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Old 08-23-2010, 09:03 PM   #51
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Damage could well be less for an individual item, but it is really hard to predict.

The massive voltage buildup from across a grid occurs because the "earth ground" is a very relative issue when large voltage differentials are occurring spread over a large area. (The earth is not necessarily a good conductor when large amounts of power are involved). Your power grid melts because it is the best current path from Kansas (which may have a large positive charge from positive ions), and California, which may have had a excess of negative ions rain down on it. A million amperes at 100,000 volts between the two areas vaporizes the wires and anything near those wires, probaly many homes set afire, etc.

You also can have severe discharges occurring simply because an insulated area or object built up a charge, and then the incoming particles causing the charge buildup suddenly stop. This is the same effect that occurs when you have power on an electromagnet and then turn off the power, the collapsing local magnetic fields become a generator of their own, able to effectively fire transient "lightning bolts" of power through local equipment, metal or not.
=========

One problem with rebuilding from such an event is that our current technologies require precursor technologies, usually many levels deep. You may know all about an IC circuit from your tech book, but making one requires hordes of equipment you have no way to make. Even simple copper wire is no picnic to manufacture.

Returning to the tech level of the 1850's won't be too hard to do in a decade or two, but until we can build steam locomotives and steam engines for grinding wheat and harvesting food in quantity, it will be tough for the remaining people.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:16 PM   #52
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"No arguments, there, o6, my question (and point) is how much of this info (and people) survive "the feral times"?"
Nearly all of it. There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of individuals, organizations, governments and militaries that have made provisions to preserve important 'how to' information for just such an eventuality,
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"It could be a generation, and it certainly could be far longer-look at the Dark Ages... they didn't lift until the Renaissance, which only happened because of the Crusades and the establishment of The Silk Road across Asia, bringing new information and thinking back to Europe."
If you study the Dark Ages, you will find that your view of them is entirely wrong. It was a time of technological progress, not stagnation. There were great cities and great empires. It was mainly a time of political, not technilogical backwardness.
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"The other point here is generational memory-how much do you and I have to pass to our children, about our customs, our way of thinking, our civil society?"
In order to be viable, a new society will need renewal. I hope they reject the old political power structures and societal norms and strike out in new directions. That is what is needed. All we can do is pass onto them an ethical foundation to build upon. If they have that, the result will be good.
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"If what I described above came to pass, then I personally see a much longer recovery from a Carrington event than 20-25 years..."
If you mean back to the level of tech we have today, I agree. But I was talking about establishing a viable agricultural, industrial and economic system. Most of that will be based upon using the scrap of our former civilization. Once we have restored civilization, then human innovation and the entreprenurial spirit take over, and then two generations or so will return us to a high-tech society.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:21 PM   #53
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I had never heard of this before so I googled it.

Got a good NASA article on the subject:
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news...rringtonflare/

Interesting paragraph:

"In the 160-year record of geomagnetic storms, the Carrington event is the biggest." It's possible to delve back even farther in time by examining arctic ice. "Energetic particles leave a record in nitrates in ice cores," he explains. "Here again the Carrington event sticks out as the biggest in 500 years and nearly twice as big as the runner-up."


Once per 500 years sounds pretty rare....

In any case, just encase a gas powered generator in a Faraday cage, along with whatever electronics you value. Stock up on food and ammo, and you'll be all set to ride it out. I recommend DVD's, however, as your cable might be out.

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Old 08-23-2010, 09:51 PM   #54
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well, o6, I think most of our differences on this boil down to human nature-you're definitely into the sunnier side of society, in that people will behave the same after such an event as before, whereas I subscribe to a darker, more feral version of humanity coming to the fore. I suspect that we may be both right, at least partially-Arab scholars did preserve the old Greek writings for centuries, until the Crusaders and traders were able to bring that long-lost knowledge back to Europe. The people you describe in your last post may wind up fulfilling a similar function. My fear is that knowledge is power, and those who wish to accrete power would jealously guard that info, much like a magician never revealing how he performed his magic. And in the process of collecting power, slowing down progress.

