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Radiofrequency Weapons 377

Posted by Hemos
from the destroy-the-records dept.
BWJones writes "Global security is running a fairly detailed and interesting story on E-bombs (not email bombs, rather electronic microwave weapons) taken from the IEEE Spectrum Online. We have long known (since the 1940's) about the effects that high energy weapons can have on electronic components from nuclear blasts, but this class of weapons is designed to exclusively attack electronic infrastructure. "
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Radiofrequency Weapons

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  • Test range (Score:3, Funny)

    by i_r_sensitive (697893) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:12PM (#7388846)
    All in favor of using Lindon, UT as the test range, say aye. AYE!
  • Yay... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:13PM (#7388865)
    To celebrate, let's rob a high-profile casino using the most convoluted scheme possible. Plan should ideally include witty banter and excessively smug con-men.
    • Why does the EMP device cause the roof of the van to explode?
      • The EMP warhead for the tomahawk cruise missile involves magnetizing a coil around a conventional explosive, and blowing it up. I don't know the physics of why this works, but it's how they do it.
        • Re:Yay... (Score:2, Informative)

          by DougMelvin (551314)
          in not-so-technical terms:

          The coil is charged with electricity.
          The explosion is a controlled one which runs from one end of the coil to the other.
          The result is to "compress" the current, and thus the Magnetic field around the charged coil.
          the result is to eject a very intense Magnetic field in the given direction.

          Side Note:
          The magnetic field ejected by the warhead causes the electrons in any metal to move extreamly fast in one direction.
          this surge of electrons is what overload power grids and nuke c
        • Re:Yay... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by imsabbel (611519) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @04:34PM (#7389730)
          actually, its 2 coils with antiparallel b-fields:
          /
          i wanted to include a ascii gfx but the lameness filter didnt let me.
          does he really think someone with karma=excellent does dumb spam posts?
          /

          And explosives in the middle. The middle has no bfield, becouse the 2 coils cancel each other. but between them, a lot of enery is stored in a b-field.
          Not the explosive is started at one end, burning towards the other end. It presses both coils against each other, squeezing the field into the rest of the gap. Once the deflegration hits the end of the coils, the field has nowhere to go and the whole stored energy is released in a single electromagnetic blast.
  • by KD5YPT (714783) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:14PM (#7388881) Journal
    Nice, now we got weapons that can destroy everything electronic (tank control system, missile guidance, radio, powerlines, etc.) without killing people (other than those with pace-maker). This shall revolutionize warfare, disintegrating it into one side with big guns fighting the other side who just got knocked into the stone age (maybe iron age if they're lucky).
    • Irregular armies (Score:4, Insightful)

      by poszi (698272) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:24PM (#7388996)
      Modern wars are fought mainly between irregulars armed with AK-47 and mortars. No, it won't revolutionize these conflicts and it doesn't matter against partisants.
    • I wouldn't be calling this very non-lethal if it managed to get aboard a plane at 20,000 feet ... or in an air-traffic-control room ... or on an ocean liner several hundred miles from land ... or in a subway ...

      I'm not worried about the military aspects of this device ... it's the civilian ramifications that are scary.
    • Nonlethal to whom?

      The diabetic who relies on refrigerated insulin?

      The CPAP user who must have electronically-regulated pressurized air to sleep, otherwise they stroke out?

      The preemie in the hospital, who lives only if their incubator works?

      Nonlethal to soldiers, maybe, but veyr lethal to civilians.
    • by Tangurena (576827) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:39PM (#7392272)
      Folks used something similar: retired military gear that was used to simulate soviet field radar installations. 25Kw to 50Kw microwave units that would get put into the backs of trucks by the enterprising bandits. What did they do? They would blackmail British banks. What did they do? They would drive past the computing facility for the bank, switch on the radar, scrambling the computers, forcing a temporary shutdown of the bank. They would then call up the security office of the bank, saying that something similar would be happening in oh, 15 more minutes. When it happened exactly as threatened, they would call back demanding cash. Mysterious computer crashes affecting whole computer centers? Bank shuts down for hours at a time? Our reputation will get clobbered. OMG What could be causing it? No one in the industry is willing to confess to what sort of payments were made. I have heard rumors of one bank coughing up 10 million pounds, with several others forking out 1 to 2 million pounds. Hiding the unit inside some vehicle that looked like an every day delivery van made it invisible to folks trying to protect their facilities. Having more than one would defeat folks counting license plates.

