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  • NBC's "Revolution" Shows Life after An Electromagnetic Pulse Attack

    What would the life in the United States look like if the continent were hit by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP)? The new TV show Revolution from producer J.J. Abrams, launching on NBC in the fall, is seeking to answer the question.

    The show portrays life in the United States 15 years after an EMP disables all electronics. Life as we know it changes forever; militias and warlords rule the society, which has to provide for itself without the help of all the electronic devices we know today. Such a scenario is not as unlikely as it might appear. The congressionally mandated EMP Commission Report stated that an EMP “has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures and thus to the very fabric of US society, as well as to the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.”

    An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. It is created during solar storms or by nuclear and radio-frequency weapons detonations. A nuclear weapon detonated at a high altitude would send the United States back to the 18th century. An EMP’s effects would include the destruction of electrical circuits, rendering cell phones, computers, vehicles, airplanes, power grids, and all other electrical equipment useless. In the case of an EMP—from “space weather” or a high-altitude nuclear detonation—transportation systems would be halted, communications would be rendered useless, and grocery stores would be unable to preserve or restore food supplies.

    The United States must take steps to protect its infrastructure. The public and private sectors should harden vital infrastructure to make it more resilient and resistant to solar storms or an EMP’s effects. In addition to hardening its electrical grid, the U.S. should also develop a national plan to respond to EMP emergencies. This would involve educating federal, state, and local officials along with the public about the risks and response options.

    Moreover, short-range and long-range ballistic missiles are the best means of delivery for a high-altitude nuclear weapon detonation. That is why the United States must continue to build up its missile defenses. The system would ideally be composed of Aegis ballistic missile capable ships; Aegis Ashore, the land-based ballistic missile component; and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle capabilities. These would offer a degree of protection against such an attack.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    104 Responses to NBC's "Revolution" Shows Life after An Electromagnetic Pulse Attack

    1. This seems to mirror the theme of "One Second After" by William Forstchen. I read that book a while back after it was recommended by Glenn Beck. For anyone who has leanings towards "Survivalist" thinking, this book and, from the looks of it, this new series should be a real eye opener!

      • Deb says:

        A very good book and this could be a good show if it doesn't turn into another soap opera.

      • Suzanne says:

        I totally read that book and it scared the hell out of me. It was eye opening for sure. This show indeed does appear to mirror the book. Should be scary and excellent.

      • Steph says:

        The best book series is by S. M. Stirling his Emberverse series Dies the Fire is the first book. The series is up to 8 books with a ninth coming out soon. Also try S.M Stirlings Island in the sea of time that one deals with Nantucket going back in time to the Roman Empire. How technology can upset history.

      • Chris says:

        Does anyone know the name of the EMP Program that ABC was advertising but never aired? I remember seeing the adds a couple of years ago, the scene I remember was on like an interstate cloverleaf and people were getting out of their cars with this dumbfounded look of what just happened to all our cars. Thanks, Chris

    2. joshuaallenonline says:

      One of the worst aspects in the immediate short term will be medical, the inability to fill prescriptions such as for insulin or blood pressure. After this, survival depends on food and water. And the scenario is not far fetched by any means. As an existential threat I've always been more concerned over an EMP attack than from an outright bomb.

      • smith12 says:

        This TV series REvolution is not about EMP- this is fantasy show not based on Sci-fi but more like LOST a mysterious force will not let an engines work but allows fire and even prevents some guns from working- is like MAGIC – and amulets let stuff work – the amulets are not electronic just solid stone.

    3. Guest says:

      The tv show Dark Angel that was on in 2000 delt with an EMP that devastated the nation. Abit more sci-fi than this show may be, but they do make us think what would we do without our technology.

    4. ozspeaksup says:

      man created EMP would wipe out specific countries and incoming health and repairs could happen.
      a natural solar one could drop the world into chaos immediately.
      dont throw the old pre electronica away

      • nythawk says:

        An EMP would fry all electrical, not just computerized and transitorized electronics. That means analog electronics such as old style TV tubes.

    5. Dennis Porter says:

      Those of us who are Boy Scouts and do living history of the 1860 era are possibly more prepared than others. It is one reason why I have been taking blacksmithing lessons and studying gunsmithing. Everyone needs to do a self assessment on what are their practicle skills that will contribut to society. Doctors, Nurses, EMT's , Dentist, and Herbalists will be huge assests in any new world after an EMP attack. World wide if 5 or 6 decades go by without any manufacturing using electricity, the world could lose its ability , to make cars or appliances of any kind.

      • Practicing Scientist says:

        World wide

        Try learning to spell. Grammer also comes in handy.

        As long as mankind survives, it will never ever “lose” its ability do anything that has already been done. There just has to be the will to get started over again.

        • Practicing Sarcasist says:

          "Grammer also comes in handy."

          Says the man who spells grammar with an "e".

        • Ern says:

          Practicing Scientist,
          "Try learning to spell. Grammer also comes in handy."

          A little more practice is in order.

          • Bagh33ra says:

            One of the things that will not be high priority: spell-checking and grammar coaching.
            I suggest in a post-emp world, anyone with a working knowledge of electrical engineering and mechanical engineering will be worth a country's ransom, and the kind of people who can improvise will be lords of their domains.

        • Practicing Dummy says:

          I think you mean "Grammar". People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    6. iam smart says:

      The concept of an EMP knocking out everything forever is ridiculous anything older than 1970 wouldn’t be effected and an also how would they be operating a computer at the end of the promo. If it was so large it even killed battery’s those components wouldn’t have survived and who are they talking to with no internet or phone and the militia would have seen a CB antenna. Also where did they get the power no battery’s no power grid no electricity. And it wouldn’t take that long for us to rebuild just losing some modern conveniences would not make society crumble remember we built this country long before computers.
      The basic breakdown is right after the EMP we would be able to start bringing things back up an EMP does not have residual effects. Also we do have redundancy in our military all of those old military installations with pre Vietnam era equipment are there for a reason just in case we get attacked with an EMP.
      in short you are all idiots

      • Ern says:

        I tend to agree with you that society as we know it will stop immediately. I also agree that at that point technology will be reborn and we will start to rebuild and refurbish.
        As far as the program goes, I wont watch it. I quit watching NBC a long time ago. They program way too much leftist propaganda for my liking. As far as I know many others have also decided NBC is a socialist tool to fool and manipulate the population of the USA. You dont stiil watch them do you?

