Idiocracy: When the Lights Go Out

Would you survive an electrical power shutdown lasting several weeks or months? Millions of people across North America wouldn’t.

… we believe it is more a question of “when” than “if.” A targeted cyber attack — either alone or combined with a physical attack — on the power system could lead to huge costs, with sustained outages over large portions of the electric grid and prolonged disruptions in communications, health care delivery and food and water supplies.USAToday

Experts are worried that the North American power grid is vulnerable to imminent attack. They are still reeling over an April 2013 military-style attack against a California power substation:

“The electrical grid—a network of power generating plants, transmission lines, substations, and distribution lines—is inherently vulnerable,” the report said.

“Transmission substations are critical links in the electrical grid,

In April 2013, “unknown subject(s) fired multiple shots at an electrical transmission substation” in San Jose, Calif., “damaging several transformers,” the report notes.

Surveillance video of the incident shows sparks flying across the compound as bullets strike the substation.

“Authorities subsequently discovered intentionally cut fiber optic cables in a manhole,” according to the report. “No motive or suspects have been identified.” _Beacon

Experts say it is not a question of “if”, but “when” it will happen again, but on a much larger scale.

While You Were Sleeping the Lights Went Out, And Nobody Could Turn Them Back On Again

While You Were Sleeping the Lights Went Out, And Nobody Could Turn Them Back On Again


Even more likely than a large scale military assault against the power grid, is a devastating cyber-attack.

… cyber threats to critical infrastructure — for example, water, energy and telecommunications — are important to our national security. There is evidence that energy systems, in particular, are becoming a popular target. The Department of Homeland Security recently reported responding to 198 cyber-incidents in 2012 across all critical sectors. Forty-one percent of these incidents involved the energy sector, particularly electricity.

Although to date there are no reports of a successful cyber attack on the electric grid, we believe it is more a question of “when” than “if.” A targeted cyber attack — either alone or combined with a physical attack — on the power system could lead to huge costs, with sustained outages over large portions of the electric grid and prolonged disruptions in communications, health care delivery and food and water supplies. _USAToday

… a previously unreleased report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says that coordinated attacks on as little as nine strategically located electrical substations could send the nation plunging into darkness for weeks or months. Former FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff has expressed concern that a recent rifle attack on a substation in California was a dress rehearsal for such an assault. __RealClearEnergy

We in the developed world are able to live comfortably due to our high tech infrastructure that supplies us with power, water, food, fuel, medicines, transportation, security against fires and violent attack, and so on. And while threats against that infrastructure are growing more serious and more numerous, the number of people who are competent to protect and maintain that infrastructure is shrinking.

We need enough people of sufficient intelligence and conscientiousness willing to be trained to support a high tech infrastructure, and willing to make it their life’s work.

Without enough capable people, a society goes dark

Without enough capable people, a society goes dark


SubSaharan Africa and large parts of Asia remain dark, without power and sanitation, most or all of the time. These areas lack enough humans with sufficient IQ and conscientiousness to maintain a sophisticated infrastructure.

Most population growth is occurring in these “dark” areas. As excess populations from dark areas try to emigrate to more developed areas in Europe and the Anglosphere, they risk dragging down the population IQ and conscientiousness of more developed areas. How long before the developed world can no longer maintain its infrastructure?

A steady loss of human capital -- say good-bye to modern amenities

The dark blue line reflects an ongoing decline in average global IQ. The other lines depict population trends in particular countries.

Download New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center report on power grid security.

Information on the recent US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission PDF report on grid security

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7 Responses to Idiocracy: When the Lights Go Out

  1. James Bowery says:

    Those who have not read “Excess Heat: Why Cold Fusion Research Prevailed” by Charles Beaudette don’t have the background they need to predict the future in any meaningful sense. When the technology breaks free from the ghetto to which it has been consigned by the quasi-religious spawn of the Manhattan Project, the campfire as basis for the evolution of eusociality — leading to ever greater centralization of power generation — will be replaced by a high temperature (1000C) compact power source. Individuals of sufficiently high IQ will be trained, by the age of 18, to take country rock, fire and other tools they themselves can fabricate, and build a personal 1kW power source that will likely be about as portable as a short sword.

    The governments of the West have so committed themselves to denying experimental evidence in favor of what they think of as “theory” that they will be unable to admit this is happening until it is too late to contain it with NRC and EPA restrictions (of the type that have recently outlawed wood burning stoves that haven’t been fabricated by a licensed factory — even for people living miles from their nearest neighbor).

    Viewed in this way, it is obvious why the government needed to make mere attempts to replicate cold fusion result in career death.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Low energy nuclear reactions, LENRs represent an intriguing development. No one knows how much time will be required for LENR to support reliable, affordable, scalable heat sources. I would like to see something like that break the government-infested energy club wide open. We can’t count on it, however, no matter how promising.

      We will need a lot of compact, portable heat as we expand into cold environments on, above, and beneath the planetary and oceanic surface.

  2. GoneWithTheWind says:

    I don’t disagree with many of the points made in this article. However I think it is a mistake to assume the data from China and India is accurate. In both of these countries people with lower IQs or who for whatever reason don’t do well n school are weeded out of the student population early and these people never get tested for IQ and factored into the general IQ. In most of the West students by law must go to school for 12 years or so and most of the population are tested for IQ including many of the students who have no business in highschool where they merely disrupt the education process. The point is we don’t know what the average IQ is in India and China but we do know the published IQ is high because of the selective nature of the process there.

    • alfin2101 says:

      If you are referring to the graph displaying global IQ decline, be aware that the only line reflecting IQ trends is the dark blue line. All of the other lines indicate projected population trends for particular countries. The graph can be confusing unless you understand that only one line reflects IQ trends.

      You are correct that numbers originating in government bureaucracies always have to be examined closely.

  3. neilfutureboy says:

    I don’t know but does the water transformation system that irrigates Los Angeles depend on electric pumping? A lot of the western USA is naturally desert and without bringing in water would return to it. We can survive without heating, even for days without food. Not water.

    • James Bowery says:

      If you have an energy source you can get water from air.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Southern California’s water is largely dependent upon electrical pumping stations and pipelines. Instead of building safer, cleaner, more reliable nuclear power plants to desalinate seawater, SoCal is stealing water from elsewhere to support its population excess. A very unstable situation, long-term, without abundant nuclear power, desalination, reliable HVDC backbones, and the skilled manpower to keep it all running.

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