Monday, November 26, 2012

Worse Than an Economic Collapse: Nuclear War and Dark Ages

This article was first published on Al Fin blog

A post-nuclear war collapse of civilisation and dark ages, perhaps?

We are entering a new nuclear age -- alien to previous thinking. Smaller and smaller states are aspiring to join the nuclear club. And at least some of these new players intend to use their new toys.
World map with nuclear weapons development statusrepresented by color.
  Five "nuclear weapons states" from the NPT
  Other states known to possess nuclear weapons
  States formerly possessing nuclear weapons
  States suspected of being in the process of developing nuclear weapons and/or nuclear programs
  States which at one point had nuclear weapons and/or nuclear weapons research programs
  States that possess nuclear weapons, but have not widely adopted them
Nuclear weapons are being acquired and built by more and more nations around the world. And it is the nature of modern nuclear proliferation that almost guarantees that nuclear weapons will be used in the future.

India vs. Pakistan. North Korea vs. South Korea or Japan. Iran vs. Israel. Saudi Arabia vs. Iran. And so on, as the wheel of proliferation rolls on and on -- with the cheerful assistance of Russia (and China), and the complaisant indifference of Obama's US.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s -- and with the ongoing collapse of Russia -- there is the promise of a huge nuclear arsenal with global reach coming onto world arms markets. Massive corruption infests every part of Russia's government and military -- everything is up for grabs, if the price is right. Suddenly nations do not have to develop and build their own nuclear weapons -- they can buy them or trade gold, diamonds, or other goodies.

The United Nations is certainly a failure, in terms of controlling global conflict. Given the utter corruption of the UN, that may be for the best.

China and Russia have shown no indication of wanting to step in to promote stability -- as opposed to their traditional role of fomenting instability. And as the ability and the will of the USA to block nuclear proliferation becomes blunted by America's own growing internal corruption, international incompetence, and domestic dysfunction, the nuclear aspirants of the emerging and third worlds will come out to play.

Once the US made the decision to allow itself to grow weaker internationally -- from 2009 onward and now at a more rapid pace -- any future threats of US intervention to prevent nuclear proliferation will likely be ignored. And if the US becomes too insistent on enforcing non-proliferation treaties, the ability to unleash an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to disable the US (causing up to 90% US population casualties over one year) is coming within the easy reach of more and more of the US' enemies.

America was stunned after 9/11, with the loss of thousands of lives. New Orleans was knocked into pathetic helplessness by a tropical hurricane, and much of New York City was thrown into the dark, with rampant looting and lawlessness -- by a relatively small and transient tidal surge.

If the US power grid is knocked down by a large scale EMP attack, it would require several months at the least to restore full power. During that time, millions would die, and the US as a whole (and much of Canada) would be essentially paralysed.

And what would be happening outside North America all this time? Nothing good. With the removal of the moderating influence of the US, simmering hatreds and antagonisms would flare wildly. Europe itself would likely be the recipient of either EMP attacks or worse.

Within the dark zones, ethnic - religious - and cultural violence would ignite and spread. In the lieu of prompt intervention by well armed and organised forces, a flood of violent anarchy would flow like a bloody river.

Modern civilised people have no internal gauge or sense by which they can measure the true impact of such swiftly spreading chaotic events. And so they instinctively dismiss the possibility as absurd and impossible.

But a US growing rapidly weak and wobbly, combined with an increasingly bold and belligerent China -- and a Russia growing more desperate as it sees its future unfolding before it -- this particular evolution of the great nuclear powers along with a nuclear proliferation in the Muslim world, the third world, and the emerging world, could quickly convert the "inconceivable" into the present reality.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

And keep in mind that even the best armed and prepped personal, family, or community survival compound would be quickly overrun and destroyed by just a moderate-sized unit of the Los Zetas drug cartel para-military organisation, or the equivalent. Best think very deeply when you think "preparation," and keep your assets concealed.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Last Resort: Island Retreat Away from Zombie Horde

Tucked away on a tiny island off the Maine coast, this self-sufficient steel-clad dwelling offers exceptional protection from the distant zombie horde.
Zombies tend to cluster in and around cities -- where most of their prey can be easily found. By putting distance between yourselves and the horde, you can prolong your survival.

Islands do not provide perfect protection from zombies, since the undead cannot drown. But zombies are poor swimmers, have difficulty operating boats, and are often swept away by strong ocean and tidal currents.

