At a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on October 12th, experts warned that the greatest existential threat to the country may come from the detonation of a nuclear EMP bomb. It could kill as many as 90 percent of all Americans within a year.
What would an EMP attack actually do? It could involve the detonation of a hydrogen bomb delivered by missile or even satellites at a high altitude of 30-400 km, creating an electromagnetic pulse that would knock out the electrical grid. But not only that – all electrical devices in the range of the blast could be fried. No lights, no computers, no phones, no internet, not even cars would work. The lack of refrigeration is likely to spoil food, causing mass starvation. Add to that lack of clean water, no air traffic control or any financial transactions taking place and you have widespread devastation in the U.S.
The casualties incurred would not be from the explosion, as it can happen too high for its nuclear effects to be felt strongly on the ground. But the loss of life-sustaining infrastructure could bring slow but sure disaster.
This kind of doomsday prediction comes courtesy of two members of the former congressional EMP commission – Dr. William R. Graham and Dr. Peter Vincent Pry. Dr. Graham is a physicist who was a science advisor to President Reagan and administrated NASA. Dr. Pry is a former CIA officer responsible for analyzing Soviet and Russian nuclear strategy, who has served on numerous congressional boards related to security.
They appealed for President Trump to prepare the country’s infrastructure for an EMP attack via a number of possible steps while lambasting the U.S intelligence apparatus for ignoring warning signs and constantly underestimating North Korean capabilities.
In a statement, the scientists identified how just six months ago, most experts didn’t think much of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, considered their ICBMs were fake, predicted that a hydrogen bomb was years away and maintained that the communist pariah state could not strike the U.S. mainland. As all such assessments were proven incorrect or overly optimistic, the time has long since come to prepare for the worst possibility of all – an EMP attack, admonished the specialists.
“After massive intelligence failures grossly underestimating North Korea’s long-range missile capabilities, number of nuclear weapons, warhead miniaturization, and proximity to an H-Bomb, the biggest North Korean threat to the U.S. remains unacknowledged—nuclear EMP attack,” they stated jointly.
One danger specific to EMP attacks is that they could also be the most acceptable to world opinion.
“An EMP attack would be the most militarily effective use of one or a few nuclear weapons, while also being the most acceptable nuclear option in world opinion, the option most likely to be construed in the U.S. and internationally as “restrained” and a “warning shot.”, wrote Dr. Pry in an opinion piece for the Hill.
The EMP commission was actually defunded on September 30th. It was created in 2001 and has been extended several times over the years, the last time in 2016. This extension was allowed to lapse, even as North Korea issued a specific threat in September to carry out an EMP attack and published a technical paper in the official communist party paper “Rodong Sinmun” outlining some details about it.
Here is the Google translation of that paper, which can be found on the Korean version of the paper’s site (at number 33).
(For the balance of this article, and to watch the full hearing with Dr. William R. Graham and Dr. Peter Vincent Pry go here: https://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/congress-warned-this-new-weapon-from-north-korea-could-kill-up-to-90-percent-of-americans/)
Nutrition scientists have long debated the best diet for optimal health. But now some experts believe that it’s not just what we eat that’s critical for good health, but when we eat it.
A growing body of research suggests that our bodies function optimally when we align our eating patterns with our circadian rhythms, the innate 24-hour cycles that tell our bodies when to wake up, when to eat and when to fall asleep. Studies show that chronically disrupting this rhythm — by eating late meals or nibbling on midnight snacks, for example — could be a recipe for weight gain and metabolic trouble.
That is the premise of a new book, “The Circadian Code,” by Satchin Panda, a professor at the Salk Institute and an expert on circadian rhythms research. Dr. Panda argues that people improve their metabolic health when they eat their meals in a daily 8- to 10-hour window, taking their first bite of food in the morning and their last bite early in the evening.
This approach, known as early time-restricted feeding, stems from the idea that human metabolism follows a daily rhythm, with our hormones, enzymes and digestive systems primed for food intake in the morning and afternoon. Many people, however, snack and graze from roughly the time they wake up until shortly before they go to bed. Dr. Panda has found in his research that the average person eats over a 15-hour or longer period each day, starting with something like milk and coffee shortly after rising and ending with a glass of wine, a late night meal or a handful of chips, nuts or some other snack shortly before bed.