        • J Jones says:

          I agree that the show is not about an emp attack. !5 years later the wrold would have rebuilt to some level of normal with power returning after they was rebuilt. This has to be some sort of active supression technology that is running. Anything else is not reality at all computer virus would not affect batteries or car not netowrked, emp while devastating short term many things would come back online as we rebuilt, power grid shutdown doesnt affect solar power ect. So, i vote they built a power supression system that is active and running basically someone is powering an emp field in some mysterious sci fi way. Btw i have started randomly blogging topics that catch my eye at frones.blogspot.com

          • There is some kind of active suppression. In the previews there are little gizmos you can use to make electrical things things work so it's nothing like an EMP. It's some of kind of science fiction nonsense as in "Dies The Fire", which is where they probably got the idea from. For the purpose of this article they would have been better off going with Falling Skies.

          • jakerobinson says:

            uh, you and others have not studied the true effects on a properly deployed High Altitude EMP. There are only about 2,000 "mega transformers" that are the workhorses of our power grid. These are the 765KV size transformers. Right now we only cycle about 5 per year for replacement. They are made only in Germany. Those would melt into a ball of metal. Then the other larger size transformers will also go – 345KV to 500KV would be melted as well. And, if this were a true world-wide event – Do you think Germany make us a priority to give us there 4 to 10 year production just to replace the US's need? We're not talking about your lights flickering off for a few minutes while the Utility trucks roll to the downed power lines… no, the trucks don't work either… nor do the men who drive them. Most likely they are hoofin' it back to their own house cuz no one knows what to do and the boss can't call them to bring them in cuz there's nothing they can do…

            • jakerobinson says:

              … you think they are gonna risk their lives while looting and civil breakdown ensues as 90% of the population starves, dies from lack of medicine, disease and violent crime? It will be "every man for him self", at least for a long while. And remember, ANY (most) circuit/transistor, capacitor, resistor, circuit board, control board, anything that controls machinery, ECUs, Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems would fry. Where would you start to replace EVERYTHING that we rely on? Not to mention the satellites we depend on for cell phone and GPS would be rendered space junk.

              You would maybe find pockets and small areas that may escape the brunt of the event but to say we will be back up and running like we were is sticking your head in the sand. The military does have some hardened facilities but if you think they will invite you in to watch re-runs of HGTV your foolin' yourself. That will be reserved for an elite small cadre of folks who will wait for the fallout (most people dying) before any semblance of order is restored. That's order, not restored lifestyle.

            • jakerobinson says:

              I read "one second after" which gives a pretty frank and brutal account of what it might be like in that one area (Near Ashville, NC). But even the author didn't reference the ability to fish. There was a huge lake and it would have seemed that since they had resorted to eating the family dog (well, at least you didn't eat your own dog… you ate someone elses and vice versa) you'd thought he would hav included the ability for those folks to eat. In other words, it is very easy to leave out and not realize the magnitude of how this will drop on our heads like a anvel and society will wake up with a helluva headache.

              I for one, will enjoy watching to see how realistic the collapse and reorientation will occur in this series.

      • Brian says:

        The problem is that an emp destroys computer chips. So no computers in your car cell phone, trucks that deliver food, the power station that sends power to your house, the grocery store that needs power refrigeration and the truckes that deliver the food to your neighborhood store. Yes there are no residual effects but how are you going to replace all of those computers and chips that are in everytning. Yes vehicle without computer chips would still work, but what precentage of the population has any that old.

        • jack says:

          Even if you had a vintage car unaffected by EMP, what are you going to use for fuel? Refineries are highly computerized and automated.

          • jakerobinson says:

            even the local gas station will be out of commission. Heck, go to Youtube and search for "Nashville gas shortage" and watch what happens when a supply barge misses the deliver date. There was 'gas line' chaos for 4 days… the "knock-on" effect is astonishing. We don't realize how much we depend on fragile technology in almost every aspect of our lives.

            What really isn't being discussed is how humans will act while this is going on. If you think people will sit at home in the dark with no heat or cooling and no food, water or anything and they will be polite and friendly and patient while "someone" fixes it… really? Imagine what a typical day looks like when 350,000,000 people all are in the same boat… bug out time.

      • bobby says:

        you take things too seriously and have no imagination,in short your a nerd

      • Jack says:

        Agreed, 100%. I have seen the previews, unfortunatly only an un informed west coast simpleton producer could think the future of our society after an EMP event will be dominated by teenagers weilding swords and bows and arrows. The future will be dominated by middle aged men or groups of them who have stashed away enough guns and ammo to supply an army, at least for a while before central goverments get control. Nice try! NBC has been on the decline in almost catagories, this wont help at all. I give it 4 to 6 weeks,

      • Bobbi says:

        Okay, "iam smart," first of all, it's just a fictional sci-fi show, not true fact or what would really happen if we had an EMP event. If you're going to call all of the people on here that left a comment on a fictional show idiots, who is the true idiot here?

    7. Jeff says:

      The sad truth is, our downfall is coming soon in the form of a monetary collapse.

      Do a search for ‘MIT predict global economic collapse.’

      Did anyone actually believe we could continue on in our blind, ignorant ways without consequences?

