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IEET > Security > Military > Resilience > SpaceThreats > Vision > Futurism > Fellows > David Brin

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Our Worst Frailty: An Electro Magnetic “Hit”


David Brin
David Brin
Contrary Brin

Posted: Apr 16, 2011

The EMP-vulnerability of our electric grid, our machines, transportation systems, tools, and homes is probably the most glaring “acute-impact” threat on our horizon.


This is serious and sobering stuff.

gridThe Electric Infrastructure Security (EIS) Council agitates for better infrastructure protection against electromagnetic threats. EMPACT America is a bipartisan, non-profit NGO for citizens concerned about protecting the American people from a nuclear or natural electromagnetic pulse (EMP) catastrophe.

To be clear, we face other dangers of a chronic nature, for example the need to develop sustainable energy to escape dependence upon foreign oil-masters and to possibly save the planet. Educating a smarter generation and rescuing our decaying infrastructure also matter a great deal, over the longer time scale.

But acute-impact threats fall into another category. They are events that could possibly knock us flat in a single day, or instant. Those of us with memories of the Cold War know how it feels to be constantly aware of a Damoclean Sword, hanging overhead…

By that standard, an EMP calamity ranks higher than anything else visible on the horizon—unlike the trumped-up panic and distraction that were foisted upon us over ‘terrorism’.* (We could have suffered a 9/11 hit every month for the last ten years and still maintained a vibrant, healthy civilization. Our parents suffered worse in WWII. It was one long scam.)

There are two possible ways that we might be hit by an EMP pulse strong enough to cripple a continent.

1) Natural cycles can apparently lead to the sort of solar flares that did little to disturb our ancestors - other that creating scary-gorgeous aurorae - but that could devastate an electricity-dependent civilization. For example, the “Carrington Event” of 1859 and another large solar storm in 1921 show that such things happen fairly frequently, and we’ve been lucky, so far.

Even lesser events can wreak havoc. According to a report in IEEE Spectrum: “In March 1989, such a geomagnetic disturbance took down the entire Hydro-Québec power grid, leaving six million customers in the Canadian province without electricity for 9 hours, and also knocked out power stations in the Northeastern United States. That disturbance occurred at one peak of an 11-year solar cycle,”

A Congressional EMP Commission report recently estimated that a once-in-a-hundred- years solar flare could cause $1-2 trillion worth of damage, if the electric grid went down for weeks. Worse, if most truck transport failed, millions of Americans might simply starve.

2) A devastating electromagnetic pulse can also be man-made. Already, more than half a dozen nuclear-armed nations have missile capabilities that- - now or soon—would tempt them to try knocking out Pax Americana with a single blow.  Just one warhead, detonated high over North America, could cause untold amounts of EMP chaos. Weighing the scenarios, this is a no-brainer. Sending such a missile to take out one US city would be a nasty hit, but it would leave us almost intact and ready for vengeance. But knocking us back to the stone age? Far more tempting, whether it is realistic or not.

With the number of nuclear armed states rising, is that a temptation we really want to be left on the table?

At recent congressional hearings on the matter, several agency heads agreed with the assessment that “it is now a matter of if, but of when.” According to Lifeboat Foundation member Paul Werbos: “One official said, after looking at the report, that $1-2 trillion was a ridiculously low estimate of the risk. ‘Yes, we have three months food stockpiled, but with electricity out for more than three days, it will all go bad. And how long can we live without water?”

“So there was serious talk of the end of civilization (their words) and of more than half the US population dying (and likewise other nations), and so on. Franks, a staunch conservative from the oil business, basically said “hey folks, this is no CO2 thing, this is real…”

Werbos continues: “And so stakeholders will take strong and vigorous action. In the face of 2012, there will be stakeholder’ s meetings. And maybe some education campaigns. And a few more spare transformers. But will anyone install the relatively simple isolators to protect transformers? Will the planning include anyone who knows what a transformer IS? And all of the usual complex ways of doing nothing useful all come into play, in all the usual myriad of ways. It will be interesting to see whether a few meager bits of light can help…. maybe…”

Now, in full disclosure, let me say that I haven’t really pored through the thousands of pages of material, and there is certainly a lot I still have to learn about this topic, as it has evolved since I last studied it.

But I have been talking about this general danger for 30 years, urging that a very small annual investment—perhaps as little as fifty million dollars a year, plus some arm-twisting with industry—could equip our grid and our vital tools to bear the brunt of such an event.

The best time to act on this was decades ago.  The second best time is now.

* That is, other than a contractor greed-fest and wasting a trillion dollars on draining, debilitating “nation-building” land wars of attrition in Asia.


David Brin Ph.D. is a scientist and best-selling author whose future-oriented novels include Earth, The Postman, and Hugo Award winners Startide Rising and The Uplift War. David's newest novel - Existence - is now available, published by Tor Books."
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COMMENTS


People don’t like to focus on this kind of thing because it’s scary, and they prefer to assume it won’t happening. Just as we need to tell positive stories about transhumanism, so we also need to tell some negative ones. We need to allow ourselves to be motivated by fear.





Last sentence in 4th paragraph: “It was one long scam.”  What does “it” reference?





The damage from another Carrington event could include a rather major component that is not mentioned here. In addition to the large transformers that provide the backbone of our electrical grid many other essential electrical components would suffer damage. In particular the electronic controls and sensors, as well as water pumps and generators at nuclear power plants, including their backup systems, would all burn out simultaneously. The recent events at the Fukushima Daiichi plants in Japan illustrate the effects of losing cooling and backup power.

However, there would be a critical difference. Not only the cooling systems and backup power systems would be inoperable and would require replacements. Off site there would be no available resources; all the fire trucks and fire pumps would also have their electronics burned out by the EMP effects of the solar flare. There would be no available fire trucks and fire pumps to rush to the scene. The nuclear power plants would remain without cooling systems and there would be no rescue. As a result there would be multiple nuclear plant class 7+ events over the map.

Without cooling every reactor would experience runaway heating and their integrity would fail. All the spent fuel ponds would boil away their water, dry out, and soon the zirconium cladding would ignite and the spent fuel would burn. Immense amounts of extremely radioactive material would be released to blow with the wind for months or years, the regions downwind of nuclear plants around the globe, including much of N. America, would become uninhabitable.





The statistical odds of threats from pandemics might be about the same as an EMP-hit via solar flare or attack. However, statistics are not always reliable.





At least WHO is basically on the case re pandemics. I’m not convinced this holds I’m the case of EMP hits. I certainly haven’t seen much media attention being given to this.





“At least WHO is basically on the case re pandemics.”

That’s good news for a post-postfuturist.
it would be embarrassing to become a post-post-postfuturist.





After you read the science on this, I don’t know how you can remain unconvinced that the risk is real, and real severe. The organization mentioned above (EMPact America) set up a quick online message system to let Congress know that we want them to put protection from EMP at the top of their priorities: www.GuardTheGrid.com





Does anyone know how EMP affects optoelectronics?





Are you seriously suggesting US morale could have handled 3000 civilians a week, every month for 10 years, being killed at their jobs and in their homes? The WW II generation in the US didn’t experience anything like that. It’s a foolish statement and casts doubt on your warnings about EMP.





The concern about EMP is mainly Y2K type hype. The electric boys have been protecting their networks for a long time again direct lighting strikes, a real danger that has much more power than a EMP pulse.





I’m not worried.  The electric power system is composed of massive generators and transformers.  To damage them, you have to heat thousands of pounds of iron and copper to at least the melting point of tin lead solder.  No way can that amount of energy be transferred from the Sun to the earth.  A powerful solar flare might upset delicate protection relays and cause equipment to trip off line, but worst that can do is another great blackout.  We recovered from the great blackouts of 1965 and 1998 and we can recover from another one.

blue99





Another SF author, Alfred Bester, drew the inobvious conclusion in 1956;
If terrorists have access to ‘suitcase nukes’ cities must be built so as to
contain and limit the inevitable damage.

Pournelle and Niven arrived at the same conclusion in their novel
‘The Mote in God’s Eye’; A society which knows it will fall must
invest in rapid recovery.

EMP is a real threat, but the Carrington Event is history, and there is
no doubt of its effect on a technological society, no reason to refuse
to prepare; If we do not do it, the first to recover from the next hit
certainly will.





Too bad some of the trillion or so of Obama’s wasteful ‘stimulus’ wasn’t spent on things like hardening the grid as suggested here, not to mention a phased program of developing—and constructing—more modern passive safety reactor designs, plus thorium.

All of these would have actually been with concrete results for the US economy as well as positive for the other strategic goals.

Instead, the ‘smart’ guys in the White House pissed it away on Democrat pork.





When one brings up the EMP danger to civilization, one is immediately reminded that we live in a media-culture dominated by apocalyptic climate change demagogy. So why pick fear of terrorism as the most egregious fraud of our day? Your crude political bias has overwhelmed your thesis.

Me thinks you protest too much. Maybe it’s because the real Alarmist Elephant in the room today IS the Climate Change scam. That’s the scam you don’t want to mention. Right?

It’s pathetic to watch what should be an engineering/ tech problem be smeared seamlessly into a geopolitical debate about the Bush Doctrine.

Brin, you’re an example of everything that is wrong with science reporting today.





“It was one long scam”

Or ... maybe all the jihadis killed in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t go on to kill 100,000 people per month.

Why do I used 100,000?

Those were the number of intended victims. If Tower 1 and tower 2 had collapsed instantly and the planes had hit 30 minutes later, there would have been 50,000+ dead.

If the Pentagon had blown up or burned quickly, that would be another 50,000.

Their INTENTION was 100,000+ dead.





“By that standard, an EMP calamity ranks higher than anything else visible on the horizon—unlike the trumped-up panic and distraction that were foisted upon us over ‘terrorism’.* (We could have suffered a 9/11 hit every month for the last ten years and still maintained a vibrant, healthy civilization. Our parents suffered worse in WWII. It was one long scam.) “

No, we couldn’t have, and no, it isn’t.  David Brin is unintelligently arguing that Pearl Harbor and it’s sequelae were also a scam, and that we could have taken hits like that every month for years with no serious strategic effects.  It simply isn’t an argument to take seriously, and it drastically undercuts the credibility of the supposed point of the article.  His statement is simply a howler.  EMP is a real threat, but really, the War On Terror is dealing with the most likely human source of such an event.  Nation states we can nuke back with some plausibility as a deterrent, Al Qaeda won’t hesitate or care.





Wikipedia’s entry on EMP is valuable here.
The effects of a solar flare and a nuclear EMP bomb are not the same. The nuclear blast first produces a very short high voltage pulse that is likely to break down the insulation between motor, generator, and transformer windings.  It doesn’t have to provide enough energy to melt the copper and iron.  These effects were tested by US and Soviet high altitude nuclear detonations. The most at-risk components are those connected directly to the electrical grid, which will act as large antennas to couple the pulse to distribution transformers.  The pumps and backup generators at nuclear plants are encased in metal shells, which might provide enough shielding.  Maybe the backup diesel coolant pumps could be entirely mechanical systems.  Exposed electronic systems will get their semiconductor junctions damaged by enormous reverse biases; lots of communication and computer equipment would be ruined.

The disruption from a large solar flare will induce very large currents in the electrical grid, but there might be enough warning to disconnect everything.  The flare is not an electrical pulse, but a charged particle ejection that will take hours to days to arrive, as Carrington observed.  A total re-start of the carefully tuned grid could take weeks to get all the generators back online and synced up from a “dark start”  situation.  Wind turbines and some other generators can’t be restarted without a functioning grid connection.

Solar PV panels are semiconductor diodes and will be damaged by a nuclear EMP, but should be unaffected by solar events if isolated from the grid.





“I’m not worried. The electric power system is composed of massive generators and transformers. To damage them, you have to heat thousands of pounds of iron and copper to at least the melting point of tin lead solder.”

No, you don’t, not in the sense I believe you are thinking of.  To destroy them to the point of them needing to be entirely torn down and rebuilt, the flare just needs to push the flux of the Earth’s magnetic field thorough a long enough conductor that the voltage built up at the ends arcs through the insulation, creating damage as if lightning had hit the equipment—from the inside.  Very little of the lightning protection equipment can prevent such damage, the wavelength of the energy involved is too long to be effectively shielded from either.  The bulk of the equipment is not heated, but it won’t work anymore—it’s a hunk of junk—if a conductive path is carved from it’s innards to ground.

The best protection is let every large chunk of the grid be shunted to ground, crow-barring the current generated to earth in easily replaced sacrificial component sections, and with explosive switches that can quickly isolate the parts of the grid that are padside from the shunts.





Geez,
EMP is hardly a new concept, from 13 years ago (I’m lazy, but confident that I’ve heard of it in the ‘80’s, about the time frame I started David’s great SciFi Uplift saga)!
http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/nuke/emp.htm





“Are you seriously suggesting US morale could have handled 3000 civilians a week, every month for 10 years…?”

You are correct; however Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian morale did handle it circa 1941- ‘44.  So it can be thought of as ‘handle-able’.





MBates asks: “Are you seriously suggesting US morale could have handled 3000 civilians a week, every month for 10 years, being killed at their jobs and in their homes? The WW II generation in the US didn’t experience anything like that. It’s a foolish statement and casts doubt on your warnings about EMP.”

Answer: In fact, the WWII generation in fact suffered that badly, when it came to raw loss of life, easily and by far.  Moreover, Britain suffered FAR more and prevailed, as did Russia. 

