‘Not A Villain’ Webcomic – Page 316b


Bandit is one of the few who don't believe in the hacked geomagnetic field theory. Alas, no one really cares when he tries to explain why the theory is false since he can't replace it with a cooler theory.

Mr. Random

You should know, you can’t hack fields.
It literally is impossible.
There are no access points.
And the amount of data in that field would require humans decades to completely harness and understand.
More likely there was a MACHINE they hacked.
I’m partial to a giant magnet, but I’d settle for the collective magnetic forces of all computers in a pinch.


The proper pronoun here is “Dude”.
Because that propably is “The Dude” in real life.


Indeed! It is impossible to hack fields! Meadows or forest maybe, but never fields!


I think I heard somewhere of a prairie that was hacked…


With a scythe. Or maybe a weed whacker, or brush beater to be more modern. 😉


I would find it so hilarious if it turned out that ‘yes, Kleya did in fact hack the geomagnetic field’.

The thing about Earth’s geomagnetic field is that it’s being generated by the planet’s molten core (called the “outer core”, because the inner core is solid), so it’s quite literally impossible to meddle with. What you COULD have happen is that something big goes down just as the magnetic poles are doing the “flip” where what we now view as north becomes south and vice versa (in real life, it’s starting to happen – the northern magnetic pole is moving quite fast already), because during that time the magnetic field bubble around the Earth is at its weakest. Add to… Read more »
Given that its been two years and the poles STILL haven’t settled… its entirely possible the process takes quite a bit of time. Enough time that massive solar events were inevitable. (Solar flares are somewhat common) But that same slow process means the early days wouldn’t have looked like a major disaster. Except for the supervolcano, that was obviously a disaster. Both supervolcanos and poles flipping are rare events – Earth just rolled a natural “1” for both to happen at the same time. Nearly all the blame for the disaster is entirely the fault of the volcano tho –… Read more »

…2 years? I hope you realize the fastest currently known pole flip (in history) happened over about a hundred years, lasted for a couple hundred years and then flipped back in another hundred or so years. If pole flip is indeed what happened, then I wouldn’t expect it to settle down until a few decades forward at the very least.


I have a feeling that even if the geomagnetic field was in fact hacked it was less like “hacking” and more like “let’s push this baby down the stairs, see what happens”.


Ten bucks says this is NOT the last time he says it’s impossible to hack the geomagnetic fields.


I have nothing cool to say, but just couldn’t be silent: that’s for SURE not the last time.



White Rice

That brings a whole new meaning to “Hack the planet”

It’s just like these days where the average user simply knows computers work, and people can maliciously make them not-work, but have no clue how/why.


Well, it all depends on how one sees hacking… Back in the day, when there were no dancy schmancy computers and other such doodads, we had real hackers. They could take an axe and hack away at trees all day long. Crafty buggers too – before you knew what was happening, they could hack a whole forest. You ever seen a hacked forest ? Not a pretty sight, I assure you…


Suddenly all those automated gun turrets that could easily have the “kill” labels switched for “guards” and “invaders” seem like a less-than-great idea


The hacking the geomagnetic field is an old, tired argument, isn’t it?

