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Old 04-16-2009, 09:20 PM
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Exclamation One Second After (A novel about EMP)

Sometimes I like to torture myself by listening to Sean Hannity (a conservative American radio talk show host and Republican party apologist) on my way home from work and today he had on an author by the name of Forstchen who was promoting his fictional account of a "Black Swan" EMP strike on the U.S.

The book is called One Second After.

Although it's fiction, the author stressed the realism of the scenario he presented in the book and stated that a single, powerful EMP strike on the U.S. could, within a few years, lead to a casualty rate of 90%. The guy wants Americans to lobby their congressmen to resume funding for some EMP defense research program I didn't even know existed.

Granted, I tend to take everything that Hannity and members of his mutual admiration society say with at least a grain of salt, but the claim cited above sounds pretty extravagant. I'm of the school of thought that believes a T2K type war would ultimately result in a return to the Dark Ages (at least politically, socially, and economically, if not technologically) but a 90% death rate after a single EMP attack?

Anyway, I won't be spending my hard-earned money on the hardback edition out now but I'm wondering if I should pick up a copy when it comes out in paperback.

Anyone read it?
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  #2  
Old 04-17-2009, 09:00 PM
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The back story of the Dark Angel series goes into an EMP strike (two bombs, I believe) on the US. There wasn't 90% casualties, but as the original introduction to the shows says, "The United States went from a superpower to a third world country in an instant." There are pockets of high technology, but not many.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:29 PM
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The problem I have with such a scenario is that the US being destroyed is not in the interest of other nations which could provide equipment to rebuild the infrastructure. I would expect that within a week ships and aircraft from the UK, France, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan would be on their way loaded with equipment.

I picked these countries as there is a history of either long term protection or previous reconstruction assistance by the US. Of course I expect other countries would help out as well.
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Old 04-18-2009, 01:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kato13
The problem I have with such a scenario is that the US being destroyed is not in the interest of other nations which could provide equipment to rebuild the infrastructure. I would expect that within a week ships and aircraft from the UK, France, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan would be on their way loaded with equipment.

I picked these countries as there is a history of either long term protection or previous reconstruction assistance by the US. Of course I expect other countries would help out as well.
I agree -- imagine the vast market for electronics that would exist in the US after even a small EMP event!
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Old 04-19-2009, 12:30 PM
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I think EMP is overrated unless you are right next to the source. I think most cars would still run although there are a few that can be knocked out but on most tests, you just turn the key and it will start again. Auto electronics are generally designed to withstand a lot of harsh conditions. Generally if it isn't hooked to the power mains and you have your antennas folded or disconnected, it will most likely survive. The computer you are using now has a good chance of being fried but the one that is disconnected and sitting on the shelf in your basement or Bob's Computer shop should be OK.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:42 PM
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There's some very good stuff here especially towards the bottom http://forum.juhlin.com/archive/index.php/t-267.html
Basically, EMP is nasty. If it's not shielded, chances are something is going to happen. Exactly what, and how much is the question....

Note that your suggestion in that thread that the body will act as a Faraday Cage has been disproven.
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legbreaker
There's some very good stuff here especially towards the bottom http://forum.juhlin.com/archive/index.php/t-267.html
Basically, EMP is nasty. If it's not shielded, chances are something is going to happen. Exactly what, and how much is the question....

Note that your suggestion in that thread that the body will act as a Faraday Cage has been disproven.
I could see it if you have a Corvette or some other car with a fiberglass body but for the most part, the car's body would act as a Faraday shield. I know the same effect occurs with metal aircraft too.

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

I think EMP is mainly a danger to large scale things like power transmission but I think the small stuff will be OK if it is shielded fairly well or disconnected from any antennas and power sources. I'm not saying it is nothing to worry about but it isn't the 800 lbs. gorilla it is made out to be, actually it is more like a 400 lbs gorilla.

Chuck M.
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:37 PM
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I think you should try reading the entry you're refering to.

