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Steve Taranovich

ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP)---What’s your Plan B?

Steve Taranovich
Andy_I
Andy_I
10/11/2018 4:49:00 PM
User Rank
Artist
Re: EMP Plan B
I wish they would bring back black text (font color).  So many websites seem to be going to grey instead of black, including this one!  YUCK!

Some are more obvious and annoying than others.  I'd rate this one about in the middle on that spectrum, it's medium-gross.

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Andy_I
Andy_I
10/11/2018 4:45:50 PM
User Rank
Artist
EMP and related dangers
Unlike you, we did have telephone service after Hurricane Gloria.  Telephones used wires, and even though those wires are above ground here, most were OK.  All it takes is one downed power line to render an entire neighborhood without power; but the phone service remained intact and working unless YOUR wire was broken.  But those were the days, and now they have electronics in the phones, and electronics (demultiplexers) in the wires between the Telco office and your home, or electrical/optical converters and glass instead of wires, and I hear rumors that many of those Telco offices may have disposed of the battery backup systems that kept them running without commercial power.

We survived the week after Gloria.  The gas lines were unaffected so we could cook, and had hot water, but no heat.  I went to work every day where I designed electronics, then came home to a cold, dark house with no electronic entertainment.  It was a strange week.

You've probably seen the dire warnings about the Carrington event which was a huge solar flare in 1859 which, if it happened today, might wipe out significant electrical infrastructure.  I have mixed feelings about whether those warnings over-exaggerate and prey on fear.  However, yes it is possible, it could happen at any moment, in any political climate, and not involve any nukes.

I do some radio communications (both ham radio and emergency communications for others) and we were told (by the gov't) to read and study some guidelines about EMP preparedness, what things we can do to make our radio equipment more robust.  I need to work on that.

Many folks assume that all electronics that isn't inside a Faraday cage is instant "toast" if an EMP occurs.  It's a fear that's been promoted by movies and TV shows.  It makes a good plot device, but it's not reality; there are no absolutes.

EMP preparedness is similar to good lightning protection.  They both get into your electronics via anything that looks like an antenna -- any connecting wire.  The key is to understand the paths the electrical pulse current will take, and provide paths that go around instead of through.

Even a non-magnetic aluminum plate gives magnetic protection, but not at DC.  Being a "pulse", an EMP isn't DC.  That's why Faraday cages can be made out of copper or aluminum.

My biggest fear about an EMP-like event, is its effect on commerce -- especially the food supply.  When grocery stores become empty, all bets (for a civilized life) are off.  Most of us aren't farmers.

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softy
softy
10/10/2018 2:30:45 PM
User Rank
Newbie
Re: EMP Plan B
This isn't a comment that pertains to the 'EMP - Plan B' blog post, But I just noticed that there's no way to comment on the "Flash Polls" that show up here (take for example, the one on AI that's showing up next to this EMP blog post).  They seem to be the products of low-IQ high school students, are ridiculously simplistic, and have no value whatsoever.  How about you bloggers lobby the people in charge of the website to eliminate them?

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steve.taranovich
steve.taranovich
10/1/2018 11:48:26 PM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: EMP Plan B
Hi Dennis,

There will be no nukes over Central America.

Thanks for your insights and interesting references for our audience

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D Feucht
D Feucht
10/1/2018 11:07:20 PM
User Rank
Blogger
EMP Plan B
Steve,

My Plan B was to move out of the target zone of North America to Central America.

For those not convinced that an EMP attack, whether from the sun or an atomic (not thermonuclear) bomb at low-earth altitude, is a serious possibility I recommend a book that will widen an engineering perspective on the fragility of modern technology, especially electronics. I have discovered recently author Dmitry Orlov, a Russian-American engineer. His book is available on Amazon dot com or more directly from his website at cluborlov dot com titled Shrinking the Technosphere. Then to really get into the mood for the collapse of civilization read his book, The Five Stages of Collapse. It is realistic gloom and doom with a Russian flair and Russian-style dark humor.

Plan B needs to be taken seriously. Engineers at the least should know enough to stock their houses with modest preparations for collapse of the electric power grid. Without electricity, we are truly back in the early 1800s, yet modern society is not configured to survive in the 1820s. But the Amish will be okay, and "the meek will inherit the earth" - along with some preppers.

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