Kessy Athena
The geomagnetic field is produced by convection currents in the liquid nickle-iron outer core of the planet. Hacking the magnetic field is rather akin to hacking, say, a waterfall. A really, really big waterfall. It may sound cool, but what the heck does it even mean? Trying to artificially change the field by brute force methods would require (literally) astronomical amounts of energy. I don’t know numbers off the top of my head, but at a guess we’re very likely talking about many orders of magnitude more energy than has been generated by humanity in all of history – all… Read more »
Thanks for saying so, Kessy. From a science standpoint, “Hacking the geomagnetic field” does, indeed, make no sense. I like your waterfall analogy, but I’d extend it to say “It would be like hacking the moon.” Sure, impressive sounding… but… wtf would that even mean? However, I disagree about it not being catastrophic. If, somehow, you could just “turn off” the Earth’s magnetic field, it would be gg for all life on the planet. Well, maybe deep ocean bacteria would survive. Hard to say. See, high energy beta radiation and hadrons from the sun and other stars (sometimes called the… Read more »
While what you say is true, what evidence is there it would be a quick event? This is a geological event after all. There are events that happen quickly…but most of them are the result of processes that have been in motion for so long that we don’t even notice them. Volcanoes erupt, but usually the pressure that causes that builds over time. Sometimes months, something eons.Earthquakes shake, but the subtle shifting that leads to one happens over similar periods of time. These are the events that happen quickly too. While the result if a pole shift happening quickly would… Read more »
What’s interesting is that we’re currently living at the start of a magnetic pole switch. The magnetic north pole is moving about 60km per year. It’s already far from where I learned it to be at, at school way back when. There’s also the fact that magma seems to be collecting in the magma chambers of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Of course it might not go off thousands of years from now, but it’s possible. And recent measurements of the Sun’s corona show that strong flares from the surface may “resonate” within the corona, causing coronal mass ejections (aka sun flares)… Read more »
Kessy Athena
Oddly enough, a major coronal mass ejection hitting when the magnetic field is weak would actually do less damage than when the field is at its strongest. A CME is basically a huge bubble of charged particles thrown off the sun at high velocities. The charged particles themselves aren’t terribly dangerous on the ground, since the atmosphere is pretty good at absorbing them. What happens is that when those particles hit the magnetic field, they start spiralling down the field lines. (A charged particle moving through a magnetic field experiences a force at right angles to the direction of its… Read more »
Kessy Athena
Hmm, it sounds like you’ve got a couple of things mixed together there, Chikai. Let me see if I can disentangle them a little bit. We have very strong evidence that the geomagnetic field undergoes periodic reversals in polarity, usually on timescales on the order of hundreds of thousands of years. However, these reversals are, as far as we can tell, random and not periodic – at one extreme there was a period of 40 million years during the Cretaceous when there were no field reversals at all, and at the other extreme the field reversed five times in a… Read more »
I started digging just now for details on pole flips (i was looking for an old reference that the flips take < 20 days to occur,based on evidence in lava flows) and zomg! This pole flip thing that hasn't happened for something like a million years is happening right this very second in my own meagerly short lifetime, with consequences of death, doom, and missing left shoes! … … People seem drawn to the idea of selling panic…. A "listen to me or you will die" attitude that I quite frankly don't care for… Because they arn't interested in saving… Read more »
For the most part, I agree with you, but why are we talking about polar wander? You said yourself it happens on such a large timescale that humans would probably not even notice yearly changes. As for the other phenomenon – I was illustrating how the magnetic field suddenly vanishing could cause immediate, widespread damage. Of course, you might be right and the earth could be very resistant to direct exposure to the solar wind. But I don’t think so; you just have to look at Mars to see how it’s holding up. As for people – yes, the Apollo… Read more »

Correct me if I’m wrong… But isn’t Cherenkov radiation caused by particles traveling faster than the local speed of light?

Magnetic field or not, those particles would have trouble working through our miles of atmosphere just to emit blue photons in our eyeballs…

To be affected by the magnetic field, those particles have to have charges, which limits their effect range in atmosphere to a value measured in feet, with some of them limited to inches. Think: Alpha particle. Beta Particle. Ignore the gamma radiation, magnetic fields don’t affect it so loosing the magnetic field won’t affect its levels.

Kessy Athena
Torrenal, you are correct, but keep in mind that things like cosmic rays have significantly higher (and in some cases much much higher) energies than your garden variety alpha and beta radiation from radioactive decay. Also keep in mind that a high energy charged particle hitting the atmosphere causes a shower of secondary radiation of various kinds. There is evidence that there was a noticeable increase in radiation levels on the surface during the Laschamp event I mentioned earlier. Chikai, you’re right that the effects of the magnetic field suddenly turning off would probably not be recommended. And while there’s… Read more »

Do you honestly not see what’s wrong with changing your position from “third degree burns in seconds” to “the occasional light flash when trying to sleep”? Is that really better than admitting that you were pulling “facts” out your a**? It’s pretty obvious that you don’t really know anything about radiation but you won’t admit it, hence your amusing attempt to backpedal by claiming that astronauts require extensive radiation shielding (they don’t).


the field is a huge magnetic slightly squashed ball around the earth, emenating from the north and south pole. it is generated from the molten iron spinning in the core. the field protects us from much of the more deadly solar radiation from the sun, but some gets through near the poles, causing the northern lights. without the fiield the planet would look like mars.

I doubt earth without a magnetic field would resemble mars. Mars has a much thinner atmosphere. I’m not too sharp on all the physics involved, but I do know that earth wouldn’t be anything like mars simply because of our mass. Our mass holds the air in, mars lacks that. Our air holds the heat in at night, and works as an effective buffer against the sunlight – less than half of the suns energy reaching our mote of a planet makes it directly to the ground. How much of that same air buffer would also work on the radiation… Read more »
Kessy Athena
You actually seem to have a decent grasp of the basic physics of what’s going on. The Mars thing is loosely based on some real science, but it’s being misapplied. The sun sends out a constant stream of charged particles called the solar wind. On planets like Earth with a strong magnetic field, these particles are mostly deflected and don’t hit the atmosphere. On a planet like Mars without a strong field, the atmosphere is directly exposed to the solar wind, which can knock light molecules out of the atmosphere and into space. Over geologic time (millions or billions of… Read more »

Mars once had a thicker atmosphere and liquid water on its surfaces. Now it just has a lot of oxygen bound in minerals (rust, sand). Earth leaks hydrogen due to solar wind all the time, it’d leak much more without the magnetic field, which deflects/directs away quite a lot of the solar wind particles.


No, Earth leaks hydrogen due to variance in the particle velocity distribution. The top tail end of the velocity distribution can exceed escape velocity, and in the upper atmosphere there isn’t enough atmospheric braking to stop them. We would still leak even if there was no radiation up there.


“No other theory works–”


Heh, that made me giggle. I could totally see Bandit saying that at some point.


Cool page with well-done silhouetting. What’s the bit under the “Next” button? Part of the windows that just looks out of place because it’s the only bit you can see?

(Funny thing: to do an italics “me”, you do: me, which is funny to type. “em me em”. Heh. Yes, random. Welcome to my life.)


Ugh. Thought “code” tag would actually sort’ve cancel out code effects. Anyway, it’s (em)me(/em). Replace () with .


I most certainly do not! I resent your base and scurrilous accusation! I use [i]I[/i]! 😛


I hate how act. (Here’s hoping they show up here….)


These stupid things are pissing me off now. -_-





I would like to point out that everyone is debating whether or not one can hack the electromagnetic field and no one’s pointing out the more important fact that the Dude has facial hair!


I thought that The Dude was the guy speaking Chinese not too far back…

Kessy Athena

Dr. Grace mentioned a while ago that the dude’s RL name is Brandon. As I recall, Dude forfeited a match with Kleya and Dr Grace turned to Bandit and said something like, “Tell Brandon he’s fired.” The fellow with the facial hair is named Walter, therefore not the Dude.


Hack the planet! Hack the planet!


If the world we/they live in is really a computer simulation, then yes it might be in theory possible for a “person” in the computer simulation to hack the magnetic field.

As far as super volcano goes, that might be easier… a thermo nuclear bomb can be made very large cheaply, if weight (carrying it in a bomber or missile) is not an issue. A big enough bomb at the right spot may trigger a very big volcano.


Can we just take a moment to appreciate how much effort people are putting into researching all of this pole-flipping-geomagnetic-hacking stuff? Ladies and gentlemen, I applaud you. You do d**** good work.

Given that Jake realises how idiotic the idea of “hacking” the geomagnetic field is (I liked the “hacking the moon” analogy someone used above), I’m sure he also realises how inconsequential it would be. It certainly wouldn’t shut down all their systems. However, anyone stupid enough to believe in the “geomagnetic hacking” theory is obviously not going to understand that the field going down would have almost no effect on anything, so it’s not worth pointing out. And when I say inconsequential, I mean it. We’re talking about a field so weak that you need a delicate instrument to even… Read more »