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A sobering article on EMP attacks, and our country's vulnerabilities to them.

http://www.heritage.org/issues/missile-defense/electromagnetic-pulse-attack
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Greg Copeland's profile photoJoe Hansen's profile photoKatie Chapman's profile photoJoshua M.'s profile photo
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For roughly 200-500 dollars you can get parts from radioshack to builds an EMP device, with roughly 100-200 yard range. You could literally drive by companies and shut them down. Its real enough, the NYSE is now hardened against this very threat.

Frankly, drive by EMP is far more likely than missile or bomb based attacks. The reason is simple. Its far easier to do it transparently and invisibly.

 
The more I hear about this, the more disturbing it becomes. Our society's advancement of technology has made us as vulnerable as we are productive. 
 
I don't want to fear monger, but you could actually shut down part of the electrical grid the same way the US military does for less than 200 bucks. No explosives required. With education and imagination, its likely you can do it cheaper. Possible time to repair is more than a year.

We as a society are very vulnerable. Most people don't take it seriously.

I could go on and on about the vulnerabilities of our country. We are spending all of our security dollars in the wrong places. Its just that with security theater is easier to support propaganda and bribery. Number of terrorists caught by TSA to date? Zero. In fact, their success rates are the same as pre 911 TSA - but billions more expensive. The only difference is now, we siphon billions to buddy's with lobbyists and friends in Washington. And we spend more spying on US citizens then we do trying to find terrorists - in the name of finding terrorist.

 
Thanks for your comments, Greg. Very informative. We all hate to think of ourselves as "fear mongers" or conspiracists, but the truth is that we're vulnerable, and we need to be smart about how we as citizens deal with those vulnerabilities. Keeping a generator at home and plenty of batteries on hand sounds like a good idea. What do you do, +Greg Copeland ? Anything in particular?
 
Though a generator may be as useless after an EMP as anything else depending on the generator. I thought it interesting in the article on the site you share about this, they discussed the loss of cyber space would be the greatest harm to us after something like that. I think the complete and utter chaos that would come from the complete and utter lack of food transportation ability. Most families can't go more than a week without shopping - and that is when their fridges still work. What happens when food runs out at home and the store and the trucks that bring it into downtown big city America can't move because it was fried. Ooo, then it gets ugly fast. I'm not a fear monger either, but I see the real risk and work to prepare my home to withstand the chaos if it happens - and then if it doesn't, all the better!
 
Agreed, Katie. Depending upon the size and duration of the outage, things could get chaotic pretty quickly (Katrina was a good example). As for the generator...it runs on propane, but it doesn't serve much of a purpose past a couple of days, honestly. A few week's supply of water and dry staples is probably a good call. Let's pray we never have to fend for ourselves this way...but always good to mentally prepare. Better safe than sorry, right?
 
+Joe Hansen I would encourage everyone to get a generator. They are handy for a variety of disasters. Its on my list of things to buy.

I do want to say I don't believe EMP is terribly likely. The sophistication shown by current enemies of the state have been low technical and rather brute force. That, however, doesn't mean the vulnerabilities don't exist. Nor does it remove the need to mitigate the risks.

FEMA recommends everyone to maintain and rotate canned and dry stores. Water can be problematic if it stops flowing. A small vegetable garden can augment stores at home. Just don't expect it will survive (winter storm, flood, etc).

Check out FEMA's website. They have pretty decent information for minimums to keep ready at hand. They even have a zombie guide. ;) Check out "prepper" sites to consider things to the extreme. Not saying you need to take things to extremes, but good ideas are good ideas.

If you are looking for a hobby, consider something like a aquaponics project. You can create a self sustaining closed system.

Internet of food: Arduino-based, urban aquaponics in Oakland

 
I just finished reading "One Second After" by William Forstchen. It's a fictional story on what life could be after an EMP. It's a good read that makes you think about being prepared. But a very depressing story.
 
Thanks for the tip on "One Second After", Joshua. Yeah, it's a depressing subject. But I'd rather be forewarned about stuff like this, even if it's a downer.
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