Sometimes using Faraday Cages can have negative consequences.


Still a good example of just how easy it is to fabricate a Faraday Cage and a demonstration of their effectiveness.

The Librarian

p.s. Also a good excuse to empty a bag of Potato Chips (crisps in UK and Australian slang). “No honey I’m not pigging out on junk food. I’m fabricating a Faraday Cage.”


I almost didn’t bother to post the link to this article because similar stories are appearing several times every week. I changed my mind after thinking about it a bit though.

I’m posting it not so much because the story is a new one or in any way unique but because these stories have become the new norm to the extent that they have become background noise and your eyes simply slide right over them.


Stop and think about that for a moment:
1.The quite real threat of a rogue nuclear power launching an EMP attack at the U.S. which has the potential to kill 80%-90% of the population.
2. The Federal government knowing about the potential consequences of an EMP event (whether solar or nuclear) and doing nothing even though the cost of hardening the U.S. power grid is almost trivial compared to the rest of government spending.

Contemplate a world where we have begun to simply take for granted that a little tin pot dictator of a 3rd world country (that is horrible even by third world standards) could, at a moment’s notice, kill 80%-90% of the U.S. population, destabilize the entire world and no one so much as bats an eye.

Almost makes you long for the comparatively comforting Cold War days when complete nuclear annihilation was a threat but was at least tempered by the fact that the players were all considered to be rational.

The Librarian


In the spirit of Thanksgiving (the old spirit many of us grew up with) I’ve added a New Category simply named Thanksgiving.

Back before we were all racist, sexist, genocidal, homophobic, classist oppressors and all the other names used these days to describe Americans…

Back before the Pilgrims were genocidal, racists whose came to American solely to commit genocide on the Indians (and oppress them while doing so)…

Many of us grew up back when Thanksgiving was a day to celebrate our ancestors seeking religious freedom and liberty.

We celebrated that liberty and that freedom to worship God and gave Thanks for the many blessings He has bestowed on us during the year while enjoying the fellowship of Family and friends.

In that spirit here are a dozen or so books from those times before hate overwhelmed our country.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

The Librarian


I spent most of this weekend between assembling an agricultural trailer and cleaning the shop and making bee feeders for the cold weather and making more bee feeders to be able to swap them each day after work.

It’s not really safe to open the hives to refill the internal frame feeders in cold weather so the quart jar front feeders make more sense. You can see when they are being emptied, with a spare set you can simply pull out the empty or partially empty one and swap a full one in. It also lets you record how much is being taken from the feeder which also gives you some measure of the population and activity in the hive without having to open it. Add to that a dozen already filled jars of sugar water ready to swap in as needed and it makes life much more convenient.

Having the shop cleaned up means I’ll have room to make more hive supers, bases and top covers this winter to get ready for doing some splits in the spring to increase the apiary size.

While NOT doing all of that I spent some time pulling more of the missing Scientific Americans (page by page) and compiling them into single PDFs. Still a fair ways to go but that it is so tedious I have not been as diligent as I should be in getting it finished.

But while working on those I ran across a small collection I had gathered together and then forgotten about so I thought I’d put it our for folks to enjoy while I continue working on the Scientific Americans.

So Hemp and Flax has been posted as a new Category.

It’s really a combination Category. Obviously in today’s culture with the Marijuana laws being liberalized there is more attention on Hemp for it cultivation as a drug/medicine. Not even going to get into a discussion about the good/bad regarding it’s use. That’s been debated for decades with no change in most people’s attitudes. I will point out that it was around and used for thousands of years before it was made illegal in the 30s and civilizations rose and fell for reasons other than smoking weed but think what you like either way. Prior to the mid 1900s widespread drug use was not really a major problem in most cultures though there are a couple of notable exceptions. That seems to be a feature of the modern industrialized world and expanding government.

For most of history the use of Hemp as a drug was a minor side benefit of growing the plant. It’s primary use was to produce fibre just like Flax.

Most importantly, from the perspective of people trying to rebuild and industrial society, is that Hemp is the source of fibres that have been used to make twine and rope for a long, long time. Interestingly during most of WWII my Grandfather and many other farmers in North Carolina were paid by the federal government to grow Hemp in place of his normal tobacco crops. Since the Philippines fell to the Japanese at the start of the war and the Philippines was the U.S. Navy’s primary source of rope the growing of Hemp in the U.S. provided the material needed to make rope locally as a replacement.

Flax, of course, was one of the earliest domesticated crops and has been used to make thread, twine, rope and cloth as long as people have been around. It goes without saying that in a world trying to rebuild after any kind of collapse that Flax will be an important crop.

Between Hemp and Flax fibres for rope twine, and cloth, Hemp seed as a nutritional supplement and the drug/medicinal uses both types of plants will likely be high on the list of ancillary crops once food crops have reached the point of providing food security. As food security becomes more ensured the ancillary crops to produce other products will become more common. Once food surpluses and trade grow it will become possible for some folks to specialize and concentrate on those ancillary crops to supply materials for production of string, twine, rope and linen.