That pattern of eating, he says, conflicts with our biological rhythms.
Scientists have long known that the human body has a master clock in the brain, located in the hypothalamus, that governs our sleep-wake cycles in response to bright light exposure. A couple of decades ago, researchers discovered that there is not just one clock in the body but a collection of them. Every organ has an internal clock that governs its daily cycle of activity.
During the day, the pancreas increases its production of the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar levels, and then slows it down at night. The gut has a clock that regulates the daily ebb and flow of enzymes, the absorption of nutrients and the removal of waste. The communities of trillions of bacteria that comprise the microbiomes in our guts operate on a daily rhythm as well. These daily rhythms are so ingrained that they are programmed in our DNA: Studies show that in every organ, thousands of genes switch on and switch off at roughly the same time every day.
“We’ve inhabited this planet for thousands of years, and while many things have changed, there has always been one constant: Every single day the sun rises and at night it falls,” Dr. Panda said. “We’re designed to have 24-hour rhythms in our physiology and metabolism. These rhythms exist because, just like our brains need to go to sleep each night to repair, reset and rejuvenate, every organ needs to have down time to repair and reset as well.”
Most of the evidence in humans suggests that consuming the bulk of your food earlier in the day is better for your health, said Dr. Courtney Peterson, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dozens of studies demonstrate that blood sugar control is best in the morning and at its worst in the evening. We burn more calories and digest food more efficiently in the morning as well.
At night, the lack of sunlight prompts the brain to release melatonin, which prepares us for sleep. Eating late in the evening sends a conflicting signal to the clocks in the rest of the body that it’s still daytime, said Dr. Peterson.
“If you’re constantly eating at a time of day when you’re not getting bright light exposure, then the different clock systems become out of sync,” she said. “It’s like one clock is in the time zone of Japan and the other is in the U.S. It gives your metabolism conflicting signals about whether to rev up or rev down.”
Most people know what happens when we disrupt the central clock in our brains by flying across multiple time zones or burning the midnight oil: Fatigue, jet lag and brain fog set in. Eating at the wrong time of day places similar strain on the organs involved in digestion, forcing them to work when they are programmed to be dormant, which can increase the risk of disease, said Paolo Sassone-Corsi, the director of the Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism at the University of California, Irvine.
“It’s well known that by changing or disrupting our normal daily cycles, you increase your risk of many pathologies,” said Dr. Sassone-Corsi, who recently published a paper on the interplay between nutrition, metabolism and circadian rhythms.
A classic example of this is shift workers, who account for about 20 percent of the country’s work force. Many frequently work overnight shifts, forcing them to eat and sleep at odd times. Nighttime shift work is linked to obesity, diabetes, some cancers and heart disease. While socioeconomic factors are likely to play a role, studies suggest that circadian disruption can directly lead to poor health.
In one experiment, scientists found that assigning healthy adults to delay their bedtimes and wake up later than normal for 10 days — throwing their circadian rhythms and their eating patterns out of sync — raised their blood pressure and impaired their insulin and blood sugar control. Another study found that forcing people to stay up late just a few nights in a row resulted in quick weight gain and reduced insulin sensitivity, changes linked to diabetes.
(For the balance of this article please visit: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/24/well/when-we-eat-or-dont-eat-may-be-critical-for-health.html)
Creative Commons/Big Think.
Hackers working for Russia gained access to hundreds of U.S. electric utilities in 2017, according to new reports from federal officials.
The hackers, who worked for a Russian-sponsored group code-named Dragonfly or Energetic Bear, managed to infiltrate the utility networks undetected, putting themselves in a position to disrupt power flows and potentially cause blackouts, officials with the Department of Homeland Security told the Wall Street Journal.
The department, which has warned of Russia’s threat to U.S. infrastructure since 2014, said the attacks are likely still occurring.
Although the utility networks were “air gapped”—meaning not directly connected to the internet—the hackers managed to infiltrate the networks of vendors who had trusted relationships with the utilities. From there, gaining access to the utilities was a straightforward process.