How DARE you lecture “morale” at the New Yorkers who stood atop the rubble, looked east and said “Is THAT all you got?” Blue America (BA) sits in terror ground zero, yet, while vowing to go get the Taliban and bin Laden, BA also said “let’s not let those bastards distract us into harming ourselves.”

No possible amount of terror hits could have harmed us as much as the people who have been screeching “terrorists!” at us for ten years, plunging us into trillion dollar vampire wars of attrition in Asia (something we swore we’d never do again.)  These tend to be the same people who drip contempt at Blue America, even though that is where all the terror targets are! 

By the way, BA pays most of the taxes (Red America receives net largesse) yet we are willing to pay for the research and education to move and stay ahead.  RA *sucks* net taxes, yet screams that taxes are too high! (They are the lowest in 40 years.)


David Starr, do you even read-up before opening your mouth?  Seriously.  The vast transmission lines pick up huge EMF forces that are delivered to fairly fragile relays and transformed. In the 1980s a single solar flare blew Canada into a blackout. DoD tests show genuine danger.  (Gawd Fox has lobotomized half the country, it seems.  Everybody knows more than the experts and anybody with a postgraduate degree is automatically a fool.)





Newscaper, don’t you dare lecture us about pork and waste! TWO TRILLION DOLLARS sunk into desert waste holes. Another two trillion simply handed to the oligarchy boys who drove America off a cliff.  Name for us ONE measure of national health that unambiguously improved under neocon rule.

If you find one, do you doubt I can name fifty unambiguous measures of national health that plummeted under neocon misrule?  Are you even capable of changing your mind, when faced with incontrovertible contrary evidence?

I am a libertarian, but one smart enough to recognize the old oligarchic enemy face to face. Have you ever, ever, ever actually READ ADAM SMITH? Jesus, do you know who Rupert Murdochs partners are, who co-own Fox?

Bruce, you are waving fantasy tales at us. That’s all you guys have. Assertions. Assertions about what-ifs. Because of Bush’s policies, we had only one major domestic hit and only a dozen or so near-misses like the shoe bomber during his time in office, right?

Hm… Under Clinton we had ZERO major domestic hits and only two near misses.  Um….

Dig this and dig it well.  Blue America is where all the terror targets sit. It is where nearly all the smartypants scientists and journalists and teachers and skilled labor and all the other bunch of people who know stuff—who Fox preaches that average folk should hate - all live.

We’re the ones in “danger”... so why is it YOU guys who are screeching in panic?

Tom Perkins, how dare you cram words in my mouth! Pearl Harbor was followed by going after the enemy.  Knocking off the Taliban was worthwhile. Getting mired in a land war of attrition in Asia that lasted THREE TIMES AS LONG AS WWII, chasing people who had nothing to do with the attacks, was not.  Especially when a quarter of the money went to Bush family friends and the net result was to trash our economy worse than anything bin Laden EVER could have done.





The dangers from EMP are, I think, overblown, primarily because for an EMP device to be highly effective, it has to be quite large (megatonne range). The fission weapons that Pakistan and Korea have (and presumably Iran in the near future) simply are not big enough. Obviously Russia and China could use such a weapon, but they have each been capable of that for decades.





David,

There was absolutely no point in your bringing politics into this discussion. It may anger you, you may be right or wrong as the case may be but it is irrelevent considered against the damage an EMP strike. Why risk bringing those arguments into the discussion? Did you want the discussion to degenerate into mudslinging? Really? THAT was the point of this article?

Btw ask yourself who indeed might want to detonate such a weapon over the United States?

And if you do want to argue about whether it was wise to attack Saddam at least you better acknowledge that he was in fact dangerous and did in fact directly verbally threaten us with terror attacks. He followed through with the first WTC attack which came damn close to knocking down WTC.

Here educate yourself…or better yet keep your views about a different subject to yourself and educate us on EMP.

And that nonsense about Blue America and Red America….really? That is where you want to go?





the “wars of attrition” are a sop to blue america
red america would prefer simply nuking them in a kiplingesque response





David Brin replied thusly:
David Starr, do you even read-up before opening your mouth? Seriously. The vast transmission lines pick up huge EMF forces that are delivered to fairly fragile relays and transformed. In the 1980s a single solar flare blew Canada into a blackout. DoD tests show genuine danger. (Gawd Fox has lobotomized half the country, it seems. Everybody knows more than the experts and anybody with a postgraduate degree is automatically a fool.)

Wow.  Mr. Brin, did you take a nasty pill this morning?  That’s a pretty hard slam on a loyal fan who has purchased all your books. 
  I am a graduate electrical engineer with 40 years of industry experience.  I grant that another Carrington Event might put the lights out, but the utilities will get them back on in a matter of hours.  The big equipment, generators, transformers, turbines, is all protected by the best protection gear money can buy.  It has to be, because it is irreplaceable.  The big stuff takes years to build and the suppliers don’t stock it.  So should an accident damage something, it will take years to replace it. 
  The power grid is out of doors and gets struck by lightning on a regular basis.  I seriously doubt that any EMP event will generate the kind of voltage you get from a lightning bolt.  Now a days the electric grid shrugs off lightning strikes.  My lights stay on until a falling tree breaks the wires. 





Re:  David Brin’s rant above.

Wow.  That is not helping.  Telling anyone who disagrees with you that they are retarded troglydytes is NOT going to make them more likely to listen to you.  Even more so when the disagreement in question (Iraq-Afghanistan) has nothing to do with the main thrust of this article, the very real EMP threat. 

You’re lecture of Blue and Red America absolutely drips contempt.  Don’t worry, this SF fan won’t soil any more of your literature with his filthy hands.  But I’m just a medium-reddish engineer so what do I know?  Best to ignore me and feel superior.  Maybe it’s different other places but I don’t find a lot of blue engineers here.  Perhaps it’s a side effect of being forced to deal with reality every day.  Machinery doesn’t care what your opinions or intentions are.

There.  Have we derailed the thread sufficiently?  Was that really what you wanted to do?





David,

After browsing the comments and viewing your unhinged remarks, I see that you have sadly gone off the deep end. Evidently you must be taking the “DailyKos” at face value, a truly sad turn of event for such a formerly brilliant man. I will also add that given the gist of your comments you are definitely not a libertarian, as you come across as a raving leftist, spewing every bit of far left vitriol and propaganda that has ever disgraced our airwaves. I on the other hand, happen to actually be a libertarian and see our political system as a game of the lesser of two evils, which at this stage happens to be the republicans. I truly feel sorry for you, and if your new found political agenda has infiltrated your writings, which I imagine it has, then I will probably not be going out of my way to purchase any more of your books.

I would also strongly suggest that you peruse Glenn Reynold’s website “Instapundit” for a real libertarian’s take on the world. It also happens to be where I found the link to this article. There you will find a closer approximation to reality than the radical leftist propaganda that is currently clouding your judgment.

Get well soon,

a retired Army First Sergeant





As a layperson who has not a clue on this topic, I must say this thread has not been helpful. There is so much anger from both left and right it is clouding the reasoning that helps those without formed opinions to understand the issue.
Here, in this forum dedicated to using evidence-based reasoning to understand complex issues, can you guys please man-down and evidence-up?





David, do you actually know how unhinged you sound? Your quoting every talking point of the radical lefts’ propaganda. Heck, we’ve got neocons, Fox News, Murdoch, red America, tax fantasies, etcetera ad nauseam. Here is only a portion of what you’ve said:

“trumped-up panic and distraction that were foisted upon us over ‘terrorism’. That is, other than a contractor greed-fest and wasting a trillion dollars on draining, debilitating “nation-building” land wars of attrition in Asia.”

“No possible amount of terror hits could have harmed us as much as the people who have been screeching “terrorists!” at us for ten years, plunging us into trillion dollar vampire wars of attrition in Asia (something we swore we’d never do again.) These tend to be the same people who drip contempt at Blue America, even though that is where all the terror targets are!”

“By the way, BA pays most of the taxes (Red America receives net largesse) yet we are willing to pay for the research and education to move and stay ahead. RA *sucks* net taxes, yet screams that taxes are too high! (They are the lowest in 40 years.)”

“(Gawd Fox has lobotomized half the country, it seems. Everybody knows more than the experts and anybody with a postgraduate degree is automatically a fool.)”

“If you find one, do you doubt I can name fifty unambiguous measures of national health that plummeted under neocon misrule? Are you even capable of changing your mind, when faced with incontrovertible contrary evidence?”

“I am a libertarian , but one smart enough to recognize the old oligarchic enemy face to face. Have you ever, ever, ever actually READ ADAM SMITH? Jesus, do you know who Rupert Murdochs partners are, who co-own Fox?”

“Dig this and dig it well. Blue America is where all the terror targets sit. It is where nearly all the smartypants scientists and journalists and teachers and skilled labor and all the other bunch of people who know stuff—who Fox preaches that average folk should hate - all live.”

You’re coming across as a (to use your own word) ‘screeching’ whack-job and far leftist hack, rather than a reasonable and thoughtful human being. Now after your bashing of real libertarians and conservatives by using every ad hominem attack in the lefts’  play-book I’d be interested in how you would explain the “Global Warming/Climate Change” movement in lieu of “The War On Terror” as a complete waste of time and capital in order to further the political agenda the left [BA] and enrich their own leadership. please do debate this topic.





How dare YOU lecture ANYONE about politics Mr. Brin. I came here to read your thoughts on EMP events because you are a physicist and astronomer. I didn’t come here to be insulted because of my political beliefs. Nor did I come here to learn about your political beliefs

I’ll ask you the question you ask others… Are YOU even capable of changing your mind, when faced with incontrovertible contrary evidence? The way you’ve jumped on people here suggests that you cannot.

I’ll play your game and do it 1 better. You give me your 50 unambiguous measures of national health that plummeted under Republican misrule, and I’ll give you 50 that plummeted during Democrat rule… AND I’ll even throw in your 1 measure of national health that unambiguously improved under Republican rule.

Scratch that… Because I’m a giver, here’s your 1 measure of national health that unambiguously improved under Republican rule first…

Abraham Lincoln (R-Illinois) freed the slaves and preserved the Union… OH! That’s 2! Does that mean you’ll list me 100 things that plummeted?





Few thoughts:

(1) For folks who may erroneously assume that a poster’s screen name is “real”, I for one doubt that the author, David Brin is really wasting his time being a human talking point here today. Similarly, I did not sign on as “Albert J. Gore”.  smile

(2) Whether or not the grid or the heavy infrastructure will withstand EMP from either a device or a flare, how about the teeny bits, such as my PC, Internet router, TV set, Smartphone or all the other associated stuff? Or for that matter, all that delicate electronics at the police & fire depts, hospitals, banks, grocery stores, etc? Disrupting the ability to communicate or transact commerce would be sufficiently disruptive, I’d think.

(3) I do remember when atmospheric A-bomb tests were being done in atmsphere, effects on the grid (Hawaii, Calif.) were notable, and that was LONG before the day of sensivive microelectronics…





@dor…The mature part of me wants to agree with you…but it’s been kind of fun, no? If this debate gets any hotter it will unleash an EMP itself and take us all out.





@Peter
This is fun? That does help me understand the appeal of boxing. : )





David Brin is nobody’s fool (before going back on-topic a few words will be written concerning RA). It’s not right for me to complain about RA, I live in the redstate Midwest- which is the breadbasket. However no one can accuse America as a whole of being too honest; for instance rightwing libertarians can’t comprehend the reason we have a disingenuous government is the people are disingenuous—in a democracy everyone gets what they deserve.
Important thing is to re-elect Obama, to spread the word that even if someone doesn’t like his administration, not voting for Obama in a duopoly such as America means another dreary GOP interregnum is the guaranteed result. People don’t spend decades building up power merely to throw in the towel; they play hardball, for KEEPS. The GOP feeds off bluestate disunity, so next year, please, less disunity!
As for EMP, can it be written for certain the WHO can prevent all pandemics; can it be written for certain that pandemics are not as great a threat as EMP?





I knew we disagreed about AGW (hell, I bought your ‘Earth’ when it came out) but your foaming at the mouth use of every red state Faux News brain-washed mouth breathing knuckle-dragger stereotype in the book goes beyond vigorous disagreement to outright embarrassing yourself.

Your utter non-refutation of my condemnation of Obama’s ‘stimulus’ by bashing Bush instead is laughable.

...and sorry to spoil your cartoonish narrative, but I have ABET accredited degrees in mechanical engineering and computer science (this one an MS) and a 150+ IQ.

I worked 13 years as an engineer in electronics manufacturing (sorry—not hydrocarbon related!), then 6 years as a full time university CS instructor (where I saw firsthand the BS much of academia is filled with), and now back in industry as a software engineer.

As far as my libertarian-conservative Tea Party-leaning credentials go—never read much Adam Smith in the original, but had worked thru Rothbard, Hayek, Rand et al back when you were writing Startide Rising.

I’ll try to chalk this up to the strain of cognitive dissonance as Obama continues to disappoint you.





2 more items, then:

(a) Mike T. - Really! It didn’t sound like the sort of response I’d have expected from him in the comment thread. Thought it was someone looking to inflame things a tad…

(b) Since Mr. Brin really is responding in the thread, please allow me to respond as well…

First off, allow me to say that I also am a fan, but unlike some, don’t let my enjoyment of an author’s work be affected by any political or philosopical differences. (Although, my sympathies would lie more along the sort of attitudes expressed perhaps by writers such as John Ringo or Tom Kratman…)

The conflict we’re stuck with is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, if ever. Our conduct of the various wars/military interventions/nation-building/kinetic actions (or whatever next term gets coined) is unlikely to bring forth any good result, no matter who runs the show, as we’re dealing with entirely different world-views and belief systems and there’s just so much disconnect between what we (the West) expect to see, results-wise and how our actions are interpreted.

