The usual suspects for civilization ending events include nuclear war, pandemics, asteroids, global warming, robot zombies, solar storms and gamma ray bursts.
Some of these we have control over, some we don’t. Take for example solar storms and gamma ray bursts which engulf the earth in waves after wave of electromagnetic pulses or gamma rays; we don’t have much of a chance defending ourselves from these. We are like a colony of ants suddenly sprayed by a huge can of RAID; we’ll just be wiped out and the quicker the better.
Of the events we have the most control over, human created electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) seem to be the scariest scenario and one we should be thinking about protecting ourselves from. While nuclear weapons are presumably under lock and key and a last resort for major powers who will always think twice because of “mutually assured destruction”, a rogue nuke exploded over the center of the United States could send us back to the Stone Age.
The following video shows the entire scenario: a nuclear weapon, sitting atop a ballistic missile is launched from a freighter which is supposed to be delivering cargo to a US port. The purpose of the attack is not to kill people on the ground immediately, but to destroy their communication and electrical grids, throwing the country into chaos.
Such an EMP attack would create radio waves 1 million times more powerful than typical radio signals on earth turning the US critical national infrastructure into junk in just a few seconds including the following systems:
- SCADA – ie: Industrial Equipment
- Electric Power – no heat or cooling, no appliances, etc.
- Telecommunication – no cellphones
- Banking & Finance – no bank accounts or access to money
- Petroleum & Natural Gas – no access to gas or oil
- Transportation – no trains, plannes, cars . . . just on foot and biking
- Food Infrastructure – supermarkets without food
- Water infrastructure – little or no running water for most people
- Emergency services – no way to notify EMS
- Space systems – no satellites
- Government – government can’t respond
- Public communication systems – inoperable
- Military Equipment & Systems
According to a US EMP Commission report such an event could cause the deaths of 90% of the US population within one year.
The following video goes through the scenario:
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