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UK In Danger From Electromagnetic Bomb, Says Defense Secretary

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the dastardly-soviets dept.

The Military 268

judgecorp writes "Britain must build defenses against an EMP bomb, the UK Secretary of Defense Phillip Hammond told a conference today. Electromagnetic Pulse devices mimic the result of a solar flare or a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere, creating a storm of electromagnetic radiation, which can break mobile networks and satellite systems. Any preparation for solar storms must also consider the possibility of deliberate electromagnetic events, warns Hammond."

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US and UK, best friends forever (4, Insightful)

HighTechDev (2639159) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002807)

It's funny how similar (and crazy) both US and UK are while rest of the world lives in peace.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (5, Funny)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002833)

This will take needed money from the initiatives to protect the country from zombies, aliens and robots.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002881)

Especially robots. The threat of an electromagnetic bomb is the only reason they haven't attacked yet. They'll revolt the moment this threat is neutralized.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002899)

.. they should find more bee hives and put a finger in them ...

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003367)

son who moded it down:

Truth hurts bro?

If you are not a believer then learn about Newton's 3rd law.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (4, Insightful)

zippo01 (688802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002915)

What is your supporting evidence that the rest of the world is living in peace? Syria? Libya? North Korea? Iran? Or some combination of all of them?

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002949)

What is your supporting evidence that the rest of the world is living in peace? Syria? Libya? North Korea? Iran? Or some combination of all of them?

Not Slibkiran !?! Kim Jong Gadaffi will be furious!

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (5, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002957)

What is your supporting evidence that the rest of the world is living in peace? Syria? Libya? North Korea? Iran? Or some combination of all of them?

There are other countries too. Cherrypicking the 4 unsafest countries is not going to convince me that the world is at war.

Anyway, I am not buying the latest scaremongering story that demands we spend more on defense.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (4, Insightful)

zippo01 (688802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003185)

There are many levels between war and peace. I never said the world was at war, but it's not at peace.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (-1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003215)

What is your supporting evidence that the rest of the world is living in peace? Syria? Libya? North Korea? Iran? Or some combination of all of them?

There are other countries too. Cherrypicking the 4 unsafest countries is not going to convince me that the world is at war.

Anyway, I am not buying the latest scaremongering story that demands we spend more on defense.

The "world" has not been at war since 1945. While I may agree with you with regards to certain "scarmongering" tactics here, the world has been far from "safe" for quite a long time, and this list is hardly cherrypicking. These damn countries listed practically invented warfare, and the overall instability of their leaders is what makes people panic and come up with anti-EMP defense strategies.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003499)

These damn countries listed practically invented warfare

You mean humanity did not know warfare before either of {Syria, Libya, North Korea, Iran} came into being? You're funny.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003327)

What's unsafe about Iran? And why is it not peaceful? I don't remember Iran invading other countries and building military bases all over the world.

Get a fucking clue.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003427)

What's especially ironic is that Iran had a democratically elected government until it was deposed of by the US in operation Ajax.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003121)

Good point! Clearly Syria should also have invested in anti-electomagnetic bomb technology then they wouldn't be in this mess.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003299)

Let's see:

* Syria hasn't started any wars that I know of. It is, however, being threatened with war by the US, UK, and France.
* Libya didn't start any wars, either. It was attacked by the US, UK, and France.
* North Korea is ruled by a dictator who oppresses his people but hasn't started any wars.
* Iran hasn't started any wars but has certainly been attacked by a US proxy.

So what does that tell us about which countries want to live in peace, and which ones don't?

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003373)

what a pity that I don't have mods, I would give all of it to you.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003401)

Syria: civil war.
Libya: civil war.
North Korea: The new dictator hasn't had any time to start wars but under the previous dictator, a South Korean warship was blown up while standing in international waters. That's an a act of war.
Iran: Finance several groups that conduct war actions against other countries, thus engaging in war by proxies.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002995)

The rest of the world lives in peace?