This is not a conflict with an individual & his greed or pride, but with an ideology & belief system… you can easily kill a man, but not an idea…


It would have been easier to just degrade the warmaking capability of the adversaries involved, call it a day & go home, but the ensuing humanitarian catastrophe would have been apalling.

If one recalls, 9-11 was perpetrated by a very small group with some money. Given that, many worried that there were then extant other threats with vastly more resources and capabilities that should not also be ignored - If I had been making the decisions, I’d have struck not only at the Taliban in Afghanistan & then at the more organized & vastly better-funded Iraq, but also eliminated the troublemaking regimes in Iran, Syria, Yemen and any other annoying places while the mood was in place & the oppotunity presented itself.
—not “boots on the ground”, just destroy warfighting capability, industrial infrastructure, C3 assets, leadership, etc., with “rinse-lather-repeat” as long as necessary.

Regarding the comparisons to WWII you (and many others) make, if you recall, when we were fighting THAT war, we routinely sent bombing missions of 1000-plane raids filled with incendiary/HE bombloads to erase from the face of the Earth entire cities at a stroke, men, women, babies, etc., without batting an eyelash….

Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, Berlin, Kobe, Osaka…. If you look at some of the shattered & incinerated cities resulting from the firestorm bombing raids on Germany & Japan (which, in themselves, STILL were insuficient to compel each side to surrender!), well… that was the level of daily death & destruction that the war had eventually escalated to.

Such raids often killed more civillians than Hiroshima or Nagasaki did!, Yet, these days, if a single JDAM goes astray & wounds a handful of (maybe?) civillians, the world is up-in arms. If we were conducting this conflict from the beginning as we did WWII, we’d have been carpet-bombing Arab cities indiscriminately, until there were none left standing, and no-one left to stand in them. But we seem to be attempting to pursue something a bit more “surgical” & focused these days.

I DO agree we’re wasting our money, and more importantly, the lives of our soldiers. We’re NOT going to remake these tribal kleptocracies over into Jeffersonian democracies of sweetness & light, living in tolerance & peace with their neighbors… It’s laughable. It’s tempting to try to help heal the sick, feed the hungry, build schools, etc., but once we turn around & go, it’ll be back to the same-old, same-old 7th century hellhole it was before we showed up, only we’ll have spent a lot of money & filled a lot of graves. I wish it could be different, but I see no rosy scenario anywhere.

My likely outcome is that an eventual nuclear arms race (headed by the Iranians) will push somebody into a nuclear exchange sometime within this decade. The end-state will NOT be at all pretty. I just hope that we, China & Russia can keep ournukes out of play when it does, eventually hit the fan.





Newscaper,
I live in the Midwest, which is mostly a redstate region; Boulder, Madison, are examples of the exceptions. Reverend ‘God Hates Fags’ Phelps is not the rule—but he is not quite the exception at this time (I go by the situation now, not the possibilities for 2068, nor the vanished expansive worldview as it existed in 1968). Having been in the Midwest since 1977, it does appear David Brin is largely on-target.
However if you want a sop, let it be written Middle America is the breadbasket to a sizable fraction of humanity. Funny, despite all the high tech, agriculture is still our greatest achievement- and that is something you cannot deny.





“The conflict we’re stuck with is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, if ever.”

Now THAT is something we can all agree on smile
However let’s ease up on the cities-burning-in-WWII, and Iran getting the Bomb. We don’t want to accentuate the negative, do we? far be it from me to ever accentuate the negative.





Mr. Starr… I directly and humbly apologize to you. Please recall that your remark was in the middle of a swarm of right wing rants. I got steamed.

Pierre, those who brought upon America the calamitous treason of “culture war” are now whining we shouldn’t have politics?  Bah. If we had not gone from surpluses to 4 $trillion in debt, we could have strengthened all our infrastructure against all threats, including EMP.  We went from rich to poor. Guess who ruled us while that happened.

Dig this.  I hated Saddam and I thought we owed it to the Iraqi people to help get rid of him. Why?  Bush Sr had Saddam in the PALM of his hand in 1992. He went on radio and personally urged Iraq’s Shiites to rebel, because “we’re on our way!” (Yes, he said those exact words.)

If we had done it then, there would have been kisses and flowers. Bush’s betrayal of those people was a stain on our honor.

I wanted Saddam… but we could have done it SMART.

What was not called for was a decade-long repeat of Vietnam. That was precisely what bin Laden wanted us to do. To waste our treasure and young people fighting his pinpricks… the way he exhausted another great empire, the USSR. (Why did we do it then? Do you have a clue how many billions went directly to Bush family friends?)

Fight terrorists? Fine!  But fight them by deliberately opening our bellies and spilling our guts into the desert?  That is what the neocons did-while telling the rich they needn’t help pay for a war (the first time that EVER happened in US history). They have no credibility any longer.

————
Forrest, your interpretation of anybody who despises neocon madness as a “lefty” is typical.  In fact, tell me I am “not a libertarian” when YOU have given a KEYNOTE at a libertarian party convention.

(You haven’t?  Hm.  I have. I have written extensively on libertarian theory for 30 years. But you call anybody who is not a puppet of Roger Ailes a “lefty.”)

I demand, now, that you show us one unambiguous metric of national health that statistically improved under the neocons.  Name two… or three.. or twenty.  If you think their program and rule were good YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO.

You cannot. Their record is perfect.

Now find for me ONE “leftist” thing that I said.  One socialist thing. I condemn the misrule of oligarchs and madmen.  Guess what. So did Adam Smith. Try reading him some time.

—————
Tim…. my gawd… you go back to LINCOLN? 

Let me be clear on this… if I come across as angry… will you consider for a moment that either I might have cause or I might not. SImple syllogism, no? If what I say is true, then I have every reason to be furious at the traitors who turned us from the rich leaders of the world into impoverished laughingstocks who despise science.

If you have to go back to Lincoln… um… doesn’t that make my point?  In fact, I can go back to Eisenhower, even Reagan and Nixon, to find some solid good things.  But the dare remains open.

I repeat:
“I demand, now, that you show us one unambiguous metric of national health that statistically improved under the neocons.  You cannot. Their record is perfect.”

Now, either refute this—or else consider the fact that I might be angry for real, genuine reasons.


———-
The crux… we need to spend on infrastructure.  EMP protection is just one item on a long, long list.  I have been fighting this fight for decades, consulting with the CIA, DoD, and dozens of other agencies, gradually helping raise awareness. 

We are too poor to spend a dime on infrastructure.  I have a right to be angry about that.





I was hoping to send this information along to a friend with serious concerns about EMP.  Mr Brins near mad ravings on the political side make the the factual portion, that I would have cited with benefit of his academic and scientific reputation, now worthless.

And, I confess, this fits a pattern that sadly, this libertarian-independent long-time sci-fi fan has seen too much of- the polarization and politicization of academia, thats dragged the reputation of the scientfic method into the dirt, as has Journolist squandered the Fourth Estates place at the table as an inviolate part of the balance of power in a democracy.





David, you ought to write articles here, you get right to the point; yet you are missing one piece of the puzzle: there are simply too many fusty people in America, so the GOP can’t entirely be blamed for playing to them. The GOP is in business because there is a large market in America for what they are selling.
The Reagan industry feeds off nostalgia for a guy who was born 100 years ago, the Gipper appeals to older people and the children and grandchildren they inculcate with Reagan’s 1930s Depression-era values. Today it has become very stale though; the GOP does the same thing over & over hoping for a different outcome by running Bushclone after Bushclone. Worst of it isn’t the last decade so much, worse is the question of which post-Reaganite the GOP is going to run next year and in ‘16. It’s not inevitable yet it is thoroughly predictable another Bush-type is going to be fobbed off on us. Politics is the art of the possible, the art of compromise, and unfortunately for us—but not for the GOP—that means a lapdog is going to be sold eventually by the GOP Pet Store. David, how many old saws do you know? more than one for sure, and they vote. Rapid change makes them insecure so they vote for someone who represents to them warm ‘n’ fuzzy Depression era values.
I just placed Reagan’s photograph next to Boehner’s to discover their demeanors are remarkably similar- so don’t be surprised if Boehner is nominated to run for president someday, don’t let it be any sort of a surprise.
Sic Transit Nostalgia Politico. There is an irony to it: by insisting on attempting to replicate Reagan they inadvertently cause dislocation which is anti-conservative… in other words by holding on to the past so fiercely they erode that past; however convoluted they are, the GOP/Tea Party do change things in a violent way. Something we cannot accuse George Bush of is not instigating enough wrenching dislocation, albeit it is an exaggeration to deem him a radical.
The reason I will vote for Obama is at least there is a chance with him; with the next empty-suit GOP candidate the almost certainty is more sterility, emptiness lacking even nostalgia value.





Fred, it is a pity you dismiss my strongly worded concern as raving. 

Could you please tell me why I should not be angry at a movement whose defenders cannot name one unambiguous statistical measure of national health that did not plummet under its rule?

Seriously, you want science? Science is under vicious, daily and relentless attack by this mad movement.

You want investment in EMP preventive infrastructure? With what money?

Thirty years ago… half of all scientists were republicans. Now it is 3%.  Can you ponder the possibility that all of the smartest people in our civilization have migrated… for a reason?

Can you conseder (I beg of you) the possibility that I am not “raving”... nor a “leftist.” (My heroes include Barry Goldwater and Adam Smith.)  But instead that I want PROBLEMS SOLVED.

The EMP problem is terrifying.  We could solve it. If the country had not been driven off a cliff.





Let’s see… so scientists are discredited. And mainstream journalists. And university academics. Diplomats. Attorneys and judges. 

Oh, yes, school teachers. And skilled labor and the police. And (if you’ve been paying attention to those targeted by Roger Ailes) the United States Military Officer Corps…

Let’s see now, Fred. Forget naming one health enhancing neocons accomplishment.

NAME for me a center of intellectual excellence that isn’t disparaged, demeaned, undermined and under attack? Please?  Pretty please?

When every center of skilled knowledge and expertise is demonized, pray tell me who is doing the polarizing?

Now tell me, under those circumstances, how will we solve problems like EMP?  I am angry for good reason. And especially at my fellow libertarians, for myopically failing to recognize the enemy that Adam Smith warned against.  (Try reading him some time.)





PS,
the remark ‘you ought to write here’ was… a joke.





Mr Brin:
I’m not detecting this pervasive demonization of science and/or authority figures that you seem to find… Perhaps some skepticism, yes, of AGW, yes. Is there climate change? Certainly. There have been ice ages, etc., all without benefit of SUVs or carbon footprints, as well as quite notable climatic variations in recent, recorded history (past 2000 years).  Changes on Mars, too.

The Sun is, after all a mildly variable star. (What are those pesky solar neutrino flux levels lately?) And axial tilt, interstellar dust/gas density as we whiz our merry way along through space probably have some effect on climate as a whole, too… Not that I discount atmospheric composition, but water vapor is a more potent “greenhouse gas” than CO2, but we can’t control the partial pressure or water vapor in the atmosphere very well, after all. [old physics major here]  smile

Many solutions seem to focus more on destroying Western economies while allowing China, India, etc., to do nothing, as though we don’t share the same atmosphere. And, of course, many of the warming “alarmists” were, themselves, a few decades ago, raising stern warnings of the coming ice age, and recommending we take extreme measures to artificially WARM UP the planet to stave it off… so, sfter a while, it becomes the “trendy panic of the decade”.

I think its stupid to waste valuable hydrocarbons by burning them when there are so many other useful things to do with them, chemically, but we’ll get there eventually…


—- Regarding Saddam’s removal; if you recall, the UN mandate for the 1st Gulf war specifically authorized the ejection of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, but NOT, repeat, NOT regime change, and at the time, the media was filled with cautionary warnings from all & sundry that we’d “better not” over-reach that mandate! I too, felt it would have been prudent to have tossed him out back then, would have saved a lot of trouble & a lot of lives all around, but it was not to be. But if we DID, there would have been hell to pay.

It’s tempting, sometimes to succumb to the hubris to think that we, as Americans, are somehow qualified to say “Go”, and he goeth, and toss national leaders out on their butts when we dislike them, however much they may derve the tossing - And I could think of a long list of them offhand: Assad, Kim, Mugabe, etc., But who elected us to have this power and authority?

I for one have grown tired of it. Tired of being called on to fix the world’s problems whenever things fall into the toilet, then after spending a fortune, getting no thanks (or repayment) afterwards. The current Libya situation comes to mind. Sure, he should go! Why is is us who should make it so?

We should perhaps be better served to stick to situations when our national security or economic interests are directly at stake, and let the humanitarian interests go hang, unless the UN would like to get off its butt & accomplish something (suppressing laughter here).

—- Budget surpluses; Except for a small “cushion”, I don’t believe that any government should have one; it indicates that it’s taking in TOO MUCH revenue to meets its expenses.
    And those so-called surpluses weren’t really warehouses full of pallets of stacked $100 bills, or bars of gold, were they? Just budgetary projections based on what the Treasury books would probably look like in 10 years IF revenue remained “like so” and spending remained “like so”, etc., etc., with no “surprises”, which, of course, NEVER happen in the real world?

Everyone talks about the “Clinton Surpluses” that were supposedly spent away by Bush like a drunken sailor on leave, as though there was actually some enormous stack of cash under the mattress that got frittered away.

