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EMP - should it be our greatest fear from NK?

drhead
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4/4/2013 1:40:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
A lot has happened with North Korea recently, with their recent nuclear tests. However, I feel that the direct effects of a nuclear device are not the greatest threat to us from a country which has only a few nuclear devices (as far as we know). We should fear the side effects - not the ionizing radiation, but the EMP blast from the device.

What is EMP?
EMP stands for Electromagnetic Pulse, which I feel sufficiently describes its nature as a burst of electromagnetic radiation. We discovered this side effect of nuclear devices very early on in nuclear testing, so it is likely that North Korea knows of it, too.

How does an EMP work?
It's better to ask 'how does an antenna work'. An antenna picks up electromagnetic waves and converts them into electrical signals usable by electronic devices. Now, think of every unshielded piece of conductive material as an antenna. In the event of an EMP attack, you'd essentially have a current running through every wire in every unshielded electronic device. You don't have to be an electrical engineer to know that electronics don't like having current applied in random places. Consider everything that is unshielded to be fried.

How would an EMP harm us?
We've become increasingly dependent on electronics. When they all suddenly break, the consequences are severe:
- Cars would all suddenly stop running if they were turned on. This would lead to collisions in the immediate aftermath of an attack, however, the cars would work unless they are computer controlled, which would mean the car would be completely dead. Electric cars would probably die permanently. Gas pumps would likely need to be repaired. Radios may burn out.
- May have adverse effects on medical implants such as pacemakers.
- Most things plugged into the wall or containing a microprocessor would be fried. Power lines get a lot of opportunity to be an antenna, and would convert a lot of electromagnetic radiation to electricity.
The main theme here is anything that is unshielded would have a high likelihood of being fried, which would include a large portion of civilian communication equipment. It would deal a crippling blow to our infrastructure, one that would possibly take years to recover from.

Now, back to how North Korea ties into this. If they had an intercontinental ballistic missile and detonated it 400km above South Dakota, this would be the result:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
This would require a device with a yield of a few megatons. We aren't sure what kind of bombs North Korea has, but that only means to err on the side of caution. If the International Space Station was nearby when the bomb detonated, consider that $160 billion of research and development gone.

I do feel that the immediate effects of a low-altitude airburst nuke are insignificant compared to the potential effects of this. Should we be prepared for such an attack, given the grave consequences for being unprepared in such an event?
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lewis20
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4/4/2013 1:56:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I've said it before, are they gonna fling their giant atom bomb with a catapult or what?
They can't get their bomb airborn, let alone deliver it here somehow.
"If you are a racist I will attack you with the north"- Abraham Lincoln

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bladerunner060
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4/4/2013 1:57:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 1:56:08 PM, lewis20 wrote:
I've said it before, are they gonna fling their giant atom bomb with a catapult or what?
They can't get their bomb airborn, let alone deliver it here somehow.

They'll just use photoshop.
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drhead
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4/4/2013 2:09:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 1:56:08 PM, lewis20 wrote:
I've said it before, are they gonna fling their giant atom bomb with a catapult or what?
They can't get their bomb airborn, let alone deliver it here somehow.

They'll get it right eventually, though. It might take a long time, but when they do, it is likely that we'll be even more dependent on EMP-vulnerable devices. They'd need a missile with a range of about 10,000 km and they already claim to have tested missiles with a range of 4000 km (and unsuccessfully tested a 6000km range missile). There's plenty of time to prepare, but that doesn't mean ignore the problem until the nuke is headed our way.
Wall of Fail

"You reject religion... calling it a sickness, to what ends??? Are you a Homosexual??" - Dogknox
"For me, Evolution is a zombie theory. I mean imaginary cartoons and wishful thinking support it?" - Dragonfang
"There are no mental health benefits of atheism. It is devoid of rational thinking and mental protection." - Gabrian
GeoLaureate8
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4/4/2013 2:58:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
We have HAARP and STAR WARS to defeat N. Korea. That is an absolute FACT.

"But but but HAARP is just a science research study" no idiots, it's a DARPA project. Wait, you don't even know what DARPA is.

https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
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Skepsikyma
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4/4/2013 3:11:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 2:16:20 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
How on Earth are emp's more of a threat than nuclear weapons?

Nuclear weapons cause fallout and destruction over a small area (one city). A single EMP will fry every unshielding electronic device in its area of effect, which is so large that two could not only affect the entire continental united states, but a large chunk of Canada and Mexico as well.
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lewis20
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4/4/2013 3:12:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 3:07:17 PM, Wnope wrote:
We've got Faraday cages around the essentially military systems, don't you worry.

