Image courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office
EMP stands for Electromagnetic Pulse (or EM-Pulse).  It is an electrical pulse released when an atomic bomb is detonated dozens to hundreds of miles above the Earth's atmosphere, and can be powerfully destructive to modern electronic devices This phenomenon was first studied in detail during the 1960's nuclear testing era, when its ability to destroy electrical equipment hundreds of miles from the blast surprised everyone.  But even in time of peace, it may be initiated by solar storms, wiping out entire national electical grids, which would take years to replace and repair.  And, for the most part, it can be prevented -- but isn't being prevented.

It has been reported that $2 billion and a little leadership is all it would take to fix the worst of the problem and maybe save the lives of 250 million Americans -- but our leaders have steadfastly refused to pass such legislation for a decade:  it's partly that they're afraid to ask taxpayers (ie, voters) to fork over an extra dollar a year for ten years, but also, it's fear of angering those special interests who fund their campaigns.

The EMP Commission -- a congressionally mandated group of distinguished scientists and public servants (not a single mad conspiracist among them).   This group issued a report in 2008 which predicted that massive failures of critical infrastructures throughout the entire country would result from a single, or perhaps several, detonations of unsophisticated atom bombs many miles above the atmosphere.  And a similar result might occur from naturally occurring solar storms -- according to them.  Read it for yourself in this pdf.

  Lights Out: A Cyberattack, a Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath   
     Widely acclaimed book by the eminent journalist Ted Koppel (of Nightline fame):

    "People have been warning of the potential catastrophe awaiting us if the electric grid should fail for a long time, but most of those warnings have fallen on deaf ears or considered the rantings of post-apocalyptic doomsayers. But when Ted Koppel--one of the nation's most trusted journalists--takes up the cause, each and every one of us needs to listen."  (Review excerpt by Monica J. Kern, Vine Customer Review, at Amazon.com)


    A shut-off of electricity (due to EMP) will mean no clean water for months (think Puerto Rico, only exponentially worse, across the whole country).  Water is dirt cheap -- today.  So why not stock up.  Everyone needs at least 2 weeks worth, in case the EMP damage is only local.  And even if it's widespread and longer-lasting, those first few weeks will be the most chaotic, as people learn to accomodate to the unthinkable.  And storing all that water will at least be a lot easier than getting the Congress to do anything about protecting the grid!

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