How much is science and how much is fiction?

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Postby rantanplan » Fri 29. Aug 2008, 02:27

Yes. Lightning is a form of electromagnetic pulse, but nuclear EMP is much faster. In fact, when you protect an antenna or power line from EMP, you first use conventional lightning protectors, then you add the faster reacting EMP protectors between the lightning protectors and the equipment.

I could imagine that emp is more powerful ansd active than the lightening, but i didn't know all this informations, so thanks for that ;).

I've spent the last 30 years working on mountaintop transmitting and receiving sites for broadcasting companies. That's probably why I'm more concerned than most people about what EMP can do. I've seen remarkable amounts of destruction in electronics devices from distant lightning strikes. I've seen those same devices work perfectly during violent thunderstorms after they were properly protected.

I have a close relative who is an electronics engineer for a defense contractor. Nearly everything they do has to be EMP protected. The military seems to be getting increasingly concerned about the problem.

ooh interessing!! So millitary could be anxious about a emp... ! :D.
Maybe just for have no problem, in a war situation, if there ennemy try to paralyse them... . (But, the last 30 years ?? you are really 60 years old ? ).

i'll see the video about you speak tomorrow, thanks, i didn't see that:).
it make me thinking to ocenan's eleven, when they want cut the the electric network, they use a epm, i think.

Nuclear EMPs covering a thousand mile-radius have already occurred. Fortunately they occurred in sparsely populated areas, and before the era of integrated circuits. In 1962, virtually everything was what we would now call EMP-resistant, but in 1962 both the United States and the old Soviet Union did a lot of electrical damage (over very large areas) by setting off nuclear weapons in space. Both countries did it at about the same time, and both got a real surprise when it happened.

they didn't know there will be some electric problem, with that ? There was no nuclear problem, after the explosion ?
I've never heard about that before! And the cold war is at our program in history, at school :D.

About EMP protected portable radios: The last time that I took my shortwave radio out of its aluminum shield, I was clearly receiving the English-language broadcast of Radio Taiwan in less than a minute. It was coming from the opposite side of the planet from me. A nuclear EMP would disrupt shortwave broadcasts for a few hours, but distant reception would soon return to normal.

at the opposite side of the world ? So they are probably some antennas relays, or satellite, for allow you to capte that. If a emp is used on your area, this equipement will be damaged, and could you again capt this radio ?

A nuclear EMP would disrupt shortwave broadcasts for a few hours, but distant reception would soon return to normal.

So explain me something : you tell me perturbations will only about some hours, but in DA, they tell that the emp has a definitive action. Why ? Just for the story ?

About the "grounding or not grounding, that's the question", i don't understand why it's needed for a lot fo things, but not for portable equipment... . Can you tell me that, too ?

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Postby X5DNA » Fri 29. Aug 2008, 04:19

About shortwave radio: For radio frequencies of about 5 to 15 megahertz, broadcasts from a strong transmitter will bounce back and forth between the upper layer of the atmosphere (called the ionosphere) and the earth. By bouncing like this, the signal can travel long distances without electronic relay equipment. Radio engineers call this effect "skip".

From the time of the invention of radio until the invention of communication satellites, this was about the only way to broadcast information between continents. Shortwave radio was a popular hobby from about 1920 to 1970. (It still is among some people.)

An nuclear EMP is generated by gamma rays from the nuclear weapon hitting this upper layer called the ionosphere. Because of this, a nuclear weapon in space disrupts the ionosphere for several hours, temporarily preventing long-distance shortwave broadcasts.

When the atmosphere settles down, and the ionosphere is back to normal, shortwave radio will work again over extremely long distances. Unprotected electronics in the region of the pulse, though, will continue to be burned out.

Since the internet, most people have forgotten about shortwave radio, but most countries still have powerful shortwave transmitters broadcasting around the world in many languages.

Unlike communications satellites and the internet, shortwave radio needs only a working transmitter and a working receiver. It doesn't need any relay equipment.

Grounding is a complicated subject. In general, though, things that are connected to power lines, or long cables, or a large antenna need to be able to send the electromagnetic energy into the ground, rather than going through the equipment. For small portable items, grounding is less important -- as long as you have a good metal shield.