    8. Kevin says:

      Honestly I'm not really looking forward to getting sucked into another NBC show only to have them cancel it prematurely again. I really liked kings, Journeyman, and Southland (though it got picked back up by cable) it makes me think that NBC doesn't have the audience to carry a show like this.

      also, to echo what smart was saying, an EMP would just damage any new equipment in use, but to say it would prevent electric charge from going through conductive wires (which it seems like the idea is,) is completely stupid, they would have to forever alter the physics of the universe, likely causing the end of all existence. but it's a tv show so i'll let them play it out, it doesnt make sense for people to time travel either, but there are tv shows about that.

      • Ken says:

        as long as a conductor can move through a magnetic field, either natural or artificial, electricity will be the result. How many people actually know that though? A large scale EMP would cause a temporary effect for simple electrical devices and may permanently damage solid state semiconductors that have little or no shielding. An extended effect may be realized if there is significant contamination of ionizing radioactive material in an area. If it is done in the most "efficient" manner, such as an attack, a high altitude explosion would have little significant fallout in any concentration that would cause this. It just makes sense that this would be an immediate problem but a limited extended problem.

    9. It seems like Terri Blackstocks Restoration series.

      • Beth says:

        Thank you for your comment. My mom saw the tv commercial for this show and said she had read a book that was similar. I have spent 2 hours trying to help her figure out the book and you nailed it. Thanks again!

    10. Barbara Yates says:

      Wow and it looks like JJ Abrams has gotten smart by not airing this on Fox which would have meant…one season if he's lucky. Much smarter to air on NBC as Abrams has done with Person of Interest. Fox sabotages their own shows so I"m looking forward to this. Smart move Abrams, stay away from Fox, even Fringe's producers said Fox failed to market that show correctly…..!

      • Pagan says:

        "Person of Interest" on NBC? I was under the impression that "Person of Interest" was on CBS. CBS certainly seems to think so, as well, since they're airing it on Thursdays at 8PM (Mountain).

        For some reason, NBC seems to stay away from SciFi/Fantasy, which is why I'm pleasantly surprised that "Grimm" has been renewed.

    11. RedRocks says:

      I think S M Sterling did this line of inquiry in his "Dies the Fire" series, which to my mind is probably the better choice

    12. femroc says:

      Is that Billy Burke I spotted in the commercial for this show?? If so, I'm watchin' it.

    13. sweeperdave says:

      An EMP, even a large one or a series of large one will, at best, take out electronic systems – those that depend on the tiny electronic junctions at the transistor level. Older electrical systems such as those in older cars, and electrical systems that don't depend on "chip" level electronics won't be harmed. Certainly batteries would survive nicely. The military and government have facilities that are hardened against an EMP event. They would survive anything short of a direct nuclear hit.

      I'm hoping that the show doesn't expect and depend on too many leaps of "just go with it" faith. I'm also thinking that even after 15 years, enough order may survive where the world isn't in a total apocalyptic scenario. I'm also thinking that there are plenty of bullets to last throughout whatever chaos follows a massive outage. It would be a matter of whoever has the guns makes the rules.

      • jakerobinson says:

        if you think about how "old" a car would have to be to survive the E3 component of an EMP you are talking about around 1985 type vehicles… how many of those are still on the road… and where will they get fuel from? I am betting that if you were 1 in 10,000 people who had a running car you'd become a very visible target of those who would think they deserve your ride. And what electrical systems don't depend on "chip" level electronics that are still in use?

        I do agree with you on the gun situation. Unless you figure that guns would have been used often during the first 5 to 10 years with no manufacturing of ammo, gunpowder etc, eventually the supply of ammo would continue to whittle down to 'use of last resort' because it would become a rare commodity.

      • Adam Quinnan says:

        The show isnt about an EMP. A company engineered a device that suppresses electricity in every way. The amulets those people have block the companies electricity repressing device. Somewhere in the show they will learn this and their goal will be to destroy this terrorist device. An EMP wouldn't cut out electricity completely like the in the show, rather just destroy electronic components susceptible to high surges of power like microchips.

    14. prepared and waiting says:

      I think the point is that the devices that use electricity won't necessarily be damaged, but the capability to generate and distribute electricy will be destroyed. (The power transformers would be the achilles heel, none are manufactured in the US anymore, and there is no "standard model" so that eplacements can be mass produced). So yes, your car, computer, cell phone may still work, but without electricity they will become useless. That may be one reason why the show is based 15 years after the event, so that the transition from powered to non-powered society will aleady have taken place. I think it would have been more interesting to have the show based during the transition, so that we can experience what the transition will be like. In addition to "One Second After", I also recommend "Lights Out". They will keep you up at night!

      • jakerobinson says:

        no fear, they are planning a 'flash back' scene in every episode to deal with the collapse and terror that follows. So we will get the 'where were you when the lights went out" and how it plays out. The writers said it was "too dark" to portray as the main focus but they def want to include it throughout the series.

    15. west coast prepper says:

      Any electronic device not protected by a faraday cage (metal enclosure without holes) will be damaged by the pulse. The enclosure can be as simple as a metal garbage can with a tight fitting lid. I agree transformers & control devices will be the biggest issue as there is no stockpile anywhere in the world.

      One Second After was a good book & half past midnight was also good (less all the Bruce Willis heroics at the end) and I believe the die off rate is probably realistic. With that said I much preferred Patriots by James Wesley Rawles. I have Lights Out on my desk ready to read so I'm glad to hear the positive feedback.

      • jakerobinson says:

        Actually most home made faraday cages will not protect your gear. A metal trashcan will not work. My engineer friend (who specializes in radio and electric areas) has studied this at the scientific level and has determined what the nature of a container style faraday cage would have to be in order to actually protect the contents. The only "off the shelf" component that would actually work is the older style Canning pots that have the hand-crank fasteners around the lid. They are thick enough and have a strong metal-to-metal contact that makes them suitable to store small electronic components.

