Monday, August 2, 2010
National Geographic’s Electronic Armageddon is an interesting watch. It is a good starting point for those wanting to learn about EMP, both natural and manmade. There is a lot of good basic science in the program, but nothing that a person of average intelligence can’t handle.
The program covers the likely effects of an EMP event, and does a reasonably good job of explaining the consequences. It gives you a good idea of just how pervasive the microprocessor has become in all areas of our society, and how dependent we are on those tiny circuit boards to keep running. Especially interesting is the brief examination of its use in the food processing industries.
The focus of the program in my opinion is with the effects on the power grid, and the consequences of its loss. It is pointed out that many areas we humans inhabit would likely become untenable. The example given is Las Vegas, but Manitobans would do well to think about how they might fare if they lost power during one of the harsh winters we endure. I doubt all million or so of us have alternate heating sources!
For me, the most interesting part of the show was the statement that one in ten vehicles would stop running. Typically, the ‘expert’ survivalists would have you believe that you are back to the horse and buggy once an EMP hits, and this isn’t the case it seems, although the program shows a simulation where almost all cars are out of service. It’s an internal inconsistency that no one seemed to notice.
This information that vehicles seem to be less vulnerable than once thought has been around for a while. In fact, the 2008 report of the EMP commission in the US (link here) detailed the results of its testing on vehicles subjected to a simulated EMP pulse. It seems to indicate that EMP is not necessarily certain vehicular death.
What does that mean for you? Is the family sedan certain to run? Is it still necessary to equip yourself with that pre-microchip pickup truck? I wish I knew for sure. You can’t ignore the fact that your vehicle might be one of the one in ten damaged and unusable. The best thing to do is read the report (follow the link above) and decide what is best for you in your particular situation.
What seems to be certain is this: If there are major infrastructure failures and supply dislocations, the majority of people are quite likely to be more mobile and able to travel far greater distances in search of the necessities of life than previously thought. The isolated retreat is less isolated, and the safe distance from a major urban area is now orders of magnitude greater. This should have a big impact on your survival planning.
But watch the show…you’ll like it.