Tea Kettle Philosophy — Solar Flares

Aurora Borealis - Credit: Fredrik Broms
Aurora Borealis - Credit: Fredrik Broms

Waiting for the kettle to boil and then the tea to steep can seem interminable, like waiting at the doctor’s office. This is especially true if it is your first cuppa of the day. Thank goodness there is a huge universe out there to ponder. Like solar flares. Fascinating!

We revolve around a fiercesome ball of fire in the sky and have a love/hate relationship with it. We bask in its warmth and go sailing, golfing, and swimming. We plant and tend crops, knowing that the rays from that fiery ball will spark those plants into life. Yet, at the same time, we know that sunburn is a concern and can lead to skin cancer and that the plants could get seared and destroyed if the rays are too strong.

Yes, the Sun is a very dangerous thing that can harm us but also helps us. And every now and then, it belches. In a manner of speaking, that is. Not quite the way you and I — uh, well, being somewhat ladylike, I never, well almost never…

Anyway, solar flares (the aforementioned belches) happen every so often. On the good side, they cause the light show in the north skies called the aurora borealis. On the bad side, they knock out some electrical stuff and can wallop satellites orbiting Earth so that cell phones don’t work for awhile, which can be good if your boss is calling to tell you you’re fired and bad if you are calling your girlfriend to tell her that woman she saw you with last night was a long-lost cousin — honest!

There is also quite a bit of misinformation and rumors about solar flares, such as the idea that there can be “killer flares.” Despite their destructiveness, these flares can’t totally destroy us.

So how does all this relate to tea? Well, tea can inspire a love/hate relationship: you love this tea and hate that one. Tea has both its good side and bad side — great taste that stimulates yet calms and lots of claims for health benefits versus too much caffeine for those hypersensitive to it and tannin in some kinds of tea that can cause bitterness. There is also scads of misinformation and bad science out there about tea.

No, tea will not make you into an instant raving beauty or cure your cancer with a few cupfuls. Even the most highly touted diet tea won’t give you back that svelte figure you had in your late teens and early 20s. However, tea has a lot less caffeine than coffee and far less acid. It’s full of antioxidants that can help you keep looking younger longer and stay healthy longer. And it can be a great substitute for fat/sugar laden desserts. Tea has no calories, and even adding a teaspoon of sugar and a bit of milk makes a cuppa tea far more sensible than a slice of chocolate cream pie or a heaping serving of trifle.

Speaking of tea, that kettle is steaming, announcing that the water within has reached the boiling point. Time to get that good/bad tea to steeping. Yum!

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4 thoughts on “Tea Kettle Philosophy — Solar Flares

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  3. Not a bad segue from space weather to tea. I prefer Autumnal Darjeeling (yeah, OK, ‘Autumn Flush Darjeeling’, but, I’m a Heliophile, and today is, after all, the Autumnal Equinoctial Friday, so…) with my sunspots. Yeah, we have a rise in sunspots, this week, this month, and this year. Why? Because we are at the beginning phase of a new sunspot cycle, Cycle 24. A solar sunspot cycle is a cycle that averages about eleven years of length, from a period of very few sunspots, through a peak season, back to a very quiet season. Just two years ago, we’d go months without a single sunspot. Now, just last week, we had over a hundred sunspots in a single day. Soon, we’ll be over two hundred in a day.

    This is all very awesome. And, normal. No dire emergency. It happens every cycle, every 22 years we have these peaks when a plethora of daily sunspots are above us, radiating lots of energy our way. This energy makes shortwave radio come alive, much to the joy of those surfing the radio dial on their radios, enjoying signals from all over the world. At the same time, since there are so many sunspots, it is very common for the Sun to be erupting with solar flares, sometimes back to back within mere minutes of each other. Some of those flares might even be pretty strong. Again, this is normal. This has occurred for millions of years (so the scientists have told us).

    Meanwhile, we enjoy tuning into an exotic evening listening to the far-off International Broadcast from, say, India, while savoring our favorite Indian Darjeeling tea. What a great way to enjoy both. Knowing, of course, that the ionosphere, the magnetosphere, and the atmosphere in general, are protecting us from the harsh energy from that big Star only eight minutes away (in terms of the speed of light). The Aurora is the sign of that protection. So, let’s toast with our tea to the great Northern and Southern Lights, as we drink to our health.

    Thanks for the post on this Kettle Wisdom…

    – Tomas Hood (Amateur Radio Operator, NW7US)
    (Twitter: @NW7US)

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