      When you induce 5-10 volts AC on every wire inside a computer facility, things don't survive too well. You might just let all the smoke out of the computer, and it won't work any more.

      When did this sort of thing happen? Early to mid 1980s. I strongly suspect that most US and UK banks are protected from this sort of damage nowadays. Faraday cages are good. I think International Paper still makes a non-woven carbonized fabric that lays on walls like wallpaper, but protects like copper screen.

      The trade magazines covering EMC issues like this have all ceased publication. Or at least the ones I am aware of. Since the end of the cold war, there has been far lower demand for Tempest (folks looking at the emissions of your computers via radio waves) and EMP (the energy given off by nuclear explosions and these electromagnetic devices) protection, which is the sort of thing you would be looking for to defend your company and home from this sort of weapon.

  • In high school, I took a magnetron and a bunch of other crap (ahh, memories) and made a microwave gun. I demonstrated its effectiveness vs computers by proving that it could take a perfectly working, normal PC and make it display flashing ASCII characters on the screen. Turning the computer off and then on again would display a different arrangement of flashing ASCII characters.
    • Isn't it dangerous ?

      Can't it fry you?

      Hmmmm.. Maybe a powerful magnetron aimed to some particular individual would be able to do some damage, hard to trace in the authopsy. At most, they'll see the brain was cooked.

      I wonder why don't terrorist use it against politicians and people who are exposed to the public.
      • See, I didn't particularly care about safety when I made it. I had a makeshift conical shield in front of the magnetron which made it really look dangerous. Anyone who'd step in front of something like that probably deserves some serious tissue heating or DNA errors.
      • Re:Microwave Gun (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arivanov (12034)
        Can't it fry you?

        It can. High doses of microwave radiation can make a vegetable out of you with no problem whatsoever. So it is not harmless at all. Actually, human brains will definitely go before properly shielded equipment.

        If you do not believe me, look around, make sure that there are no animal protection activists anywhere in sight and stick a rat for 5 seconds into a standard 800W microwave oven. Make sure it is set to max as most of them do not have a real power adjustment and lower power levels

        • Re:Microwave Gun (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AB3A (192265)

          It can. High doses of microwave radiation can make a vegetable out of you with no problem whatsoever. So it is not harmless at all. Actually, human brains will definitely go before properly shielded equipment.

          Try again. Don't forget about the difference between energy and power. A high energy microwave weapon may not have enough total power to hurt you, but it probably will induce enough electrostatic voltage to pop a few gates in most new CMOS devices.

          If you read the article, you'd notice that power

  • might be a cheap effictive way to obsolete all those old rocket launchers that are in the hands of terrorists.
    • Re:rocket launcher (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zathrus (232140) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:50PM (#7389256) Homepage
      Unlikely. Most of those old rocket launchers don't have any electronics at all -- they're simply RPG's which are generally no more electronically advanced than their bazooka predecessors.

      It would, however, destroy any "smart" projectiles, even those as simple as a Stinger missile -- which is valuable as well given just how prolific those things are.

      Of course, if you wanted such a defense to be useful you'd want to be able to mount an emitter on potential targets (like, oh say, a commercial airliner) and have it produce a high power semi-directed impulse. I don't know if that's possible (IANAPhysicist). But you'd want to take out anything launched at you from a reasonable distance (>500') without screwing your own systems in the process (most modern commercial jets are fly-by-wire as well).
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mgcsinc (681597) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:19PM (#7388933)
    Not so sure if this is going to work in any of the situations we seem to have the idea of putting ourself into anytime soon... Destroying mass amounts of electronic infrastructure seemes counter-productive to rebuilding efforts in urban environments.
  • military use? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:19PM (#7388934) Journal

    Hmm.. maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree on a subject that I'm not too familiar with, but as I recall most military applications are shielded against EM pulses (to protect against the EMP effects of nuclear weapons). Wouldn't it then stand to reason that "e-bombs" would be more useful on civilian infrastructure/targets? I.e: You can take out that TV station (like we may have done in Iraq?), but you (probably) won't be able to fry the radar on that MIG-29.

    With that in mind, could these weapons then become like chemical or biological weapons? Deadly to civilian populations but mostly useless against modern first-world military forces? If Saddam had gassed our troops it might have caused a few casualties and slowed us down... but it wouldn't have stopped us. If he had gassed the NYC subway system.....

    • its true, I went on a trip with a guy who worked at designing circuits to resist nuetron bombs
    • Re:military use? (Score:3, Informative)

      by BWJones (18351)
      maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree on a subject that I'm not too familiar with, but as I recall most military applications are shielded against EM pulses (to protect against the EMP effects of nuclear weapons).

      No, most military applications are *not* shielded against EM pulses. This tends to be quite expensive. For instance, I remember when we got a couple shielded Macs. They were hyper expensive (but also TEMPEST sheilded as well).

      Wouldn't it then stand to reason that "e-bombs" would be more usefu
      • That is mostly the idea.

        Then it's more useful as a terrorist weapon (and Terrorists don't have a very big R&D budget) then a military one. I don't see us deploying these weapons on a wide scale, only to pay rebuild the destroyed infrastructure after the war.

        Of course, I could be wrong, because we did rebuild Germany and Japan's industrial bases after bombing them into non-existence during WW2.

      • It's easier shield a whole facility against EMPs though - just make sure that the structure contains a faraday cage and that all vital electronics that need connections to the outside world pass those connections though em filters. Individual computers for use in the field arehard, but buildings and some vehicles aren't.
        • It's easier shield a whole facility against EMPs though - just make sure that the structure contains a faraday cage and that all vital electronics that need connections to the outside world pass those connections though em filters.

          Do you have any idea how expensive this is? Doing this can easily quadruple the cost of a building. If there are basements, count on five to six times the cost if not more.

          • Do you have any idea how expensive this is? Doing this can easily quadruple the cost of a building. If there are basements, count on five to six times the cost if not more.

            So, we'll just order a few more $20,000 toilet seats..... it's the military we are talking about here ;)

          • Do you have any idea how expensive this is? Doing this can easily quadruple the cost of a building.

            Wire mesh of the appropriate size (you want holes no larger than 1/10th the wavelength of the highest frequency you need to block - 1/4" mesh is good up to at least a few GHz) is quite cheap. The windows and doors require some attention to detail, but metal-screen double-pane windows and metal doors with metallized weatherstripping are already used all over the place. Chances are there won't be that many win

      • most military applications are *not* shielded against EM pulses

        That's incorrect. Working on military vehicles and weapon systems, I can tell you that EM shielding has been an important factor for over 30 years. Some that I've worked on specify a 60dB reduction in EM radiation.

        While individual components may not be shielded all that well (especially with off the shelf components) you can be assured that the enclosure they are used in is EM shielded.

        For many ruggedized components encasing them in a h
    • Re:military use? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bios_Hakr (68586) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [lacitpx]> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:35PM (#7389114) Homepage
      Psst, let me let you in on a little secret...

      90% of the military tech is commercial off the shelf (COTS).

      It's cheaper and more reliable to use COTS vice a propritary tech.
      • Re:military use? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556)
        90% of the military tech is commercial off the shelf (COTS).

        Let me know where I can my COTS F-16C, M-1 MBT and Ohio class SSBN ;)

        Sorry to stoop to sarcasm (couldn't resist). Your point is actually valid, but so is mine. Using one of these weapons on our "wave of steel" in Iraq wouldn't have slowed us down too much.

        In any case, for all new offensive weapons, there will be defensive technology to negate or counter them. It's been that way pretty much since the dawn of time (except for ICBMs of course).

    • Although I don't believe most military equipment is shielded against such attacks (as a matter of fact, I believe most military equipment - that with electronics in it, anyway - is susceptible to such attacks), it is important to consider the world outside of traditional warfare.