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Postby rantanplan » Fri 29. Aug 2008, 12:55

About shortwave radio: For radio frequencies of about 5 to 15 megahertz, broadcasts from a strong transmitter will bounce back and forth between the upper layer of the atmosphere (called the ionosphere) and the earth. By bouncing like this, the signal can travel long distances without electronic relay equipment. Radio engineers call this effect "skip".

Oh ok! never heard that before. i didn't know thanks!
we've find our expert in electronic/telecommunication. :D.

An nuclear EMP is generated by gamma rays from the nuclear weapon hitting this upper layer called the ionosphere. Because of this, a nuclear weapon in space disrupts the ionosphere for several hours, temporarily preventing long-distance shortwave broadcasts.
When the atmosphere settles down, and the ionosphere is back to normal, shortwave radio will work again over extremely long distances. Unprotected electronics in the region of the pulse, though, will continue to be burned out.


yes of course, it was what is happen in the show, i'm stupid, it's equipment who is broken. And thanks for explanaion about how the emp working exactly.
But in the show, it could be suffisant to make some new equipment, for have possibilities to use technology like before the pulse... . So why they don't do that ? :).

Unlike communications satellites and the internet, shortwave radio needs only a working transmitter and a working receiver. It doesn't need any relay equipment.

cause the rebound between the atmosphoere and the ground is suffisant for broadcast the signal. And a emp can not cover all the planet... . Very good.

About grounding, i've always heard that a faraday cage is working only if it's grounding.... Now, if for small equimpent it's not needed, i don't understand why. but if you tell that, why not. :).

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Postby gtf_dean_fenech » Fri 29. Aug 2008, 14:56

the thing about the emp is not that it can't be done, because the technolgy is there. The thing is that all the information is lost. The info (especially government related) are stored in many places so there are alot of backups
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Postby rantanplan » Fri 29. Aug 2008, 17:05

yes, but in the show, a lot of persons miss about technology... . Maybe cause they are not a lot of money for buy, but i was understand that technology has always some problem after the pulse... .

About government information (and now for some bank, and some important enterprise), there are security rules, like it's consider as secure if there is at least a precise number of kilometers between two areas of stockage, in local area protected by fire, electromagnetic perturbations, for certains things, against bombs... . (Of course again electrical power missing... .). And some another rules again. So an terrorist attack can't destroy all this installation.... . Even if some hackers try to destruct data, it will be very difficult, and pretty impossible to have all the back up... .

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Postby X5DNA » Wed 3. Sep 2008, 04:36

After an EMP attack, new equipment will work OK. In Dark Angel, there are only still some problems with the distribution of electrical power.

Regarding EMP, the only thing that is unrealistic about Dark Angel is that the Dark Angel books say that the EMP bomb was exploded over the ocean off of the east coast of the United States. Although this would be the greatest catastrophe that the United States has ever had, supplies could be moved in quickly from the western U.S. There would be serious economic problems, and it would take months to restore all of the electrical power, but it is very unlikely this would cause a long lasting social breakdown.

An EMP attack over the central United States would be an entirely different matter. All of the food distribution and other essential activities in the United States are now run by computer. Few stores can sell anything without computers. Diesel trucks will run but they won't know what to deliver without computers to tell them.

A few days after a major EMP attack over the central U.S., most people would run out of food and water all over the continental United States, southern Canada and northern Mexico. They would probably have to wait for the U.S. military to distribute food and water. The entire electrical power distribution system would be knocked out. It is difficult to know how people would react. Starving people do desperate things.

New computers could be bought from Asia, and they would work, but most people probably couldn't afford to buy them for a long time.

The biggest long-term problem would be with the electrical power grid. A large EMP attack would induce voltages of a few million volts on most electric power lines. This would probably destroy most of the large power transformers, especially because the transformers in the system are already so old. The average life of these transformers is considered to be about 40 years, but the average age of these transformers in the United States is 42 years. This is already a big problem without an EMP.