FD hammered home a point I was trying to make earlier-today's tech was built on decades (if not centuries) of previous tech, and if the legs were knocked out from under our technology, you would have to rebuild it from square one-sure, there's likely to be at least some of the tech still around and viable, but it's going to take a long time to piece it together well enough to make it work like something we recognize...

Another point back on the copper wire-most of us have seen fairly large transformers at substations, the transformers at the power stations are quite a bit larger. One of the articles I read mentioned that in a large, Carrington-style event, 300 of these transformers in the US would be destroyed, effectively crippling the power grid. There's only a few of these transformers available as spares (WAG says maybe 2 dozen) and it can take a year just to build one, assuming you have the power, people and materials at hand to do it. To ramp up production to replace all the blown trannys could easily take 10 years, again assuming materials and power were in place to do so. One of those materials is copper wire. In the case of power station transformers, I'd guess some pretty specialized copper wire. Which almost certainly is in short supply now, considering the price of copper the last couple years.

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Old 08-23-2010, 10:04 PM   #55
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I don`t think that those whooping huge transformers are even made in the USA these days.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:20 PM   #56
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"well, o6, I think most of our differences on this boil down to human nature-you're definitely into the sunnier side of society, in that people will behave the same after such an event as before...."
If I had said that, you might have a point. Of course, I did not.
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".... whereas I subscribe to a darker, more feral version of humanity coming to the fore."
If you want an instructive historical example, study what happened after the Black Death killed off over a third of the population of Europe.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:31 PM   #57
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I was reading what you wrote, and it implied that things would work out mol for the best, which knowing your past writings is mostly not the case... sorry if I seemed to say something else

The Black Death is a pretty good example of human behavior at the worst of times, I will agree to that.

Cactus AZ, not sure, but I think most of those huge power trannys are still made in the USA, though there certainly are foreign makes. Gut feeling says these are all custom-made for each plant (they might have a "standard" model that's tweaked to each plant). Biggest problem is moving these things-even the ones you see at a substation weigh several tons, and the plant trannys are several orders of magnitude larger, not exactly something you can easily load onto a container ship.

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Old 08-23-2010, 10:37 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by flourbug View Post
Shalym, every city has a civil defense evacuation plan. The roads are one way only and you are supposed to go to a designated city about 50-100 miles away. NYC would most likely be evacuated north past Albany, into eastern Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, west of Philly. You may not have a choice where, when it is time to go.
I was just wondering if people from the NYC area would be coming my way...I'm about 100 miles away in NW CT...so from what you guys are saying, I'll probably be fine--I have food, and a well, and a wood stove and alternative power sources. It wouldn't be comfortable, but I don't think I would be among the "dead in 3 days" scenario--I was more worried about being inundated with refugees.

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Old 08-23-2010, 10:59 PM   #59
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one thing that keeps coming back to me... I'll say it, then will shut up about this...

we talk a lot about how this affects long transmission lines, and how it will fry out transformers, etc. but one of the things that strikes me is-how will this affect smaller generators and motors? think for second... there were NO electric motors or generators during the Carrington Event, neither had been invented yet. The telegraph lines were run by batteries only. What is to say that the solar storm wouldn't burn out an electric motor or generator?

There are miles of copper wire inside your average electric motor, focused around a set of magnets. The EMP from a Carrington-level event was enough to fry out telegraph systems, which are far simpler devices that also have far less copper wire in them (except for the transmission lines). Methinks the EMP would generate a whole lot of current in said electric motors, generators, etc. heating them up and burning through the insulation, and in some cases, actually melting them (as happened in the 1989 storm).

Now, apply this to your car, with its alternator (just another name for a generator). You're not going to get far if your car has to use it's battery to provide the electric power needed to run the car (maybe a couple miles-been there, done that). So, you're stuck, until you can get another alternator (and probably a new computer, etc.) and that's assuming the one on the shelf at the parts store didn't get toasted in the storm too... remember, it has magnets, and electrical potential (as do all metallic objects).