You'll note that for a faraday cage to be effective, any holes in it's surface must be smaller than the wavelength of the EMP - usually nothing much less than a solid surface is going to cut it, and as as cars, trucks and buses have windows, etc....
Also, to be effective, it must be grounded. A cars rubber tyres are an effective insulator preventing the necessary grounding taking place.

Parts of a car may be protected, but as the wiring looms commonly travel through all parts of the vehicle, AND anything worth protecting is almost invariably connected to something which is in an exposed area....

As stated in the previous EMP thread, tracked, armoured vehicles are less likely to be effected because they're surrounded in armour AND their metal tracks effectively ground them. There is likely to be some impact on them however, but it is likely to be less than a civilian vehicle.

It really does come down to luck of the draw on the whole though. Nobody to date, and I rather doubt in the future too, has conducted wide scale testing of vehicles specifically to determine the effects of EMP. We can assume though based on the minimal testing which has been carried out, that some vehicles, regardless of age, will be more or less suceptible than others.

Aircraft are another matter altogether. I believe most are built specifically with the possibilty of outside interference in mind with vital components shielded and redundant systems. This is especially true with the larger passenger aircraft carrying millions of people every day, and even more so (one would hope) in the multimillion dollar military aircraft our various governments are so proud of. The average private small prop driven aircraft on the other hand....
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:22 PM
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An episode of Futureweapons a season or two ago focussed on EMP. The host drove a '80s or '90s model car (a Cadillac maybe?) under an EMP generator and the pulse killed the car dead. Granted, it was directly beneath the EMP (no more than 10m away) but still.

And I think the point of the book is that without a functioning power grid, it matter worth squat whether any of your home appliances survived the EMP. They wouldn't work without a reliable electrical current.
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https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...ula-Sourcebook
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legbreaker
I think you should try reading the entry you're refering to.

You'll note that for a faraday cage to be effective, any holes in it's surface must be smaller than the wavelength of the EMP - usually nothing much less than a solid surface is going to cut it, and as as cars, trucks and buses have windows, etc....
Also, to be effective, it must be grounded. A cars rubber tyres are an effective insulator preventing the necessary grounding taking place.

Parts of a car may be protected, but as the wiring looms commonly travel through all parts of the vehicle, AND anything worth protecting is almost invariably connected to something which is in an exposed area....

As stated in the previous EMP thread, tracked, armoured vehicles are less likely to be effected because they're surrounded in armour AND their metal tracks effectively ground them. There is likely to be some impact on them however, but it is likely to be less than a civilian vehicle.

It really does come down to luck of the draw on the whole though. Nobody to date, and I rather doubt in the future too, has conducted wide scale testing of vehicles specifically to determine the effects of EMP. We can assume though based on the minimal testing which has been carried out, that some vehicles, regardless of age, will be more or less suceptible than others.

Aircraft are another matter altogether. I believe most are built specifically with the possibility of outside interference in mind with vital components shielded and redundant systems. This is especially true with the larger passenger aircraft carrying millions of people every day, and even more so (one would hope) in the multimillion dollar military aircraft our various governments are so proud of. The average private small prop driven aircraft on the other hand....
Well, the Faraday Cage doesn't always have to be grounded to be effective, some say the rubber tires would actually help. I do remember when I was a kid, some 1960's era cars had grounding strips.

Aircraft, I would say it is possible you would lose the radio and navigation aids but the plane would still run, most small private planes run off of a magneto system. I remember one of my teachers in high school (he's pushing 90 and still flies as well as teaching his great grandchildren how to drive) flew B-24's in World War II and remembers lightning striking them but there was no effect, granted back then, it was all vacuum tubes.

I do agree with you that there is a matter of luck, other factors, maybe even God Himself, who knows, but I do understand it is the roll of the dice, I just really don't think EMP is the 800 lbs gorilla it is made out to be, more like a 400 or 500 lbs gorilla.

Chuck M.
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