Many of these transformers have an order backlog at the factories of about two years. Most of the transformers being produced in the world are going to new construction in developing countries such as China. The world's power transformer production capacity is not really enough to keep up with current demand. If thousands of these transformers were suddenly destroyed, it would take at least two years to get the entire electrical system in the United States running again.

An EMP attack over the east coast of the United States would actually probably be beneficial over the long term because every industrialized country would get itself protected from future EMP attack, so the Dark Angel long-term disaster would not occur unless the first EMP attack were over the center of the United States.

People always prepare for the disasters of the past. Every few months, someone asks the U.S. Department of Homeland Security if they are ready for an EMP attack. The answer is always NO, because they are too busy preparing for hurricanes and airplane hijackings. The know about the possibility of an EMP attack, but everyone is preparing for the disasters that have already happened.

Once a real nuclear EMP attack happens somewhere in the world, then everyone will get prepared for the next one.

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Postby gtf_dean_fenech » Wed 3. Sep 2008, 10:38

supplies could be moved in quickly from the western U.S. There would be serious economic problems, and it would take months to restore all of the electrical power, but it is very unlikely this would cause a long lasting social breakdown.

Oh yeah... like in New Orleans right? :|

hey read this and tell me what you think: http://www.darkangel-network.com/viewto ... 6&start=30 (the last post)

It was an assignment i did for a course at university called Sociology of political economical development.
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Postby rantanplan » Wed 3. Sep 2008, 18:40

they have problem with electrical power, but they have however electrical power. (like we see in season 1 max steal electricity to the neigboor).

and it's right, i've always thinking that an emp could not cause so many problem in US, as they can't find a solution, and become one or more poor land... .

About the general problem for electricity that you speak, are you sure it would be so important ? i mean, there is no protection, for that ?

the thing with the age of transformers explain maybe i've already heard that in usa, you have some big problem with electricity, often cutting, this type of thing.
The world's power transformer production capacity is not really enough to keep up with current demand. If thousands of these transformers were suddenly destroyed, it would take at least two years to get the entire electrical system in the United States running again.

they hav'nt rescue plan, in case of general failure ?

An EMP attack over the east coast of the United States would actually probably be beneficial over the long term because every industrialized country would get itself protected from future EMP attack, so the Dark Angel long-term disaster would not occur unless the first EMP attack were over the center of the United States.

if we know this risk, why we don't protect the electrical network ?

People always prepare for the disasters of the past. Every few months, someone asks the U.S. Department of Homeland Security if they are ready for an EMP attack. The answer is always NO, because they are too busy preparing for hurricanes and airplane hijackings. The know about the possibility of an EMP attack, but everyone is preparing for the disasters that have already happened.

Once a real nuclear EMP attack happens somewhere in the world, then everyone will get prepared for the next one.

mm ok, maybe cause hurrycanes and planes hijacking have already be known by the public, so it's needed to keep everybody in a secure sensation. EMP is not really famous, so they prefer ignor the danger, as long as it's not absolutely necessary, it's right ?

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Postby X5DNA » Thu 4. Sep 2008, 08:40

hey read this and tell me what you think: http://www.darkangel-network.com/viewto ... 6&start=30 (the last post)

It was an assignment i did for a course at university called Sociology of political economical development.


Actually, I read your assignment about a week ago. I found it interesting, and I couldn't find anything in particular that I disagreed with.

It is very difficult to know how people will react to a disaster. In the United States, people have reacted very differently at different times to the same disaster in the same part of the country. For example, in the 1970's when there were widespread power failures, there was widespread looting and rioting. In recent years, people in the same area have responded very calmly to power failures of the same duration.

An EMP attack in a small area of the country could cause a social breakdown for many years if conditions were right. An EMP affecting only the east coast, though, would not necessarily leave people dependent upon the government before they began to starve. Help could arrive via the private sector only. I'm not saying that it would, only that it could.

The main thing that I was trying to say in my last post is that an EMP detonation 80 miles over the ocean off of the east coast is a very different event than an EMP detonation twice as high over the center of the United States.