Inside the utility networks, the hackers were able to harvest other sensitive information: how the networks were configured, what equipment was used, and normal operating procedures.
“They got to the point where they could have thrown switches” and disrupted power flows, said Jonathan Homer, chief of industrial-control-system analysis for DHS.
Alarmingly, the extent of the breaches is unknown because the hackers accessed the utility networks using legitimate employee credentials, which they gathered through conventional tactics like spear-phishing emails and watering-hole attacks, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“They’ve been intruding into our networks and are positioning themselves for a limited or widespread attack,” Michael Carpenter, former deputy assistant secretary of defense, told the newspaper. “They are waging a covert war on the West.”
The motive behind the state-sponsored hacks is still unclear, though the breaches suggest Russia could be in a position to cause damage and blackouts to U.S. infrastructure.
In June, the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian nationals for their alleged “sustained effort” to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks in the 2016 presidential election.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Photo BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Electric utilities aren’t the only area of U.S. infrastructure on which Russia seems to have a strategic eye. Earlier this year, reports broke of Russian submarines lurking near the underwater cables that power the internet across the Atlantic Ocean.
In conducting the underwater operations, Russians were “doing their homework and, in the event of a crisis or conflict with them, they might do rotten things to us,” Michael Kofman, a Russian military expert at nonprofit research group CNA Corp., told the Associated Press.
(For additional information and videos please visit: https://bigthink.com/stephen-johnson/russian-hackers-infiltrate-hundreds-of-us-electric-utilities-officials-report/)
By Gerard West
(Photo From National Weather Service)
Experts say that the United States is experiencing torrential rain events, not only more frequently, but that more rainfall is occurring and the problem is only getting worse.
The number of flash flood events is rising in the United States. Many of these are caused by tropical ocean waters, but many others by increasingly intense thunderstorms. Long-rising air temperatures have led to an increase in the sheer size of storms.
Warmer air holds more water and as a result, these immensely larger storms are not only dropping a massively increased amount of rain, but that rain is falling faster.
Wetter weather getting worse
Some areas are seeing records being shattered for the wettest days.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Andreas Prein, an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado said, “Things are definitely getting more extreme. You just have to look at the records. All areas of the continental U.S. have seen increases in peak rainfall rates in the past 50 years.”
“There is a chance that we are underestimating the risk, actually,” Prein added.
Heavy rain events up 71% in some areas since 1958
According to GlobalChange.gov, since 1958, most areas of the United States have seen an increase in the amount of rain falling in very heavy events. The sole exception is Hawaii, which is actually down by 12 percent.
The amount of these heavy rain events increases from West to East. In the lower western and southwestern states, the amount is only 5%. In the Pacific Northwest, the number is 12%. However, as you move to the east, the numbers continually climb. In the central United States from north to south, the increase is 16%. From there the numbers jump dramatically. In the southern and southeastern states, the increase has been 27%. In the northern and mid-central states, from Minnesota down to Missouri toward the West and Ohio toward the east, the increase has been 37%. But the most dramatic change has been from West Virginia northward all the way up to Maine, where heavy rain events have jumped an astonishing 71% in the past 60 years.
(Photo From National Weather Service)
Increase in flooding events and magnitude
Many areas have seen 1-in-1000-year storms occur that have brought about severe flooding. Statistically, this definition means there is 1/10 of a 1 percent chance in any year that such a storm will hit.
However, this past year saw Ellicott City, Maryland experience not one, but two of these rare storms in back-to-back years.
Extreme weather statistics tracked by the National Climate Assessment shows more than a quadrupling of heavy downpours since 1960.
As a result, they have also seen as much as an 18% increase in flood magnitude in many areas of the US, particularly the eastern half. To the west, there has also been an increase in flash flooding in California by 6-12 percent in some areas.
Human-caused warming at fault
According to the National Climate Association, who have posted their findings on the government website on extreme weather, the fault for the change since the 1950s is a direct result of human-caused climate change.