So submitted for your approval… Hemp and Flax. How to grow it, cultivate it, harvest it and make stuff from it.

The Librarian


The ARRL (American Radio Relay League) is conducting an exercise of Amateur Radio and the MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System) to simulate operations after a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection).


A CME or Coronal Mass Ejection is the plasma cloud replete with magnetic fields spewed out by the sun during a flare. It is a CME hitting the Earths magnetic field that would produce the effects such as the Carrington Event which have the potential to damage or destroy the worlds power grids along with most electronic equipment and the systems which rely on them.

In a sense it’s admirable exercise and I’m fully confident that it is the Ham Radio operators who will be the first to restore regional communications after such an event. I suspect that if such an event ever happened it is the Ham Operators who will be the voices providing news and information and allowing widely separated communities to communicate and coordinate.

My Dad was a Ham and I remember a lot of hours in the radio shack listening to far away voices from all over the world while sitting surrounded by all of the equipment, wires, cables and tools that filled the room. Sadly I’m one of those people who, while I do well with digital electronics and even electrical equipment just have never been able to fathom the mysteries of analog electronics.

I did email the contact person for the exercise and asked them why they believe that Ham Radio equipment would survive such an EMP event any more than cell phones or other digital electronics. Unless I’ve missed something in my occasional perusals of what’s going on in the Ham world, most modern Ham equipment is just as thoroughly digital as cell phones and home computers.

I can’t imagine Ham equipment (not stored in a Faraday cage) would fare any better than any other electronic equipment during a serious EMP event. By the same token I’m confident it will be the Hams who will manage to rebuild equipment or build replacement equipment from scratch.

During the initial aftermath of such an event no one is going to be setting around building radio equipment. For a significant length of time (and probably a lot longer than any of us can imagine) every erg of energy the survivors can produce and every moment of time will be concentrated on somewhat higher priority tasks such as securing safe water, physical safety, food, shelter, power (whether electrical, motive or physical), coordinating with local neighbors and setting up systems and procedures to ensure a reasonably predictable and reliable supply of all of those. Only after they are relatively confident they can feed themselves, stay alive through the coming winter and are safe from external threats will they have the leisure time to build/repair radios and try to reestablish contact with others in more distant areas.

If I get a reply from the ARRL folks on my questions I’ll post it here.

The Librarian


While I still have a good ways to go on the full Scientific American collection I’ve at least gotten the first 15 volumes of Series 2 completed.

They are posted and available for download.

I decided to go ahead and post them as ZIP files of each Volume since the individual issues are fairly small and with 26 issues per volume that’s a LOT of individual files. I zipped each volume into a separate ZIP file.

They’re roughly in the 200mb-300mb range so they are not too large and they are a lot more convenient to download this way.

I’m also looking for a complete index of the series because searching through 3000+ issues for an article on a specific subject is a bit onerous at best. Hopefully I’ll find a decent one that will make the collection more usable.

The Librarian



South Korea sees the existential threat of an EMP attack and is taking action to mitigate it’s consequences.

The threat comes from the long standing tensions between North and South Korea along with the North’s continued development of Nuclear weapons, and most importantly, it’s increasing belligerence.

North Korea has threatened for decades to “wipe South Korea off the map” to “destroy South Korea” and while that could just be typical North Korean rhetoric and hyperbole they now possess technology they never had before.

They have always had a massive army that get priority over the peasants (excuse me… I mean civilians) for food, clothing and shelter. They have for some time now possessed nuclear weapons. They’ve had missiles capable of delivering those weapons to short range targets.

However they recognize that using their army or conventional nuclear weapons would leave little but a smoking ruin south of the 38th Parallel.

With their development of EMP weapons they now how the capability of destroying the South Korean infrastructure, much of it’s military technology and rendering it utterly helpless to resist the North Korean Army simply driving in and taking power.

Since the technology level of much of North Korea, especially the southern half of the country, is really not much more advanced than late 1800s, early 1900s level an EMP would actually have little effect on much of North Korea.

South Korea which has a fairly advanced technological infrastructure would be devastated in the ways we have often discussed regarding EMPs, no power, no water, no transportation, no communications.

The physical infrastructure would remain intact except for the electronics controlling it. Much of the population would die from lack of access to water and food but somehow I don’t see that as being much of a concern to the leadership of North Korea.

On the bright side though, South Korea’s leadership has recognized the danger of an EMP attack by North Korea and is starting to take action to mitigate the effects of such an attack. Whether they waited to long is anyone’s guess.

Let’s hope their preparations are not put to the test.

The Librarian



Some more lessons learned from Puerto Rico and their application to the threat of an EMP event in the U.S.

A Solar Event like the Carrington Event is becoming less of a threat as the potential for humans to impose such an event through technology.

Unfortunately few of the lessons are ones that individuals can apply other than the kind of preparedness many of us practice anyway. It the lessons that apply to the infrastructure which have the potential to save millions of lives that are not being heeded.

But then, there are not votes in it so I doubt anyone is surprised.

The Librarian