Horrible, Offensive Geekery

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Jennifer
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Jennifer » 17 Aug 2018, 22:36

Eric the .5b wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 21:43
Jennifer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 20:50
This is something I brought up in another geek discussion, about how to store nuclear waste so that future generations will know not to contaminate themselves with it, even if those future people have been through a complete break from our civilization:
Yeah, but I don't buy the "literacy will die out" premise. If that were true, writing would have never lasted.
Counter-argument: plenty of writing systems haven't lasted, but died out. Knowledge of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs was lost when that civilization collapsed (I recall a documentary making a fairly good case that the collapse was caused by an extended drought upriver: long story short, the Nile went a few years without its annual floods, so famine and collapse soon ensued.) If not for the lucky discovery of the Rosetta Stone, we still wouldn't know how to read them. As for the Egyptians who knew how to read hieroglyphs -- and it wasn't only the scribes and the "learned" class; even ordinary pyramid-workers were literate enough to write graffiti at their workplaces -- they didn't give up hieroglyphics because they adopted a new and better writing system; for awhile people just stopped writing altogether. The hieroglyph-writers themselves did not all die out -- by which I mean, I'm sure many people alive today are directly descended from members of the "hieroglyphs and pyramid-builders" civilization -- but their writing did. Which in turn suggests: after the collapse of that early Egyptian civilization there came a generation of people who knew how to read and write -- but did not pass this on to their children. Presumably because they had more pressing matters to worry about.

That said: the immediate survivors of a peaceful apocalypse going through what our civilization left behind would find survival a hell of a lot easier than those ancient Egyptians did.
Further, I think you underestimate the efforts of people to try to hold onto their civilization.
I suspect the real question will be how successful those efforts are. And, arguably, what parts of their civilization they want to hold onto. Remember those zombie-Jesus and American warrior-Jesus billboards I mentioned seeing in south Georgia en route to Florida? If I have to rebuild society after the apocalypse, I don't think I want to partner up with any of those guys. Or any of the people who contribute to the appallingly high gang-murder rate in certain Atlanta neighborhoods and suburbs. Or....

Suppose a Captain Trips scenario: 999 people out of a thousand die of this virus. All right, greater metro Atlanta has over 6 million people IIRC, so with only one survivor out of a thousand that's still over 6,000 people within a couple dozen miles of me. But -- whatever were to happen in the immediate aftermath of Captain Trips killing its last victims, I'm pretty certain what will NOT happen: you won't see ALL of those survivors peacefully seek each other out and immediately realize "It's in all our best interest to work together and see what we can do to get the electricity back on, save the important medicines and medical equipment, gather all the important books together, etc."

But assuming you do find a good-sized number of sensible people who come together and agree to this, then the question is: just how many people will you need, to have groups big enough and specialized enough to handle everyday survival/food needs AND security AND everyday civilization-maintenance needs? And how quickly after such a calamity would people come together and form sufficiently large groups for this?
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Eric the .5b » 18 Aug 2018, 19:28

Jennifer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 22:36
Eric the .5b wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 21:43
Jennifer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 20:50
This is something I brought up in another geek discussion, about how to store nuclear waste so that future generations will know not to contaminate themselves with it, even if those future people have been through a complete break from our civilization:
Yeah, but I don't buy the "literacy will die out" premise. If that were true, writing would have never lasted.
Counter-argument: plenty of writing systems haven't lasted, but died out.
And other writing systems survived huge disasters. Further, English is a global language, unlike ancient Egyptian. Kill off the same proportion of people literate in English as people literate in Egyptian hieroglyphics, and you have orders of magnitude more people still around who can teach the ABCs.
Jennifer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 22:36
That said: the immediate survivors of a peaceful apocalypse going through what our civilization left behind would find survival a hell of a lot easier than those ancient Egyptians did.
Yup. I'd argue that if the survivors even have legends of Electra City or anything like that, they're doing much better than the survivors of more total civilization collapses, where they shrug and go, "We dunno what that thing is. Been there a long time. Maybe our ancestors built it?"
Jennifer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 22:36
Further, I think you underestimate the efforts of people to try to hold onto their civilization.
I suspect the real question will be how successful those efforts are. And, arguably, what parts of their civilization they want to hold onto. Remember those zombie-Jesus and American warrior-Jesus billboards I mentioned seeing in south Georgia en route to Florida? If I have to rebuild society after the apocalypse, I don't think I want to partner up with any of those guys. Or any of the people who contribute to the appallingly high gang-murder rate in certain Atlanta neighborhoods and suburbs. Or....
Yup, but again, kill off 99% of the planet, and that's still 75 million people, 3.25 million of which will be in the US. (A higher population US than back in 1776.) I see no reason to believe that the preservers of knowledge will all be crazy Protestant fanatics.
Jennifer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 22:36
But -- whatever were to happen in the immediate aftermath of Captain Trips killing its last victims, I'm pretty certain what will NOT happen: you won't see ALL of those survivors peacefully seek each other out and immediately realize "It's in all our best interest to work together and see what we can do to get the electricity back on, save the important medicines and medical equipment, gather all the important books together, etc."
I think peaceful cooperation is an underappreciated reality in crises. I kinda buy the argument that most post-apocalyptic stories are built on a foundation of misanthropy, which is why they tend to focus on barbarity and violence that we don't generally see in disasters.

