23 June 2009

William R. Forstchen Discusses EMP Threat

William R. Forstchen is the author of the bestselling near-future thriller, "One Second After." In this Pajamas TV special, Forstchen discusses the threat from EMP to modern civilisations.

Try living without electricity for a week or two. Then imagine entire neighborhoods, communities, cities, and regions going without electrical power for weeks and months. How many would survive after a few months without power? Trauma victims and the critically ill would be the first to die. Then persons with renal failure, insulin dependent diabetes, heart failure, and other chronically ill persons dependent upon short supplies of medication would die. Treating infectious diseases would be a whole new ballgame without immunisations and antibiotics.

Grocery stores and department stores would be looted for supplies. Food supplies would run short due to a shortage of fuel and viable vehicles. Houses and buildings would burn in the absence of the ability to put out the flames. And so on.

Forstchen's book does a good job of describing the breakdown of civil order, and the abysmal death rates that would result from loss of electricity. Keep in mind that a lot of triggers could result in the same widespread death, violence, loss of cohesion. EMP is only one of many.

H/T Instapundit

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, an EMP threat is very real, and might come from a solar flare similar to the 1859 carrington event or even the 1921 superstorm. Whether from terrorism or nature, anyone living in Amerika is a sitting duck. Hollywood glorifies in unrealistic and unscientific apocalyptic outcomes, yet they usually don't go anywhere near the more plausible ones.

As a spooky aside tying Hollywood and impending doom. The Lone Gunman TV series had a 9/11 plot of exploding jetliners that was thwarted, while in Dark Angel, the US is reduced to a third world hell hole due to the pulse or EMP.

Civilization has never been more vulnerable to so many threats all at once.

Tuesday, 23 June, 2009  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

The people that are living in the middle of a desert (made possible through pumping water for long distances and air conditioning) would have a big problem in days, not weeks. They might have to walk out, carrying sufficient drinking water (if they could get it) and food for the journey.

Tuesday, 23 June, 2009  
Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

I have a general understanding of EMP effects. However, physics in particular relation to electro-magnetism is pretty weak. That said.. I have wondered if it would be possible to build a nearly EMP proof custom home. Or at least an EMP storage room containing electronics that you would need to start to rebuild after a massive EMP attack.

Wednesday, 24 June, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wiki has an article on EMP that includes a map showing the strength of an EMP wave if the bomb is exploded 400 km over North Dakota.

Since one of America's two ICBM bases is located in ND it would likely be a target anyway in the event of a nuclear war, so it would be a good place to put an antimissile system.

In fact, I think that America's only antimissile system was placed in ND back in the 1970's.

Wednesday, 24 June, 2009  
Blogger Loren said...

There are several different threats from EMP, each with different characteristics. The threat from a high altitude nuclear-initiated pulse, for example, has been shown to have much less than the apocalyptic affects the doom-sayers claim. Solar affects depend on other issues, such as DC bypass for transformers, without which the electrical grid will go down, though much beyond that can be debated. Non-nuclear EMP is a rather new phenomenon however, and has characteristics that are intended to damage even hardened systems, but requires a lot more effort to cause systematic disruption. You could hit New York City, for example, or Los Angeles, but most of the devices are limited in range, and so a "country-killer" would require at least dozens of devices. Killing a handful of large cities and tech centers could be damaging, but it won't be the end of the world.

Wednesday, 24 June, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

Those may be famous last words, Loren.

The aim of an EMP attack would be to shove a country back into the middle ages.

But there are a lot of ways to do just that, besides nuclear or conventional EMP weapons.

First, prepare for the worst. Then you can hope for the best. If you do those things in reverse, you may live to regret it. Or not.

Saturday, 04 July, 2009  

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