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NYT Smears Gingrich Over EMP Threat Comment
PJ Media ^ | December 14, 2011 | Bob Owens

Posted on 12/14/2011 4:56:03 AM PST by Kaslin

Gingrich's opinion on electromagnetic pulse events is well-informed. The Times' is not.

Writing in the New York Times, William J. Broad portrays GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich as a loon for his view that an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is one of the most dangerous threats we face as a nation:

Newt Gingrich, the Republican presidential hopeful, wants you to know that as commander in chief he is ready to confront one of the most nightmarish of doomsday scenarios: a nuclear blast high above the United States that would instantly throw the nation into a dark age.

In debates and speeches, interviews and a popular book, he is ringing alarm bells over what experts call the electromagnetic pulse, or EMP — a poorly understood phenomenon of the nuclear age.

The idea is that if a nuclear weapon, lofted by a missile, were detonated in outer space high above the American heartland, it would set off a huge and crippling shockwave of electricity. Mr. Gingrich warns that it would fry electrical circuits from coast to coast, knocking out computers, electrical power and cellphones. Everything from cars to hospitals would be knocked out.

“Millions would die in the first week alone,” he wrote in the foreword to a science-fiction thriller published in 2009 that describes an imaginary EMP attack on the United States. A number of scientists say they consider Mr. Gingrich’s alarms far-fetched.

The sci-fi thriller that Broad alludes to is William Forstchen’s One Second After, a book similar to others in apocalyptic fiction genre, such as David Crawford’s Lights Out, James Howard’s What So Proudly We Hailed, or Michael Turnlund’s The Raggedy Edge. All of these novels focus on what would happen after the collapse of the power grid in the United States.

I’ve seen the power grid up close, having mapped a fraction of it with a GPS and ATV in the mountains and bogs of upstate New York as part of a crew working for CH Energy Group. I’ve seen firsthand how something as simple as ice, a fallen tree, or even a scared bear can shut down power for hundreds of thousands.

You would be amazed at how poorly defended this hemisphere’s power grid is to physical attacks on key installations such as substations and transmission lines. Not to mention the network attacks noted in the Grey Goose Report, and the electromagnetic pulse events the bi-partisan EMP Commission Reports detailed to the House Armed Services Committee in 2008.

I’ve read the work of Yousaf Butt that Broad cites in his article, and like Dr. William Radasky and Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, I find him frankly unqualified to speak on the subject authoritatively:

Although Dr. Butt holds a Ph.D. in physics, served in NASA, belongs to the Union of Concerned Scientists, and obviously did a quick study of EMP for his article, Dr. Butt is professionally unqualified to offer competent opinions about EMP, nuclear weapon designs, and the other specialized national security issues in his article. Unlike the EMP Commissioners, Dr. Butt never worked professionally in the Department of Defense or the Intelligence Community on the subject matter addressed in his article, nor has he had access to classified information indispensable to forming competent judgments about the EMP threat. Because Harvard University’s prestigious The Space Review published Dr. Butt’s article, we are concerned that the article will misinform the public and scientific community on a vitally important issue of national security policy, and so seek to correct the record with this rebuttal. The rebuttal offered here is ours and is not an official response from the EMP Commission.

As one example of the quality of Dr. Butt’s research, he asserts that, “The methodology and conclusions of the EMP commission have already been criticized a few years ago.” To substantiate his claim, Dr. Butt references articles such as “The Newt Bomb” in The New Republic — none are serious scientific studies but merely political cartoons, authored by persons who have no competence to judge the EMP Commission’s work, and who obviously never even read the EMP Commission reports. For example, these articles condemn the EMP Commission for advocating National Missile Defense and preemptive war against Iran. Yet the EMP Commission never made any such recommendations.

Board and his sources admit the fact that China, North Korea, and Iran are perfecting EMP-optimized nuclear weapons, but are so short-sighted as to think they would have to be launched from those countries.

The Missile Defense Agency has every reason to claim that the scenario of an ICBM launched from halfway around the world would be an easy target for them to destroy. Unfortunately, the most likely avenues of attacks are locally launched missiles from submarines or freighters in the Gulf of Mexico or off either coast, where distance to detonation from launch is measured in seconds, and which are not the focus of our outward-facing early warning and detection systems. Such vessels could be easily scuttled after launch, and the rogue agent responsible for the attack may not be found until well after the attack is over, rendering our nuclear counterstrike abilities utterly moot.

And then there is the far more mundane, but every bit as real possibility of the threat our own sun offers to our fragile electrical grid.

