For jnorthrop generally these events are effectively deflected by the Earth's magnetosphere, however we don't know what we don't know. Its hard to estimate whether or not any one of the extinction events this planet has experienced over the past was caused by solar activity.
I would hope it would add impetutus to efforts to surviving large changes in the Earth's envioronment by creating completely controlled environments (ideally across several planetary bodies) but I have low expectations that it will.
One of the science stories I've been following for a while has been the growing body of evidence that a magnetic pole reversal  is becoming more likely. (Note there was a hoax around it changing instantly in 2012 which has been pretty thoroughly debunked). One thing that is pretty well understood is that during reversals the magnetosphere is greatly reduced  which suggests that the simulataneous occurence of a CME and a reversal of the poles resulting in a reduced magnetosphere would be something to write home about.
With large solar flares there have been reports of telegraph wires having such large currents induced that the telegraph paper caught on fire from the sparks generated! 
Just imagine what these currents would do to modern sensitive electronics... And I suspect that there hasn't been that much thorough testing in consumer-level hardware, although power and communication companies are very aware of the problems and have changed the designs of some systems to handle these events better (as in "let's not melt the power grid quite as bad...")
We rely on mains power to arrive at a nice even 50-60Hz, with the voltage varying a few percent. Sensitive electronics are designed to filter out this low frequency, but higher frequencies may well pass through into other circuits that weren't designed for it, with unknown consequences.
Still, it's an interesting thought. With how fragile the power infrastructure is in North America, it could cause some serious problems.
(yes, I know currently there is always at some electronical parts, but I mean in theory)
I think they're working on the 'bases on other planetary bodies' backup plan, but it will be a few years.
The depths of the oceans are just a few milliseconds away (40ms -ish?).
40 µs, not ms.
(off topic.. can anyone get wolfram alpha to answer that in one query?)
I was like finally, closures in java!
Edit… If you look closely (in HD), there are timestamps, suggesting this is being played at ~3600x, or one second of playtime representing an hour in reality.
I can't figure out what they mean.
> A solar flare is a sudden brightening observed over the Sun surface or the solar limb, which is interpreted as a large energy release of up to 6 × 10^25 joules of energy (about a sixth of the total energy output of the Sun each second).
"A good flare can release up to 10% of the Sun’s total energy, the equivalent of billions of nuclear bombs exploding. What’s funny to me is that this wasn’t all that big a flare; it was rated as a class M2.5, far lower in energy than the vast explosions from the Sun back in February."
Maybe I'm over-reacting but that appears to be an absolutely massive explosion.
These incoming particles will probably cause an increase in Northern/Southern Lights (Aurora Borealis/Australis). The earth has a 'Van Allen Radiation Belt' surrounding it - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Allen_Belt - which takes magnetically charged particles, often fired from the sun, and blasts them back down to earth. Upon impact with the planet's atmosphere, beautiful Auroras can be created.
However, satellites can't orbit anywhere nearby the Van Allen Belt, as obviously these radiating particles can damage sensitive instruments. I'd guess by the size of this mass ejection, a geomagnetic storm will be created. Wikipedia has a good list of the various negative effects of these things: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_storm#Geomagnetic_s...
Of course, it depends on the direction the eruption was aiming as a primary factor. This wonderful image - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Magnetosphere_rendition.jp... - shows a perfect example of the Van Allen Belt. If you tip your head 90 degrees to the left, it kind of looks like an angel around earth - the 'halo area' is the main Van Allen Belt loop causing Auroras by firing the particles towards each polar cap.
(Disclaimer: I have an interest in astronomy, but nothing to put to my name except for a B-grade Astronomy GCSE - it's likely much of that explanation is scientifically inaccurate, but, I tried my best! :)
That reminds me of the passage in the Bible claiming four angels standing at corners of the earth. Not to get into a theistic thread or anything, but who needs religion when science is that stunning? Beautiful imagery!
It is believed that the CPU outage that caused the loss-of-pointing of the Galaxy IV satellite that in turn caused the giant pager outage in 1998 (about 80% of US pagers failed) was due to solar flares and CMEs.
It's also conjectured that flares cause many other satellite electronics failures:
The general phenomenon is called "Space Weather".
There is a monitoring center in Boulder, CO, run by NOAA, called the Space Weather Prediction Center (http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/), that tries to predict and assess space weather. They use physical models and observational data, but it's not nearly as evolved a science as numerical weather prediction.
These are from the Swedish Vacuum telescope on La Palma (Canary Islands). This instrument currently offers the highest-resolution solar images anywhere.
The images shown on that page show many convection cells, called the solar supergranulation. Each cell is about the size of Earth.
What you say about who's keeping an eye on the Sun is not the case. In addition to the Swedish telescope above, the Japanese have an excellent high-resolution imager (in orbit) called Hinode, and there are multiple US space imager including SDO and Stereo, plus many terrestrial telescopes.
There are also several probes that are keeping a close eye on the sun these days, from the more venerable SOHO to the newer STEREO probes and now SDO, of course.
Maybe there's a way that you guys know of (besides reading cues from the title)?
EDIT: HNSearch is back up, searching for "[video]" or "video" in stories seems to show only links to videos on the first page when sorted by relevance, 8 out of 10 results when sorted by points, and 9 out of 10 when sorted by date.
The reason of course is the temperature doesn't matter - total energy does. And even though it's very hot, and very large, there is very very very little matter there, so the total energy is quite minimal.
It looks like it's sped up about 60x.
youtube-dl -o sun Hyi4hjG6kDM # 
mplayer -speed 0.25 sun
The whole explosion takes around three hours.
About 2/15/11 solar output started getting back to more normal levels.
Too bad, we could use a break.