Fake North and other wacky science news

Brian Rogers

The big news this week: The North Pole is moving. Scientists have released an updated position for True North.

And this is where it gets confusing.

Because True North has not moved, only Magnetic North.

But because magnetic is used to locate True, then True is not truly where Magnetic suggests it might be, nearby.

I?m not sure whether anyone has told Santa Claus about this, and he will have some serious mail re-direction issues ahead of him.

As if he didn?t have enough to contend with, battling the Polar Vortex.

Magnetic meanderings

Apparently the North Pole has been moving so fast that scientists have released the updated position a year ahead of schedule.

The Earth?s North Magnetic Pole is wandering about 55km a year. It crossed the international dateline a couple of years ago, moving away from the Canadian Arctic and towards Siberia.

But Magnetic North is not the same as True North – it?s the ?she?ll be right? version and the variation differs, depending on where you are on Earth.

So the actual pole may still be in the usual place but the Magnetic Pole, which has sort of conveniently been located more or less in the same neighbourhood, is not being so helpful any more.

Donald Trump won?t be happy about the implications for True North, and is likely to call it Fake North. Despite the fact it?s not True North?s fault; it?s humans who decided True and Magnetic were close enough to use one to find the other.

It clearly has affected Mr Trump?s moral compass.

Wildlife wandering

It has upset the wildlife, such as bears not knowing which of the two poles they should reference their lives around. Some have been diagnosed as bi-polar bears.

This week polar bears have also been in the news, because climate change is supposedly forcing them to wander the streets. They?ve lost their bearings.

This reminds of a story my Dad told me: How do you trap a polar bear? Dig a hole in the ice, and when the bear comes along and bends over and looks inside, you poke him in the ice hole.

Shifty science

You?d think all the people of Poland will be getting a bit agitated, too. There?s no way of knowing where this madness will stop.

It also raises questions about the South Pole, according to my astute knowledge of science. And I know quite a lot, because my brother and I got a microscope when I was nine.

If you shift the top pole, the bottom one may move as well. Moving the poles will affect a whole lot of people around the world, but none more so than Desiree at Showgirls, who relies on a fixed pole for her dance routine. It will get pretty messy if all the poles start moving around willy nilly during her session.

Star crossed

If the North Pole is cruising around, the perceived position of the South Pole is therefore moving, and this creates problems for the stars. It may explain why the Southern Cross is, well, cross.

You would be, if you?d spent hundreds of millions of years burning in the sky to show people where to find south, only to hear that some other pole on the other side of the world is getting flaky and ruining your star maps.

Maybe the Southern star group should be renamed the Angry and Cross.

?Naki attacky

In other loosely-connected science news, the Met Service rain radar showed some peculiar images this week.

There?s either an anomaly with the radar, or the aliens are attacking.

The rain radar this week showed unusual beams across the North Island.

It could be that New Plymouth, long suspected of hosting aliens, has finally launched the attack of death rays aimed directly at the Bay of Plenty.

I?ve spent a bit of time in the west and they?ve always been a strange bunch in the ?Naki, seeming to come from another time and place – another planet, or solar system, or maybe even the 1970s.

The death ray beams stretched directly from New Plymouth right across the North Island. We suspect the rays emanate from the ludicrous wind wand, which is a clever disguise for a death ray gun.

If that is the case, and if the wind wand has a practical use, my perception of the Taranaki people goes up a notch because it sure as hell doesn?t have any artistic merit.