I remember a demonstration of a Faraday cage in physics, was pretty neat.
But ya, if you're worried build a big box out of copper chicken wire and put your xbox, toaster oven and other valuable electronics in it hah
"If you are a racist I will attack you with the north"- Abraham Lincoln

"Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material" - Leviticus 19 19

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lewis20
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4/4/2013 3:17:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 2:09:20 PM, drhead wrote:
At 4/4/2013 1:56:08 PM, lewis20 wrote:
I've said it before, are they gonna fling their giant atom bomb with a catapult or what?
They can't get their bomb airborn, let alone deliver it here somehow.

They'll get it right eventually, though. It might take a long time, but when they do, it is likely that we'll be even more dependent on EMP-vulnerable devices. They'd need a missile with a range of about 10,000 km and they already claim to have tested missiles with a range of 4000 km (and unsuccessfully tested a 6000km range missile). There's plenty of time to prepare, but that doesn't mean ignore the problem until the nuke is headed our way.

It is many, many times more likely that you lose your electronics to a massive solar flare than any North Korean EMP. But in 50 years from now when North Korea has figured out how to do it, I'll come back to this thread and thank you for the early warning hah.
"If you are a racist I will attack you with the north"- Abraham Lincoln

"Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material" - Leviticus 19 19

"War is a racket" - Smedley Butler
dylancatlow
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4/4/2013 3:18:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 3:11:57 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 4/4/2013 2:16:20 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
How on Earth are emp's more of a threat than nuclear weapons?

Nuclear weapons cause fallout and destruction over a small area (one city). A single EMP will fry every unshielding electronic device in its area of effect, which is so large that two could not only affect the entire continental united states, but a large chunk of Canada and Mexico as well.

The extent of my knowledge pertaining to EMP's is limited to Ocean's 11, soo....

I had no idea that they had such a large area of effect.
OberHerr
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4/4/2013 3:40:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 3:18:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 4/4/2013 3:11:57 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 4/4/2013 2:16:20 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
How on Earth are emp's more of a threat than nuclear weapons?

Nuclear weapons cause fallout and destruction over a small area (one city). A single EMP will fry every unshielding electronic device in its area of effect, which is so large that two could not only affect the entire continental united states, but a large chunk of Canada and Mexico as well.

The extent of my knowledge pertaining to EMP's is limited to Ocean's 11, soo....

I had no idea that they had such a large area of effect.

Can at least. Though I think most major government things are protected from it, and a lot of helicopters and planes are.
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imabench
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4/4/2013 3:50:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 3:14:22 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
One must remember the true threat North Korea poses: sparking a global nuclear war.

I wouldnt go that far..... Even if North Korea does start dropping nukes (and even THAT is a stretch) its not necessarily a guarantee that we would respond with nukes of our own, especially against a nation that is already in a hyper-fragile state like North Korea.
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dylancatlow
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4/4/2013 3:53:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 3:50:20 PM, imabench wrote:
At 4/4/2013 3:14:22 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
One must remember the true threat North Korea poses: sparking a global nuclear war.

I wouldnt go that far..... Even if North Korea does start dropping nukes (and even THAT is a stretch) its not necessarily a guarantee that we would respond with nukes of our own, especially against a nation that is already in a hyper-fragile state like North Korea.

" its not necessarily a guarantee"

The damage NK could do alone is dwarfed by the damage of a nuclear war. Even if the chances of nuclear war are miniscule, what is being risked is so great that if it's even in question, it's a huge threat.
sadolite
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4/4/2013 4:48:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The greatest thing you have to fear is your own govt. Your own govt is a thousand times more likley to kill you or strip you of your liberty.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

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imabench
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4/4/2013 4:52:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 3:53:07 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 4/4/2013 3:50:20 PM, imabench wrote:
At 4/4/2013 3:14:22 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
One must remember the true threat North Korea poses: sparking a global nuclear war.

I wouldnt go that far..... Even if North Korea does start dropping nukes (and even THAT is a stretch) its not necessarily a guarantee that we would respond with nukes of our own, especially against a nation that is already in a hyper-fragile state like North Korea.

" its not necessarily a guarantee"

The damage NK could do alone is dwarfed by the damage of a nuclear war. Even if the chances of nuclear war are miniscule, what is being risked is so great that if it's even in question, it's a huge threat.

But if there is a miniscule chance of that happening then it doesnt fit well into being a 'true' threat. True threats take into account probability of something coming true, not just any possible thing that can happen.
Kevin24018 : "He's just so mean it makes me want to ball up my fists and stamp on the ground"
Geogeer: "Nobody is dumb enough to become my protege."

7/14/16 = The Presidency Dies

DDO: THE MOVIE = http://www.debate.org...
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imabench
Posts: 21,219
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4/4/2013 4:53:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 4:48:30 PM, sadolite wrote:
The greatest thing you have to fear is your own govt. Your own govt is a thousand times more likley to kill you or strip you of your liberty.

Sadolite if youre not even going to stay on topic then go somewhere else and rant.
Kevin24018 : "He's just so mean it makes me want to ball up my fists and stamp on the ground"
Geogeer: "Nobody is dumb enough to become my protege."

