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Posted by Franz Huber
It all came about when I read a novel by William Forstchen 'One Second After'. It is the first volume of a trilogy which, in rather detailed form, outlines the physical as well as psychological effects of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), caused by a nuclear strike above the atmosphere of the earth.  A novel, therefore it is fiction, isn't it?  Numerous other novels in the dystopian genre have been written: from classics like George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's 'A brave new world' to more recent, modern writers such as Veronica Roth with her 'Divergent' series or Suzanne Collins with her 'Hunger Games' series. But it's not going to happen, isn't it..! All those hypothetical situations would be preventable, had the people been vigilant and arrested the decline before it was too late. (Hmmmm... would they?)

But coming back to EMP: is it fiction?  I went digging a bit more and found numerous scientific references which clearly confirm what the underlying theme is all about. I give it to you in a nutshell: Should such an attack (or multiple attacks) occur, it will instantly (within seconds) totally obliterate everything that is electrical, electronic. Transformers will simply melt.  All of them.  Any device with electronics in them (transmission and communication equipment, motor vehicles, aircraft, ships, electric motors, just to list a few) are irretrievably damaged.  It will not affect living organisms, e.g. nobody
will get killed, there will be no physical destruction as there would be in a ground based nuclear (or for that matter, conventional) attack.  And before you get too comfortable: an EMP can also be caused by a Solar Flare albeit that type probably would not cause the failure of devices that are not plugged in at the time. The last one that would have had this effect was only 157 years ago (Sept 1859), when it burned the telegraph wires and equipment.  And not even 6 years ago (July 2012), one "barely missed earth" according to NASA; had it come a week earlier...
 
So, think about it: No electricity. Not just for a few hours as in consequence of a cyclone. Not just for a few days. Not for weeks, not for years, for without electricity, there simply is no capacity to manufacture.  There won't be any water (it is all pumped). No sewerage (yes, it is all pumped, and anyway, there is no water). Supermarkets will run out of supplies in a couple of days (panic buying).  Buying? There's no money, it is all electronic these days - the banks won't be able to do anything for you... 
 
Space does not permit me to go into great details. Perhaps pick up the novel yourself and read it. It provides a very clear outline of the human behaviour aspects of such an event too. Perhaps navigate to this link and get some more hard evidence: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_pulse. But what can you do about it?  Quite a bit actually, at least to protect against an EMP caused by a Solar Flare.  But that is the subject of another talk, another day...