The 1859 Carrington event, were it to happen today, could be even more destructive than a nuclear weapon, frying power grids worldwide.

Broad and the Times have gone out of their way to fabricate a “warmonger” theme. The article portrays Gingrich as someone angling for preemptive military strikes based off of one off-the-cuff comment by Gingrich. Gingrich has primarily advocated for nothing more than cost-effective hardening of critical infrastructure components so that our grid has a better chance of surviving any sort of electromagnetic surge that strikes our grid, be it man-made or natural in origin.

Gingrich may be the only adult in the room when it comes to discussing the steps our nation needs to take to harden an electrical grid that is showing its age, piecemeal construction, and fragility, and at a fraction of cost of the present administration’s abortive and wasteful spending binges.

Gingrich makes sense. No wonder the Times was to smear him.


TOPICS: Politics; Society
KEYWORDS: china; davidcrawford; emp; iran; jameshoward; michaelturnlund; newtgingrich; newyork; newyorkslimes; newyorktimes; northkorea; petervincentpry; williamforstchen; williamjbroad; williamradasky; yousafbutt
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1 posted on 12/14/2011 4:56:10 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

NYT = liberals.

Liberals believe in “global warming”.

Nuff said.


2 posted on 12/14/2011 4:58:52 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network ("FREE TRADERS": Self-loathing Americans)
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To: Kaslin
The NYT is working for the other side and always has been. The sooner they are put out of business the better off everyone is.

They are trying to mislead our public into ignoring the EMP threat. At the same time they are misleading the funny little foreign guys into thinking this is the way to go if they want to hurt the USA.

In the end millions of people will die because of the evil resident at the NYT.

3 posted on 12/14/2011 5:01:47 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: Kaslin

Gingrich is absolutely spot on with this issue.


4 posted on 12/14/2011 5:04:38 AM PST by big'ol_freeper ("Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" ~ Ronald Wilson Reagan)
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To: Kaslin

Thanks for this thread.


5 posted on 12/14/2011 5:05:38 AM PST by no-to-illegals (Please God, Protect and Bless Our Men and Women in Uniform with Victory. Amen.)
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To: no-to-illegals

You’re welcome


6 posted on 12/14/2011 5:06:49 AM PST by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: muawiyah

And then they will blame it on Republicans.


7 posted on 12/14/2011 5:07:19 AM PST by andy58-in-nh (America does not need to be organized: it needs to be liberated.)
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To: big'ol_freeper

He absolutely is right.


8 posted on 12/14/2011 5:08:56 AM PST by Reagan69 (I supported Sarah Palin and all I got was a lousy DVD !)
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To: andy58-in-nh

But the good news is that it will be ten years before anyone hears about their blame on TV.


9 posted on 12/14/2011 5:27:02 AM PST by Vermont Lt (I just don't like anything about the President. And I don't think he's a nice guy.)
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To: Kaslin

“...rendering our nuclear counterstrike abilities utterly moot.”

There’s a lot of uninformed speculation throughout both sides of this article.


10 posted on 12/14/2011 5:41:56 AM PST by G Larry ("I dream of a day when a man is judged by the content of his Character.")
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To: G Larry
So let's see if i understand this.

According to liberals, global warming threatens humanity with extinction, but worrying about an EMP -- is just plain crazy....

11 posted on 12/14/2011 5:49:37 AM PST by Jerrybob
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To: Kaslin

EMP is a very real concern...whether it becomes weaponized or comes from the sun. Let the NYT slam and then hide their heads in the sand.

My former Congressman, Curt Weldon, spoke of EMP quite often as a threat we needed to be ready for..


12 posted on 12/14/2011 5:50:16 AM PST by SueRae (I can see November 2012 from my HOUSE!!!!!!!!)
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To: Kaslin

Politics aside, the EMP stuff is largely BS.

They like to use terms like “frie”, etc, but that aint the case.

The threat to the grid is limited to data aquisition and control equipment, not literally the “grid” (wires and poles) itself.

Most such equipment is sufficiently “hardened” already, in order to be able to withstand lightning - a strike of which applies exponentially more nergy to the grid then EMP.

This whole EMP thing is basically AGW’s little sister.


13 posted on 12/14/2011 5:50:55 AM PST by Pessimist
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To: Kaslin

Here’s a good example of BS hype:

“The 1859 Carrington event, were it to happen today, could be even more destructive than a nuclear weapon, frying power grids worldwide.”

Notice the statements here, then go to the link and read about the event.

