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WSJ: Mother of All Blackouts
Wall Street Journal | 8/12/2004 | Editorial

Posted on 08/12/2004 12:37:18 PM PDT by vajimbo

Edited on 09/08/2012 5:46:59 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]

Saturday marks the anniversary of the blackout that shut down much of the Northeast a year ago. Anyone who lived through that power outage remembers the annoyance of life without lights, air conditioning, TVs, computers and all the other electronic equipment on which a modern society depends. Now, imagine a blackout that lasts for months, or years.



TOPICS: Editorial; Russia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: emp
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Didn't one of the terrorist threats from Al Jazeera call the next attack on US soil "The Cave of Darkness"? Could this be what they're planning?
1 posted on 08/12/2004 12:37:19 PM PDT by vajimbo
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To: vajimbo

The whole-nation orbital scenario seems pretty remote for terrorists, but the cosatal scud that takes out a Metro area is plausible.

It would make those paranoid survival/preparedness folks look pretty clever.


2 posted on 08/12/2004 12:41:20 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: vajimbo

Blackouts don't scare me much. I went over 6 days without electricity in June. I have a 5,000 watt DeVillbiss generator that carried me fine for that week.


3 posted on 08/12/2004 12:45:49 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Here, bite down on this.)
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To: vajimbo

Nukes are the brute-force method for generating EMP, but there are other ways using conventional explosives. Somewhere, buried in all of Charlie's links, is a schematic of a conventional-powered EMP warhead:

http://www.softwar.net/

BTW, SoftWar has a lot of stuff many people don't know about, or have forgotten- it's worth a long look.


4 posted on 08/12/2004 12:53:17 PM PDT by backhoe
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To: backhoe

I thought there was talk of using EMP weapons in Iraq but apparently they weren't used.


5 posted on 08/12/2004 12:57:45 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Here, bite down on this.)
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To: Beelzebubba; Poohbah
I think a nuke launched to explode at apogee 100 miles above NY would take out most of New England and the Mid Atlantic states, probably all the way to Ohio. I'm sure the experts will be along to fill us in.

But if terrorists had one nuke, I think they'd use it to craterize NYC or DC, not explode in space to take out our grid.

6 posted on 08/12/2004 12:57:51 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: sneakers

bump


7 posted on 08/12/2004 12:58:05 PM PDT by sneakers
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To: cripplecreek
Blackouts don't scare me much. I went over 6 days without electricity in June. I have a 5,000 watt DeVillbiss generator that carried me fine for that week

Yea, but that takes fuel pumped to the dispenser by electricity. With no power, the fuel stays in the tanks.

I once read that only an 80-day supply of food is on hand at any one time. After that comes starvation and barbarism.

Not that I'm worried or anything. I found the book "Alas Babylon" to be very informative as to how things might go after the electricity dies.

Another reason to ensure our 2nd Amendment rights are not trampled upon.

8 posted on 08/12/2004 12:59:00 PM PDT by scan59
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To: vajimbo

Doesn't an EMP only fry the electrical systems of things that are actually running at the time?

In other words if a car was on when hit by an EMP it'd be trashed but if it wasn't running no damage.


9 posted on 08/12/2004 12:59:28 PM PDT by Bikers4Bush (Flood waters rising, heading for more conservative ground. Vote for true conservatives!)
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To: Bikers4Bush

In other words if a car was on when hit by an EMP it'd be trashed but if it wasn't running no damage.



No, I understand that it induces currents in any conductor, which are at high enough levels that they tend to fry sensitive components.

Then again, if you keep your car in a metal box that shields against the pulse, you may be OK.


10 posted on 08/12/2004 1:04:10 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba

Got it. Thanks for the clarification.

How about an underground garage made out of cement?


11 posted on 08/12/2004 1:05:44 PM PDT by Bikers4Bush (Flood waters rising, heading for more conservative ground. Vote for true conservatives!)
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To: Bikers4Bush

I think you'd need some very special rebar constriction. Magnetic fields pass through concrete, as I understand.