        • jakerobinson says:

          If you have an old enough vehicle you still may want to have the basic ignition controller which some vehicles this amounted to one transistor on a board… easy enough to purchase and store. I'd probably want some sort of PDA/IPod etc to store many off grid plans, how-to’s, medical, survival etc eBooks with a solar charger device… then at least you could have access to the myriad 'how to do it yourself' guides as a means of rebuilding and sustaining yourself.

          My engineer buddy and I are launching a podcast about this show and we will be talking preparation etc and hope this will educate lots of folks who have never thought about preparation as a means to stave off bad scenarios whether its an EMP, CME or flood, hurricane, regional power outage, etc…

    16. Felix Rivera says:

      Show sounds interesting however I predict it will not catch on. NBC has had that issue with shows that are
      Sci-Fy in nature like Journeyman, Heroes and Chuck. This fall Revolution will be up against Hawaii 5-0, and Castle which means practically no challenges from network television. There is also no competition from cable TV as a lot of critically acclaimed shows will be televised Tuesdays thru Thursday.

      I will watch cause I like a good yarn especially if its by Abrams. But, as I mentioned earlier I know I will be disappointed cause NBC does not know how to market a good Sci-Fy series. Look at the original Star Trek, that should say a lot.

      • Brandan says:

        The Show will have no competition this Fall? Really? "Sons of Anarchy" and "The Walking Dead" are two of the most-watched television shows ever produced, with TWD being the MOST watched EVER! I believe this is PLENTY of competition; however, these shows are broadcasted on different days of the week, so there shouldn't be much worry.

        "Prepared and Waiting" has the premise of the Show correct. If the electrical generation and distribution components are damaged (which is what would happen in the event we experienced an EMP), then devices that require electricity to operate will become useless.

        This show has been fairly interesting up to the current episode [episode 7] and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching it.

    17. Abel Garcia says:

      An EMP would not wipe out all computers since military and IRS compuuters are built with EMP's in mind. I see no reason why a diesel engine won't work, since it uses compression and does not relay on spark plugs or wires to achieve fuel ignitition.

      • ummmmmmm says:

        Thank you for common educationally reasoned sense

      • Brandan says:

        You are correct, however, today's diesel engines run with the use of computer programming and circuitry, which could "possibly" become damaged in the event of a severe EMP.

        Of course if we have no way of producing electricity, then we will have no way of producing fuel, which would make all engines useless unless one could devise a plan for creating a combustible fuel without the use of electricity.

    18. Tom says:

      What I wonder is how much they are going to "white wash" this? If an EMP or similar event, especially one that "magically" wipes out simple electricity and batteries were to occur Billions with a B would die world wide and hundreds of millions in the US would die. I can't imagine they want viewers to dwell on that but, no mechanized farming, no refrigeration, no mechanized transport, no communication, etc. I doubt they are going to spend much time on that or even mention national or world population 15 years after. I also have to wonder how those in the DC area are going to feel about this show after being without power, by the millions for a week.

    19. snorkel says:

      The whole emp thing is a litte far fetched. Most electronic stuff would simply reboot and be fine, it depends how far away you are from the blast that created the EMP. And it would certainly not affect older cars that don't have electronic ignition. Also pretty sure that a Faraday cage can have holes in it, all microwaves I believe act as a Faraday cage, also most home computers are housed in a metal enclosure and in a house, wood and drywall will affect how far a emp can penetrate a house and if the PC has a surge protector it would likely survive. Also almost all electronic devices have some kind of shielding in them to prevent signals from leaking out.

      It would be interesting to have someone test common electronic items in a lab to see how much they could take before being fried.

      • jakerobinson says:

        Brother, this is much more than a simple re-boot or power surge. There are three distance components of an EMP Pulse – E1, E2, and E3… each does it's own type of damage. The E3 is the one that will probably do the most damage. Anything that has a 'wire' attached to it becomes an antenna for somewhere between 50,000 to 200,000 volts surging through it for what seems like an eternity to an electronic component. So, you metal box-contained PC will have that high-powered voltage coming into it from the power cord (and no surge protector will stop this jolt) and the mouse cable and the keyboard cable, and the speaker cord and your internet cable if you are not wi-fi…. but your router will get it too… any wire INSIDE your computer acts as an antenna.

      • Tranman says:

        Yeah, everything will "just reboot" in about 40 years. EVERYTHING will be toast, and everybody will be starving in a few days/weeks. Everybody on insulin, thyroid medicine, and that type of thing will be dying. As to the "older cars", manufacturers switched over to semiconductor voltage regulators in 1964, so in order to survive, the vehicle would have to be more than 48 years old, and have not been converted over to electronic ignition, and not been converted from generator to alternator (which uses a semiconductor bridge rectifier). Plus, where do you find parts for this 50-year-old beater when it breaks down? Oh, I know…do a google search with your rebooted computer.

        I'm a retired electronics engineer, and EMP scares the heck out of me.

        BTW, a lot of people don't know it, but there was an EMP back in the 1860s, caused by a sunspot, that was so powerful that it set telegraph poles on fire all over the country. So it's not just nuke EMP we have to worry about. Good old mother nature can send us to the dark ages, too.

      • wildbill says:

        I think you need to do a little more research. Surge protecters will have no effect. It is a electromagnetic pulse not a not a voltage spike.

      • Chad says:

        It's called HI-POT testing it's done on every piece of electronic equipment that a consumer can buy, by law most consumer devices fall under part 15 sub chapter J which states that the device must accept interference that may cause undesired operation and may not emit EM radiation that could disrupt the operation of nearby equipment. Which means that You are all screwed when it comes EMP time, BY LAW! This does not apply to hardened equipment so make a lead box and hope they don't come up with some twist in the plot that allows them to cancel out local magnetism while keeping our beloved magnetosphere intact. Oooo neet idea I think I could do that! Back to the lab again

    20. snorkel says:

      In the trailer for the show they show airliners just falling from the sky like rocks, kind of like they had no wings and could not glide at all, that shows poor research if you ask me. Even planes that where completely fly by wire would not fall from the sky like a dropping rock.