Spending by government seems to have spiked upwards quite a bit in the last couple of years, though, but I’m comforted by knowing that it’s all going for sound purposes (whatever they are). We, as a nation are running out of the ability to fling cash out the window as if we just print the stuff up in the basement (oh, wait a minute…. we DO just print the stuff up in the basement!) The adults haven’t been in control of things in Washington (or many of the state houses) for several decades now - BOTH parties… and some restraint has got to start showing up, or we’re heading for severe trouble.





“I am angry for good reason.”
Yes OK but let’s try channelling it a bit more constructively. We’re not going to resolve America’s culture war on this thread, right? So let’s stick to EMP.

And to post-postfuturist"s excellent question: “can it be written for certain the WHO can prevent all pandemics; can it be written for certain that pandemics are not as great a threat as EMP?”

The answer, of course, is “no” (or rather “yes it can be written, but it would be false”), but it invites an even better question: what *are* the most important systemic threats facing human civilisation - let’s follow David in calling it Pax Americana - and what can we do about them?

Or here’s another one: how should we be going about identifying and prioritising systemic threats, and where to we think EMP fits on the scale? I don’t have relevant expertise to answer the second part of this last question, but can we at least agree that the watchwords for answering it must be *curiosity* and *evidence*, rather than anger?





“Or here’s another one: how should we be going about identifying and prioritising systemic threats”

As far as I know EMP has the highest statistical probability of existential threats, because solar flares are—as volcanic activity—inevitable; unlike volcanic activity, solar activity is not localized, plus it is slightly exacerbated by the lesser possibility of EMP attack.





John sorry and with respect, but you are Weaseling.  Since when did the Bushes ever pay the slightest attention to the United Nations, except when convenient?  It is well documented that Bush Sr stopped because he was ORDERED to stop by the Saudis, who did not want a new Shiite Iraqi state next to them.

Bah… Bush Sr. imposed a no-fly zone that allowed the Kurds quasi independence for 12 years… and so they became our friends and did not kill our sons when we came after Saddam. There was no UN resolution to prevent Bush doing that for the southern Shiites, whom he betrayed by calling them to rebel *in our name!* Then leaving them to suffer at Saddam’s hands… turning them into America haters who later murdered our sons.

You are lawyering and spinning.

Likewise, you are writhing over climate change. Sure there are uncertainties. But while we wrangle the questions, the best policy for a nation is to follow the best advice available, from the people who know the most about a subject.  Duh?

And when 99% of the scientists in a field suggest maybe we should increase energy efficiency—which is SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE DOING ANYWAY - wtf reason can you give for letting the Becks and Roger Ailes screech for us to do nothing? (And nothing is precisely the agenda of the Kochs and Saudi princes who are Rupert Murdoch’s co-owners of Fox.)

Scientists are the smartest people in our civilization. They can sometimes be wrong!  But 99% of the time they are not.  Name another field with that percentage!  YOU may not perceive a “war on science.” But the scientists do.  30 years ago HALF of them were republican. It is now 3%.

EXPLAIN that.

Your “surpluses” thing was just plain weird.  The Clinton surplus was being used to buy down the debt and thus remove the govt from being a borrower that competed with private enterprises for access to capital.  Rationalizing opposition to that is just… loony.

Again, you absolutely refuse to take on my challenges… to name a metric of national health that did not plummet under the neocon assholes.  Or to name a clade of intellectual accomplishment that is not under attack by Ailes… or to name ONE year when the Supply Side forecast that largesse lavished on the top 0.1% actually resulted in increased revenue and reduced debt.

Until you answer these DIRECT challenges, you are just waving your arms and rationalizing.





As for the rest of you, sorry.

I was just on radio discussing the technical aspects of the EMP problem and yes, it is important. It ought to be paramount, above politics.

A pragmatic, problem-solving nation would negotiate how to save our infrastructure and invest in precautions against a wide array of failure modes… instead of pouring trillions into just one (terrorism) whose potential to harm us - while serious - was vastly, vastly over-rated.





Mr. Brin,

You should have titled this piece “Please allow me to troll in my own column”...

This is all you have accomplished and that is a damn shame since the subject of EMP is critical. You had a chance to make a difference and you preferred to yell and scream. How utterly useless…





“You had a chance to make a difference and you preferred to yell and scream. How utterly useless…”
It seems to me you can’t engage in bear-baiting and then blame the bear for growling.

 





“Who is John Gault?”

Apathy and ignorance must be confronted, so let’s be passionate if the need arises.

Libertarianism can strive with socialist and egalitarian ideals, “the idea is not to be Self-less, it is to be not Self-ish”?

Let us all strive for greater Universal values and ethics, (supporting an underlying unity and unification?)





@David…“A pragmatic, problem-solving nation would negotiate how to save our infrastructure and invest in precautions against a wide array of failure modes… instead of pouring trillions into just one (terrorism) whose potential to harm us - while serious - was vastly, vastly over-rated.”

Yes, you’re probably right. But think of the example you’re providing to other commentors and the effect you’re having on the debate generally. Just shouting the truth loudly and expressing anger doesn’t necessarily make people more likely to believe it. Perhaps once again the answer is curiosity. What motivates people like John W. and others to fight the Republican corner, question the reality (and/or importance) of climate change, and so on? Once you’ve figured it out, perhaps write a new article on the subject. My guess it will be a mixture of legitimate concerns, political loyalties, media-induced fear, confused thinking, and many other factors…including irritation at ranting Democrats. In any case, far better to communicate in ways that are conducive to turning the “nation” - and more importantly the international community - into a pragmatic, problem-solving one, rather than just complaining because it isn’t happening.





Mr Brin:

Not sure if anyone ever really pays any attention to the UN… but the House, Senate & voters in general do/did exert some actual pressure on U.S. politicians, especially if they plan on another election, or have any care for the futures of any fellow party-members, collateral-fallout-wise.

Not convinced in re the political demographics of “scientists” or what bearing that may have on the end results of experimental research, which should, after all be independent of ideologies, no?

However, I’m just not buying into the AGW alarmism. The predictive “models” haven’t been doing a good job of, well… predicting, and lately, whatever happens is touted as “evidence” of warming. This winter, I had 5-6 feet of warming on my lawn. A non-falsifiable theory is best described instead as a religion. [Recalling the Brit who was lamenting a few years ago that English kids would in the future never know the joys of snow, sledding, etc., etc., in England, as it would be, er., warming… alas, they hadn’t been seeing a shortage this past year].

All in favor of efficiency, energy-independency, diversity of sources, etc., By all means! Clean & nonpolluting, too! But it must also be done within the constraints of reasonable economics too. And if we, over here, strangle our economies attempting “green” goals while China is chugging a kiloton of coal a minute in its powerplants, it’s somewhat futile, isn’t it? Like plugging leaks in a rowboat while the other passengers are drilling holes in the hull.

Science, BTW isn’t decided by consensus or ballot. I recall in my lifetime or recently before, controversial topics such as continental drift, mass extinction events (K-T boundary layer, see Alvarez), Neutrinos (existence of), etc., as quite controversial topics once held to be valid by only a handful, yet now accepted by all.

Similarly, other once universally accepted truths (impossibility of supersonic flight, or heavier-than-air flight at all, for that matter) have been cast aside. Relativity, Quantum mechanics, cosmology are filed with paradigm shifts since 1900 as I’m sure you’re well aware. Climatology is a bit “fractal” & I doubt we have sufficient data points, raw processor power, or sufficiently refined models to do a decent job. That’s just an opinion, as I’m not a climatologist, but my confidence level just isn’t very high.

& BTW, I didn’t know the national health metric was addressed to me… Sorry, not qualified to address it well; but do wonder what correlation can be drawn between healthcare delivery and/or quality of health & whatever political ninnies happen to be clogging up Washington at any given time.





Thank you bystander.  A swarm of trolls came in from the Instapundit site, yammering Fox-isms.  Then, when I fought back with serious questions, they screeched “troll!”

Dig it… I posed bona fide challenges that are relevant to our ability to deal with terrible threats like EMP.  Solving such problems will not be possible amid Civil War.  Restoring our problem-solving process… so that Goldwater-type conservatives NEGOTIATE with Johnson-style liberals… is the only way we’ll ever do the things that honest conservatives should want.

Tax-code simplification.
reasonable deregulation.
debt reduction.
improved education
boosting small business.
rebuilding a robust infrastructure that can survive hits and spur economic activity…

are these “lefty” issues?

It is entirely reasonable to ask a cult that drove America off a cliff to name ONE solid metric of national health that did not plummet, during their rule.  The fact that NONE of these guys rose to that challenge, but are happily going elsewhere to rave about “David Brin is a koolaid drinking socialist” is pretty damned pathetic.

(Again guys… name one metric. One. Or admit that the neocon madmen who hijacked conservatism are lousy at governance.)

My challenges are on the table. Take them back to Instapundit - WITHOUT MOCKING THEM, OR ME… but simply asking the whole community to answer them. Explain why scientists were once 50% republican and it is now 3%.  SHow a successful Supply Side prediction. Explain why a ten billion dollar terror hit justified pouring TRILLIONS into foreign sand.

If you cannot… then we have the reason why EMP won’t be solved and why the nation is in peril.





“Then we have the reason why EMP won’t be solved.”
That looks like a self-fulfilling belief to me. At the moment you’re busy turning the issue into a partisan one. How much more counter-productive can you get?





@ Peter..

So here you are saying anger and fear are not constructive?

I hardly think David Brin needs advice with his writing or his contemplations? You are coming across as a little patronising don’t you think?





@Cygnus…possibly I am, but I think this illustrates the point I’m making on the other thread quite well. The anger and fear themselves are not the problem, it is rather (in my view) the way they are being expressed.

As for whether I’m being patronizing…well I’m basically saying things as I see them, sorry if you don’t like it. Going to bed now anyway so you can carry on without me…





***Tim…. my gawd… you go back to LINCOLN?***

Typical… Change the rules when you get called out. You said 1; I gave you 2. Shall we keep moving the goalposts? I’d love to see your list of 50 unambiguous metrics of national health that republicans have failed on… or am I not allowed to until you deem my 1 success is a valid one?

***Let me be clear on this… if I come across as angry… will you consider for a moment that either I might have cause or I might not. SImple syllogism, no? If what I say is true, then I have every reason to be furious at the traitors who turned us from the rich leaders of the world into impoverished laughingstocks who despise science.***

Sure, you may or may not have cause… and if what you say is not true? Be mad or not at anything… I could not care less. I think you are angry for your own reasons, just like everyone else is on one topic or another. Whether they are valid reasons in the real world remains to be seen.

Simple syllogism?  Yes… but a syllogism can still be true even if the premises are false.

Just so you know, it’s been BOTH parties, decades in the making that have gotten us to where we are. Now, before you say, “But Clinton had a surplus at the end of his term!” Go look up what the national debt (dollar figure) was the day he took office and then look at the national debt (dollar figure) the day Bush 43 took office… go ahead – I’ll wait. I bet you are wondering how you could have been fooled for so long now, aren’t you?
 
The ones that have made us a laughingstock are Obama and the Democrats. See:
Russia’s “reset” button
IPod with Obama’s speeches preloaded for Queen Elizabeth
U.S. regional DVD’s for a legally blind British PM.

***If you have to go back to Lincoln… um… doesn’t that make my point? In fact, I can go back to Eisenhower, even Reagan and Nixon, to find some solid good things. But the dare remains open.

I repeat:
“I demand, now, that you show us one unambiguous metric of national health that statistically improved under the neocons. You cannot. Their record is perfect.***

Seriously?!?! Which is it…? Are republicans perfect failures or have they done some good solid things that have, without a doubt, changed the country for the better? Since it seems you’ve purposefully stacked the deck against me by being ambiguous on what constitutes an “unambiguous metric of national health”, why don’t you give me some parameters?

And no, I didn’t have to go all the way back to Lincoln. I chose to; for effect more than anything.

***Now, either refute this—or else consider the fact that I might be angry for real, genuine reasons.***

I absolutely refute this with my original assertion. Are you saying that Lincoln didn’t improve the health of this nation by freeing the slaves and preserving the Union? Trust me, the democrats of his day considered him every bit a neocon warmonger… just look at The Copperhead democrats. Are you saying Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System didn’t fundamentally change this nation for the better or that Reagan winning The Cold War didn’t? If you are looking for some hard statistics though, look up what you would consider a metric of national health for 1979 and then look at them in 1988. Is there not ONE during that time?

Real Growth of Gross Domestic Product
1979   2.5  
1988   3.9
Inflation Rate
1979 11.3
1988   4.1
Unemployment Rate
1979   5.9
1988   5.5


Like I said, be mad or not at anything… I could not care less. Keep in mind though that being angry is counterproductive. It boggles the mind on why you would be willing to alienate at least half of your fan base when you could have gotten your point across and actually brought both BA and RA together as a single voice on this issue.

*** The crux… we need to spend on infrastructure. EMP protection is just one item on a long, long list. I have been fighting this fight for decades, consulting with the CIA, DoD, and dozens of other agencies, gradually helping raise awareness.

We are too poor to spend a dime on infrastructure. I have a right to be angry about that.***

See… we agree on the whole EMP proof infrastructure need and infrastructure improvements in general thing. You’ve been fighting a good fight and I’m sure you’ve done yeoman’s work to further the cause. The fact of the matter is we HAVE the money to do it. It is being wasted on things like the Alphabet list of redundant and unneeded federal departments, paying able-bodied people to stay home and have more kids, and, yes, illegal “kinetic military acti… I mean “wars”. The cost to do this is a rounding error in FY 2011’s budget. The real reasons this is not getting done is because 1, it will not garner any votes for one side or the other and 2, for the same reason we did not have a TSA and Homeland Security before 9-11. Government does not act; it reacts (and reacts poorly most of the time).