12 posted on 08/12/2004 1:08:57 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba

Check this out....

Effects of an EMP

Although the electric field created from an EMP lasts for only a short time, its effects can be devastating. It is predicted that a single high altitude burst 200 miles above Kansas could propagate an EMP enveloping the entire United States. Electrical systems connected to things that can conduct current like wires, antennas, and metal objects will suffer significant damage. EMP effects on electronics include interference of radio frequency links, irreparable damage to microcircuits, and even the disabling of satellites. Fortunately, electronic equipment that is turned off is less likely to be damaged.


13 posted on 08/12/2004 1:09:07 PM PDT by Bikers4Bush (Flood waters rising, heading for more conservative ground. Vote for true conservatives!)
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To: Beelzebubba

Here's some good info from Northwestern.

http://www.physics.northwestern.edu/classes/2001Fall/Phyx135-2/19/emp.htm


14 posted on 08/12/2004 1:12:21 PM PDT by Bikers4Bush (Flood waters rising, heading for more conservative ground. Vote for true conservatives!)
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To: cripplecreek
I thought there was talk of using EMP weapons in Iraq but apparently they weren't used.

That's how I recall it- discussed, then not used.

15 posted on 08/12/2004 1:13:12 PM PDT by backhoe
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To: vajimbo
Definitely a concern, but that's why NORAD exists. They would see the moment an ICBM is launched and our MERVS would be on the way, not to mention our growing missle defense systems now being put in place. China, Russia, or any other country would be in the same boat, or worse. That's why MAD works.

The terrorist barge/scud scenerio is highly implausible. Satellite imaging would detect such an operation off shore. The various intel agencies monitor our coasts very closely. We may not be able to stop every crazy with a box cutter, bomb belt, or even a dirty bomb, but missle strikes are another thing.

Also, it's my understanding our coasts are constantly patrolled by defensive aircraft. The moment a short-range missle was launched, they would head to intercept with air to air missles which would be faster, providing they are within the required proximity to the scud. With our technology and defense capabilities, I just don't see that scenerio happening.

16 posted on 08/12/2004 1:14:37 PM PDT by A Navy Vet (www.swiftvets.com)
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To: Bikers4Bush
EMP destroys chips whether they are working or not. The EM pulse is of a wavelength that the wires in the chip will pick up like an antenna. These wires often lead to transistor gates, which can be blown out by sudden large voltages. (Transistor gates are very delicate things - comprised of only a few atoms thick layer of SiO2.)

I know a bit more about this on both the risks and defenses, but I'll just shut up due to the nature of the issue...

Yossarian
microprocessor designer
17 posted on 08/12/2004 1:15:34 PM PDT by Yossarian (Working towards a Girly-Man free GOP)
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To: Travis McGee; hchutch
I have a copy of Bruce Blair's Strategic Command and Control open to the EMP diagram on page 91. The scenario is a high-yield thermonuclear detonation 62 miles above the Earth, centered on western Nebraska. It would have EMP'd every Minuteman field we had in the mid-1960s (Minuteman launch control centers were not EMP-hardened until the early 1970s). The radius of the 20,000-volt-per-meter ring is 744 miles (coincidentally, exactly 12 times the burst height of 62 miles).

If the 62-mile figure were used, but the blast hypocenter is NYC, the circle would just about reach the Indiana-Illinois border. A 100-mile burst height would probably generate an EMP ring about 1,200 miles across; this would extend to somewhere around Kansas City.

18 posted on 08/12/2004 1:18:01 PM PDT by Poohbah (If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
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To: Beelzebubba
"No, I understand that it induces currents in any conductor, which are at high enough levels that they tend to fry sensitive components."

"....sensitive components..." read "solid-state devices. I doubt seriously that an EMP would have much effect on anything of technology "pre-transistor". Rather than knowing us back to the late 1800's, it would be more like the mid-1950's.