    21. blackserafim says:

      I gotta say it, this series looked and sounded great in the teasers, till I stopped and thought about it.
      the entire industrial revolution occurred without computers or electronics. Planes, trains, and automobiles. Ships, tanks, guns, and atomic bombs. Skyscrapers, tractors, combines, factories and highways. None of this NEEDS computers or electronics. so why swords and crossbows? Dumb. And even if something kept higher electronics(microchips, transistors, whatnot) from functioning phones, radios, electric lights- they don't need transistors, it would be really hard to stop them working. We've had them since the 19th century and it's not like the knowledge is lost. And there could even still be computers–ww2 battleships had mechanical computers for targeting. No electricity transmission? welcome back to farms of the 1930's, with a generator and a battery bank in your basement, and a windmill for the pump.
      I like dystopian future dramas, but this is NOT well thought out. the more I think about it, the dumber it seems.

      • Now that is really sound. I am surprised I didn't think of all this until you pointed it out. But add into the scenario that people magically cannot repair things (EMP damge is NOT permanent). With the industrial prowess we had in the 30's alone we could have every single ciruit, including our kids playstations fixed within 6 months.

        • Walt Hutchens says:

          "EMP damge is NOT permanent "

          Unless its fixed before you starve, it's permanent for you. Multiply by 320 million.

          What many people don't get is that virtually everything we need to survive now is at the end of a very long chain, each link of which contains vulnerable electronics. An EMP attack would sever every chain at multiple points over a vast (maybe nationwide) area. Every repair person depends on his own group of chains, all of which have also been severed. Certainly any one problem can be fixed. But all of them at once, with all the repair people needing to get drinking water within a few days and food within a few weeks? Not as things are right now.

          We could organize to do this job, at least well enough that society a whole would survive. But we have not yet even decided we must, and it'll take a decade.

          In a sense the 756KV transformers are a distraction. They're the longest lead time items but the rest of the distribution system is also vulnerable, and being able to repair each piece quickly only matters if there's an organization to order and deliver the repair parts while there are still surviving repairmen and system operators.

      • jakerobinson says:

        you left out one thing… the mega-transformers that are needed to run a simple light bulb would be left in a smoking heap of metal blobs… there are only about 2,000 765KV transformers that carry most of the grid… not to mention the 345kv and 500kv transformers… there will be a ton of voltage dumped into each one and it will weld itself into a great big ball. There are only about 5 765kv transformers manufactured each year as there is just no demand and the replacement need is low. They are only made in Germany. So, you may have a perfectly working light bulb or radio… just no juice to power them…. no electricity to power anything…. for a long, long, long, time…

      • Walt Hutchens says:

        JakeR's reply is correct but doesn't go far enough. Essentially everyhing now depends on microcircuits — tiny chips will literally millions of transistors. These devices will only survive if they are are disconnected or connected only to surge protected lines and completely shielded. Almost NOTHING we routinely use meets those requirements. Nothing. Not your computer or mine, not the station and substations from which the electricity comes, not the gas pumps at your filling station, not the phone lines by which that station orders fuel, not the ATM or its phone lines or the bank to which they connect, not your TV or pocket radio, not the computers used by Wal-Mart to order more food, not the control systems at the food manufacturers, not your town's 911 system or emergency responder radios … Get it? NOTHING.

        A WW-II battleship would most likely be functional: it's steel so electrical equipment that isn't hooked to wires outside the hull would most likely be okay. Radios that aren't hooked to antennas, ditto — no solid state there, but large vacuum tubes. (Nobody in the U.S. manufactures vacuum tubes anymore and most types aren't made anywhere.) We have no unmodernized WW-II ships still in service and the modern ones all use computers with the same vulnerabilities as the rest of our gear. We are accelerating the process of taking older ships out of service so those few that had non-solid state basic controls (for the boilers, etc.) will be gone shortly.

        The U.S. Naval Academy stopped teaching celestial navigation about ten years ago. If the electronics all dies on a modern ship they'll have no clue, once out of sight of land.

        U.S. warships are actually a good discussion model because they are designed with so much redundancy and ability to reconfigure that if there are any working systems at all, they can be hooked together to keep steaming. It is still possible to start a ship 'from cold iron' after all power is lost if one of the emergency diesel generators is working. NONE OF THIS IS TRUE OF OUR ELECTRICAL POWER PLANTS. Indeed all of them depend on having the grid available. They may have emergency generators for lighting and start up power but they need the grid as a load, right from the beginning.

    22. CosmicKnight says:

      Ok, let’s get this straight.
      First of all yes, J. J. Abrams borrowed heavily (just say it… stole) the idea from S. M. Stirling’s “Dies The Fire”. The differences are that man-made explosives don’t work in his novels. OK, ok… I know that a bunch of you are going to say hey that’s magic. Read the books, they’re pretty good.
      Let me give you a paraphrased quote from Arthur C. Clarke… “One man’s technology is another man’s magic”.
      Let us go on to Abram’s storyline.
      His plot is so predictable.
      The way I see it, in this storyline a group of people (most likely anti tech people) develop a tech (yes a contradiction since they have to use tech to send our civilization back to low tech) that neutralizes the conduction of electricity. My guess is that the plot allows them to neutralize the electricity to within several miles above the ground since planes loose power and crash (does that mean if you climb Mt Everest you will have electricity? ). Another guess is that it will most likely be a satellite based devices (how else can one affect the whole planet?). From the end of preview a woman has a small device that allows things to start working again with electricity ( I want to know where she is getting her power source once the device she uses overcomes the problem ), and she talks to someone else on a computer ( how is it that after 15 years of no climate controlled rooms does the computer not have to much corrosion, mold, mildew to make it work) and she gets a reply back ( Holy shades of LOST batman ). Of course the only person who has one for the good guys side is killed but he gave his device to a friend before getting killed ( but then again he does’t tell that person what it does ).
      So now the plot line will be for the “good guys” to discover the devices ability and then to figure out how to destroy what is neutralizing electrical conduction.
      Another sad part is that Abrams does not want his stars to look like people with low tech and I get the nauseating feeling of twilight drama in the background.
      Too bad AMC or HBO isn’t making it.
      I would rather have watched the show from the time that electricity is lost, the story of the collapse and change of civilization. Then after the show starts slowing down is when they could have moved up 15 years for this story. The already had a prewritten storyline with Dies the Fire.
      Oh well, Hollywood never gets it right.

