Astronomers have observed some exceptionally powerful solar flares recently. That's not surprising, as the Sun should reach the peak in its 11-year activity cycle later this year. It is worrisome, however. Modern society is dependent upon information exchange networks that rely on electricity. A powerful solar electromagnetic event that happened to be aimed at Earth could disrupt such networks for days, weeks, or longer, throwing us back a century or two, at least. When American politicians talk about rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, they generally include upgrading the electric power grid, and they should. We are currently dancing along a very dangerous edge.
Luckily, astronomers think this year's solar max will be relatively weak, so we may have another few years to get our grid together.