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The Military Technology

Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout 271

schwit1 (797399) writes "An electromagnetic pulse is a burst of electromagnetic energy strong enough to disable, and even destroy, nearby electronic devices. In the first few minutes of an EMP, nearly half a million people would die. That's the worst-case scenario that author William R. Forstchen estimated would be the result of an EMP on the electric grid. 'If you do a smart plan — the Congressional EMP Commission estimated that you could protect the whole country for about $2 billion,' Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, told 'That's what we give away in foreign aid to Pakistan every year.' He said the more officials plan, the lower the estimated cost gets. 'The problem is not the technology,' Pry said. 'We know how to protect against it. It's not the money, it doesn't cost that much. The problem is the politics. It always seems to be the politics that gets in the way.'"
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Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:17AM (#46805169)

    Reading summary: this seems pretty stupid and a little fear-mongery for slashdot.

    Click link: Fox news, figures. Usual shit reporting and lack of detail. Obamacare not mentioned anywhere in article.

    Click link in article to not much more detail, more zomg fear crap, still no mention of obamacare.

    Read comments on ok, I’m out

    Not saying there isn’t something to talk about here, but linking to fox news for this kind of topic is like linking to a local news report on heartbleed. We aren’t the audience for this level of reporting.

  • by deadweight ( 681827 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:28AM (#46805285)
    I just happen to sell asteroid repellent and giant lizard repellent. If you order before midnight, you can get some ginsu knives too.
  • by Collective 0-0009 ( 1294662 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:46AM (#46805487)
    Mod this AC up. WTF /.?????? Some article about devastating effects of EMP and an easy preventative measure (that I wanted to read about). But the links are to and!!!! There is no content!

    Would people stop using /. and start using, please!?!? I can't take this anymore!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:48AM (#46805517)
    A solar generated EMP is not a threat to your house wiring. It is only a threat to wiring that is many miles long - i.e. the commercial power grid. It will induce large currents in the grid, that will travel to your house as (I assume) your house is connected to the grid. As disconnecting your house from the grid is (I assume) not a valid solution, the answer must be protecting the grid.
  • by lagomorpha2 ( 1376475 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @10:11AM (#46805779) []

    "It produced a yield equivalent to 1.4 megatons of TNT."

    "The Starfish Prime electromagnetic pulse also made those effects known to the public by causing electrical damage in Hawaii, about 1,445 kilometres (898 mi) away from the detonation point, knocking out about 300 streetlights, setting off numerous burglar alarms and damaging a telephone company microwave link. The EMP damage to the microwave link shut down telephone calls from Kauai to the other Hawaiian islands"

  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @10:18AM (#46805843)

    Mod this AC up. WTF /.?????? Some article about devastating effects of EMP and an easy preventative measure (that I wanted to read about). But the links are to and!!!! There is no content!

    Would people stop using /. and start using, please!?!? I can't take this anymore!

    The site has links to the actual paper referenced (the link in the text called estimated).

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:00PM (#46806863)

    After all, you can never be too careful, right?

    Do you realize what careful is? For example when living in earthquake country believing that three days of supplies as recommended by the government is optimistic. So you buy three cases (adjust for family size) of bottled water rather than one, and as you use one case through normal activity you replace it so you always have 2-3 on hand. For your cupboard you purchase six cans (adjust for family size) of a particular canned good you use, when you get down to three you purchase three more, that way you always have 3-6 on hand. Do so each for canned chile, soup, peaches ... whatever you normally use. Similar story with dry goods, 1-2 boxes on hand, snack foods, etc. 1-2 packages of toilet paper. 1-2 boxes of plastic garbage bags on hand, toilet liners if water is out. 1-2 packages of batteries for some LED flashlights. A basic first aid kit with antiseptic, gauzes, tape, bandaids, aspirin/tylenol, etc; no wilderness self-surgery kit necessary. If a disaster occurs eat what is in your refrigerator first, then your freezer, then your canned goods. You can have a week or two of food just by not letting your cupboard go bare. Nothing special or exotic needed, no freeze dried food good for years necessary. No special gear beyond what a boy scout might take on a weekend camping trip is necessary.

    Pretty much all you need is the stuff you normally buy and use anyway. You just don't let inventories get to zero.

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:26PM (#46807755)

    We're not ready for a massive EMP... or a 500 mile high Tsunami... or Giant radioactive lizards that breath fire.

    Unlike the other two, an EMP event that could damage or destroy most electronic equipment within 1,000 mils of it can be created by most any nuclear power on the planet. A growing number of those nuclear powers are either unstable, hostile, or both, towards the US and the West. Iran is probably next on the list to have that capability.

    that scenario isn't even remotely plausible outside total nuclear annihilation.

    You've just stated you completely fail to understand the nature of EMP. The most dangerous EMP event is a large nuclear warhead exploded high above the ground, too high to do any meaningful damage on the ground. The damage is caused by the electromagnetic radiation released from the blast as EMP. It only takes one explosion. That isn't a nuclear Armageddon. It is returning a major post-industrial computer based society to a horse and wagon based economy in seconds, without having the horses and wagons to do the work not to mention the computers, computer controlled vehicles (engines), and other electronics.

    Further, Hurrican Katrina showed that even an EMP hitting a major city is really nothing more than a power outage.

    Hurricane Katrina was a hurricane, not EMP. EMP would have resulted in a power outage and fried electronics in cars, computers, and just about anywhere else they are used. Imagine that happening across a 2,000 mile stretch of the US at the same time.

    Frankly, I could care less about an EMP.

    Just about the only correct thing you wrote.

    Any number of computer viruses could disable more machines than an EMP.

    No, not even close. And you can reload a PC from CD/DVD if it gets hit by a virus. Try that after EMP has fried the microprocessor.

    You're strongly opinionated and pretty much completely wrong on the facts and policy.

"And remember: Evil will always prevail, because Good is dumb." -- Spaceballs