      • Dies the fire was the first thing I thought of when I saw the preview. I can't believe they aren't just following that storyline, it was great.

      • jakerobinson says:

        I pretty much agree with everything you said… I read an article where a guy was quoted as saying "the laws of physics are changed" – that is a stretch… unless some group of scientists open up a micro-black hole and screws up our dimension ;>)

        as far as time line after collapse, you will be glad to know every episode will contain a "flashback" to the event and post event meltdown of society… writers said it would be too gruesome to just focuse on that asopect so they are drip feeding us…
        <a href="http://www.RevolutionFanCast.com” target=”_blank”>www.RevolutionFanCast.com

    23. Kent says:

      "the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.”

      See, there's a silver lining in that cloud!

    24. Bagh33ra says:

      S.M.Stirling should really get some kind of credit for this, shouldn't he?

    25. Just wondering why people don't Repair the damage? An EMP can fry certain parts of certain circuits but it doesnt totally destry all electronis or wiring. Did somehow all electricians die in the EMP attack.

      While reports stress that damage can be done, none of them point out that the damage can be rather quickly repaired. Why? Because you can't get as much money if you tell that part.

      So, at any rate the show's premise is preposterous unless somehow all people with knowledge about electronics died, and all the books got burned, or somehow the brains of everyone were crippled so that they could no longer learn to fix things…. You see the point?

      • Brian says:

        The point that you are missing yes things can be repaired but how quickly is the question. And how long will the food last near you. How will you get more if you live in a city. Repair is possible but the time to get it done is on the order of years! And how will you survive when a tripthat took 10 minutes before now takes half a day of walking one way! And then on top of all that everyone else is trying to get the same things that you are. You see the point?

      • JSRagman says:

        The core of most modern devices is semiconductor circuitry (computer chips, etc). Wires can be replaced but destruction of the semiconductors is irreparable; the spare parts are destroyed as well – they don't have to be in the device to be destroyed.

    26. Jim says:

      The basic scientific principle that is used to generate most electrical power today involves magneticism. We pass a conductive metal through the magnetic force lines of a magnetic field to generate power. We control electricity using magnetic coils.

      A massive EMP would not cause all electricity in the world to stop. The only way electricity would stop, is if the laws of physics were altered and magnetism as a force was somehow cancelled or neutralized. If this was universal, all magnetism in the universe would stop.

      That would be very bad as magnetism is a force necessary to make almost everything work. Even at the atomic level we have protons (+) and electrons (-) and neutrons (=) as the building blocks of elements.

      It is possible nuclear fusion reactions would not be sustainalbe and all the stars would go out.

      Even then there would still be the possibility of generating electricity chemically, as in a battery. What about static electricity and lightning?

      Hope the actors can carry off the story line. It seems like a Hunger Games wannabe to me.

      • jakerobinson says:

        its not that electricity would "stop" but you would lose all the transformers after they melt down into a blob of molten metal. There will not be replacements for the largest (the most crucial to sustain an electric grid) for years since they only manufacture about 5 of the 765kv size transformers PER YEAR only made in Gemany. So if all 2,000+ some odd 765kv Transformers go pop… you will not get that grid back online for years and years…

    27. Tom says:

      The plot of the show is not based on an EMP. Its some magical thing. Abrhams is not trying to portray a realistic dystopia here. If you watch the full trailer you see some type of magical amulet that allows technology to be used. I'm guessing the technology went out in the first place because of a similar magical device.

      I'm saying this as a physicist who fully understands that there would be no real way to prevent electricity from flowing because it is simply the movement of charges. And if all charges stopped moving, not much would make sense about the universe.

      The show is about magic, not an EMP. Did you criticize Lost too because black smoke monsters don't exist?

    28. niki says:

      This new show deffinately sounds like the series by S.M. Sterling

    29. YouCantBeSerious says:

      Scientifically idiotic. I mean honestly.
      My favorite part is the fact that this "EMP" somehow prevents people from being able to use firearms…wtf

      • jakerobinson says:

        it is 15 years on… I'm sure the guns are still around but i bet a lot of bullets fly the first 5 or 10 years… with no production of ammo or gunpowder it would seem likely that conventional ammo would eventually get used up. How long does it take before you are down to 20% of the starting inventory for ammo, or 15% or 5%? eventually it would be rare as hen's teeth and you may see blackpowder weapons used cuz you can make your own powder and miniballs using home made forge and hand tools…

    30. sowhatever says:

      And, from somewhere they are still obtaining machine manufactured clothing…

    31. sue says:

      To me the subject is not the movie, but the need we have to learn to be prepared. When you are prepared then you have no fear of events such as these. I would recommend reading an old book called "Survival Family" It is the story of a family who decided to live for a year as though there had been a real emergency of similar nature. It took them five years to get out of debt and collect all they needed to be prepared. The disconnected from all services, the husband quit work, and they lived off of stored food, used fire wood, and had a home school. The wife even gave birth on her own, at home. A true and fascinating story.

    32. @EMPCover says:

      The debate over the EMP attack threat makes better sense if you see graphics. When we started researching this, we we frustrated by the extreme language used by both sides. It took a lot of research, but we found out important facts and converted them to graphics.

