What is the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)?
When a nuclear bomb is detonated 400 km in the air over a populated area, gamma rays collide with electrons and ‘other stuff’ creating an energy surge that can with no warning and no direct harm to living creatures seriously damage or destroy so much of continental North America’s electrical infrastructure that life as we know it would come to a complete stop for months.
In The National Post, Barbara Kay, (on September 20 2017) writes:
And EMP attack could put the majority of transformers across the country out of commission, which means rerouting from working transformers as we normally do in not possible….replacement time might be up to 33 months, according to an expert, Anthony Furey in his book, Pulse Attack, The real story behind the secret weapon that can destroy North America.
And yet, while politicians of all stripes in both the United States and Canada refuse to talk about EMP, Furey, through Ms Kay, estimates that a few hundred million dollars in metal Farrady cages (like tinfoil hats) over our utilities systems could preclude most potential destruction from EMP. Yet nothing is being done either to discuss the issue or to take steps to ameliorate any potential damage.
Naturally when first reading Ms Kay’s report, like anyone living under a rock for the last three quarters of a century, I was shocked, appalled and unnerved. I then passed the piece along to others who shared my shock. We have been given glimpses of the deep dark internet, that segment of the internet designed an implemented by the Pentagon’s sci-fi exhibitionists, who then admitted they had lost control of their own monster. We know of the preliminary glimpses of how the scientists envision the impact of rising global temperatures and cities around the world (2/3 of which are les than one meter above sea level) are discussing precautionary steps they might take to ward off the most serious impact. Weaponry now reduces military combat to an imitation of computer games controlled by operators thousands of miles from the combat theatre. We know that facial recognition on our “smart” phones is already here along with talking/responding/answering voice machines that have replaced most of what previously passed as research. Artificial intelligence and artificial environments are threatening to imitate the human imagination.
We also know that the speed of technological/digital innovation has so far outstripped legislation that would assure some measure of privacy and personal security that, like the income inequality gap, it is unlikely to be closed. Rogue states are adamantly pursuing nuclear weapon capability, as no doubt are all the Islamic terrorist networks. And digital platforms just yesterday were openly tasked with a two-hour deadline to remove all incendiary material from their websites by British Prime Minister Theresa May speaking at the General Assembly of the United Nations.
And now this, EMP, as a new alphabet icon, has blurted onto our radar screens to be mixed into the contemporary cultural, military, political, ideological and survival stew.
Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-four, Star Wars, and now comes the next iteration of danger…
· in a world barely able to speak civilly to one another,
· in a world in which thousands, if not millions of decent people have withdrawn from offering their names for public office and left the field to ‘fringe’ leaders whose empty ego craves attention in a narcissistic binge so far out of control that the gap between technology and limiting legislation looks like a sliver by comparison and
· in a world addicted to measuring all success by dollars and the things only dollars can buy.
Although this rant evokes George Constanza’s pitiful rants, in Seinfeld, about how humanity is growing insensitive to his pleading need for a public telephone, there is a kind of desperation in the perception of a confluence of “storm surges” of the political/techno/military/fiscal/ego/pharma (think opiod and new drugs without clinical trials) variety that renders one a little agast. Meanwhile, markets actually quick-march into the stratosphere, housing prices soar in large urban areas, mammoths like Amazon generate a frenzied competition for a second city location in North America (while their workers cry foul at their treatment by the company and the house prices in Seattle (Amazon #1) rise significantly and unemployment falls….and all the while, our political leaders bury their heads in the sands of flooded beaches, resort main streets and storm-torn islands and earthquake ripped sites like Mexico.
Galloping forces in divergent directions, without the appearance of strong, collaborative, mature and trust-worthy ship-of-state captains evoke wrecks like the Costa Concordia, whose captain was talking to his lover while his ship ran aground on sea shoals back in 2012 off Tuscany. Of course, it is an overly simplistic comparison, but an analogous and riveting one.
Ask yourself what is happening to the previously trusted, responsible and visionary compendium of historic decisions made by leaders whose competence and whose stability were the ballast when geopolitical seas rolled with war, and the threats of war and the ensuing need and demand for peace.
Institutions like NATO, the U,N., and the E.U. and the International Court at the Hague….these institutions were birthed from the ashes of the mid-twentieth century conflagration. Do we have to endure another (only this time sterile) EMP before we, collectively and individually) awaken to take responsibility for the dangers and the threats that now confront a world population fully exposed to both the opportunities of new connections and collaborations and the threats to which we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear.
The marketplace of ideas can no longer exclude topics like the EMP that the politicians consider too frightening for their voters to embrace. Little do they know that their careers will increasingly depend, not on their management of the information flow, but on the courage and integrity of their willingness to deal honestly and openly with such lethal threats.
It is the gap between what the politician considers “acceptable” as “politically correct” and the public’s intelligent and conscious awareness of their denials and avoidances of responsibilities (through a myriad of distractions) that could impale us on our own petard.