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FARADAY, SURVIVAL & the EMP

A quick look into what could be potentially the most dangerous threat facing US this century

Electro-Magnetic-Pulse

B y S i n g u l a r N e w m a n

So here I am writing about the end and its inherent new beginning, what could be more interesting. Well I suppose an article on why women prefer small and defenseless miniature dogs they carry in their purses, but since everyone’s feeling a bit apocalyptic these days we shall dwell on disaster and prevention and come what may, now or later or never, however as things stand I am surprised it hasn't already happened, so please keep reading, I promise I won’t scare you too deeply, if anything, you’ll walk away more informed and ready to face tomorrow.

EMP, short for Electro Magnetic Pulse is a devastatingly powerful burst of electrical energy. It is static in nature and so humans, animals, plants and all organic matter are not affected. The effects are secondary in nature but having said that, a modern technological society such as ours relies 100% on non organic, inanimate objects powered by electricity. In a modern society such as ours, we are dependent on the smooth and uninterrupted flow of electricity.

The major problem with EMP radiation is that it destroys electrical components on contact, being a wave, this effect has the ability to travel at light speed and fry everything within a direct line of sight. EMP overload small micro circuitry like this laptop I am writing on, rendering it useless and unfortunately by overloading I mean frying, as in French fries, flambé, smoke and all. Each and every device which is not shielded properly as in a Faraday Cage, will be utterly useless once it has experienced an EMP blast.

Electro-Magnetic Pulses are constantly being generated through the universe surrounding us by the local star. It is solar radiation emitted in the form of solar flares, huge rubber band looking like loops of super-heated plasma that shoot forth into outer space from the incandescent surface of the sun. Size wise, these are roughly the equivalent of a few hundred earths! As these plasma jets are released through space, they are then carried by the solar wind into our atmosphere where it interacts with earth’s own magnetic field, our lovely magnetosphere which shelters us from the deadly space radiation such as Gamma, X-rays and various other lethal electron cocktails. This solar bombardment in turn creates powerful geomagnetic storms. These storms can affect the weather, the animals and even the moods of people. If for example the solar blast is strong enough, it can overwhelm the planetary magnetic shield that Earth was wisely designed with. Adding to this most troubling fact, are recent measurements which would seem to indicate that the terrestrial magnetic field has been getting weaker and losing its strength for the last few hundred years, reaching such low levels that some scientists have begun placing bets on the Pole Shift theory. That’s when the North pole switches places with the South pole, all in rapid transition and we all die… Just joking, seeing if you're still paying attention. Pole Shifts 1) are fun and have happened in the past many times, and will surely happen again, but that’s another doomsday scenario I will make sure to cover in a future article.

What sometimes can happen, and has historically happened, when solar flares are strong enough and the sun is pointing these eruptions directly at earth, is the EMP blast can be so powerful that Aurora Borealis has been seen as far as London, New York, Rome and even Hawaii as solar particles travel half way down the hemispheres, using the earth’s own magnetic lines as a traveling corridor. That’s a beautiful light show, and Aurora Borealis are amazing sights, only problem is that the light show broadcast by the sun, turns off our electric lights! And even though reports indicated that things got so bright in 1859 that people could read the newspaper at night in the Aurora light!

The solar storm caused by the Carrington Flare 2), observed on September 1, 1859 by astronomer Richard Carrington also caused magnetic compasses to lose their ability to point North, burst telegraph transmission lines on fire and zapped telegraph workers, even after the machines were unplugged from the power source. This went on for two days after which everything went back to normal. Had this same magnitude flare happened in today’s world, we would be no longer talking right now as people would be emptying store shelves and mass anarchy would ensue as your credit cards, house lights, automobile, TV, radio, cell phone, watch, stove, microwave, fridge, DVD player, water boiler, toilet, sink and everything else surrounding you stopped working, yes I said sink and toilet as it takes micro electronic circuitry to power the water pumps giving you potable water and access to a sewer that also relies on fresh water to pump the sewage downstream. The effects of an EMP on today’s society are doomsday scenario level 10 out of 10 levels. For example how many people do you know that could survive empty handed for a few weeks in the woods?

Frightening indeed and if one were to add all these scary factors together and weigh them in a bundle, you'd surely freak out, well unless you live in a Faraday Cage with a Diesel generator on standby just in case your Call of Duty PlayStation looses power, and a few hundred barrels of black gold in a shed outback, then by all means, this article wasn't written for you, please grab some nachos, make sure you have a solid Blu-ray library and a basement full of delicious tuna and tomato paste sauce and enjoy the nocturnal rainbow show!

As if that wasn't enough of a scare, it turns out that nuclear warheads cause EMP pulses as well when they explode. Great, so now you’re telling us that not only does an ICBM go boom, they also turn off the lights for everyone within line of sight! But that’s not all, direct line of sight from an ICBM’s suborbital flight trajectory a hundred miles up, pretty much covers an entire continent, but not to worry, the government has looked into this since the 70's and is covering our backs hopefully. OK, and you’re building a Faraday Cage as we speak right?

So far, we've established the two major threats to our electronic society, high flying nukes and the sun. Since telling North Koreans or the sun to calm down doesn't work, let us look into alternatives.

Meet brainiac Michael Faraday3), scientist extraordinaire, a man who could think inside a box and did it extremely well. The Faraday cage was named in his honor as he is the first that constructed a veritable shield against Electro Magnetic Pulses.

What is a Faraday cage? A Faraday cage is basically a rudimentary metallic cage that is placed around an object and grounded. It creates a barrier to EMP radiation. It is basically an EMP shield. Any type of metallic wiring can be used, even chicken coop wire, fencing wires, anything that has a continuous connection and is able to conduct an electric current. This cage is then grounded to the earth and then voila, your shields are up. No solar flares or sneaky ICBM’s can stop you! Unfortunately, again, if your power source comes from outside your own doomsday bunker, such as the local power company, chances are they aren't Faraday grounded! Congress has also studied this threat 4)and came up with an urgent plan to ground all power stations and major transformers running our electric grid, the total cost was in the neighborhood of 200 billion. They will continue to debate where this money will come from until it is probably too late.

The purpose of this article is not to scare you, it is to inform you and warn you. A Faraday cage is relatively simple to make and instructions can be found on the web for how implement this EMP shield for your most treasured electronics. My advice would be to build a rudimentary Faraday cage somewhere in your garage, or a spare closet, (yeah right, I've never met anyone with an empty garage or a spare closet) and hope for the best. In case of CME, short for Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun, which if strong enough will cause the dreaded EMP effect, you have about 8 minutes to a few hours to take your precious iPhone, iPad and solid state Walkman and throw them in the cage where they will survive the electric storm in peace and safety.

For those of us that are more paranoid, I suggest grounding and caging your whole house, that however will require quite the considerable effort as all your openings will have to be shielded as well, things such as windows and doors. Perhaps starting with a garage will be quite sufficient as that at least will take care of your transportation needs and give you a head start on the zombie apocalypse that no doubt will be commencing shortly outside as people panic and run to the store to get the last bag of Doritos and Coke bottles.

I’ll leave you with this thought, a far and away day this disaster may bring, build a Faraday cage and in the end you will win! No, seriously though, EMP is real and so is the danger, luckily there is a defense against it. I suggest at least you read up on it and take the necessary precautions for you and your precious family of electronic keepsakes.

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