This country is NOT poor. The federal government does not have an income problem, it has a SPENDING problem.

*** NAME for me a center of intellectual excellence that isn’t disparaged, demeaned, undermined and under attack? Please? Pretty please?***

M.I.T.?
Irrelevant really, considering the tech to EMP proof the grid has been around for decades…





I have a thick skin and don’t mind Peter’s jab.

What I mind is people actually thinking that - if my four challenges go completely unanswered - ANY problem can be detached from politics.

Either those four questions have answers ... or we were ruled from 2001-2009 by a monstrous cult that is still fomenting civil war…. and, yes, destroying our ability to address simple problems.

The four questions were simple, direct, explicit and left-right neutral. If it isn’t a cult, why will no one answer them?  Instead of fleeing to Instapundit to malign me where I cannot see it or fight back?

Again… those clowns came in here, trolling.  I didn’t start it.  Now they flee.





Unbelievable. I say “neocons”... a word with incredibly precise temporal meaning…  He declares that I said “republicans” then uses that falsehood to go back at least to Reagan and Lincoln.

We could argue endlessly about Reagan etc, and I might surprise with the things I actually admire.

But it is irrelevant arm-waving.  Tim was challenged very very specifically to show what the NEOCONS who have hijacked conservatism, via the Heritage and AEI foundations, Fox and Murdoch-Saudi money… have done for America other than drive us off a cliff.  And all he does is wave his arms and evade the issue.

Name an unambiguous statistic of national health that did not plummet as a result of neocon rule.

MIT???  I was talking about scientists, teachers, journalists etc as CLADES… all under assault.

But mIT? sure.  Poll the scientists there.  See what they think of your neocons.

EXPLAIN why scientists’ GOP registration has fallen from 50% to 3%.

do it.  do it now.





@David

Well…

as far as:
Tax-code simplification.
reasonable deregulation.
debt reduction.
improved education
boosting small business.
rebuilding a robust infrastructure that can survive hits and spur economic activity…

I for one, agree with them all. (Just for the record, I consider myself somewhat of a Libertarian - socially liberal / fiscal conservative)

Could productively add to the list:
Reducing scope & size of (all) government
Energy independence (with nuclear at top of list)
border security & control
Plus there are a lot of nonviolent things (“sins”, really) we keep locking people up in prison up for by the tens of thousands that really should just be decriminalized - it’s a huge waste of time & does nobody any good.

Is there something happening over at Instapundit that I’m missing? You keep referring to it (it was a link from there to here that brought me by, originally), but I don’t see anything going on at all… Has someone been dissing you over there?

You sound like you’re tired of us frittering away money in Iraq, Pakistan, Afganistan (lately Libya, tomorrow, who knows?). Well, guess what? I’ve been more than tired of it for quite a few years now too! Mostly wasted, little return, & in the long run, there really won’t be anything meaningful to show for it all. Some limited ass-kicking & name-taking was fine. Laying waste some countryside was just OK.

Nation-building? Why not let the other Muslims do it? They’ve got lots of money, and aren’t they supposed to lend each other a hand anyhow? (not that I’ve seen any sign of them doing so yet).

I do note your phrase: “we were ruled from 2001-2009 “... I for one, never thought of myself as having been “ruled” by any of those clowns in Washington (or in the State House, either”). If anything, the vast mass of beauraeucratic regs, agencies & civil/criminal law constrains us far, far more than any actions or activities of Presidents, Senators or Governors do on a daily basis. Zoning, the building code, tax code, OSHA, EPA,etc., affect my home/work/job & such much more materially than whomever happens to be warming a swivel chair in the Oval Office currently. And they’re so much harder to change!

Also, I saw somewhere today there have been some severe whopper flares on the Sun just recently, thankfully not pointed Earthward.

Meanwhile, it’s fun discussing things here, even if the topic(s) exhibit some Brownian motion.  smile





So, way back, I asked if anyone knew what the effects of EMP would be on optoelectronics, because I’m imagining that we will simply build computers and electrical grids that aren’t affected by EMP.

As Ben Goertzel would say, obsolete the issue.

Of course, I don’t even want to get into the kind of political will or social pressure it would take to do it, I’m just curious about the technology.

Are future circuits going to be vulnerable to EMP? Do we have to worry about it in the long run?

This is what I’ve found so far, but I’m on the search for more:

http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA089850

Accession Number : ADA089850

Title :  Use of Electro-Optic Techniques to Achieve Electromagnetic Pulse Hardness Determinations of the Effectiveness of Optical Fiber and Hardwired Interface Technologies in Military Communication Systems in a Nuclear Environment.

Descriptive Note : Final rept. Sep 79-Apr 80,

Corporate Author : JAYCOR DEL MAR CA

Personal Author(s) : Greenwell,R. A. ; Radasky,W. A. ; Hardwick,W. H. ; Flanagan,T. M.

Report Date : 12 JUN 1980

Pagination or Media Count : 65

Abstract : Fiber optics will reduce the susceptibility of systems to a direct EMP threat. Cables shorter than 10m present a tradeoff between the shielding effectiveness of standard cables and that of shielding around critical fiber optic receiver components. Long-haul ground systems require only electronics protection; the fiber optic cable is immune to em pickup and need not be buried for protection. Fiber optic susceptibility is less than that of hardwire to burnout and upset in systems that allow an outage time of 1 ms. In a steady-state or low-dose-rate environment, system vulnerability levels depend on fiber response and design margin. A fiber optic interface is feasible which will not fail under the dose rates and total dose levels equivalent to a natural space environment of 0.002 rad(Si) per second for 7 years. Fiber optic system electronics are no more vulnerable to total dose than those of hard-wired systems, which, at practical dose levels of 1 Mrad, do not appear vulnerable. In fiber optic cables, vulnerability level depends on cable type and system design margin. Insufficient data exist to estimate vulnerability levels for the fiber optic systems in displacement damage-producing environments. The report contains a list of 70 references. (Author)





Thanks John W.  For aiming toward a list of consensus things we ought to be doing.

Way up near the top is to end the damned “drug war” - which cannot happen while we are at each others’ necks/

But you mention border security.  So here’s a tidbit. Did you know that GOP presidents, as soon as they enter office ALWAYS savagely cut the Border Patrol? Diametrically opposite to polemic. As is the thing that dem prexies do.  They ALWAYS boost the BP as almost their first act in office.

Actually, it makes sense if you consider who pays the bills for each party. But the fact that no one, even in the press, ever ponders this openly, is bizarre.

Reduce the scope of govt? Fine. But read Adam Smith (please?) and consider checks & balances. WHY is the oligarchy funding an all-out propaganda war against science, journalism, teachers, skilled labor and, above all, civil servants?  Um, because they are competing centers of power who might question oligarchic rule.  Which is THE enemy of free markets across 6,000 years.

John, think about that. How did libertarianism become ONLY against government and not at all against the enemy that Adam Smith denounced… oligarchy?  When the GOP has become the most tightly disciplined partisan organization in US history, parroting exact words Roger Ailes issues every day… might it be worth following the money and agenda?

“I do note your phrase: “we were ruled from 2001-2009 “... I for one, never thought of myself as having been “ruled”

How convenient.  It lets you ignore a despoiled economy, foreign attrition suicides spilling $two trillions into desert sands… and another half trillion directly into Bush family friends. The Patriot Act’s massive expansion of govt power and secrecy and the sabotage of nearly all the scientific research that could have led to energy independence…

But fine. Not “ruled.”  I am with you there.  We can still flap our yaps! wink

—db





Came across this as well:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20090810005385/en/Defense-Photonics-Group-Awarded-U.S.-Department-Defense

“DPG’s Optical Harness™ technology is a direct replacement for the wiring harnesses used on today’s aircraft, and does not require replacing the aircraft’s existing systems,” says Dr. John Husaim, CEO of Defense Photonics Group. “By using fiber optic technology, DPG can reduce copper wire harness weight by more than 50 percent. In addition, the technology incorporates multiple signals and formats on a single optical fiber using a single laser diode. Fiber optic systems provide immunity to electromagnetic and radio interference, making aircraft less susceptible to potentially catastrophic lightning strikes or dangerous electromagnetic pulses (EMP).”

According to Dr. Jason Stark, Defense Photonic Group’s Chief Technology Officer, “The large amounts of copper wires bundled in aircraft can make them susceptible to severe disruptions like EMP and lightning. The resulting electric and magnetic fields may couple into electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges that render entire critical systems useless in the event of an emergency. DPG’s fiber optic systems remove this source of vulnerability.”

DPG systems are currently undergoing advanced testing to demonstrate their performance in the most demanding aerospace environments.





Aircraft will have the two day or so warning about solar EMP from those monitoring the Sun. But of a deliberate attack, that’s a different ball game.

“we were ruled from 2001-2009”

Cheney even admitted such in reverse: in early 2001 he said “you are not subjects”, even though he must have been aware in an hierarchical world there are in fact subjects, who exist in greater numbers the farther you examine the situation down towards the bottom of the hierarchy—they are subject to the whims of those above them.





“If anything, the vast mass of beauraeucratic regs, agencies & civil/criminal law constrains us far, far more than any actions or activities of Presidents, Senators or Governors do on a daily basis.”

Yes, those unseen, often unknown—those appointed—possess more power than those elected. However those elected are accountable for those under them; Nixon and Warren G. Harding were responsible for the illegal acts of those under them. So though Bush can’t be held legally responsible for the actions of Donald Rumsfeld, he can be held morally responsible. Though Cheney cannot be held legally responsible for the actions of for instance ‘Scooter’ Libby, he can be held morally responsible. Nevertheless, it is all feel-good window dressing, there is no genuine accountability without legal responsibility. Take for instance what George HW Bush did to buffer himself during the Iran-Contra scandal: he simply ignored a subpoena delivered to him summoning him to testify on Iran-Contra. Bush simply did not show up in court, nobody knocks on the door of the U.S. president and announces “it is time to drive down to the courthouse”, and who would have been in a position to charge the president of the U.S. with contempt of court by his refusing to appear to testify? No one. Bush was protected by his association with Reagan; IMO both Bushes were protected by their associations with Reagan. Those at the highest levels are so buffered from compliance they are better off than if they were the heads of LLCs, because an LLC is naturally liable to some extent, whereas a very high ranking politician knows that his connections can be used to get him completely off the hook. During Watergate, Nixon knew he could ultimately get a full, absolute, and unconditional pardon after resigning from office if worse came to worse. And of course that is what did happen after two years of legalistic cat & mouse. Warren G. Harding had the simplest solution to compliance with responsibility: he died suddenly before a negative ethical situation could progress further. As simple as could be: Harding went to sleep one night and never woke up. It pays to know exactly how to wriggle out of every tight situation one finds oneself in!





Of course, at the very highest level of government one doesn’t have to testify in court, testifying can be done via depositions; more to the point, exactly to the point, is (again) what John W. brought up:
“If anything, the vast mass of beauraeucratic regs, agencies & civil/criminal law constrains us far, far more than any actions or activities of Presidents, Senators or Governors do on a daily basis.”
Complicating the situation, there exists a medical mystery related to what John wrote above, the “can’t remember” syndrome, which might possibly be related to low levels of acetylcholine. The “can’t remember” syndrome involves many factors. As an example, to quote:
“the brain receptors that allow neurotransmitters to have their activity can be damaged by chemical or heavy metal exposure. Alcohol and illegal drugs can also cause damage to the receptor sites. In these cases, even if there is an adequate supply of dopamine available, the receptors may not be able to work properly and memory and focus issues can occur.”
This is relatable to elected politicians and appointed bureaucrats alike, as often they “can’t remember”. For brevity’s sake, one example is sufficient: Reagan, an honest person, couldn’t remember certain activities related to Iran-Contra and the ensuing investigation. It just slipped his mind; you know, he merely could not recall, that’s
all—in a word: he FORGOT. Neuroscientists will have to research this puzzling, inexplicable inability to remember at crucial times.





David,

As for the original EMP topic, why should we not be more worried by a comet/meteor strike with civilization ending/extinction consequences? a major EMP disaster would certainly set us back, but I don’t believe it would destroy us. I’d truly prefer we worry about both and that we also remain vigilant about the very real threat of terrorism.

Now I’l respond to each of your statements, but try to remember who first brought the politics, name calling and baseless accusations into this debate (hint, he’s in the mirror.)

“Forrest, your interpretation of anybody who despises neocon madness as a “lefty” is typical. In fact, tell me I am “not a libertarian” when YOU have given a KEYNOTE at a libertarian party convention.”

-When you quote your talking points directly from the democrat/left you come across as a leftist. As for your keynote speech, how many walked out on you, and is this supposed to impress me somehow? You sound like a typical elitist.

“(You haven’t? Hm. I have. I have written extensively on libertarian theory for 30 years. But you call anybody who is not a puppet of Roger Ailes a “lefty.”)”

-I call a spade a spade.

“I demand, now, that you show us one unambiguous metric of national health that statistically improved under the neocons. Name two… or three.. or twenty. If you think their program and rule were good YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO.”

