Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wait, wait, wait...

You mean Dr. Evil actually orbited something? There's a North Korean... well, they say it's a "weather satellite" zipping around up there?

Are we sure on the translation here? I'm sure it's the conditioning of a lifetime of James Bond movies causing it, but when Kim Jong-Whichever-One's-Running-Things-Over-There-Now says "weather satellite", I hear "weather control satellite".

And what does North Korea need a weather satellite for, anyway? What's it going to tell them? "Tomorrow will be partly famine, with a chance of starvation"?


DanH said...

A country that can't feed its people has managed to orbit something?
Welcome, North Korea, to where the USSR was over 50 years ago ;p

staghounds said...

The article is hilarious. It's prohibited, everyone told him not to, everyone deplores and condemns it.

And then the punch line,

"He knows the stakes are high either way, and it is really what he does next that matters," the official said.

PS, is Kwangmyongsong Korean for EMP?

Woodman said...

Seriously, unless North Korea actually attacks someone is anyone going to do anything?

China will slap them on the wrist, Russia will grumble, but North Korea is useful to both of them. Kind of like the real bad guy who has the dude in the I love me jacket on a chain. That dude is North Korea.

Anonymous said...


I hear they lost control of it and it's tumbling.

Never mind, I'm actually pretty impressed. I mean really: Russian, USA, Europe, China, Japan, India? ( I forget whether india can orbit it's own stuff)... it's not like just anyone can stick something that works into orbit. Couple of other countries could if they cared to and it wasn't so much cheaper to use a close allies stuff ( Canada, Australia, etc...)

So, well done, and cheating by using/stealing other people's tech counts just fine in my book.

I'd be concerned once they can do it reliably those nutters will stick an EMP weapon on-board, but not much you can do to prevent that that doesn't involve some serious realpolitik of the gun boat nature.

With the current western "leadership" hahahahaha.

ProudHillbilly said...

I'm wondering if Obama's stern response to this will involve bowing.

Anonymous said...

It's a whether satellite.

It's a whether we drop nuke on your head or not satellite Yankee dog!

Now we can't even send up the laser shooting space shuttle so Sean Connery can have the ray gun battle in space.


Scott J said...

Gerry, that was Roger Moore in "Moonraker".

I admit Connery was the better Bond but the Lotus Esprit remains my favorite Bond car.

Ed Foster said...

Two megaton blast, 200 miles up over Omaha, 5:45 p.m. East Coast Time, during a mid-week February blizzard.

Say goodbye to every printed circuit and chip between Point Barrow and the Panama Canal. No power, no traffic lights, no running cars made after '75.

No radios, no heat, no water to drink or fight fires in L.A. after the Owens Valley reserves gravity feed dry. With a desert to the east, anybody in SoCal without a sailboat or a very old diesel powered motorboat with mechanical pumps and gauges is diddled.

I picture the typical liberal movie producer offering his gardener Miguel his platinum Rolex and a quicky with the latest trophy wife for a ride to the harbor in his '71 Chevy pickup.

As for the rest of us, Salt Lake City is the only urban area with more than a three day supply of food, and how much of that will burn in the uncontrolled fires and looting that will spring up?

With the radios dead, the electricity gone, and the streets blocked with dead vehicles, the cops will grab every bit of loose ordinance, probably rip off a few supermarkets themselves, then head home to protect their families.

"May you live in interesting times".

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Maybe this would be a good time for the Navy to once again demonstrate its ability to take out satellites from sea level.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I don't trust Roger Moore with the fate of America. He couldn't scare puppies or kittens.

Maybe Team America!


Steve Skubinna said...

Seriously, unless North Korea actually attacks someone is anyone going to do anything?

Depends on who they attack. Israel, for example. Nobody, including the US, would raise a finger. In fact, other than South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, the US and maybe, possibly a NATO member, they could hit anyone they want without consequences.

And I only threw the US in there from sheer blind nationalism. I wouldn't make book on this administration manning up and opening a can.

Brad K. said...

Wait, wait! Is this the countdown, and the EMP comes at noon, Dec 21?? Arghh!

Recalling David's Sling, supposedly science fiction, except for the drones and battlefield "hoppers" going into production, there was this satellite system. It carried simple "crowbars", steel rods with arrow heads. It dropped those poingers on targets, with little actual targeting -- with enough kinetic energy to bust tank armor and concrete. And it doesn't take the tricky nuke parts. I can tell if I rolled the windows up on my pickup with Google Earth; how much more targeting would someone need to do damage to infrastructure, economic, strategic and tactical targets?

Rob K said...

They sure enough launched one and you can track it in real time: It's above Canada right now.

goober said...

Head-on kind of what I was thinking. A piece of metal the size of a telephone pole can hit with force similar to a tactical nuke and since its in orbit can be made to hit anywhere in a matter of minutes. Imagine such a weapon being deployed against a us carrier group. Nork gaining this capability is not a good thing.

