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No. 7: June 1979

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The Deadly Sun

Sunspottery, or the linking of seemingly unrelated phenomena to solar activity, has been a popular pastime for as long as sunspot records have been kept. Usually pooh-poohed by scientists because the link between cause and effect seems absent, some impressive statistical evidence now associates heart attacks with geomagnetic and solar activity. Malin and Srivastava have shown that the number of cardiac emergencies in their area of India is very closely tied to geomagnetic activity, which in turn is controlled by the sun. Standard statistical tests confirm an especially strong correlation.

But why should the two observables be associated at all? The authors' concluding sentence reads:

"The possibility that there is some other cause (or solar origin?) responsible for both the magnetic and medical phenomena should not be ignored."

(Malin, S.R.C., and Srivastava, B.J.; "Correlation between Heart Attacks and Magnetic Activity," Nature, 277:646, 1979.)

Magnetic activity index vs daily admissions of cardiac emergencies Top Curve: Magnetic activity index.

Bottom Curve:
Daily admissions of cardiac emergiencies

From Science Frontiers #7, June 1979. 1979-2000 William R. Corliss