Tesla demonstrated power transmitted wirelessly, using a coil to capture energy beamed to it (like a radio antenna), what's not to say that ANY coiled wire could behave the same way?

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Old 08-23-2010, 11:07 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by penguinzee View Post
one thing that keeps coming back to me... I'll say it, then will shut up about this...

we talk a lot about how this affects long transmission lines, and how it will fry out transformers, etc. but one of the things that strikes me is-how will this affect smaller generators and motors? think for second... there were NO electric motors or generators during the Carrington Event, neither had been invented yet. The telegraph lines were run by batteries only. What is to say that the solar storm wouldn't burn out an electric motor or generator?

There are miles of copper wire inside your average electric motor, focused around a set of magnets. The EMP from a Carrington-level event was enough to fry out telegraph systems, which are far simpler devices that also have far less copper wire in them (except for the transmission lines). Methinks the EMP would generate a whole lot of current in said electric motors, generators, etc. heating them up and burning through the insulation, and in some cases, actually melting them (as happened in the 1989 storm).

Now, apply this to your car, with its alternator (just another name for a generator). You're not going to get far if your car has to use it's battery to provide the electric power needed to run the car (maybe a couple miles-been there, done that). So, you're stuck, until you can get another alternator (and probably a new computer, etc.) and that's assuming the one on the shelf at the parts store didn't get toasted in the storm too... remember, it has magnets, and electrical potential (as do all metallic objects).

Tesla demonstrated power transmitted wirelessly, using a coil to capture energy beamed to it (like a radio antenna), what's not to say that ANY coiled wire could behave the same way?

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Probably the only way to protect a vehicle would be to put it into a grounded shipping container. As you say there are just too many coils and such to be affected such as coil packs, selonoids, motors of various sorts (starter, cooling fan, wiper, blower etc.)
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:47 PM   #61
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This discussion is going a lot of different (but interesting) directions, so I'll add a few random comments regarding all of them.

First of all, whether it's every 100 years or every 500 years, it still is the kind of event that can plausibly happen in any given lifetime. For example, if it's once every 500 years, that means that it has about a one in seven chance of happening in any given lifetime, which seems to me to be enough of a risk to do at least some rudimentary planning and preparation. There's less than a one in seven chance of being in a serious car accident, in a plane crash, or many other things. Even though those things are relatively unlikely, lives can be saved by taking some steps to prevent or ameliorate the effects of those events.

As for the effects on individual devices, it still seems very implausible that all or even most discrete devices would be damaged, even with lack of preparation. So a car sitting in a garage probably won't be damaged, since it doesn't have a sufficient "antenna" connected to it to induce a sufficiently large voltage to cause damage.
Now, even if I'm wrong, and every piece of copper wire in the nation is melted into a heap of slag, then there's still a chunk of copper sitting there that can be reworked. Of course, that's very implausible, so the worst case scenario is that there are broken pieces of copper wire lying about where motors and generators used to be. Repair wouldn't be an easy prospect, but some would be recoverable, even in a worst-case scenario.

So getting thrown back to the stone age seems quite unlikely. In fact, even mechanized agriculture could be recreated. Virtually every home in America has at least one internal combustion engine sitting in the garage, containing no electronics, and very simple electrical ignition, namely, a lawnmower. The availability of such engines would ensure that within a few years, some rudimentary mechanized agriculture would be possible, which would be superior to anything used in the 19th Century. Yes, fuel is necessary, but the small quantities required for mechanized agriculture could be refined, or even distilled from grain.

Yes, millions of people would die before production could get back to 19th Century levels, but it would not represent a permanent dark age. Certainly, some motor vehicles would survive, and these could also be put into service for mechanized agriculture and other vital uses. No, you wouldn't be able to drive down to McDonald's for lunch, but a 19th Century level of technology could be recreated quite readily with the scraps of the existing society.

