June 23, 2015

How Many Nuclear Bombs WOULD it Take

...to effectively knock most of the world back into the 7th century?


Well, to physically devastate the planet through blast and heat would take thousands upon thousands of bombs, probably more than existed at the height of the cold war. 

However, all we have to do is bring down the thing that (philosophical advances notwithstanding) makes the modern world modern...our technology.

One could go a long way to doing that with an Electro Magnetic Pulse. There are a few ways to get these, but we're talking about nukes, so one can obtain the effect by detonating a nuclear weapon at high altitude. The sweet spot seems to be an area with a lower limit between 18 and 31 miles up (depending on latitude and other factors) and an upper limit around 300 miles into space. The effects are caused by interaction with the earth's atmosphere and magnetic field and extends to the visible horizon. The effects radii for various altitudes can be seen here...



The actual effects are fairly consistent throughout the area with a horseshoe shaped area containing a zone of very high effects and a small area just north (or south in the southern hemisphere) of ground zero with minimal effects.



Most of the area has between 50 and 80% of the maximum intensity of effects. The effects can be...impressive.


  The electromagnetic pulse (EMP) fused all of the 570-kilometer monitored overhead telephone line with measured currents of 1500 to 3400 amperes during the 22 October 1962 test. The monitored telephone line was divided into sub-lines of 40 to 80 kilometres (25 to 50 mi) in length, separated by repeaters. Each sub-line was protected by fuses and by gas-filled overvoltage protectors. The EMP from the 22 October (K-3) nuclear test caused all of the fuses to blow and all of the overvoltage protectors to fire in all of the sub-lines of the 570 km (350 mi) telephone line.The EMP from the same test caused the destruction of the Karaganda power plant, and shut down 1,000 km (620 mi) of shallow-buried power cables between Astana (then called Aqmola) and Almaty.  

Even assuming these were maximum effects and most areas would receive 30-80% of this effect this messes everything up. 

Back to the question at hand. How many bombs would it take for a not entirely rational government to apply those effects to the entire world?

Well, using the 1470 mile radius of the affected area we get an area of 6,788,670 square miles. The earth has a total surface area  of 196,939,900 square miles (rounded after conversion from km) and 196,939,900 / 6,788,670 = 29.010 so one would need less than 29 of these to send the whole Earth back into the dark ages (less because the nefarious individuals doing his would not need to hit most of the 70% of the surface area that's oceans, Antarctica, or themselves.

Now a small crazy country that wants to do this and had the capability to make 25 bombs a year and a transportable ballistic missile, and a modest merchant marine might discreetly disperse these missiles to where they could be simultaneously launched for global coverage... like so...


Iranian Shabab 4? missiles and their TELs on small container shiip.

Now to what end would they do this?

Well a conquering, convert or die army is kind of like a zombie apocalypse, with fast, tool-using, gun shooting zombies (except they don't often bite) and we've seen some of what can happen when a group like that moves into an area that's demoralized and destabilized...



Of course if this outfit ever encounters a proper modern military, they'll get curb-stomped. 

Note though that if you have the same goal and can demoralize and destabilize the entire world, by say, knocking a good chunk of it back to the 7th century, even if only for a few years...well., these people have a sense of history...



Imagine this transpiring while the whole world is knocked on their behinds by a power failure, starving and desperate, and assume to that kept aside a few nukes for military bases and tactical usage.

That would probably be quite a powerful motive for those who consider modernity itself to be an abomination.

Is this likely? Would it work?....probably not.

But, if you're crazy enough to roll the dice with nukes you're crazy enough to try really crazy crap especially since the EMP doesn't require particularly challenging targeting capability and could conceivably do far more damage than the same nuke could via blast and heat.  

Anyway, I was surprised that you could do it with 20-30 midsize nukes.

UPDATE: Corrected some typos, fixed a hyperling and. umm, removed the picture of Mum-Ra. 

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June 14, 2015

Maximum Return for Minimum Effort

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June 11, 2015

Man the Harpoons!







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June 07, 2015

Well....



My eyes are all glazed over and my brain is tired right now so perhaps you, gentle reader, can explain why this is a bad thing... 


...and wouldn't "influx" "immigration"or "increase" be a better word?


More of this, please!

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June 01, 2015

Non-Deceptive Headline

The headline:

 Wayward pig gets ride in police car, poses for epic photo
  

The associated photo:




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