Post-apocalypse technology

Discussion in 'The Science Forum' started by angular, Nov 14, 2012.

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  1. I've been watching the 1970's series of Survivors on Youtube; re-living my spotty youth. I couldn't bear the newer version, too right-on and multi-culti for me, and in any case if you watch all the way to Series 3 of the old one you'll see SLR's and steam trains.

    However, it got me thinking of how much modern technology could work if 99.9% of people had died (I drive around a lot, so my mind wanders). The car satnav would presumably work, as the satellites would still function. Mobiles and other phones couldn't work without electricity, but what about satellite phones? Presumably you'd need an account set up somewhere on a computer.

    Does anyone have any idea of what could work regardless if there were people around?
  2. Ah, the question of communications and "events". When I was a plod I volunteered for the local emergency management team as a district manager. As this had nothing to do with my plod duties or the military it is not covered by the official secrets act and I did not sign or subscribe to the Official Secrets Act for the role. I can happily tell you that back in the day everyone who was in the emergency management side of things was entered into a telephone directory copies of which were distributed to all members. Then should an event occur the telephone network would be turned off for all but those in the directory.....marvellous things computers.

    Nuclear power stations would switch themselves off - more technical than that but in essence they shut themselves down to a safe tickover level so electricity as such would stop. I would assume that the owners of the satellites are under some obligation to their respective national Govts to allow some kind of handover of control or switching off of capability. GPS, in my understanding, only works because the US military allows civilians access - they can scramble the signal to be gibberish to civvy GPS receivers.

    Basically anything that needs electricity would cease to function unless you could generate your own electricity or could train enough hamsters to run in a large enough wheel. I am not a fuel expert but I also understand that petrol and diesel degenrates with age so eventually the upplies of that dotted around would become un-usable.

    99.9% being dead is a bit harsh. Most estimates put the world population, post-event, at 10% of its present level. First to go would be those in intensive care, followed by the chronically ill, then people with illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure - thats me. People only have a couple or three months worth of tablets and as soon as they run out they are on the shortlist.

    Meanwhile, the UK domestic logictics chain only holds 5 days worth of goodies at any one time. Thats it, five days worth of food or fuels available for the population to consume. So, when its gone, its gone and it would take a couple of months jsut to ge that back up and running if there was a short term event. Longer term and it takes years to return to normal, if ever. A report was presented to parliament on this subject - about three years ago. Basically if there ain't no movement or re-supply for 5 days you are on your own.

    I don't want to be classed as a survival twonk, I'm not, its something I was "encouraged" to do by my boss as a plod. I attended lots of teachy, learny events and was spoken at by many experts and some of what I heard has stayed in the grey matter.
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  3. Sounds very much like "Last Light" by Alex Scarrow.
    Good book.

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  4. 123

    123 LE

    A tamagotchi until either it or the battery died
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  5. CanteenCowboy

    CanteenCowboy LE Book Reviewer

    Bloody hell, what a scary post. Hmm better go and read up on basic animal husbandry and agriculture.

    I believe that after a given time, satellites, which make such wonders as GPS etc possible, will start to 'degrade' i.e. fall out of the sky, which will rule that wonder out, if the Yanks haven't scrambled the signals prior to any 'event'!

    What possible event could endanger our way of life? The members of the panel are welcome to place their bets!!

    * Zombies doesn't count because every real ARRSER knows it's only a matter of time before the Zombie Apocalypse!!
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  6. 99.9% dead is nearly 70,000 alive in the UK. That's nothing like as harsh as is portrayed either of the Survivors series, just saying.
  7. The GTPS still exists under a clart of different acronyms and is now applied to communication systems other than the telephone network in which Government has a stake. It's purpose today is somewhat different.

    BTW The existence of the GTPS has been in the public domain since its inception. However, I've never signed anything stating that I will not commit murder. I'll still get banged up for killing someone.
  8. I'll bet I will still have to pay a tv license and child support.
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  9. I agree, the world would definitely benefit from a massive population reduction......would make for some good adventures as well.
  10. Like I said I'm not a survival twonk, but you can't unlearn stuff.

    90% dead within 12 months is the figure bandied around. Like I said above its the terminally ill, chronics, tablet and drug dependent ones who will go quickly. Then it turns into a free for all for food stuffs and fuels, riots, disorder ...... think of how quickly Sarajevo went tits up where people were eating grass and dandelions to survive.

    I sometimes wonder about these survival types who have their Bug Out Bag packed and ready for "the day". They have no idea, you need access to a minimum of two years worth of food and seed stores to allow for the pandemonium to settle down and then a fresh agricultural cycle to take place.

    The initial days will see many deaths and displacement of population. The shrinks told us that in times of extreme stress and danger people will seek a place that they remember as secure and happy. In the UK this means people will try and get out of the towns and cities and head towards favourite UK holiday Cornwall and the Lake District are fecked. One of the major taskings that we had was traffic and population movement (we had a major motorway) now I always used to look at the motorway when we had a pile up and the traffic was backed fifteen miles back and think if this is what its like when around 20% of the population is moving whats it going to be like when all the population wants to get out of town?

    As for what will happen? Pandemic, martian invasion or the latest one being talked about is EMP devices detonated in the atmosphere - I read part of a paper presented to the US Congress that showed 3 EMP weapons would turn off the USA, Canada and most of northern Mexico.

    The county emergency management thing I did was totally outside of the uniformed service and Civil Defence spectrum (the County Civil Defence guy was an Inspector who I knew and he had nothing to do with this) - strange though how most "volunteers" seemed to be police or ex-military types.
  11. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    indeed I was interested in survival from just before loftys book came out as we had prudom running around the local woods.

    kept up with scenarios etc.. and can say I have prepped stuff but not deliberately as being ex mil and scout leaders we have shed loads of gear and rations. out of curiosity I have lots of ebooks and movie files on the subject.

    being handy I can turn to most things so should be able to suss things out and keep us going. when we had the 07 floods I had set up water treatment and was working on home power so I could keep the internet going for information in case the local transformer farm was washed out.

    if society went totally feral then water power is probably the easiest to hide or patch into solar panels left on houses and use to charge battery hidden battery banks, hydroponics using the power is probably the best way to grow stuff free from pests and animals. taking over a farm would probably be a quick necessity just to keep the animals alive and I would move to the coast for its foraging and fishing.

    the world would really have to end in winter though to give a full year to set up for the next one before the rotting really sets in. if I could be guaranteed total death and destruction amongst the general populace then moving to somewhere like the lizard would be preferable.

    raiding folk museums would have to done for old machinery and blacksmiths gear, but there would be enough metal lying around for a few hundred years of industrial recycling I reckon so no need as yet to relearn the art of wheelwright.

    emp would be a bigger game changer I reckon, while the internet can be left by the wayside being able to manpack valuable data in a laptop is a must IMO.
  12. Same population as 1700-ish. ;)
  13. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    there is a show available via torrents about preppers which is fairly interesting and often funny when you see what they preparing against and why. havent watched the ukpreppers one but I know a couple who post on zombie squad who live in fortified houses and buy the wife a new crossbow for chrimbo.

    having a months worth of food/edibles in the house isn't hard and usefull for just when the money is tight rather than the world ending. I keep stuff past its best before dates just to see and occasionally have something like the three year old chicken curry rice thing last week :)

    although I live in the city now, a period of getting snowed in out in the middle of nowhere while having a token fed electricity meter and no gas does wonders for your look on life. mind you growing up with power cuts in the 70's means you keep a stock of candles handy and a few packs of cards.
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  14. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    and hope died of the plague so you didn't get shot :)
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