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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon Nuclear explosions generate large, strong electromagnetic (EM) fields. These EM fields can damage electronics over a wide area and are known by the acronym EMP, for electromagnetic pulse.

Electronics which utilize small components and low voltages are particularly vulnerable to EMP. Autonomous robots would use quite a lot of small, low-voltage computer chips, and so would be very prone to failure after an EM pulse. An EM pulse would scramble a robot's brain until it could reset itself (presuming the pulse didn't completely fry the robot's computer chips). Electronics can be hardened against EMP, but commercial civilian equipment almost never is.

I've been writing entirely too many columns about nuclear weapons lately. Perhaps I'll write the next one about fluffy bunnies.

(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs It's a pity Captain al-Zarqa's line of dialogue is so long in the first panel, because I drew a really cool-looking light fixture on the wall behind her that got covered up by the word balloon. Seriously, it was really nice. Oh well.

Jon, who just happens to posess an archive of all past MoS pages including the associated "Mark sez" and "Jon sez" columns for each page, notifies me that MoS's first birthday is in fact coming up on June 3, not June 6 as I had previously asserted. And you know what that means -- two birthday cakes! Yay!