The website states:
“The mechanism driving these changes is well understood. Warmer air can contain more water vapor than cooler air. Global analyses show that the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere has in fact increased due to human-caused warming. This extra moisture is available to storm systems, resulting in heavier rainfalls. Climate change also alters characteristics of the atmosphere that affect weather patterns and storms.”
Airplane!, 1980, Paramount Pictures.
A Harvard study of 44 students has cohttps://bigthink.com/ned-dymoke/harvard-study-heat-slows-down-the-brain-by-13/nfirmed what each and every one of us who has ever been an adult human has learned: summer heat doesn’t help you think.
Half the students lived in a building with air conditioning, and half didn’t. They were all asked to take a cognitive assessment test on their phones right after getting up. The students with air conditioning did normally, while the students without air-conditioning, however, had 13.4% worse reaction times and coincidentally performed 13.3% worse on the cognitive tests.
The study was conducted over a 12-day period in the summer of 2016, during which there was a five-day heatwave. What’s interesting is the heat continued inside long after the outside heat left. Since many buildings are built to retain heat during the winter, they have a tendency to keep all heat in, meaning that a non-air-conditioned building can keep the heatwave going inside for sometimes up to 48 hours after the initial natural one. As someone that lived in a crappy Brooklyn building for a particularly brutal summer, I can attest to it getting up to 87ºF inside at night if you forgot to set the timer on the thermostat.
The study has socioeconomic findings, too: if you’re too poor to afford air-conditioning you might fall behind at work or at school. In fact, studies are proving this repeatedly.
America, by and large, has an obsession with A/C… 87% of American homes have A/C. There are currently 1.6 billion A/C units in the world, and that figure is expected to be five times greater by 2050 as climate change takes its toll.
(For accompanying video presentations please visit: https://bigthink.com/ned-dymoke/harvard-study-heat-slows-down-the-brain-by-13/)
Use the map or search bar to locate wildland fire and other natural resource incidents. Click a marker on the map and use the “Go to Incident” button for detailed information. From the incident page you can access announcements, closures, news, maps, and photographs from the menu below the map (on mobile phones tap the menu button).
The redesigned site has a modern layout and can be viewed from your phone, computer, or tablet.
Cog Icon for map settings Change map properties
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(View at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/)
One of the primary problems with renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, is that power gets generated when the wind or sun is available, rather than when it’s most needed. This problem would more or less disappear if the world could come up with a massive, cheap, long-lasting battery design that could be used to store power at grid-scale levels and feed it back out when required.
Lithium batteries are the current darlings (heh heh) of the electric vehicle and consumer electronics industries, due to their high performance, power density and light weight. But lithium is way too expensive a material for grid-scale storage, and when you’re talking about making batteries for a whole city, size and weight are far less important than making something super cheap, safe and reliable that will last for as long as possible. All the better if it can be made out of common and easily available materials.
Good news, then, from MIT on this front, as a team of researchers has found a cheap, effective and durable way of resurrecting an old battery idea first documented 50 years ago.
The discovery centers around molten salt batteries such as sodium/sulfur or sodium/nickel chloride designs in which electrodes are kept at high temperatures to keep them in a molten state and allow charge to transfer between them.
(For complete article see: https://newatlas.com/mit-molten-salt-battery-membrane/53085/)
Here’s a fast fact about high-conflict people: life is better when you avoid them. Bill Eddy, mediation expert and president of the High Conflict Institute, describes them not only as difficult but also potentially dangerous. So how can we avoid becoming a target in their path of destruction?
Car Hammock turns your automobile into a suspended camping lounge
This year, we made our first trip over to Germany’s Abenteuer & Allrad (Adventure & Allwheel) show. Very similar to Overland Expo, but considerably larger, Abenteuer & Allrad bills itself as the world’s largest “cross-country expo.” Most expos start when you enter the gates, but this one starts the second you step out of the car because the camp area parking lot hosts the wildest collection of otherworldly 4×4+ camping vehicles you’re likely to ever see gathered together. If you’ve ever looked at one of the six- or seven-figure expedition vehicles we’ve covered and wondered if anyone actually buys such an odd extravagance, the Abenteuer & Allrad camping lot answers with a big, fat “YES!!”