7/14/16 = The Presidency Dies

DDO: THE MOVIE = http://www.debate.org...
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VP of DDO from Dec 14th 2014 to Jan 1st 2015
dylancatlow
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4/4/2013 4:55:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 4:52:29 PM, imabench wrote:
At 4/4/2013 3:53:07 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 4/4/2013 3:50:20 PM, imabench wrote:
At 4/4/2013 3:14:22 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
One must remember the true threat North Korea poses: sparking a global nuclear war.

I wouldnt go that far..... Even if North Korea does start dropping nukes (and even THAT is a stretch) its not necessarily a guarantee that we would respond with nukes of our own, especially against a nation that is already in a hyper-fragile state like North Korea.

" its not necessarily a guarantee"

The damage NK could do alone is dwarfed by the damage of a nuclear war. Even if the chances of nuclear war are miniscule, what is being risked is so great that if it's even in question, it's a huge threat.

But if there is a miniscule chance of that happening then it doesnt fit well into being a 'true' threat. True threats take into account probability of something coming true, not just any possible thing that can happen.

I agree. But the way you said "wouldn't necessarily" didn't imply that you necessarily thought it was that unlikely, so I had to bring it up.
Sidewalker
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4/4/2013 5:16:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 1:40:27 PM, drhead wrote:
A lot has happened with North Korea recently, with their recent nuclear tests. However, I feel that the direct effects of a nuclear device are not the greatest threat to us from a country which has only a few nuclear devices (as far as we know). We should fear the side effects - not the ionizing radiation, but the EMP blast from the device.

What is EMP?
EMP stands for Electromagnetic Pulse, which I feel sufficiently describes its nature as a burst of electromagnetic radiation. We discovered this side effect of nuclear devices very early on in nuclear testing, so it is likely that North Korea knows of it, too.

How does an EMP work?
It's better to ask 'how does an antenna work'. An antenna picks up electromagnetic waves and converts them into electrical signals usable by electronic devices. Now, think of every unshielded piece of conductive material as an antenna. In the event of an EMP attack, you'd essentially have a current running through every wire in every unshielded electronic device. You don't have to be an electrical engineer to know that electronics don't like having current applied in random places. Consider everything that is unshielded to be fried.

How would an EMP harm us?
We've become increasingly dependent on electronics. When they all suddenly break, the consequences are severe:
- Cars would all suddenly stop running if they were turned on. This would lead to collisions in the immediate aftermath of an attack, however, the cars would work unless they are computer controlled, which would mean the car would be completely dead. Electric cars would probably die permanently. Gas pumps would likely need to be repaired. Radios may burn out.
- May have adverse effects on medical implants such as pacemakers.
- Most things plugged into the wall or containing a microprocessor would be fried. Power lines get a lot of opportunity to be an antenna, and would convert a lot of electromagnetic radiation to electricity.
The main theme here is anything that is unshielded would have a high likelihood of being fried, which would include a large portion of civilian communication equipment. It would deal a crippling blow to our infrastructure, one that would possibly take years to recover from.

Yeah, almost every nuclear attack strategy starts with atmospheric blasts to send disabling EMPs, after that the bombs land, this isn't new news to anybody and because of that, we have protected all of our critical military assets so we can respond, guaranteed mutual destruction is the deterrent, not much of a plan, but it is the plan.

Now, back to how North Korea ties into this. If they had an intercontinental ballistic missile and detonated it 400km above South Dakota, this would be the result:

If? If a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his tush when he hops. They don't have an intercontinental missile and even if they did, they'd never get one to South Dakota. Nothing is going to leave the ground without us opening a big can of serious hurt on the KPA, somebody shoots off a bottle rocket right now and the KPA will wish they were never born. North Korea is no real nuclear threat to the US, not much of one to South Korea even, and we are never going to let them become one. At most they have 4 to 6 crude nukes today, doubt they'd all work properly, and they'd have to deliver them by FedEx, or camel or something like that. KJU is nothing but an itch that we are going to scratch if he steps over the line, and we will never let them develop into a real nuclear threat.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
This would require a device with a yield of a few megatons. We aren't sure what kind of bombs North Korea has, but that only means to err on the side of caution. If the International Space Station was nearby when the bomb detonated, consider that $160 billion of research and development gone.

I do feel that the immediate effects of a low-altitude airburst nuke are insignificant compared to the potential effects of this. Should we be prepared for such an attack, given the grave consequences for being unprepared in such an event?

We are prepared for it, the EMP is always phase one of a nuclear attack and our state of preparedness was put in place a long time ago.

The only person in North America that is at any real risk from Kim Jung-un is Dennis Rodman, and that's just because he might try to eat him the next time he goes to North Korea for a visit.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
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4/4/2013 6:00:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
http://www.iradio.ie...
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater