Be the Governor’s Friend

I used to assume that, in an emergency, governments would seize food stockpiles and distribute them equitably among the populace. Yet if it is clear that the emergency is severe and long term, political leaders will probably choose to seize supplies and hoard them for themselves and their friends. All the political talk we’ve heard about the needs of common folk (not to mention the disadvantaged) may be insincere, a way of persuading voters to fork out more in taxes. Perhaps the reason EMP is not discussed by government is because our leaders know they can use the police and military to secure food for themselves, and feel it is too expensive to try to save everyone else. The governor probably already has a list of private food warehouses and a plan to send the National Guard out to secure them. We can expect that in a serious emergency the police and National Guard will be used by local warlords (often former politicians) to monopolize supplies and restrict their distribution.

This is not all bad. At least somebody will survive. Yet for those of us outside the government coterie, neither friends of the governor nor members of the National Guard, it highlights the need to be able to hide or defend your own supplies from large invading forces. You won’t be able to keep them secret indefinitely, since by simply staying alive you are advertising the fact that you have stockpiles.

Good News on Geomagnetic Storms

A NERC report issued in February 2012 and now referred to in the Wikipedia entry for “geomagnetic storm” downplays the impact of solar coronal mass ejections on the grid:

According to [an earlier] study by Metatech corporation, a storm with a strength comparative to that of 1921 would destroy more than 300 transformers and leave over 130 million people without power, with a cost totaling several trillion dollars. A massive solar flare could knock out electric power for months. These predictions are contradicted by a NERC report that concludes that a geomagnetic storm would cause temporary grid instability but no widespread destruction of high-voltage transformers. The report points out that the widely quoted Quebec grid collapse was not caused by overheating transformers but by the near-simultaneous tripping of seven relays.

If NERC is right, then our primary concern should not be EMPs caused by the sun, but EMPs caused by high altitude nuclear blasts. So if you trust the good intentions of the leaders of Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan,you can rest easy.