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  1. #1
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Default Cities Without People

    How automated are cities these days? Given a Contagion scenario, that pandemic we're all waiting for, and, say, most people carking it, all those major cities would grind to a halt? Do utilities like gas or power, or say water and the internet, need human supervision? Could survivors still go online and, say, debate their personality type in between, perhaps, swapping recipes for microwave popcorn or cheat codes for console games? Or is civilization basically over at that point?
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

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    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    It would work for a while.

    Things are mostly automated, especially electricity since it deals with such high voltage that it requires machines to operate high powered switches anyway since a human can't be anywhere near it.

    Humans still do need to supervise high powered mechanical switches because there's enough power going through high voltage substations to cause a huge explosion if something goes wrong with the system.

    So stuff would probably work by itself for a while but then kaput - possibly catastrophically.

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    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    This is what happens when shit goes awry with high voltage.


  4. #4
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Default

    And sewerage? Running water?


    /planning ahead
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

    Boy meets Grr

  5. #5
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    The most you could get is a month or so barring breakdowns etc. I believe hydroelectric dams are an example of one of the most self sufficient machine systems we use

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/after...pulation-zero/

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/After...Zero#section_1
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  6. #6
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    The most you could get is a month or so barring breakdowns etc. I believe hydroelectric dams are an example of one of the most self sufficient machine systems we use

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/After...Zero#section_1
    LOL, "Within a week, all toy dogs disappear from Earth".

    Almost worth it.
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

    Boy meets Grr

  7. #7
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    They would in essence become death camps in the respect that cities would be quarantined and the infected areas would be hemmed in and the populations would not be allowed to leave. It is likely that we won't be able to go online because TPTB that have organised the quarantine would cut off phone connections etc. for their own use and to prevent the outside co-ordinating escape attempts with the inside. Mobiles would still work for as long as they can be charged and providers would provide the service. If you found out your customer(s) were trapped in a high mortality rate area and that there is low chance they will still be alive in time for the billing date (or their employer would still pay them their earnings so their phone bills can be paid.) So in regards to communication, could go silent.

    In regards to automaton, nuclear power plants (working ones not Fukushima ones) are designed to shut down within a couple of days when they are not in operation. So if all the staff die or evacuate in a hurry any dead or quantined cities would lose power if this fuels their grid and would probably have to start burning wood instead. For other power sources all bets are off, unless de-activation protocols are installed they could continue to power a region for a long time until faults cause the system to malfunction. As long as this power continues sewage treatment plants could also run but most facilities would be lost without the human element of transportation. Plus you would need to guard your microwave dinners and tin cans, looters could be a serious problem.

    This reminds me of the "Life After People" series which speculated the state of the world if humanity suddenly disappeared. Any pets trapped inside the homes will face a terrible death, Dogs will suffer a die-off either way, Cats would survive and come to dominate the cities, skyscrapers could become vertical forests populated by plant life and birds, bird crap would cause bridges to collapse and apart from the Hoover Dam and a few other places the Pyramids of Giza would survive for at least another 10,000 years. Ironic that it were the constructions of ancient man which would surpass and outlive most if not all creations of modern man.

  8. #8
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    In Earth Abides (which seems to me about as ISTP a book of the apocalypse as you can get) by George R Stewart, hydro power keeps cities illuminated for some time, barring accident, and urban water and gas pressure stays high enough to be useable while the guy travels from city to city looking for people. He seems never to defecate nor urinate so I don't know what the sewers are like.

    Set in 1948 USA though, possibly a better time for a non-infrastructure destructive end of the world.

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