"We've been EMP'd!" your commanding officer screams above the noise of incoming gunfire. "Electronic devices are down!"
This may sound familiar if, like me, you might be a enthusiast of "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" -- a massively well-known first-individual video game match dependent in a fictional around-foreseeable future when the U.S. goes to war with Russia. But if you've been subsequent the GOP presidential campaign recently, you may feel one or two of the candidates are out of touch with the not-so-fictional close to long term.
In particular, it seems Newt Gingrich has been enjoying too a lot "Call of Responsibility."
Gingrich has been a prolonged-time worrier about the danger of an attack on the U.S. from a prosperous terrorist organization or rogue nation -- these kinds of as North Korea or Iran -- that could cripple the nation, killing "tens of millions" of citizens. But how could this sort of a dastardly deed be completed?
Citing the specter that has been hanging over us since the Chilly War, he believes the U.S. is vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse -- or EMP for quick.
A nuclear weapon could be detonated above North The united states, reasons Gingrich, and the ensuing electronic interference would render the nation's power grid, satellites, computer systems and so forth., useless. Loss of life and mayhem would ensue. It would be a little bit like "Mad Max," but with less '70's hairdos.
"With no satisfactory planning, we would fundamentally eliminate our civilization in a make a difference of seconds," he stated for the duration of a 2009 conference.
The scenario is evidently so dire that Gingrich co-wrote a doomsday book on the subject, known as "One 2nd Following."
Despite the fact that recreation builders just take the influence of EMP harm for granted, what are the realities of a space-based mostly nuclear detonation?
Supporting Gingrich's argument, the effect of substantial-altitude nuclear checks during the Cold War proves that detonating nuclear bombs is a negative thought all-spherical.
In 1962, the U.S. detonated a 1.4 megaton nuke two hundred miles over the Pacific Sea to, you know, see what would take place.
Despite the fact that positioned 900 miles from the blast site, Hawaii felt the influence from the renowned "Starfish Primary" explosion. Streetlights have been knocked out, phone communications had been blocked and home alarms were triggered.
Stunning equatorial auroral displays also lit up the sky. The function was nicknamed the "rainbow bomb."
The nuclear blast had caused all sorts of higher-ambiance turmoil that produced fast and strong alterations in the Earth's magnetic field, producing a pulse during the environment under. The ensuing induction of electrical currents shorted unshielded electrical provides, like Honolulu's streetlights.
Radiation also surged over the ambiance, leading to indiscriminate hurt to a number of satellites. The world's first commercial communications satellite Telstar was also badly bruised by the incident.
Examination: Will You Survive A Nuclear Assault?
In the very same year, a similar check by the Soviets -- making use of a smaller sized warhead over a populated region of Kazakhstan -- created an amplified EMP influence owing to the more robust geomagnetic subject at that latitude, leading to a power station to fall short and catch fire ( via news.discovery.com ).