Sparking, induced current. No mention of the wires being “fried” though. And realize that they didn’t even know about twisting pairs of wires to reject induction yet. They basically hung out a continent wide antennna, and this was all that happened.


14 posted on 12/14/2011 5:55:16 AM PST by Pessimist
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To: Jerrybob

Lib’s only care about destroying America’s Freedoms, Industry, Economy, Defense, and Religious foundation.

My point was that believing an EMP would prevent us from retaliating with our nuclear forces, is singularly uninformed.


15 posted on 12/14/2011 5:56:41 AM PST by G Larry ("I dream of a day when a man is judged by the content of his Character.")
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To: Pessimist
Politics aside, the EMP stuff is largely BS.

They like to use terms like “frie”, etc, but that aint the case.

“The threat to the grid is limited to data aquisition and control equipment, not literally the “grid” (wires and poles) itself.

Most such equipment is sufficiently “hardened” already, in order to be able to withstand lightning - a strike of which applies exponentially more nergy to the grid then EMP.

This whole EMP thing is basically AGW’s little sister.”

I suggest that you become informed about EMP. This has been recognized by the military [the USA DOD] since the mid 1980s during the Cold War. Our enemies understand the concept!

16 posted on 12/14/2011 6:01:28 AM PST by texican01
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To: Pessimist

In the kindest possible way, your comments have set a new high (or low) in being completely ignorant about the subject matter being discussed.


17 posted on 12/14/2011 6:12:39 AM PST by Ron/GA
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To: Kaslin
“Millions would die in the first week alone,” he wrote in the foreword to a science-fiction thriller published in 2009 that describes an imaginary EMP attack on the United States. A number of scientists say they consider Mr. Gingrich’s alarms far-fetched.

The fact that this is science fiction never enters into this guy's mind but in fact Newt is correct at least to a large degree.

The impact that a nuclear explosion would have on the entire country is dependent on where it exploded, how large it was and what kind of warning we had.

No one has the ability to put a missile into orbit without uncle sugar being aware of the launch, now how we react to it, is both a technological question {we have the technology to handle it} as well as a question of political will to make a hard decision to react.

18 posted on 12/14/2011 6:17:53 AM PST by USS Alaska (Nuke The Terrorist Savages)
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To: Kaslin
Whoa. This is the FIRST irrefutable article that tells me that EMP is a threat.

Not because of what was written, but because the NYT, an avowed enemy of the United States, implicitly encourages our enemies to strike in this venue.

19 posted on 12/14/2011 6:22:07 AM PST by Lazamataz (That's all.)
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To: Kaslin
Newt is absolutely right. Iran probably can't hit us with a nuke but could send us back to their age (i.e., the stone age) with one well-placed EMP blast over Kansas, fired from a ship off the East Coast.

Bill Forstchen's book "One Second After" was one of the scariest books I've read in years, because it's ALL possible, and we are doing almost nothing to counter it. (Why bother to fire hundreds of missiles when you can debilitate your enemy with one?)

20 posted on 12/14/2011 6:24:16 AM PST by LS
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To: Pessimist
Sorry but you are mistaken. The threat from EMP is the same as from space wx...its the transformers primarily.

It used to be the case that sensative equipement was hardened...but that is no longer the case. When I first got into the military back in the 80's...that was the case. It's not the case anymore.

It is also not the case that lighting applies more energy to the grid. Sure...at a very localized level it does...but not when you are talking about every power line across America acting as a conduit. Lightning will produce more voltage per meter than EMP (1 megavolt mer m2 vs 50K volts)...but less wattage (6 megawatts for EMP per m2...as opposed to 1 megawatt for lightning). But remember...with lightning...you are really only talking about an area the size of 1 sq meter. With EMP...you are talking about millions of square miles...all feeding into the large transformers.

The "grid" is composed of the whole system...not just wires and poles. That includes the tranformers...which is what is mostly in danger because the big ones have to be made to order. When a couple go out...you can work around the grid and find a fix...but when hundreds go out...you are in the dark.

The 1859, 1921 aqnd 2003 solar storms were just a small sample of what a full fledged EMP would be like. 1850 and 1921 had no grid or a loose grid to speak of. 2003 was a strong storm but not near as bad as 1859...and it did a lot of damage to the grid. An EMP would make these look like a Sunday picnic.

AGW's little sister? I don't think so.

21 posted on 12/14/2011 6:30:50 AM PST by NELSON111
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To: Kaslin; zot; Interesting Times

Thank whatever, that the New York Times knows that there are no threats to the USA except for radical WASPs.


