“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

February 8, 2010

What is an "EMP" and why should you be concerned about it?

Iran is boasting that in three days, on February 11, it will do something that will “stun the West.” What could it be? Maybe nothing. It could be just empty blather. Or, may God forbid it, there could be something of substance to it. Personally, I prefer to think it’s just blather. However . . .

I note that Iran also recently launched a low-orbit satellite whose trajectory is similar to that of an ICBM. I’m not suggesting that this is an ICBM, but its implications are clearly troubling to those who study such things.

Which brings me to the EMP issue. I read One Second After last year, a Tom Clancey-esque novel by William R. Forstchen Ph.D., which depicts the devastating results of an EMP caused by the detonation of a nuclear device 50 or more miles above the United States. I recommend you read this book.

Forstchen writes on his blog:

EMP is shorthand for Electro Magnetic Pulse. It is a rather unusual and frightening by-product when a nuclear bomb is detonated above the earth’s atmosphere.

We all know that our atmosphere and the magnetic field which surrounds our planet is a thin layer which not only keeps us alive, but also protects us from dangerous radiation from the sun.

On a fairly regular basis there are huge solar storms on the sun’s surface which emit powerful jets of deadly radiation. If not for the protective layer of our atmosphere and magnetic field, those storms would fry us. At times, though, the storm is so powerful that enough disruptive energy reaches the earth’s surface that it drowns out radio waves and even shorts electrical power grids. . . this happened several years back in Canada.

View the detonation of a nuclear bomb, two hundred miles straight up, as the same thing, but infinitely more powerful, since it is so close by.

As the bomb explodes, it emits a powerful wave of gamma rays. As this energy release hits the upper atmosphere it creates a electrical disturbance know as the Compton Effect. The intensity is magnified. View it as a small pebble rolling down a slope, hitting a larger one, setting that in motion, until finally you have an avalanche.

At the speed of light this disturbance races to the earth's surface. It is not something you can see or hear, in the same way you don’t feel the electrical disturbance in the atmosphere during a large solar storm.

For all electrical systems though, it is deadly.


Those who might remember ham radio operators, or even the old CB radios of the 1970s, can recall that if you ran out a wire as an antenna you could send and receive a better signal. The wire not only transmitted the very faint power of a few watts of electricity from your radio, it could receive even faint signals in return.

As the pulse strikes the earth’s surface, with a power that could range up to hundreds of amps per square yard, it will not affect you directly; at most you’ll feel a slight tingling, the same as when lightning is about to strike close by, and nearly all the energy will just be absorbed into the ground and dissipate.

The bad news, however, is, wherever it strikes wires, metal surfaces, antennas, power lines it will now travel along those metal surfaces (in the same way a lightning bolt will always follow the metal of a lightning rod, or the power line into your house). The longer the wire, the more energy is absorbed, a high tension wire miles long will absorb tens of thousands of amps, and here is where the destruction begins as it slams into any delicate electronic circuits, meaning computer chips, relays, etc.

In that instant, they are overloaded by the massive energy surge, short circuit, and fry. Your house, via electric, phone, and cable wires, is connected, like all the rest of us, into the power and communications grids. This energy surge will destroy all delicate electronics in your home, even as it destroys all the major components all the way back to the power company’s generators and the phone company’s main relays. In far less than a millisecond the entire power grid of the United States, and all that it supports, will be destroyed. . . . (continued)

The section describing what would happen to airplanes in flight during this kind of an EMP attack is particularly chilling.

Also, read this related article by Newt Gingrich: "A Single Nuke Could Destroy America"

Gotta Love the National Catholic Reporter Crowd

Someone named Michael Sean Winters * has experienced another petit mal paroxysm of truculence against political conservatives, this time lashing out on the
National Catholic Reporter website against the recent Tea Party convention, sneering at pretty much everyone there for being, in his words, "birthers" (meaning those who question whether Dear Leader was really born in the U.S. or not). There's a discussion going on about that, one which I have little interest and no part in. Apparently, though, the fact that it's a topic of concern for some really gets his goat.