-As I stated before, I see our political choices as a ‘lesser of evils’ and at this point the so called “neocons” are the lesser of evils. Health care was actually better before “Obamacare” started to kick in, that’s why everyone who pushed for it are now scrambling to get waivers. The problem with a socialized system (as experienced by the UK, Canada, Cuba etc.) is that there is no choice unless your politically connected, there are longer waits for major care, the quality is much poorer, the cost to those who actually pay the taxes are unsustainable, and there are far too many people getting a free ride without contributing anything into the system (it should not be the governments/taxpayers responsibility to provide health care to the irresponsible/illegal, that’s why we have charities.)

The solution to our health care problems are; tort reform, free market insurance that is not over regulated and limited to within state lines, a reduction in the FDA bureaucracy, and the ability to partake in a free and open market system, where one freely choose from a variety of insurers and providers. If I work harder and save more towards my care, why shouldn’t I be able to enjoy better coverage? And why should I be forced to pay for those who chose to be irresponsible (we have charities) and then be forced into the same level of care as they get for free?

“You cannot. Their record is perfect.”

-Tell me how anything has improved under the left. The “neocons” (you sure like to throw that label around) may not have previously helped much, but at least they aren’t making things a hundred times worse as the left is hell bent on doing. I’ve actually experienced government run health care (military and VA) and it is a poor second to even the semi open market that we’ve previously had. Have you ever experienced government run health care? I doubt it.

“Now find for me ONE “leftist” thing that I said. One socialist thing. I condemn the misrule of oligarchs and madmen. Guess what. So did Adam Smith. Try reading him some time.”

-ONE: You appear to have a fondness for socialized health care.

-I’ll read Adam Smith as soon as you browse pajamasmedia.com/instapundit, do we have a deal? Were you ever a fan of Frank Herbert or Robert Heinlein?

Now that I’ve responded to your interrogation, here are some of the questions that I’d like answered:

I’ve heard you continually state as “fact” that 95% of our “educated” are all left of center (like this is a good thing.) Do you realize how intolerant the academic left are? Do you know how many professors/teachers I’ve had that I only later realized were conservative because they refused to bring their politics into the classroom? Or that were afraid of being punished by their own faculty? There are many more conservative/libertarians out there in the academic world than you even realize. Your views are obviously compromised by living in a left of center echo chamber. You should really get out more.

I believe many of us “neocon trolls” (your words, not mine, as I’m a libertarian) have asked you why “Global Warming” is not as much of (if not more of) a waste than the “War on Terror”? Please do explain rather than dodge with more accusatory questions and hyperbole.

And finally, on another note, what’s the deal with “Gorilla My Dreams”? Here’s what Lois Tilton of the (now sadly closed) Internet Review of Science Fiction had to say about it (and of which I heartily agree):

“Gorilla My Dreams by David Brin

Ostensibly an Uplift story; in fact, self-mockery by the author. This kind of thing really annoys me. Is it too much to suppose that something pretending to be an Uplift story might actually be an Uplift story, instead of an excuse for lame jokes, egregiously bad writing and puns? Readers expecting (hoping for?) the real thing are only going to find themselves jerked around, although the title clearly gives away the fact that no one could be expected to take this piece seriously. The author fortunately provides his own meta-condemnation: Exerpt: “There are so many notorious self-indulgences. Each author could be tried, convicted, and sentenced for countless of them. It is, I am afraid, a very immature profession.”-David Brin”

Here’s the link for anyone else that might want to abuse themselves to what comes across as an insult to your fan base:

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1932093041/1932093041___1.htm

Remember David, you opened Pandora’s box, not anyone else on this forum, so you might as well drop your ‘holier than thou’ attitude, as you’re coming across as quite the hypocrite (among other things.)

Sincerely,

A retired Army First Sergeant





“WHY is the oligarchy funding an all-out propaganda war against science, journalism, teachers, skilled labor and, above all, civil servants? Um, because they are competing centers of power who might question oligarchic rule. Which is THE enemy of free markets across 6,000 years.”

yes and fostering and racheting up dissent between BA and RA so that neither will question who is manipulating the conversation. Pax Americana works like Pax Romana; it succeeds by co-opting the 1 percent in the territories it enters. It is by RA and BA refusing to cooperate with one another that oligarchy goes unquestionned. Where are the voices that call for unity? They’re not going to come from the media monopolies.





***“Unbelievable. I say “neocons”... a word with incredibly precise temporal meaning… He declares that I said “republicans” then uses that falsehood to go back at least to Reagan and Lincoln.”***

Not so unbelievable to people these days NOT insulated by the ivory tower of academia.  Many people these days use “neocon” as a derogatory term for “conservative” or “Republican”. (Something tells me you already knew that and are just trying to move the goalposts again)

Now that we’ve settled that miscommunication…

Democrats in the 80’s didn’t consider Reagan a neocon? That’s news to me… being that during Reagan’s time I was a Democrat and most every Democrat I knew at the time – including myself – called him a neocon.

***“We could argue endlessly about Reagan etc, and I might surprise with the things I actually admire.”***

You would not surprise me with things you admire about Reagan. I believe Reagan had traits that many would admire. Nor would you surprise me with admiration for Goldwater, Friedman, Sowell, Truman, Gandhi, King, Orwell, Huxley, Heinlein, Socrates, Marx, Pitt, Obama, or Lady Gaga. Admiration is subjective.

***“But it is irrelevant arm-waving. Tim was challenged very very specifically to show what the NEOCONS who have hijacked conservatism, via the Heritage and AEI foundations, Fox and Murdoch-Saudi money… have done for America other than drive us off a cliff. And all he does is wave his arms and evade the issue.”***

Come on, Mr. Brin… Seriously!?!? I question if you actually know how far back the term neocon (short for ‘neoconservative’) goes. Again, Reagan was considered a neocon by the left… Heck, he’s one of the model neocons of the late 20th century. (And was also a member of The Heritage Foundation) He was a former Democrat driven from the party by its growing socialistic tendencies and his foreign policy views aligned more with conservatives. Are you saying that Reagan was not a neocon? You would be the first I’ve heard of that feels that way.

***“Name an unambiguous statistic of national health that did not plummet as a result of neocon rule.”***

You keep on asking that and I keep on answering. I gave you 3:

Real Growth of Gross Domestic Product
1979 2.5 Carter (D-Georgia)
1988 3.9 Reagan (Neocon (also R) –California)

Inflation Rate
1979 11.3 Carter (D-Georgia)
1988 4.1 Reagan (Neocon (also R) –California)

Unemployment Rate
1979 5.9 Carter (D-Georgia)
1988 5.5 Reagan (Neocon (also R) –California)

Are these statistics not to your liking? You continue to stack the deck against me by being ambiguous on what constitutes an “unambiguous metric of national health”.  Why do you refuse to give me some parameters?

As you say… “Do it. Do it now.”

***“MIT??? I was talking about scientists, teachers, journalists etc as CLADES… all under assault.”***

You may have been talking about scientists, teachers, journalists, et al; but you asked, and I quote:

“NAME for me a center of intellectual excellence that isn’t disparaged, demeaned, undermined and under attack? Please? Pretty please?”

I answered. I may be channeling Pauline Kael here; but I know of no one that has anything bad to say about M.I.T.

I’ll give you another… Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Now if you want to rephrase the question or ask a different one, go ahead. Everyone here sees you moving the goalposts.

***“But mIT? sure. Poll the scientists there. See what they think of your neocons.”***

Thank you for admitting I answered your question as asked and that you accept it as valid.

What they think about neocons is irrelevant.  Why would it matter? Would it change how they do science? Would it change how YOU do science? Is there a different Scientific Method for neocons, liberals, and Independents? (FYI – a good chunk of registered Independents are lifelong GOP voters – being registered Independent saves the scrutiny of political affiliation while allowing that person (in NC anyways) to vote in the primary of your choice.

***“EXPLAIN why scientists’ GOP registration has fallen from 50% to 3%.”***

You mind throwing me a site for that number? the only one I can find doesn’t have it that low.

Answer me this – if tenure or a promotion hinged on your political affiliation, would you not register with the one that afforded the best chances? 

I don’t have an explanation. Explaining would require irrefutable facts, and neither of us has them. One guess would be that democrats are more likely to appropriate grant money - i.e. taxpayer money - their way for research….and if you think that political affiliation has nothing to do with it for the ambitious up and coming scientist, you are either lying or have long past that obstacle. Another would relate to my question above – lifelong GOP voters switched to Independent, unaffiliated, or Democrat so as to hide their political ideology from prying eyes. Another guess would be the infiltration of progressives, socialists, and communists into academia. Like Khrushchev said, “You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept Communism outright; but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of Socialism until you will finally wake up and find that you already have Communism.” 

That being said, I don’t have a dog in that fight nor do I care to do the research to find out. Besides, I answered 2 of your 4 questions. Is that not enough? Will you be moving the goalposts on me again?

I think what all this really comes down to is that you’ve bought into the hate Bush rhetoric so much it’s blinded you to people that would be willing to work with you and come up with good solutions for the infrastructure problems we face regardless of theirs or your political views. It’s the only explanation I can come up with that would cause you to be responding the way you are to people who disagree with you politically. It’s the only reason I can fathom that you added politics into an EMP discussion to begin with. Bush has been gone for two and a half years Mr. Brin. Let it go.

I told you the REAL reasons that grid EMP protection has never and will never happen until it is too late. You choose to ignore those reasons and bash neocons. So be it.

My guess is that what you’re really talking about is Bush. That’s the era that you want your “unambiguous statistic of national health that did not plummet as a result of neocon rule” to come from, right?
Well ask no more…

Would you agree that the crime rate is a sign of national health? Healthy societies have low - or at least declining crime, right?

United States Crime Index Rates Per 100,000 Inhabitants - Total crimes committed:
2000 - 4,124.8
2008 -3,669.0
A drop of 455.8 per 100,000

How about college enrollment? A healthy and prosperous society has high college enrollment, right?
Percentage of population enrolled in college ages 20-21:
2000 - 44.1%
2008 - 50.1%
(FYI - every age group 20-34 (only age groups I could find) is up between 2000 and 2008)

I can keep going, but I’d prefer you give me what YOU consider “an unambiguous statistic of national health”. (I’m at 5 for 1 now, while you are still at 0 for 50 on how neocon rule has failed.)

FYI – Instapundit does not have commenters. It is basically a news aggregate site run by Glen Reynolds – Constitutional Law professor at UT, author (An Army of Davids), libertarian, and science buff. He probably linked here simply because of you being a prominent Sci-Fi author he has read and enjoyed your work like most of us here. You were talking about a subject that he has great interest in, and – while I can’t speak for him – probably respects your views in regards to science. You do yourself and him a disservice by thinking he’s the bad guy for linking your post here for political purposes.





To get back on-topic for a short time, the threat of EMP is more likely than asteroid impact, Ret. Sergeant—which is why David wrote the piece. David has provided some details on what Bush has done, so I’ll point out the obvious, Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” ultimately meant spending more government money rather than being more compassionate. So Bush’s entire presidency was flawed all the way from 1/20/‘01 to 1/19/‘09. However what concerns us now is not the last decade so much, what concerns us is the dreary prospect of another GOP president elected in 2012 or 2016. It has become so rote, the GOP runs a Bush for president, then they run an elderly war hero. Bush, Dole,  Bush, McCain.





PS
” ‘compassionate conservatism’ ” ultimately meant spending more government money rather than being more compassionate.”

Compassionate conservatism also ultimately meant spending more government funds than being more conservative. So Bush’s compassionate conservatism was neither compassionate nor conservative—as the Holy Roman Empire wasn’t Holy,  Roman, nor an Empire.
Conservative is about conserving- and what on Earth did Bush’s administration conserve? The reason Bush spent so much funds while claiming to be conservative is not difficult to figure out, it was to:
a) buy votes.
b) buy support for the war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq.





@Dave:

Not convinced anybody’s taken border security seriously ever, certainly not seeing it being done today. National security concerns aside, the potential for criminal activity seems completely out-of-hand, esp. given what’s been going on at the border states and down in Mexico itself. Sooner or later, it’s only going to metastasize.

I’m not discerning this “propaganda war” either, although I do see some folks fed up with ineffective organizations, or seeking reform and change. Way back “in the day” weren’t we exhorted to “question authority”? That’s not limited to governmental authority…

—> Just in general;

I see some people keep reaching back to the Bushes, Clinton, even as far back as Lincoln… History is relevant, but it’s the present that should concern us and the future that we should be focusing on.

Who we should be blaming or crediting for this or that policy or problem is all well and good, but what do we do with the situation that we find ourselves in today, right now?

  And by situation, I refer to the current status of our industrial base, (un)employment, economy, energy dependence, excessive (my opinion) bureaucratic overhead, incomprehensible tax code, over-involvement in attempting to be “world cop”, and the belief, in the minds of many, that there’s an inexhaustable resource of money to pay for any and all wonderful program and benefit that any (well-intentioned) person can concieve of.

We, as a society are going to have to be adults, and make some hard choices based on what we can really afford to do, and not just what would be “nice to do”. The process is going to be difficult, but the longer it’s deferred, the harder it will be, and the greater the pain. Examples of this can be found in some of the European countries grappling with these realities right now.

We (as a nation) CAN do better, if we reorder our priorities somewhat & level-set our expectations of what government should deliver. Willingness to listen to alternative ideas and consider the viewpoints of people with different philosophies would be helpful in forging consensus. Laying aside heated rhetoric, loaded words, & the like is always a good start.

