This Faraday box is supposed to fit over a radio he's designed, he calls the GP-4L. He markets it as a "survival radio," and its frequency span is from 75 to 108 Mhz. your car radio, for instance, most likely goes from 88 to 108 Mhz. The spectrum from 75 to just below 88 Mhz is part of the emergency services radio spectra.
The GP-4L, at $22.95, is a heckuva deal. But looking at his little, box, which he suggests you make yourself, by putting tinfoil over a traveler's soap box, I'm thinking more and more about the lead sheeting I used to place around my old Commodore 64, after the Commodore went into storage when I got my first Mac.
Tinfoil? Lead sheeting? How can this help me? And why is HJR 40 so important that it fairly quietly, but unanimously, passed through the Alaska Legislature at the beginning of April?
The possible negative effects from a nuclear or thermonuclear high-atmosphere or exo-atmosphereic explosion were predicted before one's ill effects were actually experienced after the explosion of the 1.1 megaton thermonuclear device, Starfish Prime, at an altitude of 250 miles, on the night of July 9, 1962.
This picture was taken from a USAF C-135 that was monitoring the detonation. It is a picture of the debris fireball, as it extended along the earth's magnetic field in the dissipation following the exo-atmospheric test. The C-135's advanced monitoring equipment was either incapacitated or destroyed by the explosion's electromagnetic pulse.
If the plane had been as reliant upon micro-circuitry as a modern 777 or Airbus is, it might have fallen out of the sky. Hundreds of electrical devices in Honolulu were either temporarily or permanently destroyed by the EMP.
All through the rest of the Cold War, the USA's infrastructure was more vulnerable to a Soviet-initiated EMP attack than was theirs to such an attack by the USA. That is because their system was electrically more primitive than ours, and the Soviets, rationally fearing more a thermonuclear attack from us than we did one from them, chose to build a very expensive EMP-proof command and control system for their military and national government infrastructures. Their MiG-25 super interceptor, for instance, used robust EPM-proof vacuum tubes in electronics, and was filled with little Faraday box structures around electronic components.
In a sense, Starfish Prime was a space weapon. It was also exploded over 45 years ago. What has spurred the sudden enactment of HJR 40, when there are only currently three countries that might be able to pull off a similar exo-atmospheric event: The USA, Russia and China? Nobody else, except for the UK, France and Israel are even remotely close to being able to threaten us with a large-scale EMP attack.
Millennialists, survivalists, right-wing militias and Christofascist cults all seem to have a high level of interest in getting information on how to build low-yield, non-nuclear EMP bombs. Sci-Fi writers have used all sorts of weird EMP bomb scenarios, and "future battle" computer gamers have to know how to inflict or survive EMP battle damage:
The alarmism I've read about, since September 11, 2001, on the EMP issue is often irrational, but there are some bright, articulate people and effective organizations involved in the dialogue, and in whatever levels of contingency planning that are ongoing that aren't classified.
The organization in Alaska pushing for more anti-EMP action here is the Institute of the North. They've created a Security and Defense Program, with this nifty, very alpha-looking Bald eagle perched upon its seal. You can subscribe to their newsletter, The Vanguard, at their home page. The S & D Program's mission statement reads:
"The Security and Defense program at the Institute of the North conducts research and educates policymakers on strategic issues relating to the defense of the country-region that particularly concern decision makers in Alaska and at the state and local level throughout the nation."
The program is directed by longtime Walter Hickel protege, Mead Treadwell. According to the S & D Program's web page, they're particularly interested in tying the existing and expanding Alaska-based missile interceptor program to our military ties to Japan.
The testimony before the Alaska House Rules Committee on the EMP HJR included a statement by Treadwell:
"Alaska took the initiative in calling upon the federal government to protect all 50 states against missile attack. Having an understanding of the [EMP] threat in the rest of the country will help people understand how valuable the missile defense system is."
The Rules Committee hearing also included written testimony by a protege of the late Edward Teller, Dr. William R. Graham, who wrote, "I believe the state will attract the advice and support of leading experts and organizations to provide whatever assistance the state and its local governments might need to make their own informed decisions regarding critical infrastructure protection."
Graham and Treadwell both tie the importance of the resolution directly to efforts already underway by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Graham's Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack, mandated by Congress in 2004. Graham's commission's mandate is:
A lot of money has been made, and billions perhaps wasted in this field by contractors since Ronald Reagan stood with Edward Teller to announce his "Star Wars" program. The costs of aspects of the Strategic Defense Initiative have been enormous. They haven't been as costly as our War on Iraq, by any means. but....
One of my first thoughts, as I watched the TV on the morning of September 11, 2001, was that for all the money we had spent on SDI and anti-missile defense shields up to that time, it did nothing to prevent September 11. If you subscribe to the standard September 11 narrative, a small group of fanatics who had to live in caves, spent about $250,000 to pull their operation off. Since then, we've spent well over a half a trillion dollars helping them recruit tens of thousands of new adherents worldwide. That worked, didn't it?
Many have written that the incredible costs of SDI were worth it, because the Soviet response to our program spent their country into its demise. I've never believed that to be the case. Their state failed for a wide array of long-standing reasons.
I just got off the phone with Mead Treadwell. I shared my concerns that my view of the most likely EMP weapon scenario is one involving a fairly small, conventionally fueled EMP device, set off by some sort of a Timothy McVeigh character. I'm not going to share design information, but I know I could build a small EMP bomb, and so could many readers here. Treadwell didn't disagree. He explained some of the evolution of the thinking behind the perceived need for HJR 40.
I hope to talk to him more about this, but I felt reassured that not only does he have a grasp of the enormous gaps in our public safety in regard to any EMP threat (an asteroid or meteor explosion in the near region of earth could create the same Compton scattering that causes the damage), but that he realizes programs developed to deal with this fairly unlikely, but potentially devastating possibility, need to be cost effective.