Cosmic killings

Published: Sunday 28 February 1993

-- The full moon is said to drive people loony. Now, a scientist says the sun makes them murderous. V S Venkatavardhan, director of the Nehru Planetarium in Bombay, asserts major disturbances on earth occur during solar flares, which are increased eruptions of nuclear protons, electron particles and gamma rays oii the sun's surface. Revolutions, wars, stock collapses and even the recent riots in Bombay, he adds, can be linked to solar flares, which are known to have also occurred at the onset of World War II, the 1929 Wall Street collapse, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the racial rioting in Los Angeles.

Venkatavardhan says sun flares, also known as sunspots, may trigger earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, erratic weather, heart attacks and increase cases of dog-bites. "Sunspots can fuel the violent nature iii human beings further," adds Venkatavardhan. He holds out only dismal prospects for now: The high sunspot activity at present is expected to continue till 1994.

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