22 posted on 12/14/2011 6:35:19 AM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: Pessimist
Once again you are incorrect. The smaller storm of 2003 caused severe damage to the grid. Millions of people were without power across Canada, the northeast US and Europe. The term "fried" is so generic. Now...the transformers...they were fried.

The Carrington event was much stronger than the 2003 Halloween Storms and would cause much more damage to the grid.

23 posted on 12/14/2011 6:36:32 AM PST by NELSON111
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To: Kaslin; Alamo-Girl; Amityschild; AngieGal; AnimalLover; Ann de IL; aposiopetic; aragorn; auggy; ...

Have been beating that drum a long time.

Derision is still common.

Thanks for posting the truth.


24 posted on 12/14/2011 6:38:56 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: NELSON111
Absolutely ... lets inject the physics into this ...

It is not the total energy content that matters, it is WHERE that energy is spread in frequency/time.

The energy in a lightning strike is spread over more than 500 MICROseconds, an EMP distributes its energy over about a 1 MICROsecond timeframe ... and achieves its peak after a few NANOseconds.

An EMP also distributes its power over twice the bandwidth of a lightning strike.

25 posted on 12/14/2011 6:40:21 AM PST by dartuser ("If you are ... what you were ... then you're not.")
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To: Vermont Lt

I think the Ruby gal on youtube about the USA splitting into 3 parts is more or less accurate.

This EMP will be devastating . . . and part of a basket of horrifically devastating factors, events, crises, disasters

—quakes
—WWIII
—terrorist attacks with chemicals in our water etc.
—attacks on nuke generating plants
—volcanoes
—. . .
—. . .

One source given a lot of dreams and visions about China attacking decided he’d see how many Chinese restaurant staff/owners realized that in his local area in Virginia.

ALL of them did. 100%. They just don’t know when but consider it more or less likely at any time.

Actually, I think it will be primarily Russia et al on the East Coast.


26 posted on 12/14/2011 6:43:13 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: Kaslin

The most infamous thing in the NYT article was the flip assrtion that, hey, we can just shoot down any missile over the United States.

Besides that being completely untrue, the NYT has spent decades ridiculing and impeding missile defense in every way imaginable. One of their favorites is to say there is no way on earth it can be effective.


27 posted on 12/14/2011 6:52:34 AM PST by Williams (Honey Badger Don't Care)
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To: Kaslin

A man has to know his limitations and then he arms himself.


28 posted on 12/14/2011 7:12:03 AM PST by SvenMagnussen (BHO II naturalized as U.S. Citizen after becoming an Indonesian National)
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To: Kaslin

Next to a full nuclear attack, EMP attacks are at the top of the list. EMP attacks have long been considered to be a key threat (since the 50s) and has always been a major threat factor in strategic nuclear planning. It would severely cripple the general economy and all non-hardened communication nodes, which is most every communication and electronic device we rely on day to day. Hope the journalist does not have a pacemaker because if there were an EMP event he would tach out.


29 posted on 12/14/2011 7:25:46 AM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
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To: Kaslin

I have a news flash for the NYT. NASA’s number 1 concern is an EMP. My fiancee’s nephew works as a high level consultant for NASA and he told us they are terrified we will experience an EMP.


30 posted on 12/14/2011 7:54:38 AM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Pessimist

The main threat to the grid is the large transformers which are vulnerable. They are not manufactured in the US and it takes about 2 years to get replacements. If we lose a certain percentage of the transformers a good portion of the country will be in the 1800’s for 4-10 years. We could lose over 70% of the population. Its very serious.

An EMP or a large solar flare would produce enough of a jolt to make lightening strikes look like child’s play. I used to sell surge suppression systems and we have one on our house. The average lightening strike on the power lines is about 3,000 volts. It takes 12,000 volts to fry my system. An EMP or solar flare would be significantly more intense than that. But again its the transformers that you have to worry about. Wires, circuit boxes etc could easily be replaced. We don’t have a bunch of extra transformers sitting around in a warehouse as backups.

NASA has put out several reports warning of the likelihood of an EMP. It only costs a couple hundred million to harden the system but the legislature has no intention of doing it. If we experience an EMP or a solar flare the only people that will be living with any modicum of normalcy will be those that have an alternative electrical system that is not tied to the grid. Everyone else will be in misery.


31 posted on 12/14/2011 8:13:36 AM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
The thing that bothered me most about the article was this statement:

"The Missile Defense Agency, an arm of the Pentagon that maintains an arsenal of ground-based interceptors ready to fly into space and smash enemy warheads, says that defeating such an attack would be as straightforward as any other defense of the continental United States."