You're delusional, my good chap.

There are genocides in Africa, civil unrest and brutal crushing of riots across the largely dictator-led Middle East and North Africa, Israel-Palestine conflict, drug fueled organized crime in Central and South America threatening to tear countries apart, China and India crushing and slowly eradicating Tibet and Nepal, tribal warfare, civil war in tribal areas of Pakistan, in South Philippines, genocide in West Papua.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (3, Informative)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003019)

It's funny how similar (and crazy) both US and UK are while rest of the world lives in peace.

This world in peace features another two States with a long history of warmongering, China and Russia, a whole continent (Africa) in which armed conflicts occurred perpetually for most of the last 50 years, a latent nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan (and China) over Kashmir, as well as actual and latent wars across the Middle East. I'd add Columbia and Mexico, but one could conceivably argue that these are small guerrilla conflicts.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (3, Insightful)

AngryOldGuy (2639471) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003137)

Could you please citate any real warmongering that China or Russia have done? My understanding is that they have only cared about their internal politics. Only when threat from the US has arisen they have had the need to answer.

For me, both China and Russia seem much more peaceful than US.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003175)

Can you say Chechnya? Azerbaijan? How about Tibet? The current issues in Nepal?

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003275)

Chechnya is an internal matter. Azerbaijan has nothing to do with Russia. You can make a case about Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003193)

Could you please citate any real warmongering that China or Russia have done? My understanding is that they have only cared about their internal politics. Only when threat from the US has arisen they have had the need to answer.

your ignorance is astounding - China has been allied with the US against Russia to start with

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (3, Insightful)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003057)

Seriously, are all the threats realistic, or does the UK government suffer from a paranoid syndrome? At least once a week /. exposes a new plan in the UK to a) add cameras somewhere b) spy/censor Internet c) control this or that and now d) defense against EMPs.
The coming Olympics are maybe an excuse^w reason? Or maybe we should prohibit the 8 seasons of Jack Bauer / 24 to be sold in the UK?

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (1, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003213)

Seriously, are all the threats realistic, or does the UK government suffer from a paranoid syndrome? At least once a week /. exposes a new plan in the UK to a) add cameras somewhere b) spy/censor Internet c) control this or that and now d) defense against EMPs. The coming Olympics are maybe an excuse^w reason? Or maybe we should prohibit the 8 seasons of Jack Bauer / 24 to be sold in the UK?

We have a lot of Muslims who's self-confessed aim is to destroy the state. The threat is real. The question is whether the defences are proportionate and effective. For example an EMP bomb is not really the Muslims style - not enough blood and gore to satisfy their love of violence. On the other hand they might use it to add confusion in combination with other attacks.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003365)

So muslim terrorists are now anarchists? Logically taken to it's conclusion free market fundamentalism results in anarchism. As disciples of this church the UK's current leadership must agree on many things with this "real" threat. Both groups certainly enjoy blowing up people that never did them any harm. Shall I expect to see Sana'a tailors start to run up pairs of EMP underpants? Above all don't tell anybody that an EMP weapon would require a power supply the size of a truck and still have a limited range.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003227)

Seriously, are all the threats realistic

Um, no. The amount of energy needed to generate a worthwhile EMP is in the nuclear bomb/solar flare range.

If you're a terrorist with that much energy in a transportable package the last thing you'll be thinking of doing with it is taking out a couple of cellphone towers.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003417)

Why are you even modded insightful when you're just plain wrong is beyond me.

Um, no. The amount of energy needed to generate a worthwhile EMP is in the nuclear bomb/solar flare range.

Less. With EMP bomb, unlike a nuke, you don't waste energy to generate EMR in all the spectrum, with all the unneeded parts like visible light, IR and UV, and heat up surroundings to rather uncomfortable temperatures.

And there's a lot more targets for a terrorist with EMP device than cell towers - how about hospital losing all electronic devices at once, or a bit of traffic jam, or power grid problems, or ?..