Also, there would almost certainly be some pockets of modern technology that would survive. At least a few places, through either good luck or taking parts of the grid offline during the event, would have functional power plants, and a few of these would be near sources of fuel such as coal, which could be mined in a more labor intensive fashion.

Of course, whether they are benevolent or malevolent, these pockets of civilization would not be able to rescue the rest of the earth. But they would certainly be places where some modern technology would survive.

Finally, I do want to reiterate that this thread has nothing whatsoever to do with "2012". This type of event is possible that year, but it's just as possible any other year.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:51 PM   #62
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"The Black Death is a pretty good example of human behavior at the worst of times, I will agree to that."
I think you missed my point. I am talking about what happened *after* the Black Death. There was an explosion of commerce and innovation in Europe, which in very significant ways contributed to the beginning of the Renaissance period. Megadeath has a way of focusing societies on rebuilding and renewal. It is like a forest fire that burns off all of the deadwood leading to a profusion of new growth.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:59 PM   #63
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Yes, the dark ages really weren't that dark, and the black death encouraged the invention of a lot of labor saving devices, because there was suddenly a lack of labor.

The Roman Empire had some innovations early on. But they had plenty of slave labor, and the availability of slave labor tends to eliminate the need for innovation. So their technology was very stagnant. The Romans never would have gotten around to inventing a steam engine, because they didn't have need for one--they had slaves to do the heavy lifting.

They had some innovation in military tools, since they needed those to get more slaves. So, for example, they probably would have eventually gotten around to inventing gunpowder or something similar.

Much of that innovation came during the "dark ages". So while there wasn't a lot in the way of art and music, the plows at the end of the "dark ages" were vastly superior to the ones at the beginning of the "dark ages", as one example. If you didn't have slaves to pull the thing, then you had to worry more about doing it right with the labor that you did have.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:43 AM   #64
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There was an explosion of commerce and innovation in Europe, which in very significant ways contributed to the beginning of the Renaissance period. Megadeath has a way of focusing societies on rebuilding and renewal. It is like a forest fire that burns off all of the deadwood leading to a profusion of new growth.
The Black Death also dealt a huge blow to faith in The Church and clergy - from which The Church has never quite recovered. Humanism followed and then, naturally, the scientific method. Which is precisely why we will not go back to the Dark Ages. Once the genie is out of the bottle, you can't put him back in. That's not to say it wouldn't cause epic disaster and mass starvation, just that we are not suddenly going to go back a feudal society or other pre-industrial state of affairs.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:41 AM   #65
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Just a few tid-bits of info....
-No, there are not any mfgrs of power station type transformers in the US now. They are all custom made [for each installation] over seas.
-As far as I know a nuclear EMP has 3 stages of damage; the first is very rapid and will destroy most electronics not very seriously protected [excellent faraday enclosures, etc. An ammo can is NOT a FC unless the rubber gasket is replaced with a conductive gasket which makes excellent electrical contact along the entire seam. etc.]
-stage 2 is slower [millisecs vs microsecs] and some what less destructive. Not sure what the mechanism[s] is/are.
-third stage, "E3", is what gets long power lines.

-I don't think a CME has the "E1" effect, may not have the "E2" either. But certainly has the "E3" effect.

So, a nuc. EMP and CME are not the same, but share some characteristics.

Both of these topics are ones I've been studying. I can't find the relative articles, just now, that would help a lot with these questions. I'll try to find them & post links, etc.

Wynn
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:36 AM   #66
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If the CME lasts for days, can it efect the earths metal core that gives us the magnetic protection from the plasma hitting us? What if the magnet shuts down for an hour during a CME, would we all be toast?
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:07 AM   #67
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what ?
changing the Earths magnetization, that sounds
totally unrealitic to me
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:56 AM   #68
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I can hardly believe that ridiculous article has stirred up such a frenzy here.

From the original post.....

Quote:
NASA is warning this week that a solar storm currently underway on the surface of the sun is projected to hit earth in 2012.
NASA made no such prediction, in fact never even mentioned the date of 2012. That reference in the article and repeated here is a lie.

