A New York Times article on May 28, 2004 described that sunlight reaching Earth's surface has been decreasing the past few years. Scientists have figured this out by measuring the relative brightness of the moon's "bright" and "dark" surfaces. The bright side is illumated by direct sunlight; the "dark" side is slightly illuminated by sunlight reflected off the Earth.
Scientists know that the sun's luminosity changes only slightly, so the large effects they are measuring come from the Earth. The article makes some interesting points regarding weather and global warming, but what stuck out most for me were these two sentences:
Over all, reflectivity increased - and sunshine dimmed
at the surface - from 1999 to 2003, with an especially
sharp jump last year.
... Earth reflected 32 percent of sunlight in 1985 and
that the reflectivity declined 7 percent over the
next 15 years, which would correspond to a
brightening of sunshine on Earth.
1985 was the year Mikhail Gorbachev took over the USSR, the beginning to the end of the Cold War, and the beginning to an era of greater international cooperation on many levels and in many theaters.
Fast forward to 1999, when the sunlight at the Earth's surface began dimming. 1999 began just 13 days after President Clinton's impeachment, which signaled the beginning to an era of partisan mistrust and manipulation in Congress and throughout the country. George W Bush swiped the presidential election in November 2000, and the dot-com boom ended on January 12th, 2001, just 8 days before Bush's inauguration, (he did NOT "inherit" a recession) signaling the beginning of a serious worldwide economic downturn and turmoil.
Fast forward again to early 2003, when there was an "exceptionally sharp jump" in brightness of the dark side of the moon. This means that when Bush sent our army to war, the Earth's surface actually got physically darker, and it's continuing to get darker.
As we know from human legend, lore, and literature, bad things happen in dark places, and darkness associates with badness. Which is the cause, and which is the effect? Are bad things happening now because the Earth is darkening, or is the Earth darkening because bad things are happening and because the collective, global mood is dark?
Most cultures millennia ago had a strong sense of interconnectedness with their environment and with everything around them. Today, we no longer think of changes like this being caused by things that seem completely unrelated on a scientific level--how can political climate affect global climate? Scientists, however, should be among the first to acknowledge that there is much in this world we don't understand, and subtleties that we can not yet perceive, let alone measure.
And it is indeed scientists that are leading an effort to figure out if there is, in fact, a global consciousness. There is eerie data from the Global Consciousness Project that shows that the events of September 11, 2001, may have had an impact on what could, for lack of a better term now, be referred to as the "global consciousness".
Now, isn't it interesting that in the run-up to the elections, Florida is the site of tremendous vote (mis)management controversy, a critical swing state and therefore a primary recipient of negative political ads, and in the throes of terrible upheaval in weather?