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003207)

It's funny how similar (and crazy) both US and UK are while rest of the world lives in peace.

Yes its a shame we are not like those peaceful Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, the Sudan, etc.

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003267)

Speak for yourself. I live in permanent dread of unicorn farts, and I demand my government do something about this threat! Cut the education and health budget, we need the money!

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003411)

You have nothing to worry about unless you're a virgin. Oh, wait, this is Slashdot. Never mind.....

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (2)

bpsbr_ernie (1121681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003495)

Why? They smell like Skittles...

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003369)

Oh ya, theres peace in Africa with all the daily killings. China isn't having a pissing match either right now. But lets not forget Iran. Or perhaps India and Pakistan. Just to name a few.

But, you're right, it's ONY the US and the UK. Everyone else is peaceful...

fuked (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003477)

what they don't realise is that the paranoia bomb was dropped years ago and the enemy won

Re:US and UK, best friends forever (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003479)

Yes, but I'd like to point out that any country with much more than electricity has a reason to fear an EMP bomba.
Someone should point out to Hammond that the sky is falling too, then England could erect a giant umbrella in addition to putting up lead plate over every building with an electric outlet stuck in the wall.

EMP Bombs? Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002809)

So they've built an EMP bomb which doesn't require setting off a nuclear bomb as well?

Why don't we start worrying that the UK is ineffectively protected against ray-guns and lightsabers as well?

Re:EMP Bombs? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002849)

and aliens :)

Re:EMP Bombs? Really? (4, Informative)

mlush (620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003111)

So they've built an EMP bomb which doesn't require setting off a nuclear bomb as well?

Why don't we start worrying that the UK is ineffectively protected against ray-guns and lightsabers as well?

Yes [wikipedia.org]

Re:EMP Bombs? Really? (5, Informative)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003481)

Maybe you should read what you linked?

The range of NNEMP weapons (non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse bombs) is severely limited compared to nuclear EMP. This is because nearly all NNEMP devices used as weapons require chemical explosives as their initial energy source, but nuclear explosives have an energy yield on the order of one million times that of a chemical explosive.

In fact, weaponized NNEMPs are only possible for surgical strikes at strategic locations. These are typically hard to access; if terrorists can get to them, EMPs are the least of your worries.

To paraphrase: if terrorists in a western country had 1000 kg of explosives sitting around, they wouldn't use it as an EMP.

Re:EMP Bombs? Really? (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003131)

So they've built an EMP bomb which doesn't require setting off a nuclear bomb as well?

Why don't we start worrying that the UK is ineffectively protected against ray-guns and lightsabers as well?

And plants! Do not underestimate the triffids or the Happening. Though plants could be our allies against the zombies and we should treat them politely.

Yay fearmongering (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002811)

Has anyone, anywhere, managed to build a serious one yet? One you can actually deploy without also triggering a nuclear holocaust in the process? Because in that case we have bigger problems than a few fried bits of kit.

Re:Yay fearmongering (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002891)

Has anyone, anywhere, managed to build a serious one yet? One you can actually deploy without also triggering a nuclear holocaust in the process? Because in that case we have bigger problems than a few fried bits of kit.

Actually my analysis would be that the UK have discovered that the Yanks have developed a working EMP bomb and this is the Brits way of acknowledging that they are genuinely worried about being attacked by the USA.

Re:Yay fearmongering (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002941)

Has anyone, anywhere, managed to build a serious one yet? One you can actually deploy without also triggering a nuclear holocaust in the process? Because in that case we have bigger problems than a few fried bits of kit.

Actually my analysis would be that the UK have discovered that the Yanks have developed a working EMP bomb and this is the Brits way of acknowledging that they are genuinely worried about being attacked by the USA.

Yes, but nobody told MI-6 that "Ocean's Eleven" was not a documentary.