Tam said...

Ed Foster,

"Say goodbye to every printed circuit and chip between Point Barrow and the Panama Canal. No power, no traffic lights, no running cars made after '75."

As it turns out, that's not really how it would work. Which isn't to say it would be a picnic, but the Survival Porn "every chip gets fried!" angle is... a bit off.

DOuglas2 said...


I'm afraid that even pre-75 cars would probably have fried alternator rectifiers. If your didn't have a spare in a paint-can, plus the skills to replace it, you would still be immobile.

Pakkinpoppa said...

EMP thing has folk at every end of the "it'll blast us back to stone hatchets" to the "our cellphones won't have any bars and a few things might get inconvenienced" but I really don't feel the urge to find out.

I don't have my Humungus facemask or death tractor. Plus my 3 year old probably will...get a stainless steel boomerang and a chain lined glove.

Kristophr said...

This weather satellite tells us that lil' Kim can drop a satellite sized payload on any city on the planet.

Much more important information than mere weather.

Woodman said...

Ok, time to enact Indiana panic response option #1!

Everyone go buy ingredients for French Toast! Now! gogogogogogo!

I swear I never understand that reaction, is everywhere like that or just Indiana? Who the hell stocks up on milk, eggs, and bread during an emergency? I have a box of powdered milk in my pantry, I have plenty of flour, and I can make it by with the couple dozen eggs I usually have on hand for a weekend power outage. Hell, I usually have a couple gallons of milk on hand at any time too.

global village idiot said...

Ed, you're such a sunnybutt.

Woodman, I once on purpose drove past the grocery stores in My Fair City during the event the Chicago Jackals of the Press(tm) were calling "Snowmageddon." It was normal. Went inside one for doggie treats. Plenty of french-toast fixin's left on the shelves.

Maybe this happens down 'round Bloomington, but up here in "North of Rte 30" country we just shrug and snowblow our elderly neighbor's drive for her.


global village idiot said...

Of much greater import, however, is the report that North Korea claims to have found a unicorn lair:

Erin Palette will be so happy!


Will said...

Info on EMP's:

Sigivald said...

And what does North Korea need a weather satellite for, anyway?

To tell Japan and the US that it has a working orbital launch facility and could probably smack Tokyo with a giant kaboom.

That's what.

Brad K. said...

@ Woodman,

Maybe the reaction is symbolic. When you are "toast", why not emulate the style of the French?

Anyway, how could you pine for French Toast without the requisite powdered sugar and raspberry preserves? And vanilla ice cream? No, that was waffles. Anyway.

Call it family lore, traditions from our ancestors, or a sign of hope -- who needs two days of food, if we won't survive that long.

Besides, OM Honey Smoked Turkey and Cotto Salami keep three-four days in the cupboard, if you need to. Ramen Noodles and cans of beans and wieners make a decent meal, and the noodles typically last for months. I got a nifty vacuum-pack canister for my spaghetti, the cans of sauce will do for several days, unopened, or maybe longer, I haven't tried that, yet. Velveeta cheese will keep in the cupboard for days, and though butter might melt, it takes a while before going bad.

The problem with the French Toast fixin's, is the assumption that the electricity will still be there to keep the 'fridg running, in a scenario that you fear will keep the city from running. Seems too focused to make much sense.

Ed Foster said...

Not EMP, but HEMP, High Altitude Elecrtromagnetic Pllse, which in effect turns the entire ionosphere into a humongous (sorry) lens.

Bottom line, and it's a real puker, is the report to Congress on HEMP, quite unanimous, from all the big boys in the field.

Ed Foster said...

There's an Australian company that is gearing up for aircraft mounted (as in airliners) directed EMP weapons to fry missiles. I've been communicating with the CEO, and he sent me actuals as to what amount of current fries what kind of part or circuit.

More tomorrow, with the actuals. The two megaton at two hundred miles figure wasn't chosen randomly, it's virtually worst possible case for a single warhead.

Anonymous said...

This weather satellite tells us that lil' Kim can drop a satellite sized payload on any city on the planet.

Not unless he's also managed to develop a re-entry vehicle.

Geodkyt said...

Uh, yeah, about that. . .

Not so much a problem as you might think.

Of course, being able to orbit a bucket of electronic gadgets does NOT equal the ability to orbit a nuke.

Compared to a nuke, a satellite is origami made from cigarette paper. MUCH different load bearing & lift problem.

Geodkyt said...

Then again, a ton of random shit slamming into terra firma at roughly 5 miles per secondis plenty ouchie already.

If you don't have to protect the payload from g-forces or heat to teh extent necessary to preserve human or electronic cargo in functioning order, re-entry isn't really that hard an engineering problem. If teh NORKs could engineer an orbiter that could maintain stability and de-orbit attitude, they should be able to build a reentry vehicle that can even convey an electronics or human payload safely to the ground -- whether they could safely (i.e., softly) land that payload is a different question (after all, the damage from an uncontrolled impact is what happens after impact {chuckle}), and wholly unnecessary to the function of a weapon.