      Two applications immediately spring to mind: corporate sabotage and terrorism.

      Corporate sabotage might seem a little far fetched, but corporate assasination is still a well-used tool in parts of the world, so don't think it isn't
      • The uses terrorists can derive from this should be obvious...air traffic towers that suddenly go offline. Busy intersections of major cities that suddenly don't work, causing massive pileups. The concentration of people reaches critical mass, presenting the perfect impact opportunity.

        Oh, I wasn't disputing that. But will the terrorists have easy access to this technology? Sure, they could build a crude version fairly easily (as a previous thread pointed out, he did it at high school), but won't the "uber

    • Unfortunately most military equipment isn't shielded. The problem is that the shielding is expensive. And if you have n shielding that will protect you against a devise of n output, it is easier for the attackers to build an n+1 device than it is for you to upgrade all your shielding.

      As a side note, this puts a different spin on the whole concept of the suicide attack. I don't care how many people you've got in your cause or how committed they are, it would be much easier to find people who would set th
    • Wouldn't it then stand to reason that "e-bombs" would be more useful on civilian infrastructure/targets?

      You hit the nail on the head. The US is looking after its own interests -- achieving total domination over its own population, and making it impossible for any armed rebellion against the government to possibly succeed. Think about it honestly. Does the U.S. really have anything to fear from any other country? I think not. Then why do we continue to develop such weapons?

      Anyone who doesn't see revolut

      • "Does the U.S. really have anything to fear from any other country? I think not. Then why do we continue to develop such weapons?"

        Obviously because we're afraid of space aliens. The better the weapons we have, the better equipped we'll be to fight them.

        If they come, that is, which I doubt. But the situation seems pretty much as logical as the rest of your post.

        Question: do you live in the US?

        -Erwos
    • So what if it's shielded? Make a bigger weapon. Most US stuff during the Cold War was shielded to 50,000 volts. An obvious first move for the Soviets was to explode EMP devices over the continental US. Soviets simply make a bomb that generates over 50,000 volts, and voila, problem solved.
  • Prior Art (Score:2, Funny)

    by SuperBanana (662181)
    E-bombs (not email bombs, rather electronic microwave weapons)

    Every time our early-80's GE microwave kicks in, the TV goes all fuzzy. TV's infrastructure. I smell prior art...or is that burning popcorn...

  • There's been a technology in place for decades that has been used to render a population incapable and uninterested in resisting an authoritative force.

    It's called television. It's very effective. What else would you need? If the government were smart, they'd start cloning Bill O'Reillys and deploy them throughout the world.
  • I can see the yuppies kneeling over their
    deceased iPods and Clies with tears in their
    eyes and a look of utter despair on their faces.
    Why!!!! Whyyyyyyy!!!!
    • Are you jealous of the Yuppie's money or good looks?

      You aren't fooling anyone. Everyone knows that those who critique the Young Urban Professional People secretly desire to be just like them.
  • so now... (Score:2, Funny)

    by spammyy (303116)
    we have phasers (not handheld versions yet but i'm sure there'll be a time) where's my photon torpedoes and warp drives? *_*

  • Clearchannel.

    -dameron
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy no longer requires that all its hardware be hardened against nuclear electromagnetic pulses. It deemed that maintaining those standards was too costly and slowed down the integration of new technology. The presumption was that after the Cold War, nobody would be using nuclear bombs, says the Lexington Institute's Thompson. "Whenever I ask the admirals, 'Well, what if someone did use a nuclear bomb?,' I just get this kind of blank I-don't-have-an-answer-for-that sort of look."

    I ge

  • What is the kind of physical shielding that one can install to shield against EMP (such as produced by nuclear detonation)? This should avoid most of the damage from the indiscriminate E-bombs, as the article mentions.

    Secondly, the article wafts past the issue of shielding against the harder "laser-like" weaponry's effects. Whether they skip it for security's sake or limited knowledge sake, they just avoid the whole issue.