19 posted on 08/12/2004 1:18:27 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
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To: Yossarian

So pc's, cell phones and anything else with a chip is gone.

Shut up nothing, spill the beans on the defenses.


20 posted on 08/12/2004 1:21:53 PM PDT by Bikers4Bush (Flood waters rising, heading for more conservative ground. Vote for true conservatives!)
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To: Wonder Warthog

The lesson here being, buy old appliances, cars, motorcycles etc.


21 posted on 08/12/2004 1:23:09 PM PDT by Bikers4Bush (Flood waters rising, heading for more conservative ground. Vote for true conservatives!)
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To: Poohbah

I wonder if the diesel on my sailboat will start? Of course, I could always sail out, in a pinch, on an ebb tide.


22 posted on 08/12/2004 1:24:41 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Yossarian

True, but this only works within a relatively small (but still pretty impressive) radius. For EMP to have a continental effect, the bomb would have to be both very large (or EMP-enhanced) and the EMP would have to propagate through wires.

Energy declines with the cube root of the radius, so no matter how energetic the bomb, you have a hard time moving even a submicron wire two states away.

Fiber telephone circuits were initially part of hardening the telephone network against EMP.


23 posted on 08/12/2004 1:45:41 PM PDT by eno_ (Freedom Lite, it's almost worth defending.)
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To: Poohbah

A high yield thermonuclear explosion is 2,000-20,000 times bigger than than the largest plausible terrorist nuke.

Only Russia or China could even attempt it. And since no civilian casualties are an immediate result, what is the barrier to retaliation in kind? It's not like the Chinese do military logistics on abacuses anymore.


24 posted on 08/12/2004 1:49:46 PM PDT by eno_ (Freedom Lite, it's almost worth defending.)
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To: eno_
A high yield thermonuclear explosion is 2,000-20,000 times bigger than than the largest plausible terrorist nuke.

Only Russia or China could even attempt it.

Have you heard about the present state of security re: the Russian nuclear stockpile?

25 posted on 08/12/2004 1:52:44 PM PDT by Poohbah (If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
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To: Poohbah

Well yeah, but you'd think only the real higher-ups get to ebay the H-bombs.


26 posted on 08/12/2004 1:54:38 PM PDT by eno_ (Freedom Lite, it's almost worth defending.)
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To: eno_
Well yeah, but you'd think only the real higher-ups get to ebay the H-bombs.

Osama was personally worth, what, $300,000,000?

27 posted on 08/12/2004 2:06:28 PM PDT by Poohbah (If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
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To: scan59
I found the book "Alas Babylon" to be very informative as to how things might go after the electricity dies.

I agree! "Alas Babylon" was written in 1959-1960 or so and some of it is very dated. But much of it still applies today. Author Pat Frank did a masterful job of explaining in painfully realistic words what it will be like.

I'm now reading the book again for the bajillionith time :) Very enjoyable. I highly recommend it:

When the unthinkable nightmare of nuclear holocaust ravaged the United States, it was instant death for tens of millions of people; for survivors, it was a nightmare of hunger, sickness, and brutality. Overnight, a thousand years of civilization were stripped away.

But for one small Florida town, spared against all the odds, the struggle was just beginning, as men and women of all ages and races found the courage to join together and push against the darkness.

Amazon link.

FReeper link :)

28 posted on 08/12/2004 2:19:34 PM PDT by upchuck (Words from sKerry or Actions from President Bush? You decide.)
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To: upchuck
The best preparedness book I have read is "Patriots: the Coming Collapse" By James Wesley Rawles. A fast paced novel, but filled with factual and useful information. Rawles is working on a non-fiction "Rawles on Relocation" to be released later this year, with more details on where to live, and setting up a sensible home.

http://www.rawles.to/patriots.htm

For additional info and inspiration I also like:
Farnham's Freehold (Heinlein)
Lucifer's Hammer
Boston on Y2k (Boston T. Party)
29 posted on 08/12/2004 2:25:11 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: cripplecreek
That was just a power grid blackout. Under an EMP blackout, NO electronic devices would work -- not even the coil on your car. So, generators won't work, alternators won't work, I'm not even sure if batteries would work, but I'd have to check that.

