EMP: A Clear and Present Danger
Last summer, I experienced one of the scariest novels I have ever read. It truly scared me and the author was not who you might expect. Instead of Steven King, Dean Koontz, or the horror writer of your choice, this book was written by William Forstchen. The book is entitled One Second After and it realistically portrays what would happen if America suffered from an EMP (electro magnetic pulse) attack.

After almost I year, this book still bothers me. Not because I expect the threat is especially likely, but because it would be the smart way for an enemy to attack us. One single warhead detonated outside the atmosphere over the US could destroy virtually the entire computer and electric infrastructure in North America. One single bomb. Even if the bomb was not followed by any enemy attacks whatsoever, it would have doomed the majority of us to very unpleasant deaths as food, water, and medicine could no longer be harvested or delivered until we rebuilt our infrastructure. Any vehicles that depended upon computer chips (pretty much anything with a fuel injector or everything built in the last 20 to 30 years) would no longer work. Power plants would not work. Jets would fall out of the sky like rain as they ceased to function, but those who died immediately would probably be the fortunate ones as everyone else would be instantly plunged into a preindustrial lifestyle.

Forstchen wrote his book as a warning so technology could be designed to protect our infrastructure from such an attack (for example, new surge protectors would be need to operate a million times faster than they currently do - the EMP pulse travels much faster than standard threats such a lightning strikes). Apparently, I'm not the only one who was influenced by the book. While they did not credit the book, the liberal Huffington Post has an interesting summary of EMP pulses, including a video from National Geographic.

Warner Brothers has apparently bought the rights to make a movie from the book. I hope they do. This should be required reading (or viewing) for all politicians and other decision makers.

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