  • HERF Gun (Score:5, Informative)

    by phorm (591458) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:24PM (#7389003) Journal
    Are these much different from the HERF gun [slashdot.org] previously described on slashdot?

    The main difference I see is ina HERF gun is a focused blast (like narrowband), whilst an EMP bomb will likely be area damage (ultrawideband).

    A cool thing, and perhaps a balance to the technology wars (what good is a tank/fighter when one guy with a laser 10km away can down it?), but can't we already assembly things like these in a our basements (if not, somebody please point out the different, other than power)
    • I was going to post a similar comment after reading the article, but you beat me to it.

      The primary difference seems to be that a HERF gun simple interferes with electronic equipment, rather than destroying it. Even still though, I'm surprised it didnt get a mention, as even temporarily disabling an enemies electronics would seem like a great advantage, and HERF guns are fairly compact and easy to build.
      • Not to mention the advantages of being able to appropriate temporarily disabled enemy technology.

        If you're being run over by groups of tanks, best to destroy them. If you've got a few enemy tanks that are too dangerous to approach, HERF them, and perhaps you might be able to commadeer them in the future.

        Just a thought, though perhaps I've been playing too many military games online.
  • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stephenry (648792)
    Really? I'd like to see how millions of dollars of hightech electronic equipment can defend agaist people who are willing strap bombs to themselves and bomb just about anything that get in their way.
    • well, we could defuse/detonate bombs remotely from safe distances. It's tough to attack if you have no weapons.
      • Um, I'll let you into a little secret. Bombs do not need electronics to set them off. They don't even need electricity.

        Demolition charges used for sabotage in the last war were generally set up by a small tube containing a glass phial of acid. You crush the tube, the acid is released and it starts eating through a separator into the detonator. When it hits the detonator, bang.

        Remember that idiot who tried to blow himself and a plane up with a bomb in his sports shoes. Again, very low tech. Unfortunately

  • by swb (14022) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:26PM (#7389011)
    The real fight the US faces is NOT relatively high-tech foes like the Soviet Union, but low-tech guys armed with home-made bombs scavanged from artillery rounds and AK-47s.

    What good is this kind of technology against these foes? It's almost impossible to think we even face an enemy capable of fielding a large force for a stand-up battle, let alone one easily immobilized by EM. Even the North Koreans, on anyone's short list for potential combat, likely rely heavily on WWII-era or older combat communications unaffected by EMP.
    • That's the short view.

      If you take the long view this is really worth working on. How long will this situation last? Our technological dominance?

      And I'm not talking about a really long view. In fact as I read your post - one word kept ringing in my head. China.

      • There's long views, and there's long views.

        The most recent articles I've read said that China currently lacks the logistical capability to invade *Taiwan*, let alone mount any kind of high tech combat offensive against anyone.

        Given the population size and the size of China's current army (5M infantry?), nobody has any desire to invade China, even if there was someting there somebody wanted.

        Anyway, if you want to take the long-as-in-50-years view, OK, maybe we might face a Chinese invasion in the US mainl
        • I think that if China decides to ramp up- and it looks to me like they have- the world will be shocked at how quickly they catch up. I also think that at some point they will surpass the rest of the world- including the U.S.

          But lets say in 50 years, which is right around the corner in my mind, we are not fighting off an invasion, but mixed up with the Chinese somewhere like say Korea.

          It's all speculation of course. But I do not think it is unwise to look at capabilities for dealing with enemies that
          • It's all speculation of course. But I do not think it is unwise to look at capabilities for
            dealing with enemies that don't 'exist' yet.


            While that is true, in 50 years, as you said, computer technology may no longer (and probably
            will not) be based around minute electrical signals. By then we could be using optical
            technology or chemical technology, thereby rendering these weapons obsolete.
          • It's all speculation of course. But I do not think it is unwise to look at capabilities for dealing with enemies that don't 'exist' yet. We can't merely focus on our current situation. A technologically advanced enemy is not outside the realm of possibility. In fact I would argue that at some point it is a certainty.