Read the year and a half old informational NASA release on which the article pretended to be based.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news...espaceweather/

The only reference to a timetable is this...

Quote:
At the moment, no one knows when the next super solar storm will erupt. It could be 100 years away or just 100 days.
Our major vulnerability is in the electrical supply grid because of its interconnectedness........

Quote:
According to the report, power grids may be more vulnerable than ever. The problem is interconnectedness. In recent years, utilities have joined grids together to allow long-distance transmission of low-cost power to areas of sudden demand.
There are steps that can be taken to reduce that vulnerability........

Quote:
What's the solution? The report ends with a call for infrastructure designed to better withstand geomagnetic disturbances, improved GPS codes and frequencies, and improvements in space weather forecasting. Reliable forecasting is key. If utility and satellite operators know a storm is coming, they can take measures to reduce damage—e.g., disconnecting wires, shielding vulnerable electronics, powering down critical hardware. A few hours without power is better than a few weeks.
Efforts to better understand the phenomena and to predict an occurrence are ongoing......

Quote:
NASA has deployed a fleet of spacecraft to study the sun and its eruptions. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the twin STEREO probes, ACE, Wind and others are on duty 24/7. NASA physicists use data from these missions to understand the underlying physics of flares and geomagnetic storms; personnel at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center use the findings, in turn, to hone their forecasts.
Also, long range power transmission with intricate interconnectedness will soon be diminishing.

Could such an event wreak havoc in the world? Yes, and if we are concerned we should support research and planning to deal with it. We should also support research and planning to deal with all of the many potential doomsday possibilities such as plagues and asteroid collisions.

If we must obsess on a personal level, the obvious steps to reduce surge damage such as Flourbug & Jason recently experienced are in order. The big difference is that the problem would be ongoing over a period of time and disconnecting ourselves from the grid would be the best thing to do. Every electrical service has a main breaker. There will be plenty of timely warning.

That isn't enough to quell your paranoia? Well don't start wrapping your little world in aluminum foil. Take a piece of foil to your refrigerator and put it under one of your little magnets. The reduction of magnetism will be no more than for a similar thickness of paper.

Just have to do more? Use your old refrigerators and freezers. Stack all your precious electronics on the convenient shelves. Install quick disconnects on all electrical connections. When the warning comes, close the door.

And by all means keep your tinfoil hats ready.

OH
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:26 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by wynnsol View Post
Just a few tid-bits of info....
-No, there are not any mfgrs of power station type transformers in the US now. They are all custom made [for each installation] over seas.
-As far as I know a nuclear EMP has 3 stages of damage; the first is very rapid and will destroy most electronics not very seriously protected [excellent faraday enclosures, etc. An ammo can is NOT a FC unless the rubber gasket is replaced with a conductive gasket which makes excellent electrical contact along the entire seam. etc.]
-stage 2 is slower [millisecs vs microsecs] and some what less destructive. Not sure what the mechanism[s] is/are.
-third stage, "E3", is what gets long power lines.

-I don't think a CME has the "E1" effect, may not have the "E2" either. But certainly has the "E3" effect.

So, a nuc. EMP and CME are not the same, but share some characteristics.

Both of these topics are ones I've been studying. I can't find the relative articles, just now, that would help a lot with these questions. I'll try to find them & post links, etc.

Wynn
Here's a link to the EMP Commission: http://www.empcommission.org/

It contains the National Critical Infrastructure Report (7MB pdf) and testimony before the House Armed Services Committee (July 10, 2008)
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:41 AM   #70
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p:I think you missed my point. I am talking about what happened *after* the Black Death. There was an explosion of commerce and innovation in Europe, which in very significant ways contributed to the beginning of the Renaissance period. Megadeath has a way of focusing societies on rebuilding and renewal. It is like a forest fire that burns off all of the deadwood leading to a profusion of new growth.
Ahh, point taken... been too damn busy with all the housing crap to catch that particular subtlety...

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Old 03-07-2011, 07:26 PM   #71
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National Geographic's take on Carrington--

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...event-science/
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