Re:Yay fearmongering (1)

oobayly (1056050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003065)

They're working off the basis that "Die Hard with a Vengeance" was a documentary about liquid binary explosives.

Re:Yay fearmongering (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002931)

Has anyone, anywhere, managed to build a serious one yet? One you can actually deploy without also triggering a nuclear holocaust in the process? Because in that case we have bigger problems than a few fried bits of kit.

There are some small scale versions but I think the bigger reasons to research protective measures would be natural events (like solar flares) or the fear of an rogue nuclear device. The later is rather improbable (apart from the primary issues of having a nuke exploding in a major city) and the later usually not strong enough to cause widespread serious damage. Still it might be a field worth at in order to protect sensitive and expensive electronics.
The military grade EMP hardened chips provide probably more protection than you really need and are much slower and more expensive than standard industrial grade hardware.
Car analogy: A reinforced frame, airbags and seat belts provide enough protection for the more common scenarios, even though driving a tank would offer more.

Re:Yay fearmongering (3, Interesting)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003357)

Solar flares are very different from EMP, as the change in field is much slower, so it mostly effects transmission lines, not computers.

Re:Yay fearmongering (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003125)

There was one tested many decades ago in the Pacific, the findings were roughly that one EMP could Snake Plissken North America.

Re:Yay fearmongering (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003169)

Has anyone, anywhere, managed to build a serious one yet? One you can actually deploy without also triggering a nuclear holocaust in the process? Because in that case we have bigger problems than a few fried bits of kit.

Non Nuclear EMP bombs [howstuffworks.com] do exsit. How easy it is to make one in your garage is another matter sill your right about a bigger problems than a few fried bits of kit. pop off one of those next to any big Stock Markets could shut it down for days or weeks. perhaps cause enough economic damage push over an already unstable economy.

Re:Yay fearmongering (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003389)

Wouldn't frying the stock marker help the economy?

explosively pumped flux compression generator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002817)

nuff said

I wonder if.... (1)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002843)

The defence secretaries Netflix account shows Ocean's 11 as recently watched.

Re:I wonder if.... (1)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002887)

And Small Soldiers. He's terrified that we'll also be attacked by toy soldiers with military grade microchips too.

Re:I wonder if.... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002913)

Has he bought a tinfoil hat recently? To protect his useless brain from EMP.

Seriously who is going to detonate an EMP over UK? That'll piss off nearby countries like France and Ireland too. A country crazy enough to do it better be prepared for a nuclear response.

And if "the terrorists" can get hold of a massive EMP device why wouldn't they get hold of a nuke instead and nuke UK? A mass EMP weapon has to be detonated in the atmosphere, which requires a missile or high-altitude balloon, either requires a lot more gear and dependencies than nuking a city.

Re:I wonder if.... (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003099)

Seriously who is going to detonate an EMP over UK? That'll piss off nearby countries like France and Ireland too. A country crazy enough to do it better be prepared for a nuclear response.

Beware the green clovers wrath: drunken brawling, green rivers and red haired tap-dancers. The reason Hulk is green is not the gamma rays but his Irish inheritance.
Seriously once you pissed of England (owns nukes), France (owns nukes) and probably the rest of Nato (more nukes) enough for a nuclear payback, Ireland (no nukes) should be the least of your worries.

Re:I wonder if.... (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002985)

Or "Goldeneye", in which the bad guy targets the City of London with an EMP weapon in order to bring about financial meltdown.

Re:I wonder if.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003009)

coincidentally Oceans 11 was on national tv at 10.30 pm just 2 nights ago

We're in danger from everything and we need (5, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002845)

..an infinite amount of money to protect us.

Seriously. If the ministry of defence thinks we need to protect from this they can evaluate it up against other threats and spend their existing money accordingly.

Re:We're in danger from everything and we need (3, Funny)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002877)

Exactly. This money should be spent preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

Re:We're in danger from everything and we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003071)

Uuuuuurrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!!