This is absolutely not true. There have been a few successful tests, but there is definitly no "arsenal of ground-based interceptors ready to fly into space and smash enemy warheads" that could knock out an ICBM.

32 posted on 12/14/2011 8:46:13 AM PST by RonBush
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To: Kaslin

I guess the guys at NYT didn’t see NCIS-LA last night....


33 posted on 12/14/2011 8:50:15 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (To Obama, bipartisanship is giving the opposition the opportunity to do as they are told. (WGensert))
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To: NELSON111

“With EMP...you are talking about millions of square miles...all feeding into the large transformers. “

Millions of sq miles, huh?

From a single blast?

BS.


34 posted on 12/14/2011 9:34:45 AM PST by Pessimist
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To: NELSON111

“The smaller storm of 2003 caused severe damage to the grid. Millions of people were without power across Canada, the northeast US and Europe.”

Where can I find info on that?


35 posted on 12/14/2011 9:36:07 AM PST by Pessimist
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To: Lazamataz

NYT would benefit from an EMP strike -— no Internet competition and they avoid bankruptcy.


36 posted on 12/14/2011 9:52:17 AM PST by OwenKellogg
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To: Kaslin

William J. Broad

37 posted on 12/14/2011 9:57:18 AM PST by kcvl
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To: Quix

Thanks for the ping!


38 posted on 12/14/2011 9:58:24 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: NELSON111

EMP is complete bull&hit. Nucellular explosions are PINT


39 posted on 12/14/2011 10:00:15 AM PST by Lazamataz (That's all.)
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To: kcvl

He was projecting when he called Gingrich a loon


40 posted on 12/14/2011 10:08:57 AM PST by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Pessimist
Didn't say from a single blast. Most experts on the subject (from the briefings I have attended...check your freepmail) have said any EMP attack would most likley be at least 3 devices detonated 300 miles above the surface.

Consider the graphic produced by the Army regarding Nuclear Survivability (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/EMP_mechanism.GIF). Now multiply that and include Canada. You have millions of square miles.

As far as info on the 2003 storm, Google is helpful, or Bing. Also consider though that the storm in 1989 left 6 million without power. BUt regarding 2003, here is a summary from "The Sun Today:"

On this day in 2003 (October 28), the Sun unleashed one of the largest and most geoeffective solar storms of the modern age (and consequently, one of the most studied). The eruption was part of what became known as the Halloween storms; two weeks in October and November of that year when two massive sunspot groups produced unprecedented solar activity. The SOHO satellite watched the events unfold. On October 26th, Active Region 10486 had grown to over 10 times the diameter of the Earth and could be seen with the naked eye from Earth. Two days later the region was directly inline with our planet when it released a flare with the energy of fifty billion atomic bombs. The accompanying coronal mass ejection (CME) raced past SOHO at a phenomenal 2300 kilometers per second! Most CMEs take 2 to 3 days to cross the 150 million kilometers between the Sun and the Earth. This one made it in less than 18 hours. The impending cloud of charged particles would have been too much for even the SOHO spacecraft, a satellite which was designed to study the Sun. The operators put many of the instruments (including the one I was using for my PhD research!) into safe-mode rather that risk them getting damaged. Systems on Earth were not so fortunate. Many satellites in earth orbit began behaving erratically. Airlines redirected polar flights to below the Arctic circle, resulting in major delays across the US. Additionally, planes were instructed to fly at much lower altitudes (25,000 ft instead of 35,000 ft) where the thicker atmosphere protected the passengers and crew from harmful radiation, but also resulted in millions of dollars of additional fuel being used.

In other parts of the world, the situation wasn’t much better. Power grids in Sweden were overloaded resulting in prolonged blackouts. Power consumption at two nuclear stations in New Jersey had to be reduced to prevent similar disruption.

41 posted on 12/14/2011 10:38:40 AM PST by NELSON111
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To: NELSON111

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marx_generator

Here is a way to make a small field EMP....


42 posted on 12/14/2011 11:03:27 AM PST by wxgesr (I want to be the first person to surf on another planet.)
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To: NELSON111

“As far as info on the 2003 storm, Google is helpful...”

I see this, for instance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronal_mass_ejection

No mention of 2003, nor power outages. Nor do I remember anything like that in ‘03 myself.

You said millions of people were without power in N.E US and Canada.

Seems like I’d remember that.