Overland Expo attracted about 14,500 visitors this year, its biggest show yet. Abenteuer & Allrad claims an average upwards of 50,000 each year. But that’s not necessarily what makes this the “biggest” show of its kind. It’s the massive expedition trucks that really put it on a scale all its own. While you will see a number of large expedition rigs riding on ‘Mogs and MAN trucks at Overland Expo, Abenteuer & Allrad is absolutely full of beastly 4×4, 6×6, even 8×8 builds, and the trucks underpinning those builds vary as widely as the designs – from Ivecos, to Steyrs, to Mowags and more.
Here are a few vehicles we particularly enjoyed stumbling into:
Gooo Travel’s green monster
Thanks to its neon-green color, hulking size and shipping container-like layout, this MAN-based machine of exploration was one of the most memorable of the camp area, if not the entire show. It got even better when we got back to the computer and realized Gooo (Get out of office) Travel, the company name that was all over the truck, is actually a new Dutch rental company – so you might actually be able to rent this beast for an ultimate adventure of your own. We don’t see this specific model listed on the website, but maybe if you send ’em the above photo and say that’s the one you want, they’ll send you a quote. If not, the company advertises similarly large expedition trucks with Bliss Mobil modules, as well as smaller vans and 4x4s.
(For the full article visit: https://newatlas.com/abenteuer-allrad-adventure-allwheel-camping-vehicles-2018/54932/)
Whether you’re cycling to the office and don’t want to arrive too sweaty and out of puff, or you just need some help getting up a steep hill, e-bikes can be a great way to get around. For many though, buying a brand new bicycle when you already have a perfectly good one just doesn’t make sense. That’s where add-ons like the Copenhagen Wheel and the Rubbee come in, transforming an existing two-wheeler into an e-bike. The latest to join the add-on kit party is UK-based Revolution Works, with the three-part Revos system.
Currently raising production funds over on Kickstarter, Revolution Works reckons that riders will be able to go from standard non-powered bicycle to pedal-assist e-bike in under 10 minutes with no special tools. The kit will come as a drive unit, a pedal-assist sensor and a battery.
(For more information on this visit: https://newatlas.com/revos-add-on-ebike-kit/54876/)
Istanbul-based Architecture and Ideas recently installed this interesting little prefabricated cabin near the Turkish/Greek border. Configured to run off-the-grid, the aptly-named Cabin on the Border can also be opened up to the outside with a large operable wall section. Read more
If You Weren’t Already Worried About Russia, You Should Be Now…!
(This is an excerpt. For the full article see: https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/21/opinions/russia-electric-grid-should-worry-americans-burke/)
Here’s a simple idea. Instead of arming teachers, let’s just give them each a rubber door wedge, available at any hardware store for about a buck. This will keep any intruder from entering a classroom and not add additional risks for anyone.
Arthur Lynn Galisteo, NM
From The Santa Fe New Mexican, 2018 Mar 19
If you have a dog, great. Dogs can definitely add another layer of protection to your home. Whether or not you actually have a dog, purchase large dog bowls to be displayed near your front and back door. This is one of the easiest and most effective home security tips I can give you. Dogs are loud. Burglars don’t want to deal with your dog. If they think it’s even possible you have one, they’ll likely skip your house and look for an easier target.
Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life by Jason Hanson, former CIA Agent. ISBN: 978-0-399-17567-1 $25.00, 255 Pages. Perigee imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Survival Theory Audiobook | Audible.com
Publisher’s Summary —
Best-selling author Jonathan Hollerman will present evidence that America as we know it could be destroyed in the near future from the loss of America’s electric grid or other societal collapse scenarios. Many preparedness “experts” severely underestimate the threat posed by millions of starving, desperate people and offer dangerous advice because of it.
This preparedness guide will help you develop a plan to escape the deadly rioting and looting, showing you where you can take your family to keep them safe, even if you can’t afford a fully-stocked survival retreat. Hollerman’s in-depth expertise and recommendations will cover many topics including bug-out bags, SHTF Weapons, tactical gear, survival tools, knives, long-term food storage, livestock, bug-out locations, survival retreat recommendations, and much more.