LAST Wednesday night I received a text message from my friend in Cotabato purportedly a request from NASA through BBC World News (Live) advising people to switch off their mobile phones from 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. as cosmic rays would be entering earth from mars.

People were also advised to put their cell phones away while they are sleeping because “there are quiet dangerous rays.”  The misspelled words themselves caused me to doubt the veracity of the information.

I simply ignored the message, hit the sack and slept well.

Last night, however, I received the same message again.  I can’t help but reply to my friend that somebody sent the same message to me the other night and nothing happened.  My friend replied, “Well, wala naman masama kung papatayin  muna ang cellphone; it’s sleeping time, anyway.”

Sobrang kuryente nga ang nangyayari sa mga text message na may dalang babala, lalo na’t patungkol sa mga bagay na di kayang kontrolin ng ordinaryong tao.

Since I received the message first from Mindanao, I thought maybe this was some strategy to which people in Mindanao had to resort to help lessen the blackouts in the area.

I remember a pun of a friend attributing the blackouts to the fact that today almost every household in Mindanao has at least one cell phone. Naubos na raw ang kuryente sa kaka-charge ng mga tao.

In a post on its homepage on September 28, 2009, which was just about the time when the rumors started circulating, NASA assures that the earth is in no great peril from the extra cosmic rays. “The planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field combine to form a formidable shield against space radiation, protecting humans on the surface,” says Dr. Tony Philips of NASA’s Heliophylics News Team.

“Indeed, we’ve weathered storms much worse than this. Hundreds of years ago, cosmic ray fluxes were at least 200% higher than they are now…. Even with the recent surge, cosmic rays today are much weaker than they have been at times in the past millennium.”

I hope this will help put an end to the scare. Before I slept last night, I prayed that the message has not caused any doctors, firemen or policemen to put their mobile phones off that would make them inaccessible during emergencies.


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