— CNN (@CNN) September 26, 2017
Over the summer, I read a moderately terrifying article in the Economist on what would happen if America lost electricity for a long period of time. If, say, hackers managed to infiltrate the system, or North Korea detonated a nuke 40 miles above Nebraska and caused an electromagnetic pulse, or if a solar flare acted up.
I’ll get to the article’s chief worries in a moment. My only experience in an electricity-free realm is trifling and limited to the 2003 blackout of northeastern America. Here’s what I quickly learned at that time:
People Get Stuck
I thanked my lucky stars that I was working from home on the day of the blackout. Thousands of other New Yorkers were not so lucky, as they were riding in elevators and subway cars at 4:11pm. The Fire Department had a hell of a job to do, with roughly 800 skyscrapers, both office and apartment buildings, filled with people stuck in elevators. Transit conductors eventually led stranded commuters onto the tracks and to the nearest exit. Dirty people were literally climbing out of manhole covers like C.H.U.D. And with no train service, folks stranded far from home had no way to get there.
Communications Go Out
Obviously there was no cell phone service nor internet. The only way I knew what the hell was going on was because I’d started keeping a small transistor radio near me ever since 9/11, and I found the one working ratio station operating off of a backup generator.
Food Goes Bad
The first thing my neighbors and I did was to start eating all of our ice cream, as it was a hot August day and all of it would melt within hours.
People Can’t Buy Things
People using plastic were S.O.L. Those with cash could only buy stuff if the store’s cash register was mechanical.
Traffic Laws Break Down
When all the stoplights stopped working, downtown Manhattan turned into a snarled free-for-all, with intersections jammed with tangled cars pointed in all four directions.
The radio had urged us to start rationing water, as they didn’t know how long the blackout would last. With no electricity, there’s no way to pump water nor purify sewage.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7:30pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — How to start, manage, and fund a paid membership program
Wearables — Make a list of everything you want
Electronics — Design for test!
Biohacking — Vitamin-C + Gelatin for Accelerated Recovery
Python for Microcontrollers — Ports, app updates – CLUEs in the NEWs and more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF @Adafruit
Adafruit IoT Monthly — Physical Event Notifiers, Particle deprecates Particle Mesh and More! #Adafruit #IoT @Adafruit @AdafruitIO
Microsoft MakeCode — Through the Classroom Door with LEGO Line Follower!
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.