The EMP detonation described in the Dark Angel books would not have any instant effect in the western half of the United States. Where I live, I doubt if my lights would even flicker. It certainly wouldn't affect computers in Colorado or Wyoming.

The after-effects of an east coast EMP detonation could range from a nationwide depression -- to the western United States separating itself from the eastern United States. People in the western half of the country tend to be much more independent than those in the east. There would be a huge amount of resentment in the western half of the country toward any kind of authoritarianism coming from the East.

Unlike regional EMP attacks, with a large EMP attack over the center of the United States, the results would be immediately catastrophic, especially with some of the enchanced-EMP weapons that Russia and China have. (The United States has an even larger array of EMP bombs.)

What is really scary is that Russia has actually threatened to EMP the entire United States on at least one occasion. The people in the industrialized countries of the world are blindly ignoring the EMP danger. I don't know why people are ignoring something that is so obvious. They seem to think that shows like Dark Angel are just silly science fiction.

We have been repeatedly warned. Lots of people know what EMP can do. They continue to act like ignoring the problem will make it go away.

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Postby gtf_dean_fenech » Thu 4. Sep 2008, 10:15

The EMP detonation described in the Dark Angel books would not have any instant effect in the western half of the United States. Where I live, I doubt if my lights would even flicker. It certainly wouldn't affect computers in Colorado or Wyoming.

there's a lot of plot holes in those books and most fans just consider them as glorified fan fics (even though i quite enjoyed them)
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Postby rantanplan » Thu 4. Sep 2008, 13:37

Help could arrive via the private sector only.

government could help people, too, no ?
why do you yhink only private sector could help ?

The after-effects of an east coast EMP detonation could range from a nationwide depression -- to the western United States separating itself from the eastern United States. People in the western half of the country tend to be much more independent than those in the east. There would be a huge amount of resentment in the western half of the country toward any kind of authoritarianism coming from the East.

if there is an emp on the eas part, why do you think it could be a autoritarism at the west by the easter people? If the east is weaken, it's the west persons who could take autority on them, no ?

What is really scary is that Russia has actually threatened to EMP the entire United States on at least one occasion.

i've never heard about that.
is it a "public" event, or television and newspaper don't speak a lot about that ?

More time run, and more sci-fi shows are based on real possible thing, like dna manipulation, for example. And it's right specially for DA, where practically each facts have something of real, or possibly real.

We have been repeatedly warned. Lots of people know what EMP can do. They continue to act like ignoring the problem will make it go away.


maybe cause as long as we don't speak about that, not a lot of people heard about that... . ?

And a question about emp that we don't speak a lot : we know that a lot of different animals use electromagnetic fiel of the earth for live, like some birds which use that for find them directions, etc etc... .
Do you think a emp could have a consequence on the animalistic world ?

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Postby X5DNA » Fri 5. Sep 2008, 03:09

About the Russian EMP threat against the United States: There have been several reports that in 1999, a threat was made by Vladimir Lukin, who was the chairman of the Russian Dumas International Affairs Committee. That position is similar to the chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Lukin told a United States Congressional delegation that if NATO forces didn't get out of the former Yugoslavia, then Russia could, without fear of retaliation, launch a missile from a submarine, explode it high over the United States and shut down our power grid and communications for 6 months.

Vladimir Lukin was probably bluffing. I don't think that they would have actually taken such a drastic action in that instance. Russia clearly, though, wanted to communicate to the United States that they had the ability to flip a giant ON/OFF switch controlling the United States to the OFF position.

It certainly did scare the U.S. congressmen who heard him make the threat.

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Postby rantanplan » Sun 7. Sep 2008, 22:11

without fear of retaliation


I'm not sure that american government would not react after that.

But why use a submarine? what i undersntad is that we need a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere, for obtain a EMP effect, not in the sea, at the proximity to the continent. (about that, what's about the nuclear situation, after the pulse ? radioactivity will be a problem, on the sector concerned by the EMP, no ?).

anyway, thanks a lot for all your explanations... . You seems very good informed!!

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Postby X5DNA » Mon 8. Sep 2008, 05:56

I'm not sure that american government would not react after that.