I also don't think this will require large, organized groups. Those groups would be helpful, sure. (Coincidentally, part of my last NaNoWriMo novel's setting involved a group that worked to retain and pass down knowledge over multiple irregularly repeating apocalypses.) But individuals can contribute just by gathering and carrying along or caching useful information. And even modern books can sit for awhile without going bad.
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Jennifer
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Jennifer » 18 Aug 2018, 20:03

Eric the .5b wrote:
18 Aug 2018, 19:28
I think peaceful cooperation is an underappreciated reality in crises. I kinda buy the argument that most post-apocalyptic stories are built on a foundation of misanthropy, which is why they tend to focus on barbarity and violence that we don't generally see in disasters.
This is true -- in cases such as Katrina hitting New Orleans, most of the news coverage focused on looters, or atrocities such as the white cops (IIRC) who shot black people trying to cross a bridge out of the city, rather than the majority of people who helped their neighbors and each other get through the crisis -- but of course, when trying to imagine a no-joke apocalyptic crisis, there's no historical precedents for that. Even the people suffering through Katrina and similarly harsh natural disasters knew this was a localized and temporary crisis: the rest of the country and world are fine, so they only need worry about how to get through the next few days or weeks before the power and utilities and such come back. Or go someplace else where the disaster never struck. Neither option is available to these hypothetical Captain Trips survivors.

I realize thread drift has morphed the discussion from "Given how many non-renewable fossil-fuel resources Earth has left, and where they are located, could a society with 1700-level technology and power sources build themselves a techno-industrial civilization like ours" to "How likely is it that a Captain Trips-level sudden depopulation would result in the collapse of our civilization and loss of most if not all of our collective knowledge?"
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Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Mo » 20 Aug 2018, 08:19

Ancient Egyptian didn’t die off because Egyptians died off. It disappeared the same reason American Indian languages died, someone else is running the show and it became largely useless to hold on to the old language. In your scenario, I see English surviving the same way ancient Greek did and for many of the same reasons (wisdom of the ancients).
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

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Eric the .5b
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Eric the .5b » 31 Aug 2018, 19:40

By the late Marie Severin:

Image

If it's small in the theme you're using, click to open it directly.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Kwix » 04 Sep 2018, 00:58

40594015_10156574432153334_5483095485050781696_n.jpg
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Painboy
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Painboy » 04 Sep 2018, 02:17

That is fantastic. I like that my first thought was it's just some guy and girl in a...wait a minute WTF?