            The problem is that there's a finite amount of resources available, and virtually every indication since Gary Hart ran for president is that a massive land battle based on 500,000 T-72s rushin
    • That goes double since not only are any third-world petty dictator armies likely to be largely immune to it, relying on numbers instead of tech, and other first-world armies are going to be immune. Europe and such are at least as advanced as the US is, so you can bet that they'll either have EMP weapons of their own or shielding (read: thick lead cases) they can use on their essential gear to counter it.

    • Every army relies on communications. Be it landline, radio, cellphone, satellites, whatever.
      North Korea relies on older comm equipment? Ok, that's relatively easy to blow up, jam, or compromise. Then they have to revert to the backup system. Maybe cell phones. And this *is* effective against that.

      This is not a one shot weapon, but rather another part of the arsenal.

      Take away the comms, and the individual units/tanks/soldiers flop around uselessly for a while before giving up.
    • Absolutely agree. The places where combat is likely (North Korea, Middle East) wouldn't be good situations to use em, and a good situation to use em (land war with China maybe) has basically no chance of occurring. So while EMP/HF weapons have a high coolness factor, they aren't going to be put into wide-scale use.

      I'd rather we spent this money on better low-tech defensive and communications gear for our troops, or if the money is somehow tied to R&D then researching defenses against EMP weapons on t
    • by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @05:00PM (#7390005)
      The real fight the US faces is NOT relatively high-tech foes like the Soviet Union, but low-tech guys armed with home-made bombs scavanged from artillery rounds and AK-47s.

      A few measly freedom fighters with some old Russian guns? Please. The reason we are so mired in the Middle East right now isn't that we can't win, it's because we cannot allow ourselves to do what is necessary to win.

      We could easily, permanently end the situation in Iraq. Sweep 500,000 troops through the country, shooting everyone they encounter. Or simply nuke it. We can't do these things for obvious political reasons. But to suggest that we are developing these new weapons such as EMP to protect us against these new, "difficult" enemies is ludicrous. They aren't hard to beat. It just requires ruthlessness to beat them, which we are unwilling to exhibit on the global stage.

      No, these EMP weapons are most likely meant for use against U.S. citizens when they finally rebel, or against Europeans when they finally decide they've had enough of our bullshit. Any revolution in this country would be coordinated via cell phone, telephone, and internet. A simple weapon to knock all out simultaneously is something the government cannot afford not to have in its arsenal.

      • We could easily, permanently end the situation in Iraq. Sweep 500,000 troops through the country, shooting everyone they encounter. Or simply nuke it.

        Whatever justification for the war in Iraq you accept, killing the whole population is not going to win it. The Iraqi people will not be "free" and Iraq will be producing no oil, if it is a nuclear waste land. The 500,000 troops thing is just silly too. Any country is ruled through individual fear. Iraq is no different. The military is always massively ou

    • Yes, because launching a huge EMP weapon in downtown New York wouldn't be effective?

      What makes you think they're all barbaric and unintelligent? They are obviously intelligent to construct some of the devices they use, so it's not a leap to assume that eventually EMP weaponary will be involved in a terrorist attack to take out some financial centers.
    • Even our lowest tech enemies make occasional use of technology. An EMP pulse would be mighty useful against a dusty, camel riding Afghan Mujahedeen with a scimitar in one hand and an old Stinger anti-aircraft launcher in the other. And even third world despts only slightly up the technological ladder from there can buy modern weapons. If they can't buy American the French are always happy to sell, or if you're strapped for cash there's always Russian wares. Besides which there are plenty of potential threat
  • Holy Cow (Score:2, Funny)

    by jlechem (613317)
    Some of those bombs could give new meaning to "slashdotting a server".
  • That fuckin' advertisement that just showed up on the right side of the page.

    Someone needs to be slapped....