I'm sure that the United States government would react. They have never said how they would react to an EMP attack. There could be a real problem, though, if a country like Russia did it using a submarine, then denied any responsibility for the attack. There could be a real problem being sure who did it.

But why use a submarine? what i undersntad is that we need a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere, for obtain a EMP effect, not in the sea, at the proximity to the continent. (about that, what's about the nuclear situation, after the pulse ? radioactivity will be a problem, on the sector concerned by the EMP, no ?).

After an EMP bomb goes off in space, radioactivity could affect satellites, but it would settle into the atmosphere very slowly. Radioactive fallout would be a of no consequence compared to the EMP problem.

The United States has an anti-ballistic missile system. Although it is not very effective, there is a chance that it could shoot down a single missile coming in for an EMP attack from Russia. (Several ABM missiles could be fired at the single incoming missile, and only one would need to hit it.) With a missile launched from a submarine off the coast of the United States, there would be no warning.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union plan for any nuclear attack against the United States was to start with an EMP attack launched from a submarine. They hoped that this would cause so much confusion that it would delay the reaction time to a full nuclear attack.

I think that this is one reason that there has been no preparation (outside of the military) for an EMP attack. All during the Cold War, it was assumed that an EMP attack would be followed by a full nuclear attack, so what would be the use of protecting electronics. People thought this way for decades, and it has been hard to change this way of thinking.

I don't know if this was ever true. Even during the Cold War, things might have stopped at just the EMP attack. Why would a country want to risk total nuclear destruction?

Today, countries that could launch an EMP attack with submarines would use submarines. In addition to nearly zero warning time, it makes it very difficult to trace the source of the attack.

Terrorists, and countries that don't have the technical capability to launch from a submarine, would launch from a ship or a barge from as close to the United States as possible. Their missiles wouldn't go as far, so they would want to start from as close to the United States as possible.

For any country or terrorist group, they are not going to want to launch from a country where everyone's satellites can watch the launch. If the entire world knows what country launched an EMP attack, that country is going to be in very big trouble.

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Postby rantanplan » Mon 8. Sep 2008, 18:14

i think they would react to an EMP attack by two EMP attack :).
Russia could'nt denied their responsability if they do that just after threaten USA :).

After an EMP bomb goes off in space, radioactivity could affect satellites, but it would settle into the atmosphere very slowly. Radioactive fallout would be a of no consequence compared to the EMP problem.

Absolutely no consequency on environment and on human population, just cause of the higher of the explosion ?

Exact for the missiles defense. I already learn that in school, but i did forget :). Still, a submarine could fired a missile suffisantly higher for create a EMP without another problem (again one time, like radioactivity, for example).

the plan about you speak is not stupid... . Of course, it make panic all the country... . But tell me, if a city have a electricity power problem, hospital have'nt cause they have some security, for that, like another lines, and private group, i think. But in a EMP situation, they will be concerned too, no ?

I think that this is one reason that there has been no preparation (outside of the military) for an EMP attack. All during the Cold War, it was assumed that an EMP attack would be followed by a full nuclear attack, so what would be the use of protecting electronics. People thought this way for decades, and it has been hard to change this way of thinking.


i think that if we can't be protected to the second danger, it's not a reason to not protect ourself to the first one :).
Why be more vulnerable than the minimum. :).

you mean that just before they decide to send a emp attack, they stopped the cold war ?
a threatening is not a good situation for make the peace :). And i don't know why they could risk that... . Maybe for showing who is the stronger ?

In addition to nearly zero warning time, it makes it very difficult to trace the source of the attack.

there is no "spy", for detect submarines in differents sectors, and identificate them ?

And with ship or barge, like you tell, they could be traced more easily, no?

For country who have more technical capability, they can use submarines, like you tell, but a satellite, suffisantly closer, is possible, too, no ?

For any country or terrorist group, they are not going to want to launch from a country where everyone's satellites can watch the launch. If the entire world knows what country launched an EMP attack, that country is going to be in very big trouble.

the beginning of a new sort of wars, which could recall us to the Middle age, at least for one time :).

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