Re:We're in danger from everything and we need (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003015)

Let me explain something to you.

A few years ago a substantial part of the research division of the Ministry of Defence was privatised (!) as a mysterious firm called "Qinetiq" and now much of it belongs to US businesses (!!). This research arm then sells back to the MoD at a profit.

The absurd arrangement means that a great part of the MoD's remit is now to provide corporate welfare to the US "defense" industry. If the MoD say they need something, what they actually mean is that one of their friends is selling something.

If you thought that the US government was corrupt, they are nothing on the UK. Over the last fifteen years our government's only progress has been a year on year increase in the amount of money it channels to private businesses.

Re:We're in danger from everything and we need (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003077)

ministry of defence

Don't confuse the minister and the ministry. The MoD can be a bit useless at times, but they're not generally publicly moonbat-crazy. They leave that to the elected officials.

Damn it! (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002847)

I just washed the last load of skidmarks out...

That's easy,,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002855)

Just ban all electronic devices.

Re:That's easy,,,, (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002893)

We just need to go back to vacuum tube tech.

I expect typical british responce... (2)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002857)

Although I am not sure where will they place CCTV cameras this time?

Re:I expect typical british responce... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002965)

In the event of an EMP disaster all lamp posts will be manned by a government sketch artist...

Re:I expect typical british responce... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003025)

Hanged by angry mobs or operating as ersatz cameras?

Re:I expect typical british responce... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003461)

Equipped with these [wikipedia.org] EMP-proof devices

Non nuclear (5, Informative)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002859)

It's possible to generate an EMP without nuclear detonation using an 'explosively pumped flux compression generator'. It's range is limited compared that of an nuclear generated EMP.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_pulse#Non-nuclear_electromagnetic_pulse [wikipedia.org]

Re:Non nuclear (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003033)

explosively pumped flux capacitor^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hompressor. DAMNIT, so close!

Films again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002861)

Now they have seen Oceans 11 they think it's a documentary, just like the Die Hard with the liquid bombs.

I expect we will see the need to defend against alien invasion and men with dangerously large penis's (just what is the plural of penis), though I guess that's what the body scanners are for.

Really? (1)

divide overflow (599608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002867)

Would he really require having replacement parts for every functioning semiconductor device, or having to build a Faraday cage around every interconnected semiconductor device...or maybe just revert to the use of vacuum tubes and relays?

Re:Really? (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002945)

Even if you where truly paranoid, a safely stored replacement system for some key infrastructures would do. Which wouldn't be such a bad idea anyway.

Obvious solution (4, Funny)

detritus. (46421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002869)

We must attack the Sun because it hates our freedom, our way of life and wants to destroy us.

Re:Obvious solution (2)

Sesostris III (730910) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003315)

We must attack the Sun because it hates our freedom, our way of life and wants to destroy us.

Well, the ex-editor of the Sun has just been charged with 'perverting the course of justice' so I suppose that the attack is well underway!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18062485 [bbc.co.uk]

(Yes I know it's a different 'Sun' but I couldn't resist!).

Third World Standards Infrastructures (2)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002885)

" UK In Danger of Having Third World Standards Infrastructures "

There, fixed the title. A chance our taxpayers money is wisely spent to upgrade London in the wake of the Olympic Games.

News! Defence sec. says spend money on defence! (3, Funny)

fantomas (94850) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002889)

Breaking news at 11! UK Defence secretary says we must spend more money on defence and other military things! Demands greater slice of government budget!

Coming up shortly on this channel - Health minister argues more must be spent on hospitals, Rural Affairs spokesman demands urgent spending on rural schools, says education of rural kids being neglected.

Re:News! Defence sec. says spend money on defence! (3, Funny)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002905)

This sounds like a warped expansion pack for simcity.

Re:News! Defence sec. says spend money on defence! (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002927)

Actually, a defence secretary arguing for defence is pretty fucking rare. Normally they like to start completely pointless wars which achieve nothing.