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Eric the .5b
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Eric the .5b » 04 Sep 2018, 04:59

Ha! Very nice.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Kolohe » 04 Sep 2018, 09:42

CROSS ALL THE STREAMS!
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by JD » 05 Sep 2018, 15:25

I found myself wondering if you could create Cherenkov radiation at home. To do that you have to get charged particles moving faster than the speed of light in a medium. Using reasonably available materials like glass, you can reduce the speed of light by a factor of about 1.5 or about 0.66 c. Unfortunately, the most common particle accelerator we tend to have around, a CRT, doesn't get electrons moving anywhere near that fast, so that's out. Maybe if you built a cyclotron, but that's rather an investment to do at home...
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Ellie » 08 Sep 2018, 22:44

khal cosplay.jpg
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by lunchstealer » 09 Sep 2018, 18:42

Oh my ... oh that's just ... oh sweetie, no.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Mo » 10 Sep 2018, 04:51

+1 to Gal Drogo, would not kick out of bed.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Warren » 10 Sep 2018, 09:01

Mo wrote:
10 Sep 2018, 04:51
+1 to Gal Drogo, would not kick out of bed.
It is known.
THIS SPACE FOR RENT

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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by dhex » 10 Sep 2018, 10:12

lunchstealer wrote:
09 Sep 2018, 18:42
Oh my ... oh that's just ... oh sweetie, no.
Wedding Proposal Hidden In Marvel's Spider-Man Video Game Becomes World’s Saddest Easter Egg
https://kotaku.com/wedding-proposal-hid ... 1828920048
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Jennifer » 30 Sep 2018, 07:23

Geek thought inspired by binge-watching episodes of Jim Henson's Dinosaurs: suppose humans went back to dinosaur times -- and ignoring the fact that between the too-high oxygen levels and the foreign-to-us microbes, we couldn't possibly last long there anyway -- would we be able to eat a healthy diet and meet all our nutritional needs, from the food sources available at the time? A quick Google search says the first grasses evolved 55 million years ago, after the dinosaurs died -- so no cereal grains. (Though a slightly more intense search says that "grass-like" phytoliths have been found in Cretaceous coprolites dating back 66 million years, so there might have been grass seeds then --but would they have been edible and nutritious for us?) Presumably we could still digest the proteins from animal meats -- but how much fat did animals have then? Would an exclusive dino-meat diet have resulted in "rabbit starvation"? As for all the other plants -- I don't know of any non-cereal plants people eat now that existed even in primitive form back then -- not even if you ignore the modern domesticated versions of those plants and focus only on what plants Paleolithic people ate.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Mo » 30 Sep 2018, 07:32

I believe ginkgo was around then and some ferns have edible bits. Also, pine nuts were possibly around. But yeah, for the most part, on the fruit and veggie front, there’s not much.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Ellie » 30 Sep 2018, 10:53

Were there any tubers back then?
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Jennifer
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Jennifer » 30 Sep 2018, 18:57

I don't know. But even if there were, would they have nutrients we find digestible?

For that matter, I have no idea if it was correct for me to presume that we could digest the proteins from animal flesh back then. All I know about proteins is, they're made from amino acids, there are "simple" and "complex" proteins, and we need both to be healthy. But have there been any changes to "proteins" over the past 60 million years? Even today, are there any protein types (other than keratin) which humans CANNOT digest -- cuts of animal muscle which are nutritionally useless for us?
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Aresen » 30 Sep 2018, 19:31

Jennifer wrote:
30 Sep 2018, 18:57
I don't know. But even if there were, would they have nutrients we find digestible?

For that matter, I have no idea if it was correct for me to presume that we could digest the proteins from animal flesh back then. All I know about proteins is, they're made from amino acids, there are "simple" and "complex" proteins, and we need both to be healthy. But have there been any changes to "proteins" over the past 60 million years? Even today, are there any protein types (other than keratin) which humans CANNOT digest -- cuts of animal muscle which are nutritionally useless for us?
We are a fairly omnivorous species, there is damned little we can't eat. Remember that aves are descended from therapod dinosaurs; we eat both birds and reptilians. So we're unlikely to be short of proteins and the few that are toxic to us would likely be toxic to mesozoic fauna as well, so they would be rare. I would be more concerned about carbohydrates and vitamins.

Your concerns about micro-organisms are valid. They mutate so rapidly - and we have mutated to keep up* - that our immune system may have 'forgotten' the older forms.

*I remember hearing, in answer to a creationist, that humans are continuing to evolve rapidly, with most of the mutations occurring in our immune system. Apparently, being a wide-spread species with a large population makes us very attractive to ambitious microbes.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Eric the .5b » 13 Oct 2018, 21:51

Honest Trailers isn't strictly a "geek" thing, but this installment is a survey of classic Doctor Who that truly gets it, warts and all.

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