Friday, March 18, 2011

"Black Swan" outside of "Swan Lake": EMP, supervolcano, nuclear meltdown

The film “Black Swan” brought up the “term” in conjunction with Tchaikovsky’s ballet, and then with a ballerina playing the role.  But to disaster planners, it refers to a highly improbable event with cataclysmic consequences, changing society forever.

It’s the “it won’t be so bad, or will it” problem.  Call it “The Purification.”

Joel Achenbach has an article about the issue today (March 18) in the Washington Post, front page.

Some of the scariest scenarios could include a large earthquake on the East Coast, where Indian Point Nuclear power plant could jeopardize New York, or a large EMP (electromagnetic pulse), either from a terrorist able to send a device to high altitude, or certain kinds of local microwave devices developed at Aberdeen.  Another risk would be a coronal mass ejection or solar flare, which some NASA scientists think has increasing risk from 2012 on. The article says that power grids could be hardened for 20 cents per user, but that sounds unlikely; how do you protect every transformer with a Faraday Cage?

One of the largest super-volcanoes in the world is Yellowstone, and it goes off every 600000 years. We're ovedue, but the period is so long -- not in our lifetime. 

Another risk could be a large East Coast tsunami from a landslide from the Cumbre Vieja volcano across the Atlantic in the Canary Islands.

We aren't even close to protecting ourselves from H5N1 (not H1N1), or a reintroduced smallpox. 

A society based on individualism and freedom to contract with fiat money as a common denominator might not survive a collapse. Back to tribalism. 

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