posting as if it were spam.
          Your post was retrieved and posted above.

          3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2211222 Reply
        prachtexemplar
        AskWoody Lounger

        I am sorry, but I did not move rapidly from submitting the post and then doing the edit, because I first did two screen grabs so I have the post in my log. I would state very accurately that at least 60 seconds elapsed between the hitting of the “Submit” button and the hitting of the “Edit” button and probably another 15 to 20 seconds between hitting that “Edit” button and then doing the edit, which I see above was recorded by the software, and then I hit the “Submit” button after the edit and the post disappeared.

        Now, with all due respect, that is not hitting buttons like some sort of automatic human, but hitting buttons like a normal human and if this forum platform needs more time than what I am outlining as to what happened, then warnings need to be placed where we can be informed of that situation.

        No, not “we” because now I know to go super slow, but warnings need to be placed where new members to this community can be warned that they need to be super slow in actions such as I engaged in that caused this situation to happen.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2211237 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Patchexemplar: I appreciate your taking the time to prepare your comment, that is both well-written (in an appealing folksy way) and making some good points there, with which I agree.

        But, as ever, it is not that simple:

        For example, take today’s universal use of GPS (*) in surveying properties to register them in the government’s cadaster, which is the data base with the government records of property boundaries and other relevant information on these. And consider the means by which such property surveys are made.

        These days, properties are surveyed using GPS and many of the people carrying them out are no longer familiar with theodolites, chains, spirit-leveling, electronic distance meters and all the other tools that were in common use until a few decades ago and, therefore, do not depend on the proper working of satellites zipping more than ten thousand miles above our heads. In fact, the use of such tools is no longer taught to would-be surveyors at most universities and technical schools. And the tools themselves, along with the facilities and equipment needed for calibrating them have either been scrapped, or lay unused and not being maintained, stored away against the day when they might be needed, but no one may be able to know anymore what to do with them.

        And when it comes to the Sun burping some nasty stuff, as you have put it, those cadaster records are now days kept in digital form in computers that are liable to get fried if connected to the power grid during one of those massive mass ejections, such as the 1859 one that set telegraph equipment on fire: the white cream topping on the cake.

        (*) GPS and other similar systems, collectively known as GNSS or “Global Navigation Satellite Systems”, term that includes the US GPS, the European GALILEO, the Russian GLONASS and the Chinese Beidou in one big technological tent.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2211239 Reply
        prachtexemplar
        AskWoody Lounger

        If we are forced into a situation — caused by the Sun — into a situation where procuring food and water and shelter has become a priority over my borderline with my neighbor, it really is that simple.

        What you are outlining is a situation where “other matters” are important. I was outlining a situation where “basic matters” have taken priority over “other matters” and that was all.

        If a situation you are outlining happens and we are still able to go to the grocery store everyday to get our food and the water company can still deliver water to our homes, then we can be worrying about those “other matters”.

        By the way, what solutions do you have to keep the “other matters” from happening? And do the institutions needed to implement those solutions have the money to do so?

        And those solutions would start down here on Earth first. We protect our electric supply before we worry about things in orbit, right?

        Do you know of documentation that lists the priorities for the protections necessary to keep those things you are worried about from happening?

        Do you know of documentation that lists the protective measures necessary?

        And by those two questions above, I don’t mean you posting a list of 50 documents to answer each question. I mean one document that answers each question in an understandable way and maybe in a somewhat concise manner.

        You see, if you want to solve such problems, you are going to need to ask the citizens on this planet to pay for those solutions to be implemented, and that means we better have something easy to understand to convince them it is worth the money.

        But I am afraid that my attention right now is more on what warning system is in place for new people not to get hit by that spam filter thing I have been informed of. The Sun didn’t cause that.

      • #2211241 Reply
        prachtexemplar
        AskWoody Lounger

        The post I was answering has disappeared. I think there is more happening than some spam filter thingy.

      • #2211244 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        My answer to you comment now has come back! Have a look a bit further up. There is some problem with the server that handles comments. Maybe something is slowing it down?

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

      • #2211247 Reply
        prachtexemplar
        AskWoody Lounger

        Yes, and I do screen grabs and have timestamps and there is certainly something giving the server some trouble. I’m sure they will work it out.

