Life connected au des while technology evolves by design?

Friday, July 29, 2011

The North Korea Problem

China has become critical of North Korea, likening its government's threat to use nuclear arms if their demands are not met to a 'spoiled child'1. North Korea is a military government ruled by an unstable dictator. It has an array of missiles aimed at Seoul which they will fire if they think they are under attack.

Internally, North Korea is a humanitarian crisis. Its non-military population starves similarly to the slave laborers the German's used in World War II - they may have been able to work and not have died from lack of food alone, but I would definitely consider what they went through starvation2. And North Korea's potential for agriculture is so mismanaged that they really can't afford to feed a whole lot more soldiers3. Meanwhile, reports suggest North Korean gulags have worse conditions than NAZI concentration camps4.

When Hitler realized the war was lost, he sought to unleash all hell upon humanity including ordering a systematic destruction of Germany. The officers who received this order concluded he was insane; he committed suicide eleven days later5. But it is less likely that North Korean generals will ignore an order to unleash devastation in the face of the collapse of their regime, especially if this only means nuking their neighbors - the threat of North Korean missiles devastating South Korea's capital is the only reason the US has not decisively ended the reign of Kim Jong-il, North Korea's despotic ruler. For all we know, the North Korean government already knows that economic collapse is inevitable and is developing a nuclear arsenal to go out with a bang.

E-bombs generate electromagnetic pulses which cause a surge in the voltage of electronically conductive materials within range, frying all devices on affected electrical circuits. The EMP effect was discovered from nuclear testing, but government's have designed non-nuclear EMP generators such as the explosively pumped flux compression generator.

I propose disabling the North Korean missile systems with e-bombs before re-unifying Korea. China has expressed a desire for Korean re-unification1, so they may help without claiming part of Korea as their territory - the assistance of the Chinese military in this operation would decrease the loss of life due to resistance from the North Korean army (e-bombs would also fry their tanks and aircraft, but their guns would still work). But there are some major technical challenges to using e-bombs for such an operation. The biggest one is that it must get within range of the missile systems before the North Korean military realizes they are under attack and fires them, so the e-bombs would have to be small enough not to be recognized as an attack until they get to a low enough altitude to effectively detonate. Stealth technologies such as materials that do not reflect the visible spectrum6 may also be necessary to prevent major damage to South Korea during this operation.

Because current technologies for hiding an object's presence on radar are unreliable7, our best bet is to encourage the flight of vast numbers of birds and launch the e-bombs along a trajectory in which the presence of similarly sized birds will mask their presence. The unusual number of birds will put the North Korean military on edge, so the density of the birds must hide the missiles which will be moving much faster than the birds. Recent advancements in silent ships make the development of technologies with similar physics in air as such ships exhibit in water8 seem possible, but I don't think this would be necessary if the speed and size of e-bombs within range of North Korean radar were sufficiently controlled. The apparatus that enters the area covered by North Korean radar may be launched from a larger airborne apparatus which will remain outside of North Korean radar for the duration of the operation - it could actually somewhat fall or glide along its trajectory as it flies with the birds. Also, Festo's SmartBird design9 may be modified to house an e-bomb.

2Wiesel, Elie. (2006). Night. New York: Hill and Wang.

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