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Sarah Palin's image already appears on the newer nickels.

calendar   Saturday - January 28, 2006

Weekend Discussion

The topic for discussion this weekend is “Armageddon: Every Man For Himself”.

Scenario: the North Koreans and Iranians collaborate to sneak a submarine off the coast of California and launch a Taepo Dong-2 missile with a 50-megaton nuclear warhead. In a matter of minutes, the missile climbs over the Rocky Mountains to a height of 300 miles above St. Louis where it detonates. The military cannot respond fast enough to shoot down the missile before it delivers its deadly electromagnetic pulse just above the atmosphere.

All I’ll see here in St. Louis is a bright light and a brief concussion wave. As soon as the missile detonates, a travelling electrical wave spreads across the country at the speed of light. All electrical devices are instantly destroyed. All command & control infrastructure of the government ceases to exist. The internet disappears. Radio and TV are history. The power grid is down. Your vehicle’s wiring is melted. All public transportation comes to a halt. The lights go out and you’re cut off from everyone outside of walking distance. People in hospitals start to die. The food in your refrigerator starts to spoil. Panic sets in as people ransack and pillage grocery stores. Armed gangs walk the streets. Welcome to the 7th Century.

What’cha gonna do?

The scientific principles behind generating a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse are relatively easy to understand. A nuclear weapon is detonated between 25 miles and 300 miles above the Earth’s surface; the radiation reaching the atmosphere interacts with air molecules to produce high-energy electrons that speed across the Earth’s magnetic field as an instantaneous, invisible electromagnetic pulse. A nuclear device must be detonated above the Earth’s atmosphere in order to generate the high-altitude EMP effects.

An EMP can have devastating consequences for developed countries, because any metallic conductor in the area affected becomes a “receiver” for the powerful energy burst released by the blast. Such receivers include anything with electronic wiring--from airplanes and automobiles to computers, railroad tracks, and communication lines. If systems connected to these receivers are not protected, they will be damaged by the intense energy pulse. Indeed, depending on the strength of the pulse and the vulnerability of the equipment, the effects could range from interrupted phone conversations and radio interference to the melting of components in every type of electrical system.

An EMP damages unprotected electronic equipment within the blast’s “line of sight.” The size of the area in harm’s way (the EMP’s “footprint” on the Earth’s surface) is determined by the altitude of the explosion. The higher the altitude, the greater the land area affected (see Map below). A Scud-type ballistic missile launched from a vessel off the U.S. coast and detonated at an altitude of 95 miles would degrade electronic systems across one-fourth of the United States. A Taepo Dong-2 missile launched from North Korea probably could deliver a warhead 300 miles above America--enough to degrade electronic systems throughout the country. Crude weapons with low yields, like those used against Japan in World War II, would have ample power to cripple the United States.

image


Source: American Heritage: “America’s Vulnerability” and Congressional Record: June 9, 2005 (House): Rep. Bartlett On NUCLEAR ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE.

wink  (-- Thanks to Rancino for the concept --)


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/28/2006 at 10:42 AM   
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