If you live in a city, get a mountain bike and a good pack and fill it with all the survival gear you need. Head to the national parks and forests. They're simply TEEMING with great game and fish!!!! And the rangers and LEOs will have enough on their hands and won't be bothering you out in the wilderness. Actually, I think we should pass a federal law that states that in a state of national or approved state crises, the federal lands can be opened up for use by the citizenry. Shouldn't I be able to go 'live off the land' in the Cascades if Seattle becomes crippled by an EMP? I think so.
30 posted on 08/12/2004 2:28:13 PM PDT by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (I'm fresh out of tags. I'll pick some up tomorrow.)
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To: upchuck

Another good source is "The Secure Home" by Joel Skousen:
http://www.joelskousen.com/Secure/secure.html


31 posted on 08/12/2004 2:35:57 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: vajimbo
Has anyone seen Snake Plisken lately.

I heard he was dead.

32 posted on 08/12/2004 2:49:01 PM PDT by usurper
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To: A Navy Vet
The terrorist barge/scud scenerio is highly implausible.

Besides, the whole paranoid scenario sounds very American, and certainly not Islamic. If they had a scud with a nuclear warhead, they'd aim it at New York, not at the stratosphere.

33 posted on 08/12/2004 4:17:14 PM PDT by mrustow ("And when Moses saw the golden calf, he shouted out to the heavens, 'Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!'")
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To: Bikers4Bush

spill the beans on the defenses.




Sorry, I should have been more clear: I was referring to defensive chip design, not end-user add-on defenses. I have nothing new to add on that front that you haven't already heard - well grounded sheilding plates and/or faraday cages.


34 posted on 08/12/2004 5:11:59 PM PDT by Yossarian (Working towards a Girly-Man free GOP)
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To: vajimbo

If a nuke is exploded above the US much less in the US, the US would retaliate shortly afterwards in a highly disproportionate fashion. So I don't see what China or Russia have to gain from such weapons.


35 posted on 08/12/2004 8:24:35 PM PDT by dr_who_2
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To: vajimbo
This is certainly worth thinking about and preparing for, but the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) works here just as much as it does for nuclear weapons. If Russia or China were to do it to us, we'd turn right around and do it to them.

As for al Qaeda, their chances of getting their hands on a nuclear missile, or being able to rig some sort of major nuclear bomb onto a Scud (a so-called "suitcase nuke" wouldn't cut it) are zero.

36 posted on 08/12/2004 8:35:23 PM PDT by Dont Mention the War (we use the ˇ°ml maximizeˇ± command in Stata to obtain estimates of each aj , bj, and cm.)
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To: vajimbo
Check this out: indoor wall paint that blocks RF. Only $68/gallon.

http://www.engadget.com/entry/1131461946171236/
37 posted on 08/12/2004 8:47:41 PM PDT by July 4th (You need to click "Abstimmen")
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To: vajimbo

scary ping


38 posted on 08/13/2004 6:59:02 PM PDT by diamond6 (Everyone who is for abortion has already been born. Ronald Reagan)
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To: A Navy Vet

Oh I hope you're right. This article really frightens me.


39 posted on 08/13/2004 9:50:02 PM PDT by diamond6 (Everyone who is for abortion has already been born. Ronald Reagan)
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To: dr_who_2

How would we be able to retaliate if there is no power?


40 posted on 08/13/2004 9:53:50 PM PDT by diamond6 (Everyone who is for abortion has already been born. Ronald Reagan)
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To: Bikers4Bush

Yes, that would be a very large thermonuclear device. It's not something that can be launched by a Scud. It would take a dedicated large ICBM.