Governmentally, nobody (and no party) has a monopoly on screwing things up or getting things “wrong”. That’s why we have to keep a sharp eye on them all the time, & change them out frequently, like oil filters.  smile





I do not have time for this… and neither do you guys!  This is my last answer here, though you can chase me to comments under my blog at http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/

...where you’ll find an eclectic band of brilliant, argumentative libertarians, liberals William F. Buckley conservatives, scientists and really smart guys.

But I will conclude with these snips… (Tim, you get your turn!)

Forrest demands I read Herbert & Heinlein.  I was RAISED by Heinlein!  I knew them both.  Before he died, Heinlein agreed with Golwater that the right was going insane.  Heck Ask Jerry Pournelle, Mr. Right Wing. He agrees.

Forrest says he will read Adam Smith when I dive into his favorite neocon circle-jerk site.

Gawd, for a man who claims to be a libertarian to openly avow to lack any interest in Adam Smith… wow…. I mean wow.

Forrest, you are perfect example of this phenomenon:

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney

The rest of you, look at that article, seriously, about how we perceive only what we ant to see… and my response http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/

Forrest’s “lesser of evils” gets him off the hook for ALL of my challenges!  Brilliant.  He doesn’t have to come up with a SINGLE example of neocons ever being right about anything, whatsoever, at all, in any way shape or form.  Good thing too, because it is impossible…

...all he has to do is parrot Ailes’s line that “democrats are even worse!”  Even though everything went great under Clinton and Limbaugh lost a TWO MILLION DOLLAR BET that the economy would tank and deficits balloon, under Clinton…

BUT FACTS DON’T MATTER!

Nor the fact that “obamacare” is precisely copied from the 1993 republican “alternative” to Hillarycare, back when the GOP had some sane people in it.  Obamacare is still the least socialist health care system on the planet and (again) it precisely follows 1993 republican doctrine.  EXACTLY!  But it’s evil.  I get it.

“As for your keynote speech, how many walked out on you, and is this supposed to impress me somehow? You sound like a typical elitist.”

Um…. nobody walked out.  I got a standing ovation. And your snarl at elitism is precisely from Roger Ailes’s playbook.

Most of my fans are openminded, argumentative, but fair and courteous.  You seem far more like the type who reads Orson Scott Card.

====
Tim, what you say about “neocon” is precisely and entirely untrue.
The term was coined to fit the former democrats like Nitze and Perle who followed Leo Strauss and transformed the top ranks of the GOP under Dick Cheney.

And you evade the issue again.  To make it simple… take every dare/challenge I offered you and replace “neocon” with “the Bush-Cheney-Gingrich clade.” The challenges are still on the table. (Forrest implicitly admitted he could find not a single counter-example. Not one.)

Nevertheless, since you are a far more polite arguer than that other fellow is here’s your link:
http://www.4forums.com/political/science-math-debates/12974-six-percent-scientists-republicans-pew-poll.html

I could not find the 3% figure at a sudden whim.  The Pew study is far more conservative (given their funding.) It doubles the figure to a whopping 6%.  Whopping.  From 50% in the 1980s to 6% gosh.

Tim, please, I have no more time and I will not come back here.  But I appreciate the difference between fierce arguers like you and… the other type.

All I can do is beg that you ponder the plummet in GOP membership by our nation’s smartest and wisest and most logical people.  Please. Think about it.

Even better, read this carefully:
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney

Civilization always has enemies.  I fought the soviets when the danger was on the left. PLEASE be flexible, read Adam Smith, and realize the enemy of liberty -  for 6,000 years -  has often come from the right.

david brin





Well, you get more fly’s with honey than vinegar, right? wink

In the off chance that you do return - even just to peek and not respond - I’ll answer.

Granted, Wikipedia is not the end-all-be-all for information, but they have a pretty good write up of neo-conservatism and its history. There they say it really kicked off in the 70’s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism

Needless to say, the term has been reinterpreted and used several different ways in popular culture in the last 30 or so years. We can agree to disagree with the history and casual use of the term. Conversations in text form are inherently difficult because of the lack of facial cue’s and body language, they move slowly, and clarification can be difficult to say the least. You were using the term one way, I was using it another.

“And you evade the issue again. To make it simple… take every dare/challenge I offered you and replace “neocon” with “the Bush-Cheney-Gingrich clade.” The challenges are still on the table. (Forrest implicitly admitted he could find not a single counter-example. Not one.)”

Well, I didn’t evade… Heck, I’ve been the one standing on my desk, waving my hands and shouting, “OOO! OOO! OOO!” A la Arnold Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter; only to have my answers ignored. Actually, worse that ignored; I’m being accused of being evasive! Not even a “valid or invalid” response. It’s like we’re sitting here and you ask me, “What’s your name?”
I say, “Tim, Nice to meet you!”
Then you say, “Nice to meet you too! What’s your name?”
I say, “You just asked that, I said, “Tim”. Did you not hear me?”
You say, “Oh, I heard you…Why won’t you tell me your name?”

I gave you 2 more instances of what I would consider indicators of national health - crime and higher education - during Bush 43’s term. Both went in a direction that I think we can both agree is positive. I’ve asked you twice what you would consider “an unambiguous statistic of national health” if the ones I gave do not fit your criteria and I’ve not received an answer. You just keep saying I’m avoiding the question and ask the exact same question again completely ignoring my request for what constitutes and acceptable national health metric.  I can only assume that my two examples above are valid and you willfully refuse to acknowledge them as so. Don’t worry; I’m not really going to demand that you give me 50 examples of neocon misrule. I can do that with both sides of the isle. Too easy. grin

If these are not signs of national health in your mind, please consider that you may be letting your emotions and political ideology get in the way of facts.

The 6% figure is what I found also. It’s nitpicking, because you are correct; that drop is quite dramatic. I questioned it because that is what you should do. To quote Reagan, “trust but verify.”

“All I can do is beg that you ponder the plummet in GOP membership by our nation’s smartest and wisest and most logical people. Please. Think about it.”

I am a registered Democrat. How do you think I typically vote? You are confusing party affiliation with ideology and voting habits. Big mistake.

Would you agree that there is a difference between smart, wise, and logical and “credentialed”? I know a few VERY “credentialed” people that are drooling imbeciles when it comes to economic theory, tax theory, actuarial math, stonemasonry, military logistics, etc. In other words, just because you have a wall full of parchment with accolades from big ornate buildings telling you how smart you are in nuclear medicine, botany, philosophy, or astronomy does not mean you know what you are talking about when it comes to tax policy, geology, debt financing, short selling commodities, or the reasons why collective bargaining for public employee unions should or should not exist.

I also know a few scary-smart people – the smartest person in a room full of smart, “credentialed” people type - that have exactly one piece of paper – a G.E.D.

I just wanted to make sure we are on the same page here with regard to intelligence, wisdom, and logic.

I have thought about it, and gave you 3 alternative guesses to the cause. This will be another thing we agree to disagree on. Neither of us will ever have all the info to make a concrete statement about the reasons and chances are it’s a little bit of all of them – yours AND my guesses. I can only go - in part - with what I KNOW; and that is, many scientists – and I’ll assume teachers and journalists - hide their political affiliation because standing out and proud about being a conservative or Republican can, quite literally, kill your career advancement and destroy any chance of getting research grants –or tenure or a daily or weekly column spot.

I’ll try to read the Mother Jones article when I have the time, but I’ll tell you right now, I go there with a bit of bias. Many of their articles insult my intelligence. The elitist attitudes, fascist like adherence to groupthink and complete inability to have an adult debate without ad hominem attacks in the comments are disappointing. Oh, that and it’s one of the most left leaning websites on the internet that will delete your reasoned and polite comments simply because it goes against “the narrative” and none of the groupthink crowd can answer it without their head exploding…

I absolutely agree that civilization always has and always will have its enemies. I don’t really keep score on what ideology has repressed more than the other. Repressive regimes are just that and are a twisted abomination of whatever base political philosophy they may have spawned from. Now, I’m sure we could have some nice long debates on what way certain past regimes leaned politically, but that’s a debate for another day. wink

I tend to believe it’s all about control. Control is people driven, not politically driven… Politics is just the tool, not the cause. Like Heinlein said, “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

I’ll continue to monitor this page periodically if you change your mind and decide to respond.





“Henry” suggested that EMP would only be a risk from a weapon in the megaton range - which is quite incorrect.  An effective HEMP device can be in the tens of kilotons and that would be quite sufficient to cause massive damage to the US infrastructure.

It is interesting to note that at the same time as the government does not appear to take the threat from HEMP seriously - they are funding the development of tactical EMP weapons based on microwave technology (by Boeing and Ktech). 





“Willingness to listen to alternative ideas and consider the viewpoints of people with different philosophies would be helpful in forging consensus. Laying aside heated rhetoric, loaded words, & the like is always a good start. Governmentally, nobody (and no party) has a monopoly on screwing things up or getting things “wrong”. That’s why we have to keep a sharp eye on them all the time, & change them out frequently, like oil filters.”

John W.,
Republicans have not been willing to listen to alternative ideas since the ‘80s, the GOP doesn’t have Reagan to lead them, or the Cold War to unite them—so they fob off Bushes, Doles, and McCains on us. No one at IEET is blaming one political party exclusively: LBJ was a Democrat who egomaniacally tried to micromanage the Vietnam War; Nixon was a paranoid (possibly from drink & pills); Carter was incompetent. Naturally, the question is why do we inflate the value of the presidency and other political offices?
Perhaps the underlying flaw is the 18th century political ‘system’ (if it is a system) we are stuck with; however to change it would mean changing what America is, and such is emotionally unacceptable.





Just realized something…

That 18th century system is rapidly being supplanted by a 21st century one!

The old paradigm, where we elected representatives, they went off to Washington & did mysterious things shrouded in (mostly) secrecy & darkness, & we hoped for the best, and maybe once in a while heard a few things about what they were up to, or what they did (long after it was done) is being replaced in an era of C-SPAN, 24-hour cable, Twitter, Facebook, etc., where we’re starting to be able to have something like truly participatory democracy, in real-time, with feedback.

Perhaps as these technologies become yet more pervasive, mature & spawn a few yeet-unknown progeny, they’ll change the very nature of how politicians & constituents interact & transact the country’s business… I think a bit of one of L. Neil Smith’s SF novels (Venus Belt?) where voter feedback was being registered in realtime to representatives at a Constitutional convention…


Better than polling! If we can vote on our cellphones for American Idon, why can’t we tell Congress a few simple instructions (hey, they’re our employees - give ‘em ORDERS!)

smile





Quote, ...(We could have suffered a 9/11 hit every month for the last ten years and still maintained a vibrant, healthy civilization. Our parents suffered worse in WWII.)”

The flaw in this statement (IMHO) is that general war and terrorist acts are fundamentally different. In war, when your entire nation is under attack, there are few places to run. Standing armies maneuver, bombs fall, battles occur in field, farm and city. In terrorist acts, one place, one city, one shopping mall is hit. And then another. And another. With no predictor. With no way to know where is “safe”.

All a terrorist need say is “Today we hit Mall of America, and tomorrow (or ‘next month’) we hit Des Moines. ....Unless we decide to hit Gainsville, or Columbus, or San Antonio, or ..”.

If terrorists were to target just cities, people would quickly leave the cities. Our nation could endure if all Americans were to agree to stay in place, do their jobs, live their lives, and take their chances. But many will not. They will “take a vacation” in the country. Or suddenly need to “visit poor sick Aunt Hilda” who just happens to live on a farm.

Enough will do what they believe they must do to be safe. And our civilization would fall.





“That 18th century system is rapidly being supplanted by a 21st century one!
The old paradigm, where we elected representatives, they went off to Washington & did mysterious things shrouded in (mostly) secrecy & darkness, & we hoped for the best, and maybe once in a while heard a few things about what they were up to, or what they did (long after it was done) is being replaced in an era of C-SPAN, 24-hour cable, Twitter, Facebook, etc., where we’re starting to be able to have something like truly participatory democracy, in real-time, with feedback.
Perhaps as these technologies become yet more pervasive, mature & spawn a few yeet-unknown progeny, they’ll change the very nature of how politicians & constituents interact & transact the country’s business… I think a bit of one of L. Neil Smith’s SF novels (Venus Belt?) where voter feedback was being registered in realtime to representatives at a Constitutional convention…
Better than polling! If we can vote on our cellphones for American Idon, why can’t we tell Congress a few simple instructions (hey, they’re our employees - give ‘em ORDERS!)”

Good enough for government work smile





I am a contractor that works in substations with the local power company.  I see it all and know first hand what is happening.  Money has been diverted to the share holders rather than upgrading infrastructure.  I see 50year old transformers running at 110% capacity during the summer ,melted resistors,fried LTCs, etc. 

The fat pricks that make the decisions on company policy might possibly know what to due, but apparently due to their own lack of integrity, choose to get fatter at the expense of the grid.

An EMP would wipe out the grid,there are NO safeguards, a Carrington event would do the same, equating lightning strikes to such is laughable, I am not an engineer , but a mere biology major, that knows the induction created by the transmission lines would toast the electrical equipment including the transformers that take a 2 year lead to aquire.

Speaking of transformers,what would happen if a terrorist shot holes in the fins of a bunch of big transformers during peak of summer.  Low oil signals would be triggered ,auto switches would be tripped , causing a massive cascade of melting systems, or better yet how about in the middle of winter when it is 20 beow in the northeast?  It would make the WTC seem like a small thing.

Solution?  It is what I have been doing ,along with the others that work on this junk and can fortell the future, Prepping.

80 acres, a few cows , chickens, well, 12 volt panels to charge batteries for electronic devices, Faraday cage with essentials in it, lots of ammo . 