Re:News! Defence sec. says spend money on defence! (2)

u38cg (607297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003023)

In fairness, Phil Hammond is by no means a desktop warrior. He's managed to rein in the MOD budget, something I didn't think I'd ever see. And he certainly doesn't come across as someone who enjoys playing soldiers.

Re:News! Defence sec. says spend money on defence! (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003113)

He's managed to rein in the MOD budget,

Um yeah.

For some reason, the MoD is required by successive governments to hurl money ar BAe systems, despite barely counting as a UK company these days, and other large, expensive purchases like the Eurofighter and F35 are all politically made.

What he's managed to do is cut all the useful stuff whilee still burning huge amounts of money on the insanely expensive political contracts.

Re:News! Defence sec. says spend money on defence! (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003333)

Strategic purchases are almost inevitably wrong, but they still need to be made or when the next real shooting war starts we'll have no defence manufacturing capability at all. Depends on your definition of useful, of course. Much as I lament the loss of regiments, new infantry batallions can be spun up in months. New carrier? Don't plan to fight a war before the 2020s.

Re:News! Defence sec. says spend money on defence! (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003489)

Strategic purchases are almost inevitably wrong, but they still need to be made or when the next real shooting war starts we'll have no defence manufacturing capability at all.

Certainly, but that is the problem with these purchases. BAe is a global corporation which does relatively little in the UK any more. The Eurofighter is made all over Europe, which would make it very hard to start tolling off units in a more compact area, should the need arrive. The F35 is even worse in that regard.

As for the carriers, well, it seems to be throwing good money after baf to have BAe involved: they subcontract almost everything anyway. Apparently according to those clowns, it will cost nearly as much as the carrier itself to fit the EM CATOBAR system to a carrier designed to have a CATOBAR system.

But, BAe has a lot of voices in Whitehall.

TL;DR, strategic purchases (airtcraft carriers, aircraft and deterrent subs) are entirely nercessary, but the successive governments are determined to purchase them from clowns.

Pedant's corner (4, Insightful)

Sesostris III (730910) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002921)

Apologies for being pedantic, but it's 'Defence' in the UK, not 'Defense'. The article got it right.

Don't worry! (1)

Spottywot (1910658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002935)

James Bond will save us, and besides, that supervillian is just waiting to make a few international transfers to a bank account in Belize opened in the name of his dog before the device goes off. Who's the main suspect? Half the British government actually (and Harry Rednapp).

New Country Same Shit (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002997)

Newt Gingrich and company have been scaremongering about EMP bombs [foreignpolicy.com] for years now.

Re:New Country Same Shit (5, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003159)

Proper surge protection, spark gaps, low pass filters, etc provide a high degree of protection. Narrow band antennas of a grounded design such as a yagi, will recieve power within it's passband.

Unshielded electronics such as your clock radio are hard to protect. Shielded equipment with power filtering, metal cases, over voltage protection, etc are relatively safe. Your desk top computer has an antenna wire attached to the keyboard and mouse, so these are vunerable. A traditional RFI metal case tower PC with all external cables removed would make a nice spare that can be quickly deployed after an attack.

A single point ground at the utility power and telcom entry into a building provides high levels of protection against the lower frequency components of an EMP as MOV, Spark Gap, and other protection is fast enough to ground it. A noise filter for the house power will block the higher frequencies so the over voltage devices can protect the load.

http://www.ese.upenn.edu/detkin/instruments/misctutorials/Ground/grd.html [upenn.edu]

Proper grounding, noise filtering, shielding, and overvoltage protection will provide a high degree of protection to EMP.

More Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003017)

An excuse to throw more public money at the military to defeat the many and imaginary threats that they continue to dream up. The biggest thereat to the UK seems to be politicians and their stupidity.

Fluidics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003045)

Solar flare, nuclear war, EMP bomb, etc...