  • Bomb waves (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gwobl (714841)
    As I understand it, this technology got big when there was a need to simulate the Electromagnetic Pulse from little nukes, but treaties forbade it. There were four ways to simulate this discharge of energy, one used capacitors and coils, one used a chemical reaction, and I forget the other two. According to TV reports, some of the cruise missles Clinton used on Bagdhad between the two golf wars had originally been fitted with these warheads, and they had to be re-armed with conventional explosives prior to
  • Go Optical! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phrogz (43803) <!@phrogz.net> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @03:37PM (#7389140) Homepage
    I wonder if instead of massive shielding, the military is increasingly interested in optical computing for reasons like this.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @04:00PM (#7389354) Homepage Journal

    Honestly, our computers where I work at are so frigging old that I wish Al Qaeda would EMP us! People, you have to think this through. If a terrorist attacked the company that I worked at with a local EMP bomb, we would have to buy 100 new computers and we'd be back in business in a few days. Thus, it would be an inconvenience, but, not really that damaging.

    If a terrorist attacked the United States with an nuclear power emp bomb, then, Bush would probably nuke the rest of the middle east just for spite. Bush would launch everything at any place that flies the Crescent flag, and probably France too just to be on the safe side.

    So, even though we'd be back in the stone age until we got our new computers from Dell / HP / Whoever (which would take a year perhaps), the rest of the world would be a giant crater.

    Hitting economic infrastructure is less and less likely to work in any war because we can produce so much stuff so quickly that the disruption would hardly be noticable.

    Even in World War II the Allies were oft astonished at the recuperative power of the German Army -- they always had plenty of bullets and planes, and in the end, it was an actual lack of fighting age men that did them in.

    Today the recovery capabilities of any modern economy are too awesome to admit. Office buildings can be thrown up overnight. Network cabling can be run quickly. The United States and other modern economies are almost Borg like in their ability to recover from local terrorist attacks. The WTC was a terrible loss, yes, but because of the 3000 people that were killed - not the buildings and physical stuff. To turn the country into a police state for threats that don't really mean that much seems stupid.
  • by slappyjack (196918) <slappyjack@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @04:22PM (#7389624) Homepage Journal
    The scene where the guys set off an EMP from the back of their van and the chaos that ensued from it?

    A big enough EMP blast could theoretically take out a LOT of electronic gizmos. Even if the area of effect was only a few blocks, in the middle of manhattan or chicago, this could cause some major headaches.

    Yes, many places would get their sites back up quickly, but what about pacemakers? Get 20 or 50 people to all have their hearts stop workikng at once hear the same hospital and suddenly you have a major medical emergency as they try to handle ALL of the cases.

    But wait? How do the people get there when all the autos are munged up because THEIR electronic components just had a stroke? Lotsa two ton blocks of metal just sitting there, neding a lot of pushing.

    TVs and radios? oops. Communications are now down. That PBX system that runs the phones? Fried like an egg. Cell phones? right. find a working tower, sparky.

    Dont even start to think of the implications of setting one of these things off at O'Hare at 8 o'clock in the morning would have, not to mention the poor fuckers that are just geting off the ground when the onboard computers in their 757 all pop at once.

    "Hey, did you hear thaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAHJESUSFUCKINGCHRIST!"

    Big problems. BIG.

    Match that with the fact that CNN will fly in an unaffected helicompter in and suddenly the world konws about it. They all start calling into an area that is blacked out to check up on their loved ones. We all konw how the unwashed masses will react to this - Panic, Panic! and PANIC!

    Lets not forget that all our console games would flip out, removing any way of passing the time while this all sorts itself out... assuming we have electricity.

    it's about more than computers, folks. Remember the fuckitued that ensued when new england lost power? THat was just loss of power, they didnt have to worry about everythign being just plain BROKEN.
  • by theolein (316044) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @04:42PM (#7389836) Journal
    I have titanium artificial hips. Good to know that I'm going to have my hips melt on me and fry me from the inside when one of these things goes off nearby.

    Kentucky fried theolein!
  • People, listen to me! We must abandon our research on this E-bomb, and focus our efforts on preventing our nation's enemies from being the first to master the next new form of destructive weaponry. For truly it will be a sad day indeed if the terrorists gain the ability to drop the F-bomb.
  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @05:16PM (#7390169) Homepage
    A QRM bomb!
  • RFIDs? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @07:42PM (#7391311) Homepage
    I vote we detonate them in the first store which fully switches over to RFID and starts tracking people. That'll show those fuckers.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten

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