      Please take a look at our EMP simulator on EMPCover.com.

      It is also helpful to know the odds. We estimate:

      –The chance of a solar super-storm is about double the risk of a house fire.
      –The chance of a nuclear EMP is about the same as the risk of a fire at your house.
      –The chance of terrorists using a non-nuclear EMP for a local EMP attack is about the same as the house fire risk, but the odds are growing as the devices become easier to build and smaller.

      The pictures and and graphics on our site really help explain the threat. For example, we have pictures of EMP devices built into the back of truck trailers. The US Military uses these for testing. (Real stuff, not some crazy ranting. Click on the link and you can read the US military brochure that explains the test systems.)

      Finally, let me say that we feel the country can survive an EMP attack. There are things people can do to protect their families and businesses.

    33. Mark says:

      The limits of what some people consider "intelligence" never cease to amaze me. Can emp damage be repaired? Yes, eventually. But, where do you get the spare parts when the spares are all fried as well? What will an emp do to power generation equipment? It can possibly kill the generators. I will admit that I do not know 100% for sure, but I do believe that the windings will be fried as well. Someone pointed out that a conductor moved through a magnetic field will conduct. All of America's above ground grid will be those conductors moving through, what does the m in emp stand for again? Yup, magnetic. You do the math. A large enough EMP event, whether solar or man made, will fry every non hardened system. Power generation, communications, manufacturing, transportation, it does not matter. We have ALL become too dependent upon modern electronics to the point that many of the skills of our parents and grandparents have been lost. All of you ppl who think it will be just fine and hunky-dory are in for a rude awakening. I am no "survivalist" or "prepped", but some ppl need to wake up. We are vulnerable, and some pretty smart folks are finally starting to realize that. However, it is a slow and painful process. Mayne Mr. Abrams and NBC are taking dramatic license with the shows premise, but much like everything you see on tv, if you educate yourself with a few facts, you can determine the sh*t from the shineola. Google "Carrington Event". It has happened in the past, before the industrial revolution.

    34. Walt_Hutchens says:

      Wow, lot of misunderstanding here.

      First, there are many deniers. They need to get past that. This CAN happen and if we are not prepared then eventually it WILL happen.

      Protection, however, is relatively easy. The electrical field from an EMP event is extremely high voltage but has little power per unit area over most of the nation. So it will destroy (mainly) two kinds of things: Those that are connected to lots of wire (the 2000 supersize transformers and many that are somewhat smaller) AND those things that can be taken out with little power if the voltage is high enough — any computer or other modern solid state equipment.

      Some in between items too: Many houses might lose some lightbulbs and/or appliances because although not supersensitive they are connected to wire, both in the walls and outside above ground power lines.

    35. Walt Hutchens says:

      (Second part)
      Remember that the Carrington event (1859 — Google for details) set fires and destroyed electrical gear in telegraph stations. No solid state devices there, nor any transformers, but telegraph sounders and open switches both of which were connected to miles of wire. And Hawaii lost some streetlights during the early H-bomb tests.

      Talk that the problems would be repaired is foolish at our current state of readiness. All modern electronic gear is repaired at the module replacement level and the replacement modules are manufactured and stocked according to NORMAL needs — probably not one spare motherboard per 1000 laptops or one spare module for the gear that controls your town's sewage pumping station per 100 pieces of equipment, because that's all that will be needed in the next year or two. When 10-50% of such gear all goes out at once …

      And in any case, how many people would be available to make the repairs? How would they do it without electrical power or fuel and with only locally stored food?

      The realistic expectation for your first year post-EMP is NOTHING that isn't already on your property and stored in a protective container. No electronics, no food, no water, no medical supplies, and so on. And of course nothing that requires electricity that you don't produce yourself.

    36. Walt Hutchens says:

      (Third part)
      The small good news is that even sensitive electronics CAN be protected in metal garbage cans with close fitting lids. Remember: Extremely high voltages in the air but very little power in a small area. (If it were otherwise YOU would vaporize or at least boil … but EMP doesn't directly hurt people.) A garbage can reflects the small power that strikes it, with close to nothing getting inside IF the lid fits clean metal to metal and is on. For greater safety wrap particularly sensitive gear in a complete aluminum foil wrap and put in a plastic bag before stowing.

      Other small good news: Many cars would still work, even the modern ones, because their most sensitive electronics is pretty well protected. (This is more recent test data.) Cars have to be protected to prevent crapping out when driving by a high power radio or TV station. Gasoline supplies … well, no, because that system requires electricity, computers, and a telephone system plus working refineries and distribution system.

      The military is better off because all their gear was for a time EMP-hardened, they store their own food and fuel and can make some electricity. However in recent years the hardening requirement has sometimes been waved, so it'll be a mixed bag. I'd bet that some parts will be functional and others won't, leading to greatly reduced effectiveness. There ARE NO stockpiles of pre-solid state or hardened military electronics.

      At the current level of national preparedness the U.S. wouldn't ever recover from a successful EMP bomb attack. It would be recolonized by others who were substantially unaffected. However another Carrington event would likely take out the entire developed world. Primitive indian tribes with perhaps a very few survivalist colonies would be the seed for humanities future.

    37. Walt Hutchens says:

      (fourth part)
      The reason to do individual preparation is that the attack may not be fully successful, after all, it isn't possible to test the whole attack system from end to end. You might be in an area that will have access to food within a fairly short time. Furthermore, many other kinds of disaster require the same kinds of prep but last a much shorter time: Even a month's food and water will get you through practically any hurricane or earthquake, once stuff stops flying through the air.

      Beyond that, urge your Congressturds to support serious national preparation. For a few billion dollars — a rounding error in our current overspending — the irreplaceable large transformers can be protected, basic military comm gear hardened, a recovery plan made, and emergency repair personnel organized and trained. Many billions more — but not out of reach — would be a one or two missile defense system that would stop a terrorist-type attack before it happened.