41 posted on 08/13/2004 10:01:19 PM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and establish property rights)
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To: diamond6

The US spent decades building up a force that could fight in a nuclear conflict.


42 posted on 08/14/2004 8:41:43 AM PDT by dr_who_2
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To: dr_who_2

People in Quebec lasted 40 days with absolutely no power, a few years back when they got hit by an ice storm.
I also glean the idea that Americans tend to think something else is looking out for them (much like anyone else on the planet, I gather).
I the event of a massive EMP burst, ie, a nuclear device going off in the atmosphere, you all tend to forget it will rip a huge hole in the ozone layer as well - frying everything. Forget electricity at that point - think of vegetation turning crips, lakes evaporating and rivers drying out.
Think bigger - the army won’t be looking out for you at that point - there is a whole population ready to go underground in a few military bases, and you have to ask yourself if your name’s on the survival list, at that point in time.
I know I’m not on a survivor list. But I do know how to live 40 days without anything electrical at all. I had kersoene, an indoor wood burning stove, and a hand cranked wooden stereo. I rocked.


43 posted on 12/23/2009 1:38:20 PM PST by NathanPaulPrince (emp, burst, canada, north, america, survival, underground, base)
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To: hennie pennie

*bookmark*


44 posted on 01/03/2010 1:26:54 PM PST by hennie pennie
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To: hennie pennie

bttt


45 posted on 01/03/2010 1:49:07 PM PST by Guenevere (....)
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To: NathanPaulPrince; Candor7; appalachian_dweller; JustPiper; MestaMachine
>>> "the event of a massive EMP burst, ie, a nuclear device going off in the atmosphere, you all tend to forget it will rip a huge hole in the ozone layer as well - frying everything. Forget electricity at that point - think of vegetation turning crips, lakes evaporating and rivers drying out. Think bigger - the army won't be looking out for you at that point - there is a whole population ready to go underground in a few military bases, and you have to ask yourself if your name's on the survival list, at that point in time.

I know I'm not on a survivor list. But I do know how to live 40 days without anything electrical at all. I had kersoene, an indoor wood burning stove, and a hand cranked wooden stereo. I rocked." <<<

*ping* ~~~ I never knew this about an EMP, thanks much for posting the info here.

46 posted on 01/03/2010 5:37:29 PM PST by hennie pennie
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To: hennie pennie

40 days?I am good for 18 months.By the end of that time, I will be in Canada on the Atlantic coast, kicking back with a few brewskies between episodes of fishing and hunting.


47 posted on 01/03/2010 6:07:54 PM PST by Candor7 ((The effective weapons Against Fascism are ridicule, derision , truth (.Member NRA))
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To: Travis McGee

It will start if you do not have a solid state ignition system or starter motor. If your deisel has a hand crank start option , you are good to go.

Pre 1970 vehicles with the old fashioned points systems would easily start although the resistors of the charging system might have to be replaced.


48 posted on 01/03/2010 6:12:21 PM PST by Candor7 ((The effective weapons Against Fascism are ridicule, derision , truth (.Member NRA))
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To: Candor7; appalachian_dweller; MestaMachine; JustPiper
Sounds like we're all going to be fried to a CRISP when the hole in the atmosphere lets in all the noxious radiation.

Evidentally, THAT is why the government & military intend to go deep UNDERGROUND in the event of an EMP.

NEVER heard of that, not ever.

Say, I found a long list of survivalaist fiction book titles over on this webpage:

http://www.survivalblog.com/survival_fiction/

49 posted on 01/03/2010 6:28:35 PM PST by hennie pennie
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To: hennie pennie

Buy a few rolls of lead sheathing and do a closet in it. You will only need it for 12 to 24 hours.


50 posted on 01/03/2010 7:06:45 PM PST by Candor7 ((The effective weapons Against Fascism are ridicule, derision , truth (.Member NRA))
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