I bother to comment on this only because Winters' latest round of grumbling about conservatives, laden with his trademark snideness, contains a paragraph I can actually agree with! That is, I can agree with it so long as certain words are substituted:

"I am not a fan of guilt by association, but those conservatives liberals who wish to be taken seriously need to explicitly disassociate themselves from such nonsense [as Winters’]. There is a difference between a difference of opinion and being nuts. If you hang out with nuts and do not call them out on their nuttiness, people can be forgiven for thinking you concur. America needs a thoughtful and articulate conservative liberal political voice, but no such voice emerged from the proceedings in Nashville The National Catholic Reporter."

* I know who
Michael Sean Winters is. He has a penchant for referring to those with whom he disagrees as "someone named So-and-So," insinuating they are obscure. He did it again in the NCR blog post linked to above. (Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, eh, wot?)

The Amazing Story of "Christian Elephants" in India

Talk about bad Karma. The Archdiocese of Colombo has this astonishing story which I have never heard of before. Makes me wonder whether St. Francis of Assisi got tired of the Hindu mobbery against Christians going on in India and decided to send some of his pachyderm pals into the mix for a little payback action. On second thought, nah, St. Francis would never do something like that. I think.

In July 2008 a severe persecution of Christians broke out in the Indian state of Orissa. A 22 year old nun was burnt to death when angry mobs burnt down an orphanage in Khuntpali village in Barhgarh district, another nun was gang raped in Kandhamal, mobs attacked churches, torched vehicles, houses of Christians destroyed, and Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. The end result saw more than 500 Christians murdered, and thousands of others injured and homeless after their houses were reduced to ashes. Recently a strange and dramatic event took place in Orissa, which has many people talking and wondering.

In recent months, herds of wild elephants have begun to storm villages that are home to some of the worst persecutors of Christians during the troubles. In one village, where in August a year ago the Christians had to run for their lives while their homes were being destroyed by rioters, a herd of elephants emerged from the surrounding jungle exactly one year later, in July 2009, at the same time of the day of the attack.

These elephants first attacked a rock crusher machine owned by a key leader of the persecution movement. They then went on to destroy his house and farms.

Hundreds of villagers have been forced to take shelter in camps in the Indian state of Orissa after repeated attacks by a herd of elephants.

Seven people have been killed and several others injured in attacks by a herd of 12-13 elephants over the past few weeks in Kandhamal district.

Over 2,500 people living in 45 villages have been affected by the attacks, district chief Krishen Kumar said.

It is, however, unclear why this herd of elephants migrated from the Lakheri sanctuary in a neighbouring district. He said the herd had travelled some 300km into Kandhamal, and even entered a town in the district. Wildlife officials were camping at the site of the attacks and trying to find out why the elephants had come out of their sanctuary. The villagers say elephants attack their areas in herds, causing heavy destruction.

Gaining momentum, they rampaged through other non-Christian homes, demolishing gardens and singling out the home of persecutors, leaving Christian homes untouched.

These strange attacks have spread, and according to a report, the elephants have already destroyed more than 700 houses in 30 villages, and killed five people. Nobody in this area has seen or even imagined the unique appearance of a herd of wild elephants such as this. The elephants are not ordinary elephants; they appear to be on a mission.

Typically, smaller elephants enter a village first, appearing to survey the community. They then rejoin the larger herd, and larger elephant soon follow and get the job done.

The ministry partner in India stated “We think that it might have something to do with the avenging the blood of martyrs. In fact the fear of God has fallen on the local people, who have labeled these elephants “Christian elephants.”

With little help coming from the administration, the villagers have taken to road blockades. "The elephants have destroyed crops and selected houses. But officials too express helplessness. "There is no permanent habitat of elephants in Sundargarh. They come from Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where their habitats have shrunk. But is not clear how and why these elephants reached Orissa. (Source)