The featured dwelling is covered by steel sheeting, and includes a series of steel shutters that can be rolled shut to provide extra protection in case of an inadvertent zombie breech of normal defences.
The house is situated on an tiny sleeve of rock tucked close to the water. The sturdy steel cladding was chosen for a good reason — the northern squall can be relentless. The cabin [9] has a series of rolling [zombie proof] panels that close it against the elements. When the zombies clear and the sun shines, a small solar-electric panel mounted to the southern facing roof feeds 12v DC to the batteries, which in turn power lights, a super efficient Sunfrost Refrigerator [10], and a small water pump. A large rainwater catchment tank provides more than enough water for the home, and a small on-demand water heater supplies an outdoor shower and the sink. _Inhabitat
Self sufficiency is a must in the age of zombies. Normal transportation re-supply is rapidly broken down along with police protection and civil services -- as more and more of the human infrastructure is eaten or converted to an undead state.

Don't let the zombies have the last laugh. Be prepared.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

When Space Planes Come to Town

See how engineers turned the dream of winged spaceship into reality with NASA's space shuttle in this infographic.
Source All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

And now China appears to be developing its own space plane, which is a miniature version of the USAF X-37B, which is itself a miniature version of the retired US Space Shuttle.
“Shenlong is China’s effort to develop a re-entering aerodynamic spacecraft, similar to the space shuttle or the X-37B but much smaller than either,” said Mark Gubrud of Princeton University. “However, the economic rationale for the shuttle was never realized, and it is not clear what advantages the X-37B offers the U.S. military over conventional upper stages, satellite buses and re-entry capsules.” _China Mystery Space Plane
In China, everything has a secondary military purpose, even the putative "civil" space program. But the mini-spaceplane is likely to be a pure military program. At this point it is certain to be in full catch-up mode, in an attempt not to let western space efforts get too far out in front.
Cheng said numerous scientific conferences held in China during 1988-92 saw debate about what the manned space program vehicle should look like. "Given regular People’s Liberation Army writings about the importance of space-to-ground military operations in the future, something like an X-43 [an unmanned experimental hypersonic aircraft] or X-37B would also have appeal, as a likely pathway for military purposes," Cheng said. _Space Plane China Military

Space is the military high ground, from which rocks can be thrown down the gravity well at anyone and anything. It is not surprising that China would see a military benefit in designing a VTHL spacecraft for its own strategic military reasons.

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Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Road to an Insect Powered Apocalypse

'Nature has solved the problem of how to design miniature flying machines.

'By learning those lessons, our findings will make it possible to aerodynamically engineer a new breed of surveillance vehicles that, because they are as small as insects and also fly like them, completely blend into their surroundings.'

The insect manoeuvrability which allows flies the ability to land precisely and fly off again at speed may one day prove a crucial tactical advantage in wars and could even save lives in disasters.

The military would like to develop tiny robots that can fly inside caves and barricaded rooms to send back real-time intelligence about the people and weapons inside.
It starts innocently enough. Cameras mounted on flying insects, powered by energy from the insects' wing motion.
Minute cameras and microphones mounted on the backs of beetles will help emergency services find victims trapped or buried underneath rubble.

Researchers aim to power a tiny “backpack” of sensors by “scavenging” energy from the insect’s own wing movements to help create a lasting power source. The bugs can then be released into collapsed buildings or other areas seen as too dangerous for human rescue teams.

Professor Khalil Najafi, who is developing the new technology, said the insect’s own kinetic energy would act as a battery for a variety of communication equipment. _Telegraph_via_Dvice

But slowly, the darker side of insect cyborgs shows itself. Suddenly, instead of mounting cameras on insects, we see small lasers -- even miniature rocket launchers. What was once a humanitarian effort meant to save lives, slowly morphs into a stealth assassin's secret fantasy.'s well known that scientists are experimenting with insect-electronics hybrids, resulting in some rather interesting scenarios, including remote-controlled insect drones. _Dvice
Beyond the insect drone, will come observation drones and micro-assassins too small and fast to register by the human eye. And after those deadly and diminutive dynamos more sinister nano-devices will be on their way.

"What could be more sinister than tiny stealth assassins that kill in secret silence?" We are not at liberty to discuss that issue at present. But if you are thinking clearly, you should have at least an idea. More later.

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