      Down the road the entire grid should be hardened, power plants required to have dark-start ability and to be able to operate on a (local) mini-grid without the rest. This is billions more and will only happen when it becomes required by law and the government provides money and backup for the huge liabilities involved.

      (You would be right to guess that I do not think well of Congress for having gone ten years TALKING about this threat while not doing anything serious about it.)

      No such attack would be anything less than a catastrophe but it COULD be survivable and of course if we can be predicted to survive then any attacker would calculate that retaliation would shortly reduce the top several meters of his country to a molten state. In other words if we can be expected to survive then such an attack becomes very much less likely. (end of final part)

    38. FARADAY says:

      if you are worried about EMP just make FARADAY cage and put cache of electronis in it- the EMP CAN NOT breach this! so all your stuff will be safe- funny that fear documentaries do not tell people this simple fact of physics. A simple 6' by 6' cage costs less than $500.Besides even without F cage a lot of stuff will survive an EMP attack, military harden electronics , pre-1970 cars, most 1950 electrics -etc Also

    39. Graham says:

      Some random impressions:

      Crossbow plus attractive female lead = Hunger Games.

      Where did all those creeping vines come from covering Wrigley Field (and in only 15 years)? Tropical hanging vines, not your typical Midwestern flora.

      Yes, electricity was harnessed far before computers were ever around so I think we'd figure out how to use it again (except for the evil magic device defying all known physics).

      This will be no more than a 13 episode run before cancellation.

    40. Jorge says:

      These shows an movies scare people from “civilized” nations. I come from a third world country and power outages lasting hours when i was young are not uncommmon. Now i live in the USA and a few months ago had a power outage that lasted hours and people where freaking out and making scared buying of bottles water, food, etc. after talking to my relatives anf freinds south of the border (Mexico, which was also affected) they just went out, cooked out, mingled with neighbors. It is not our survival skills that get better or worse. One thing is true, “common sense is the least common of all the senses”

    41. Ted Hickox says:

      I can disprove the 15 year period between the blackout and the guy getting shot in the chest. Feel free to watch this video to find out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6la1gwxsjCI

    42. On the midwest coast says:

      We have a very fragile modern economy. If the electricity went off for whatever reason – a plague, monetary collapse, an energy crisis, an agricultural crisis, …. How long would you (a city dweller) last? Where would you get your next meal from? water to drink ? if you made it to winter, how would you stay warm? Most people would perish fairly rapidly because most people are dependent on support systems that would no longer be available. The TV show looks like the typical phony theatrics that are usually produced.

    43. montani says:

      He has stolen from the novel when the lights go out. It is in production now I believe and was written and published on the internet a few years back. As usual from these folks no new ideas just remake or steal.

    44. Lloyd Severence says:

      An EMP would only disable electronics which were currently turned on and powered up during the EMP deployment.

    45. Guest says:

      You know not one person is thinking about what is really going to be a problem…Anyone think about what powers the United States…Coal, Windmills, Solar Power….Nuclear? Check out Aftermath: Population Zero. From what I remember that radiation will be in the air between 3 – 7 days. Spread it around over many states and that will be out of the air in three moths. Here is another point. The 95% of the plants are East of the Mississippi River. I let you figure out what that means.

    46. JonZ says:

      Ok folks, this show is not about an EMP. An EMP would not do what the show claims happened. All electricity on the planet has stopped functioning. No batteries work. No hand-cranked generators work. Essentially all electrons flowing through wires has ceased to function. This would require a complete change of the laws of physics on our planet. It would also mean we would all die, since our bodies rely on movement of electrons to control our muscles and brain activity.

      An EMP would knock out some, but not all of electric devices. Only those with complex microcircuits would be affected. It would not cause steam powered generators to not work. It would not not cause the physics of electricity and magnetism to change.

      I will wait to see if the show's creators can explain these things, but outside of some sci-fi impossibility, I don't see how this electrical blockage is possible without killing every living thing too.

    47. Dan Russell says:

      How would you know that it was an emp? There was no indication of such a event/weapon. Just everything "magically" went dead. Yeah I disagree with the planes/jets just dropping like rocks part. (since they can actually be manually glided) It seems to me that it's just another scenero type of thing.

    48. zach says:

      It's obvious that it was not an EMP because Maggie's cellphone stopped working at the time of the blackout and now when that necklace thing was giving out power her phone instantly started working again without any hiccups or new batteries or new circuitry. But then as soon as necklace turned off, her phone died in way that looked like frequency jamming, not a normal power loss to an iphone. So what caused the blackout is something that is still constantly on, disrupting all electrical circuits not an EMP.

    49. Clydene Nee says:

      Really? Did they hire any scientists to consult on this show? Hmmm, well everything thing that was not hooked up would work, and we still can build batteries. What is wrong is that some idiot in Hollywood went though the blackout last year, who did not understand what happened in Southern California and decided to make this show.

      DUH, next time hire a scientist.

    50. skeptic says:

      Even if you accept the premise that all electricity is gone, in fifteen years sream power would be king with diesel engines not far behind. So far the show has shown zero of either.

    51. cedarats says:

      AAAARRRGGG! I started watching this show because it sounded interesting, but the characters and the writing is driving me away. These people are supposed to be 15 years into a survivalist world and the idiot lead Charlie.. is anything but. The uncle has skills, but Charlie refuses to listen to his expertise and put everyone at risk. I can't take the bad writing/characters. I'm done.

    52. lansenmeister says:

      Sure doesn't look like Noblesville, Indiana.

    53. Hayden says:

      Stupid Program. How could a battery just stop working, and besides i could generate electricity with a magnet and a peice of wire. What about electrolisis, i mean i could make a battery using some copper wire some gal-steel and h2O OR EVEN A POTATO!!! stupid .

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