        In the meantime, let’s get to figuring out what needs to be done to eliminate the danger you are writing about, in what order it needs to be done, and how to get the money.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2211252 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        I am not a surveyor, but have been doing work closely related to surveying for close to fifty years, been involved with university surveying departments in five different countries and I am a living witness to what I have mentioned in my previous comment. I cannot think offhand of any good article encapsulating this issue, particularly one about plans to overcome the problems I have mentioned, if and when the need arises. I am pretty sure that there are none. So I can only give you, as an answer, three reasons why: (1) common sense (schools and surveying outfits deciding to save on the maintenance of tools no longer needed — under usual circumstances); (2)  “own personal observation”; (3) the lack of real long-term planning and the preference for doing things on the cheap, if that will do; in other words, what is often described also as a very strong preference for doing  “business as usual.” I have participated on discussions, both in line, during live presentations at meetings and in personal exchanges (where everyone is in the same room at the same time), with colleagues, some of them surveyors, and the conclusions have not been encouraging, as I have noted in my previous comments further up. I am a strong opponent of “arguing from authority” (as Aristotle named it and identified as faulty logical reasoning) but in this case is what I have at hand.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2211293 Reply
        prachtexemplar
        AskWoody Lounger

        I tried to make a further contribution to this thread and was thwarted by software that is not properly working.

        This is what I was trying to post:

        <=> <=> <=> Copy Starts <=> <=> <=>

        I just did a bit of a search using Google’s search tool and this site loads without much trouble and also seems to have addressed the issue in a way that is not too hard to understand and there are also some interesting comments.

        How to Protect Your Home from Solar Flares and Solar Storms

        And there are also some suggestions for ways to protect some kinds of equipment, to some degree; if you have any advance warning of a bad solar flare going to happen, which they provide a link to a NASA site that they seem to think can help in that area.

        For the time being I am afraid that is all the time I can devote to searching online for help in how to answer my two questions.  But it is a start, I think.

        <=> <=> <=> Copy Ends <=> <=> <=>

        I’ll try and discuss this matter with Woody via email correspondence.  This situation for a forum platform is not acceptable.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2211306 Reply
          Bluetrix
          AskWoody MVP

          I’ll try and discuss this matter with Woody via email correspondence. This situation for a forum platform is not acceptable.

          Did you edit your reply more than once? See Post-2211192 by PKCano for one reason your original reply could have vanished.

          hth

      • #2211308 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Bluetrix, I am not prachtexemplar, but have had this very problem three times, very recently: once yesterday and twice today after making just one or two corrections each time. Until PK explained what might have happened, I was feeling like I had a target painted on my back and someone was out to get me and using me for target practice. Fortunately not.

        But I, and many others, have always been able to make several corrections in a row without any problems within the ten minute’s or so after first posting a comment that are allowed for that. Something is different now, it has been for probably just a few days and, most likely, is also not right. Otherwise, it would be impossible to change one’s mind and modify a comment accordingly, or fix a typo one did not noticed when submitting the comment for the first time (i.e. incorrectly writing a word that is in the dictionary for another such as “to” instead of “two”.) Either one has to accept to leave something “as is”, with typos and, or expressing ideas in ways that do not quite properly reflect what one is trying to say and might lead to unnecessary discussions, or try to fix some of that and then have the posting disappear into server oblivion. Please, dear Woody’s people, find what is going on and fix this problem.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2211329 Reply
          Kirsty
          Da Boss

          Oscar, for the last 3+ years of the Lounge, we have been moderating replies that have been caught as false positive spam, after a very quick edit. We have spent a lot of time trying to replicate the various causes, with various results.

          As you will be aware, we have recently had an update to part of our infrastructure, which has made some noticeable changes. Since that happened, some of the plugins have become a little more temperamental than usual. We are not sure if this is something it will learn in the short-term, or if it requires support or devs assistance.

          We had already reached out to the appropriate avenues to report the worst problems. These can take a couple of days to review the issues and get back to us, and if that doesn’t help, we then need to consult with (and pay the) devs. This all takes time, and patience during this process is requested.

          Sorry, but we can’t just “fix this problem”. We really would like to have, before it came to the point of public discussion, as it is just as annoying to us (if not more so) 🙂

          6 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2211409 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          The problem has been sufficiently explained.
          There is no reason to continue along these lines.

          3 users thanked author for this post.
    Viewing 18 reply threads

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: This month's GALILEO shutdown: a warning to our world.

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.