This set is one of the most important reasons for research in Fluidics [wikipedia.org] ; basically computers using streams of air, water, or some other fluid.

A water-based computer will continue to operate before, during, and after an EMP bomb.
Caveat: Internet access probably won't work. (Make sure to save some porn in water-based local storage.)

Re:Fluidics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003295)

Hey maybe we will see this in that new TV Show Revolutions or whatever it is, where the world falls apart and there is no electri...oh wait nobody has wikipedia to build it. (the idea behind this show is so against any logic, but it sounds equally interesting at the same time)

But really, these things will have to be used in nanotech at some point, so they do offer a valid alternative route for computing.

A mixture of optical and phase-change liquids could also probably be pretty useful.
And unless, like in Revolutions up there, the laws of physics appear to die, pretty sure this should still work.
Shine torch in a massive keyboard to look up porn.
All that extra work, it'd be a valid exercise now. Just make sure to make it like a platfomer out of Uncharted games and you are set.

Nuclear (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003049)

Electromagnetic Pulse devices mimic the result of ... a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere, creating a storm of electromagnetic radiation, which can break mobile networks and satellite systems.

Does carl's junior sell nuclear devices now? I swear, politicians must get a bonus every time they find a way to sneak that into a speech.

EM defence in London MOD building (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003083)

Before the knocked it down recently, I noticed that the large MOD building in St.Giles, London had substantial copper straps attatched to all the external railings & metalwork, connecting them together around concrete posts and presumably to ground.
Can't think what else this would have been for - too low relative to the building to have been for lightning protection.

Re:EM defence in London MOD building (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003135)

At a guess, the building may well have a giant faraday cage. Not for EMP protection, but to prevent spying. A good cage will make it very hard for any bugs inside to get a signal to a listener outside. I used to be possible to spy on computers through their radio emissions too - the CRT monitors put out enough information to reconstruct the image on the screen - but that doesn't work with TFT displays.

Yeah Right ..... (1)

thephydes (727739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003209)

and who has the capacity to build and deliver an EMP? ........aaahhh yes our friends - maybe they are actually our enemies?

Something to consider (1)

silviumc (989732) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003259)

The World lives in peace until it suddenly doesn't. Before 9/11 the possibility that some weird psychos that nobody knows about would fly jets into WTC was un-conceivable to most people. Maybe the same way that an EMP attack is now... Think how pleased the islamic beardos would be if they could brick all the UK civilization in a second. Then, without any cars, any TV, any interwebs and Facebook, with medical services turned to shit, there will be a lot of time in the day to pray, Allah likes.

This is stupid.... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003287)

This is lame AND stupid.

Do they really think this is going to be an issue? Al Qaeda with an EMP?

I'm more concerned about the threat of robots that have been given minds of their own, heavy weaponry and a global satellite network. I bet some of you think I'm kidding, too.

Well, with a little luck, the robots will see that their makers, not the rest of humanity, are the only real threat to humanity (and the robots, as well) and crush them in hydraulic presses (slowly, for dramatic effect). So, maybe this isn't such a bad thing! We can use them to rid the world of morons like the dude in the article. But...wait a sec. Wouldn't an EMP take out robots too?

Maybe this guy is right about EMP defenses.

Re:This is stupid.... (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003347)

Do they really think this is going to be an issue? Al Qaeda with an EMP?

Don't you learn from history? These sophisticated terrorists have already shown how they can cause death and destruction with high-tech weapons like... er... half-a-dozen $5 box cutters...

Of course, it is always much easier to defeat an evil genius with complex gadgets and elaborate plans for world domination than defend against an ordinary guy with a sack of fertiliser. Its awfully worrying when you raid the master criminal's lair expecting to find a NASA-like mission control, a monorail and a clutch of beautiful female assassins, but all you find is an iPhone, a frequent flyer card and a porno mag.

more danger... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003317)

there's more danger from fucking nuggets like this being in government.

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