So I tried “2003 solar storm” and found this on CNN:

“Airline navigation systems and satellite phones are feeling the effects of unexpectedly turbulent solar weather, but no widespread problems were reported Friday when a cloud of superheated gases reached Earth’s upper atmosphere”

Anything else?


43 posted on 12/14/2011 11:03:27 AM PST by Pessimist
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Kaslin.


44 posted on 12/14/2011 11:05:20 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Merry Christmas, Happy New Year! May 2013 be even Happier!)
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To: Pessimist

My bad...it was Sweden who lost a large part of their grid in 2003. It was millions without power in 1989 in Canada and the NE US. I got my storms mixed up. I wasn’t working space weather back then and it wasn’t on my scope of interest. It is now and is a topic of special interest at DHS and NORTHCOM. They know the grid vulnerabilities...and I will trust the experts they have had speak to us about it.


45 posted on 12/14/2011 11:36:02 AM PST by NELSON111
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To: GreyFriar

Thanks for the ping. Newt Gingrich is right=right, and the New Yawk Slimes is left=wrong, as usual.


46 posted on 12/14/2011 12:13:39 PM PST by zot
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To: Kaslin

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/373618_214746948558668_1902399411_n.jpg

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http://twitter.com/#!/WilliamJBroad

WilliamJBroad William J. Broad
“Finally I understand why I feel so good when I do yoga.” The Science of Yoga by William J Broad http://www.amazon.com/dp/1451641427/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_M0i5ob1SG2TKB/185-7685256-1596918
11 Dec


47 posted on 12/14/2011 12:21:51 PM PST by kcvl
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To: Kaslin
In debates and speeches, interviews and a popular book, he is ringing alarm bells over what experts call the electromagnetic pulse, or EMP — a poorly understood phenomenon of the nuclear age.

Here's what happened back in 1962 (link to PDF)(emphasis added):
ON July 9, 1962, the United States detonated a 1.4-megaton thermonuclear device in the atmosphere 400 km above Johnston Island. The event produced a plasma whose initial spherical shape striated within a few minutes as the plasma electrons and ions streamed along the Earth’s magnetic field to produce an artificial aurora. Fig. 1 shows a photograph of the artificial aurora three minutes after detonation as recorded from a KC-135 aircraft.

Concomitant with the artificial aurora was a degradation of radio communications over wide areas of the Pacific, lightning discharges, destruction of electronics in monitoring satellites, and an electromagnetic pulse that affected some power circuitry as far away as Hawaii.

The event was recorded worldwide as the plasma formed at least two intense equatorial tubes, artificial Van Allen belts, around the Earth [1], [2]. These tubes, or plasma toroids, contained relativistic electrons bound by magnetic fields; the source of intense amounts of synchrotron radiation. The radiation lasted far longer than expected; the decay constant was of the order of 100 days. (Mankind, unknowing, has viewed synchrotron radiation from the Crab nebula for centuries. The only known mechanism that produces synchrotron radiation are electrons spiraling about a magnetic field at nearly the speed of light).

Thus, the shape of the phenomena as recorded at radio, visible, and high frequencies was that of plasma “donuts” encircling the Earth, which mimicked the Van Allen belts.

The artificial aurora shown in Fig. 1 also shows plasma striations that arise from instabilities. This paper describes characteristic features of laboratory plasma experiments and simulations, especially for high-current Z-pinch conditions, and compares these features with petroglyphs and other ancient writings, which may have been associated with auroral observations.

As in the natural aurorae at the northern and southern magnetic poles, the streaming charged particle electrical currents, Birkeland currents, are of the order of megaamperes [3].

Figure 1 legend:

Fig. 1. Starfish thermonuclear detonation July 9, 1962, 400 km above Johnston Island. The photograph was taken from a Los Alamos KC-135 aircraft three minutes after initiation time. An artificial striated aurora has already formed from the plasma particles, spreading along the earth’s magnetic field. The brightest background object (mark) at the top, left-hand corner, is the star antares, while the right-most object is [theta]-Centauri. The burst point is two-thirds of the way up from the lowest plasma striation.

48 posted on 12/14/2011 12:24:56 PM PST by aruanan
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To: G Larry
There’s a lot of uninformed speculation throughout both sides of this article.

Uh huh. Ping to #48 for informed non-speculation.
49 posted on 12/14/2011 12:26:39 PM PST by aruanan
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To: Pessimist
Politics aside, the EMP stuff is largely BS.

Ping to #48, non-BS.
50 posted on 12/14/2011 12:27:29 PM PST by aruanan
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