Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Being disconnected from the world as we are, the denizens of Casa de Crazy aren’t exactly up on the latest news and world events. I had to call a friend just to find out what time and channel the Super Bowl (or, ad-stravaganza, as I like to think of it) came on!

Bless her heart, Mizz B was kind enough to oblige me, and we chatted a bit before she found the info I needed. She mentioned something about an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse, likely caused by detonation of a nuclear device in the atmosphere), and I laughingly said something about not being worried, I have a large umbrella.

Then I asked if there was actually the threat of such a thing, and she told be about the tests in Iran, how the Iranian government is working on/has a missile that can reach the continental US.


We discussed, for a moment, what an EMP can do, how it could affect us as individuals and a nation, and talked a little about prepping. It reminded me of the show coming on Discovery in the next week or two – Doomsday Preppers. It also reminded me that I need to be re-stocking our preps, as we’ve had to tap them a bit during our own personal recession.


I’m a prepper, he’s a prepper, she’s a prepper, we're all preppers, wouldn’t you like to be a prepper, too?

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I’m not an Alfred E. Neuman, “What, me worry?” type, but neither am I a Chicken Little, “The end is nigh!” type – I tend towards a middle ground of “It’s just a good idea to have a little extra put aside”.

I suspect that the whole Mayan Calendar, Iranian Missile confluence is going to inspire a great deal of prepping in the next few months. Companies will spring up like mushrooms selling everything from food-safe storage bins to complete food supplies, from assorted seed packages to build-a-bunker-in-the-woods. Shoot, companies like that already exist – surf the Net and you’ll find ‘em by the score!

I grew up in a bad weather area – everything from hurricanes to blizzards were on the menu – and we didn’t have the Internet, or pizza delivery, or SUVs and the like. We knew we could go days or even weeks without access to stores and supplies, so it made sense to have a few cans of soup and some crackers around. We had fireplaces and wood stoves, so cooking wasn’t a concern, and since it got mighty cold in winter, if there was no power the porch became our refrigerator.

These days, my own prepping habits center around three concerns (in no particular order):

1. Our finances are so uncertain as to be non-existent. Buying storable food when I can means I’ll have it when there’s no money for groceries. I’ve had to rely on stores/preps in the past when I was between jobs, and my squirrel-hoard meant I didn’t go hungry.

2. While I no longer live in blizzard/hurricane territory, one snowflake can bring major metropolitan areas to a screeching halt around here, and tornadoes fancy our landscape for their sinuous dance of destruction, so weather can affect one’s ability to dine – keeping things on hand that don’t need cooking, or can be cooked over fire means not having to go out among the bewildered when foul weather strikes.

3. These are socially and politically unstable times. While I’m not one who believes the end will come on 12/21/12, and I don’t believe we’ll be nuked/EMPd/Drugged/Mass Hypnotized out of existence, I do have some concerns about the availability of basic goods and our ability to fetch them home when they can be gotten. Soaring food prices mean that the money that used to feed my family for months now lasts a couple of weeks – and while we may eat better than we deserve, we’re not living high on the hog either. Having a stock of staples like flour, sugar, corn meal, and salt (to name a few) is useful now and a hedge against the possibilities of later unavailability.

An EMP could certainly rearrange our lifestyle for a while, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster – as I understand it, electronics not in use/turned on when a pulse hits are largely unaffected, so as long as there are back-up electronics and systems waiting quiescent in the corner, and auxiliary hardware for the grid, we wouldn’t be too awfully stressed. Think of the jobs generated by the need to get things back up and running in a hurry! All the folks who love their good old cars and trucks would be mighty popular, too, since the strictly mechanical vehicles wouldn’t be effected at all. The Amish and Mennonite communities probably wouldn’t even notice.

Am I worried about an EMP? Not really.

That Mizz B and her husband are concerned enough to have begun prepping themselves tells me something…they’re pretty level-headed folks who don’t jump on the End of the World bandwagon every time there’s a saber rattled, so if they’re genuinely concerned then it’s worth worrying about…but I just don’t see Iran or any other nation being that stupid.

The threat of a strike has long been a popular tool in international politics. The use of violence is a whole other critter, though, and while something like an EMP or nuclear strike would certainly put a hitch in our gitalong, it would also deeply piss us off as a nation – and while we appear weak and unwilling to strike back, that’s an illusion. We have a deep reserve of anger, irritation, and resentment to draw upon, and a sub-strata of society that is well armed and happy to have a target to focus all that agita on, so it won’t take long for us to rally and (to sound a little redneck) git to whompin’.


That Janie Girl said...

Hmmmm. Definitely makes me think about the future, too.

Anonymous said...

You have enjoyable writing although I believe you are woefully under estimating the damaging effects a High Altitude EMP (HAEMP) or Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun.

It wouldn't just put a hitch in our git-along, it would cut the legs off of us for a century or more.

An HAEMP type event today, from a report of the HAEMP Commission in Congress, would literally fry all semiconductor containing devices. Computers, radios, TVs, cars (all gasoline motor vehicles since 1976 have some sort of computer in them) and everything else that has a transistor in it. Many diesel engines since around the 1990's also have gone to computerized control to maximize efficiency. This would include the control rooms at all Electrical Grid producers, downing the Grid.

Additionally, The Commission went on to say that the very large transformers of the Power Distribution Stations and sub-stations would likely be fried as well. These are a made to order items and take about 1-2 years to complete. So if a couple hundred or thousands need to be made, it isn't going to happen for quite some time.

As for a HAEMP, the damage, depending on the altitude, would be very similar to that of the Super CME, depending on the Storms severity. We live in a Just in time world. Grocery stores have 3-4 days of food in them at any given time, under normal conditions.

Add to this fact that with most modern cars and trucks not working, resupply may not be an option anymore.

A CME did occur in 1859. It was called the Carrington Effect.


We are currently in he 12th Solar cycle. Scientists predict that due to the relative lack of Solar Activity in the last 10 years, we have a very good chance of possibly a Super Solar Storm similar to the 1859 event in the next few years.

Given that HAEMP and a severe Super Storm are almost identical, it is a prepper's problems to prepare for.

The world will quickly go zombie as we'll be living in the 1830's all over again. Problem is, in our modern societies, we don't remember how to do things like they did back then.

I don't know if our enemies have the capabilities to do this. I do recall that Iran just put a Satellite into orbit. To really foul things up the USA, an EMP device needs to be detonated at 300 miles altitude. That would emcompass all of the US.

To close, it really is a big deal, to me and many others. It is something I have prepped for. See also Faraday Cages on google.

EMP Commission link: http://www.empcommission.org/

Hope this helps with perspective.