Am I a whacko?  Not hardly ,A boy Scout leader,a fine wine drinker, and a spectator of the passing world.

As a spectator is is amusing to see all of the “desk jockey” experts in here that couldn’t walk up to a substation and point to a dissapator,an LTC, or a capacitor, or even discuss what they do.

The dude that wrote this article might be a lib,or a Libertarian,who gives a shit, sort through the facts and admit when you are wrong and also applaud whe others ideas have merit,if you don’t ,you will be ignored by the rest of society when your adherence to hardheadedness skitters you to the side of the road.

Best to obey the Boy Scout motto,or be a victim,unfortunately there are some things Obama aint gonna be able to rescue you helpless saps from,yourselves.





Voting for politicians and policy changes by registered cell phone would increase voter participation and be a great positive for support in democracy - However, it is an “informed” democracy and electorate that inspires positive change. The human collective consciousness can be so easily swayed by “knee-jerk” responses, rhetoric and propaganda - Politics is not so much different from American Idol/X-Factor, (UK).

Welcome to the era of human global collective consciousness! Please continue to voice your views loud and clearly and often!

@ Postfuturist.. Your comment about “tagging” made me smile, do you realise we Brits have a tradition with that also! Ha! Cousins across the ocean and all that.





Some points:
1) No discussion about anything involving something at a national level is devoid of political debate.  Politics is as much a part of this discussion as is the information (and disinformation) being presented in this or any other debate, discussion, rant, argument or presentation about which we’d talk.

2) Revisionist Much?  While Neoconservative as a term has been around since the mid 70’s (and I have been politically aware since 1968) I have not heard it come into the popular domain until the late 80’s, when it had become fully redefined to mean something very different from the original.  That said, You could stretch the term no further back, politically speaking, than 1976 in all honesty as a movement within a Party.

So using Reagan era policy changes and citing metrics of National Health (not health care, doh!) from then to now would, I suppose be within those “goalposts” but Lincoln?  Are you freaking serious?  Lincoln was NOT a neo con, nor was Eisenhower.  The first one you could remotely cite would be Reagan.  So who’s moved the goal posts, I wonder?

3)  Instead of complaining that David is ranting, how about, as he asked, answer, definitively and without recasting and distracting, the challenge?  I’d like to hear it.  I think also that David might be not completely right on this and would be willing to entertain new information that has value by dint of being factual instead of being mixed into a pot of aspersions, pejoratives and baseless dsitractions not on point.

I would have thought that any Neo-con worth their salt could remain on point throughout a discussion.  I see I must have been mistaken.


All that said, it’s more important to stop trashing, thrashing and bashing at each other and the parties to which we may or may not belong and start taking the time to focus on the actual issues that this country faces.

Irrespective of your views on Government, Regulation, War, Foreign Policy or Social Issues, we face some very real and serious threats and no amount of Border Patrol fences, TSA pat downs, EPA reductions, or Wars on Drugs, Crime or Terror are going to solve them.  They are distractions.

We face:
1) Potentially World Changing Climate Change (and honestly, who really gives a rat’s ass whether it’s man made hastened or not, it’s fricking going on, man!)

2) The possibility of an EMP threat, either from detonation (which I believe would be a small scale event or the announcement of a complete and all-out nucular (thanks George for that new word) war) or from natural phenomena, vis-a-vis large scale solar flare activity.

3) The Pending Collapse of our Food Production Ability (which I rank as inevitably more disastrous than anything other than a complete and total nuclear war)


To me, those are the big three.  I would add potential Asteroid or Cometary Strike, which would either be as bad or worse than an all out nuclear exchange and with less chance for avoidance or mitigation.

None of these are going to be solved by shouting out against one political party or the other.  None of these are going to be solved by placing stupid riders in budget bills.  None of these are going to be solved if the House and Senate have nothing better to do than to propose and pass the Defense of Marriage Act, instead of actually getting off their asses and learning about the real thorny issues in this country and the world.

How in the world can we have a dialogue in the first place if one side “wins” by shouting down the other, or if one side sticks it’s fingers in it’s ears and shouts, “La la la la la la la, I can’t hear you~~!” when the other side is attempting to get it’s point across?  From what I’ve seen on both sides of the two primary parties, we really would be better off just kicking them all out and starting over.

If I had my way, I would cast a suspicious eye on anyone seeking politics with a law degree.  They’re not the only smart or ambitious people.  And please, shouldn’t laws be easy to understand and not so complicated that only a lawyer can understand it?  They’re written for all of us, aren’t they?

Scientists?  Maybe, but they have their blinders as well.  And they have their dogmas and polemics as well.  Some of the changes made in academia, though are occurring, because they are being repudiated by lawyers through clever arguments and not evidence.

Where are all the Will Rogers’ of the world when you really need them?  And please, Bill Maher is no match for Will Rogers or Samuel Clemens.  And Beck, Limbaugh or—hell I don’t even know who else—party mouthpieces of whatever stripe are anathema to reporting and news.

So you want to discuss EMP and it’s potential for devastation?  You want to talk about how to harden and shield our infrastructure?  You want to figure out how it can be placed into the budget and make it through a session of congress?

You gotta talk politics.  Only this time it’s the politics of the survival and health (not health care, damnit) of the USA, and not the agendas and specious platforms of either party.  Isn’t that important enough to live with a little growling from either side and then, when the furor subsides and everyone has gotten that off their chests, can we actually do what responsible and rational adults do?  Sit down and actually talk about this?

I think we all can do it.  If I can get there, then I believe we all can.  And that’s what I’m hoping for.  To get past the hyperbole and let’s talk the actual situation and how to meet that challenge without dragging all the other crap into it.





Good people,

An EMP event in any sufficiently developed country with a major financial nexus will have a major effect on the world even if there is no destruction of the electric grid or electronic devices.
All it has to do is scramble electronic communication ability for a goodly length of time (48+ hrs.) to bring the vehicle of fiscal market money trading to a screeching halt with the effect of not engaging the clutch that can snap the drive shaft of those market vehicles.

So much fiscal capital crosses the globe virtually so many times per day that its disruption would have a devastating effect that would still last quite a bit of time (although perhaps nowhere near as long as an event that physically damages electronic devices).
I think Spider Robinson used the possibility of such premise using a “sleeper” nuclear device (hidden in large aquifer aqueduct in NY to avoid detection) as a device for this particular purpose in one of the “Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon” series stories.

Since loss of faith in the ability to transfer and tally fiscal transactions any farther than the reach of your hand can have the same effect as loss of faith in the currency itself (which in this present day of QE# is a credible danger in and of itself), an EMP event would not necessarily need to destroy physical machinery to destroy present fiscal transport methods and have a detrimental economic impact lasting decades while alternate communication and transfer methods that are not EMP susceptible (light/optical perhaps, as has been proposed in this thread) are developed, approved, and implemented by the financial sector.

It doesn’t take destruction of equipment to bring the industry that machinery serves to a halt, e.g. a car is useless without gasoline, which can be unavailable because there is no way to order new reserves, issue their delivery, or track payment for the order.

The best idea I’ve seen for negating the devastating effects of EMP hinges on the development of new technologies for changing our present energy delivery policies to decentralized power.
A society that is not dependent on gov’t to regulate and/or subsidize energy form, delivery, and price is a society that has one less reason for large wasteful gov’t.
This segues into the next topic quite nicely.

In regards to the political thread split that seems sanctioned by all thread participants:

It seems that this debate is mired in the same false paradigm that has dominated US politics for the last few decades in that there is no other political affiliation beside that of the “Left” and “Right” parties that can effect responsible gov’t.

In this vein I’d like to propose that people look beyond the label someone affixes to their lapel when entering the political arena and instead look at the person, how his espoused policy platform jibes with his track record in politics (or business), and how the body politic would have to change to achieve those goals since that used to be a delineating factor in the choice of a political representative in this country.
When people start doing that party affiliation becomes much less important, and responsible behavior while in office becomes more so.

Political office that has the potential to control large masses of people has historically attracted those (both individuals and parties) whose private agendas seem bent on only expanding that control of the populace.

I like the proposal of John W., but would like to extend it even farther than he has to harness the advances of technology that political interests ARE NOW using to tighten that control of the populace by mounting cameras on street corners and traffic lights, indiscriminately screening interpersonal communication methods like cell phones and email, and eviscerating the Bill of Rights to apply to our elected political (as well as appointed) public servants in kind.

It’s be nice to log into a web page that has a spreadsheet of the budgetary finances of a political official, their voting history in regards to their proposed platform, and web cam/audio coverage in office made possible by using GPS location data of that public servant throughout their tenure of public office.
In short, make politicians play by the rules they seem to be imposing on the populace instead of treating them as some sort of social strata that is beyond reproach or suspicion as has seemed to be the case lately in regards to instituting policy and deploying military force.

Do I see a return to the idea that gov’t is a device whose sole purpose is serving the populace, as was the ideal the US was founded upon by rich white slave owners that didn’t want to pay unreasonable taxes, anytime soon?
No, the possibility of the type of restructuring necessary to bring such an event to fruition seems to be possible on only the most rare occasions without revolution (as has historically been the factor of change in most similar situations throughout time).
It’s possible, but not probable.

These are just the musings of a G.E.D. holding armchair jockey, but please consider these thoughts if only for the reason to investigate the the information necessary to refute them.
Your investigation may surprise you. wink





Idealistic ,much good stuff,however the masses are becoming more and more detached from the simple essentials that are needed to live.  Video games are ruining our children,they play incessantly ,releasing massive amounts of serotonin and then crash ,many young men are essentialy worthless because of this syndrome.  Sound bites from the major media are what guides the majority of the country,and then there are the small minority that seek truth and at the very least seek a little debate.  Lets face it folks,all of us in here are in the minority.





Now that world-wide nuclear war seems remote, EMP is the current bogeyman.

For continent-wide EMP one needs a megaton-yield (NOT kiloton-yield) device detonated 300 miles above the central U.S. - either from a device in orbit or on an ICBM.

No, a mythological third-world missile launched off an offshore trawler cannot do that (can’t carry the warehead or reach that altitude from offshore)

Russia & China are the only viable attackers, and there is no plausible scenario for them to do so (no anonymity for one)





“Lets face it folks, all of us in here are in the minority.”

@ Seymour: save for some of us narrow-eyed, unlovely, un-well built academics?

“Russia & China are the only viable attackers, and there is no plausible scenario for them to do so (no anonymity for one)”

@ Bill: that’s good news, so what we have to be concerned about is a day or two’s time before a solar flare’s EMP reaches Earth?

 





To all you doubters about the effect of an EMP please read the 2008,
“Report of the Commission to Assess the
Threat to the United States from
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack”
I have, and assure you, as a Control Systems Engineer with 40 years experience in the power, refining, and many other industries, the threat is genuine. All the massive wiring systems tied to the microprocessor based controllers within the SCADA, DCS, and PLC control systems will become antennas. The EMP pulse will be conducted via these wiring systems and fry the circuits. All the backup generators and pumps will be for not as their control circuits will be toast. And the pulse moves at such a speed it would blow through lightning protectors as if they were not there. Everyone should just be praying that it never happens.





The conclusions as I see it are:

1. Make sure you have access to water if the power grid and transportation are down.
2. Grow your own food
3. Shield any of your electronics that are not in current use.
4. Vote Republican as the lesser of two evils.
5. Have a backup set of solar cells in a shielded case.
6. Pray a lot.
7. Live life as if it is your last day.





“4. Vote Republican as the lesser of two evils”

Please, some of just had our dinners- we don’t want to lose them, Here is a take from john Derbyshire:
“At such times one’s thoughts turn naturally to the fragility of civilization, and to speculations about whether our current civilization is more fragile than most. It used to take an invading barbarian army to turn comfortable urbanites into subsistence farmers or corpse-piles. Nowadays potential agents of civilizational destruction are more numerous.

There is, for example, the coronal mass ejection (CME). Our Sun, in its more active phases, burps out great blobs of electrically charged matter. One such struck the earth’s magnetic field a glancing blow on March 10 this year, bringing auroras — the Northern Lights — as far south as Wisconsin.

A direct hit from a big CME would be catastrophic. The last time this happened was in early September of 1859. Named for Richard Carrington, the British astronomer who observed the originating solar storm, the Carrington Event caused auroras all the way down to Venezuela and blew out the world’s primitive telegraph systems, setting some telegraph offices on fire. A CME on the Carrington scale nowadays would shut down power-generation and water-purification equipment, disable computers (including the ones that planes and automobiles depend on), and cripple communications from cell phones to the Internet.

Nor need we depend on nature for such a result. In William Forstchen’s 2009 novel One Second After, unknown hostiles explode nuclear weapons in space above Russia, Japan, and the U.S. (Detonations outside the atmosphere are invisible, unless you happen to be looking in just the right place at the right moment.) The electromagnetic pulses that accompany these nuclear explosions act as localized Carrington Events: Two hundred million Americans die in the subsequent disruptions.”





Isn’t this just the scariest thing you guys have heard about? Other people need to take this stuff more seriously. There’s a guy named Reza Kahlili, he’s from Iran and was an undercover for the CIA. He’s given many different interviews and Wednesday the 29th he’s going to be on EMPact America’s radio blog to talk about what he went through, and most importantly- what he knows about Iran’s plot against us. Everyone should listen in on this, it’s soo important for us to be knowledgeable about this and to know how to prepare!!!! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/empact-radio/2011/06/29/pvp55—reza-kahlili-author-of-a-time-to-betray





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