WOULD the NORKs utilize a suicide pilot to ensure an airburst? Um. . . let me think. . . yeah.

"Comrade! If you gloriously volunteer for this valiant mission to save the People's Democratic Republic, not only will your extended family NOT be fed to starving dogs while you watch, but they will be showered with our thanks and support for your brave sacrifice! You have 7.62 seconds to decide. . . "

KM said...

Poppa:I don't have my Humungus facemask

You're the only one who doesn't...

Kristophr said...

Anonymous: Re-entry vehicles are easy if you don't expect a human pilot to survive ... a warhead will get down just fine.

The Soviet's high-tech re-entry vehicle's heatshield consisted of several inches of hardwood ... real high tech there.

Kristophr said...

Geodkyt: The only real question is what was the mass of the payload the NORKs lofted.

Justthisguy said...

Neurotypical bully is neurotypical bully.

Ed Foster said...

From Adam Weigold, the CEO of Lightning Gun Technologies in Australia, soon to be producing a directed EMP weapon to be mounted on airliners as protection against missiles:

"Aircraft are usually fitted with lightning protection but the ability of this technology to protect all the electronic systems against the more "rapid and intense" threat of EMP in a plane is minimal. It is actually possible to offer an improvement in EMP protection by one or two orders of magnitude ie: 90-99%)....but this requires every circuit in the plane to be modified and adds huge cost and weight. Rumors suggest Air Force One has recently had a $20million EMP protection upgrade but how effective this would be is speculation. This is an expensive solution and probably only worth implementing on the Presidents plane. Furthermore it would be near impossible to implement into small lightweight devices such as guided missiles or UAV's which are 100% reliant on delicate IC's in their guidance and sensor systems. The biggest threat are the MANPADS which are small, lightweight and only cost $10,000 to $40,000 each. That price would sky rocket with any form of EMP protection and they wouldn't be lightweight any more. And the degree of protection they would get is highly debatable".

"It is important to note all electronic and electrical devices can be damaged by EMP. Motors require thousands of Joules of EMP energy to be damaged so are pretty safe. Valve transistors require about 1-10J, Diodes, Transistors and Resistors anywhere between 1mJ and 100mJ and integrated circuits only 0.01mJ to 1mJ of EMP energy. I should point out that in all our calculations for our large scale experiments we plan on delivering in excess of 1J to the target which would fry most electronic circuits. Even if you could provide 99% shielding protection all the silicon chips would still be destroyed with a 1J EMP pulse".

Ed Foster said...

They're at An interesting read.

The slower moving E3 component of HEMP, in addition to all the other worries, mimics solar storms, but on a larger scale.

The solar storm in 1989 that shut down the Quebec grid had a magnitude of 480nT/min.

Over the North American continent, with it's more energetic than normal magnetic field (49,302 nT over Omaha vs. 28,800 at Johnston Island), values in excess of 5,000nT would accrue, guaranteeing the destruction of virtually all large transformers.

Replacement time for those transformers is estimated in the 2004 Congressional report at 4 to 10 years. Dr. Peter V. Pry, testifying before Congress, said we have no more than one percent of the transformers we need, and won't have even a reasonable fraction of the required number before 2018 at the earliest.

It should also be noted that the 1 Joule pulse the Lightning Gun is producing is a small fraction of the peak output delivered by a deliberate HEMP event, over a fraction of a second, rather than the 20 to 30 second succession of blows delivered by a high altitude blast over land.

The naysayers quote Dr. Rabinowitz, but his work is only a study of E1 effects, and predicated on minimal effectiveness warheads. Conrad Longmire, argueably the biggest name in the EMP game, puts the induced voltage figure at 30,000 to 50,000 volts.

This isn't lightning. The effects of lightning can be defeated by fuses, circuit breakers, and shunts. HEMP causes induced voltage in the circuit, and the voltage rise is three to five times faster than lightning.

SCADA circuits control everything in the U.S., and they are totally vulnerable to E1. The E3 wave following will use the power distribution net to blow everything else.

Tam said...


I've done a bit of reading on this myself, too, and there's a big difference between the diffuse energy burst from a massive CME or nuclear detonation and the directed pulse from various point-effect EMP weapons being researched.

The former requires something to act as an antenna to channel the pulse to the circuitry, for which the wires of the power grid will work nicely. But these books like One Second After where every microchip in every car and calculator and wristwatch is suddenly slagged as the world goes dark are just masturbatory apocalypse porn to make folks feel good about having a bunch of canned beans in the basement (or to shake loose some funds from Congress.)

Silicongraybeard has a lot of good links on the real and present danger of EMP: