Effects of an EMP-producing spacedrive

Another request for ideas...
In researching in old posts in this and other groups, I came across a suggestion for someone's FTL drive. The idea was that the FTL drive,
when used, produced a large blast of EMP, which would scramble any electronics on the ship or around it.
This seemed interesting to me, so I'd like to ask those more knowledgeable than I on the subject.
So, let's say humanity develops an FTL drive that produces massive EMP bursts. (Feel free to call it Merlin's Drive.) We'll say that the bursts cover a large amount of space (not necessarily hitting a planetary or space-station colony, but maybe...) And let's assume that the drive is otherwise very easy to use, cheap, no dilithium crystals, no flying to some hyper limit, quick, etc. The drive itself is also, for whatever hand-of-god reason, immune to its own EMP.
What would this mean for the starships using this FTL drive, being subject to regular EMP bursts? And, perhaps, to any colony or interstellar polity established using such travel?
For added fun, we could say that putting stuff in a Faraday cage (which I understand could protect electronics from EMP) has no effect when using this drive.
So....
Does this preclude these starships from using and carrying modern electronics and computers? Fun little gadgets like MP3 players and DVD players? Laser or guided-missile weaponry? Would EMP affect solar panels? Likewise, I've never heard of it, but would a massive EMP burst have an effect on human physiology?
Thanks in advance for any help, guys. -- James
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Wasn't it James W who wrote:

If a Faraday cage doesn't block the effect, then it isn't EMP. Use a different name for the effect, so as not to get laughed at by people who have some understanding of electrodynamics. Because this is then an effect that is unknown to current physics, you can have it behave almost any way you like.

EMP causes damage by inducing strong transient currents in conductors.
Devices most at risk are those that are connected to long conductors (e.g. communications wires and antennas) and which contain components that are susceptible to damage by current spikes. Devices can be hardened against EMP either by use of shielding (e.g. a Faraday cage, and optical isolation of the sensitive electronics from the antennas or comms wires) or by replacing vulnerable components with components which are less susceptible to current spikes (e.g. by replacing MOSFET chips with bipolar ones or by discrete transistors). Currently, EMP hardened devices cost around twice that of normal devices, but if there's going to be a lot of starship EMP activity, expect mass production to reduce those costs.
Dumb devices, like solar panels, are unlikely to contain components that are vulnerable to current spikes.
I suspect that it would require a ridiculously powerful EMP to cause an observable effect in humans. The sort of effect that might possibly occur would be something like receiving a mild electric shock. It's also possible that there might be a mild induced heating effect which would cause a click to be heard, like those heard by people working with powerful radar systems, as the bones of the inner ear expand, or, in extreme cases cause burns similar to those of "radio heat".
I used to work in a company that, among other things, developed radio transmitters. The engineers were supposed to only operate them inside our Faraday cage, but sometimes they wouldn't bother, and would work on an active transmitter in my room. Strong radio signals case the same sort of effects as EMPs, but much milder. Fault finding of the electronics inside the transmitter was tricky because some multimeters went crazy when the transmitter was active. The electronics that we built inside the transmitter was designed to be tolerant of the induced currents. I don't remember the details. I do remember that they had a lot of problems designing a temperature sensor to be fitted to the transmitter that would work correctly when exposed to the strong radio signal.
One of the engineers did get a radio burn on his finger one time. The effect on human flesh is identical to a real heat burn, but there was no actual temperature in the device that he touched.
--
Mike Williams
Gentleman of Leisure
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Mike Williams wrote:

Assuming energy levels comparable to a nearby nuke in atmosphere and the EMP like effect is created uniformly throughout the volume of the ship so is unshieldable.
Expect all high level electronic ship systems to require to be shut down and isolated for jump transitions even though its all specially hardened. Limited dumb control systems may be possible using specially hardened electronics as above, but it may be impossible to use transistorised electronics and jump control systems may have to use miniaturised thermionic valves and local batteries or even worse, fluidics or mechanical servo systems.
Inter-compartment circuits would be unusable so lots of fibre optic cables (cant use the high bandwith normally available on fibre to reduce the number owing to the primative electronics. If the best you can do to signal down the fibre is an Xenon flash bulb at one end and a Cadmium Sulphide photocell at the other, you'll be lucky to get more than a voice grade link or a 2400 baud telemetry link. Expect voice tubes instead of intercoms, probably with tymphanic diaphrams backed with metal mesh to protect compartment's atmospheric integrity. Worst case, controls, alarms and indicators may operate by Bowden cable! High manning levels will be essential.
Mechanical video would be possible, using Nipkow disk or Mihaly-Traub mirror drum assemblies in the cameras and viewers. Light amplification may not be possible and the system would be limited to the light that could be got down the fibre, so expect the area viewed by the camera to be arc lit and the viewer to have a light excluding hood one has to put one's face into. This is obviously not much help for navigation although useful for monitoring engineering spaces with lethal environments so expect direct vision ports on the bridge and direct vision scopes etc. for navigation. Depending on the intensity of the effect, some forms of usually non-volitile computer memory may be affected, so you may have a Heinleinesque Slide Rules in Spaaaaace . . . scenario.
It *may* be possible to ship more delicate electronic parts as components, specially packed in minimum volume so they can be protected by counter-EMP generators which will not be small light or cheap. Any tiny problem in timing or pulse strength, and you don't have a cargo of computer chips, just fried silicon. So expect colonial electronic equipment to be expensive and of limited reliability, several generations behind that in the home system and largely locally produced with the exception of the imported processor chips. Colonial AIs other than of the 'brains in a jar' variety are extremely unlikely.
Depending on how you want to weight the effects you could have anything from memorising binary log tables a la _Starman_Jones_ to a steampunk spaceship. Expect navigation to be rather less than precise, with ships losses somewhere around 1% of voyages and long in-system transit times to clear mandatory safety zones.
Perhaps the OP should give some more details of the intended type of drive. It makes a big difference whether the EMP is a one off event, happens at each end while transitioning into/out of FTL or is continuous during FTL.
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James W. said:
::: would a massive EMP burst have an effect on human ::: physiology?
Mike W. said:
:: EMP causes damage by inducing strong transient currents :: in conductors.
:: Devices most at risk are those that are connected to :: long conductors (e.g. communications wires and antennas) :: which contain components that are susceptible to damage by :: current spikes. Devices can be hardened against EMP either :: by use of shielding (e.g. a Faraday cage, and optical :: isolation of the sensitive electronics from the antennas :: or comms wires) or by replacing vulnerable components with :: components which are less susceptible to current spikes
The source of EM noise can be degaussed using Helmholtz coils to 'white noise envelope' the source, rather than the wide- spread environment. There would be almost no need to provide any other type of shielding - as long as the appropriate phase conjugated EM coil filters were positioned appropriately as well as being tuned electrogravitically.
Humans themselves act as the antennas - there are particular resonances of human DNA that are very much succeptable to wide EM bandwidths, especially due to local field proximity or long range, airborn HF resonance.
boomert said:
: Thank you, Mike Williams.
: Keeping in mind how actual electrodynamics works, let's : address John W.
: The EMP of the drive does not harm the drive, and there : are many great ways this can be acheived. Same with the : rest of the ship. Everything in the ship can be shielded, : caged, grounded, redundant, and what have you, and a system : similar to venting radiators absorbing the destructive : charge can be included on all FTL ships. Shielded devices : would become common and EMP shielding would be a common : design feature of all spaceships.
: As for the reaction of socio-politics to the drive, : regulations. Always regulation. The most important one : being to always have the ship a safe distance from population : centers and other ships before activating FTL. If it is : cheap enough where every ship can have FTL, then the red : tape will be immense when dealing with larger populations,
Environmental bullcrap. Every homophobic sociopath wants to lie, rob, and steal the technology, and then discredit the original founder for their own profit - hence we have large populations of the technologically 'unsaved', because that is the way the 'metered' establishment would like it to be - you've got to pay some freaking political propaganda con artist their own Fabian socialist spin time in order to market your own ideas, which are most likely, outside their own version of 'status quo'.
: since they have more people to protect and bigger : bureaucracy to chuck it's weight at people. This becomes : less severe farther out in the fields, where travel is : needed more and there are less people to run over. One can : imagine a highly blockaded Earth and Pals, demanding all : kinds of clearance and fees just to park near Saturn. But : there is a much more easygoing and carefree Proxima, that : just demand you keep to a safe 10000km distance from each : body or face charges.
Carbon coated rhenium is a room temperature metal superconductor that is able to enhance gene expression 100,000 times during cell division. Thus an FTL passenger using a metallic-type foil suit can establish phase coherency when surrounded by a scaled-up version of carbon-coated rhenium, for degaussing whatever 'human superconductivity' that might be generated during hypertranslation.
Rhenium is a rare, dense, silvery white metallic element with a very high melting point (3180 degrees, centigrade), higher than molybdenum, but only under that of diamond (3550 C) and tungsten (3410 C). Carbon coated rhenium foil makes for a good degaussing mechanism because good wear and arc corrosion resistance are degaussing properties that need to be addressed for this type of protection.
Although the seething aether may permit this type of pro- tection to be most effective for space travel, it would seem that the vehicle might carry along with it the biological EM signature of its occupants radiated out into space - sort of like a beacon or homing device for some species of extraterrestrial, that might wish to displace this sort of 'human biological entity'.
Ergo, invisibility shields, like:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloaking_device
"When philosophy paints its grey on grey, then has a shape of life grown old. By philosophy's grey on grey it cannot be rejuvinated but only understood. The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk."
- Philosophy of Right, 1821, tr. T. M. Knox, p. 13
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Hard to tell if you slightly disagree with me and are very expressive about it, or just passionately agree with me. Either way, same result, people like explosions away from their face. How this gets interpreted depends on the society you set off your blasts near. So it seems we agree entirely on the reactions and treatment of EMP issue.
This stuff about Rhenium intrigues me, however. Researching now, thank you for the tips.
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