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View Poll Results: See Background Information Below. Which Scenario Would You Prefer?
Scenario 1. No power. 6 10.53%
Scenario 2. No water/sewer. 5 8.77%
Scenario 3. No transportation. 33 57.89%
Scenario 4. No housing. 9 15.79%
Scenario 5. No food. 1 1.75%
Give me all of them at once. I am Conan the Barbarian. 3 5.26%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-13-2011, 12:42 AM  
Rain Man Rain Man is online now
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Hypothetical: You and Disaster

You're minding your own business, sitting in your easy chair reading Frazz and eating an ice cream sandwich when disaster strikes. Bam! A meteor strikes or the terrorists attack or a giant interstellar radiation wave hits or aliens take a potshot or a supervolcano erupts - you're not exactly sure, but whatever it was, the infrastructure takes a big hit.

I'll offer five scenarios below. In each case, one part of the infrastructure gets destroyed and four parts remain intact. Assume that it'll take you two years to get the destroyed part back up and running and that everyone within 200 miles of you has suffered the same fate.


Scenario 1. Power grid destroyed. Your house is fine and you've got plumbing, and the transportation grid is fine. You can get food. But you have no electricity or natural gas. Assume that supply and demand will price alternative power sources such as solar panels out of your reach.

Scenario 2. Water and sewer infrastructure destroyed. Your house is fine and you've got power. The transportation grid is fine and you can get food. But you can't get water into your home, and you can't get sewage out. Assume that you have to travel five miles each way to get water, and your allotment is enough to drink, but you can only shower once per week. There is no Plan B on sewage, so you're on your own there.

Scenario 3. Transportation grid destroyed. Your house is fine, and you've got power and water. You can get food. However, you can't use your vehicle and must travel on foot, bicycle, or double your normal time using public transit. Also, because of the transportation problem, assume that prices on goods that must be transported into your area will increase by 50 percent until the transportation grid is repaired, and your pay isn't going up. (Locally produced stuff will go up similarly due to supply and demand.)

Scenario 4. Housing is destroyed. Your home was pounded into rubble. You've been given a tent, and you can get electricity and water to it, and you have a community bathroom nearby. You can get food. You just have to live in a tent for the next two years. Assume the tent has 75 sq. ft. per person in your household.

Scenario 5. Food production system is destroyed. Your house is fine, and it has power and water/sewer. The transportation grid is fine. However, for the next two years your diet will consist of only bread and corn until the rest of the food system can recover.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:46 AM   #2
JOhn JOhn is offline
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Transportation grid, I live in Wyoming.

We got horses
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:50 AM   #3
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I went with transportation as well. Seemed like the lesser of all the evils.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:50 AM   #4
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I voted no water/sewer. As an environmental engineer, I'd really be able to serve humankind, and I would find that very fulfilling.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:56 AM   #5
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I think my general ranking would be:

1. No transportation. The cost increase would stink, but my need for transportation is generally minimal. (Maybe I'm underestimating the impact of this on society, though.)

2. No housing. Uncomfortable, but survivable.

3. No power. Toughie, but this is presuming that I can keep the house warm enough with the fireplace to keep the water pipes from freezing. If not, this would move to fifth and water would move up to third.

4. No food. Bread and corn would get pretty boring. If it wouldn't affect my health I'd pick it third, but it seems like it'd be unhealthy.

5. It would really stink (figuratively and literally) to be without water and sewer. Showers, washing clothes, watering the lawn - all gone or severely limited. And then you'd have to turn your lawn into a big cesspool, and I don't have a big lawn. Seems like a recipe for trouble.


I also debated adding telecommunications infrastructure in - no TV, no phones, no cell phones, no Internet. But I figured that would be an easy answer for the #1 preference.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:57 AM   #6
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Too easy. Remove transportation if possible.

Fitting thread. Me sitting in the Tokyo Narita airport waiting on an earthquake and all.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:57 AM
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:00 AM   #7
JOhn JOhn is offline
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Actually now that I think about it, food would be my answer.

Again, I live in Wyoming. I can kill all the game I would need.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:01 AM   #8
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Several of these options are better for those who live in various areas where the option chosen would hurt the least, such as transportation loss not affecting the guy in Wyoming with horses. Power could be less of a hassle if you leave near a forest and could get wood to burn easily. Some MacGyver types could even use a river or creek to generate electricity. A close friend of mine has acreage in LaCygne with pecan, persimmon, pear, and plum trees on it, as well as blackberry bushes and wild garlic, and deer, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, and ducks are common, so he wouldn't starve there. Ducks often make use of his large fish pond. I wouldn't mind living there even if there wasn't a disaster or invasion!
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:05 AM   #9
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No housing for sure.

Basically just a 2 year camping trip but I'd actually get to have electricity. I'm tempted to do it right now.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:09 AM   #10
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1. Power
2. Housing
3. Transport
4. Water
5. Food


If everyone inside of 200 miles is without food, we'll strip the place bare in no time, so that would definitely be the last on my list.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:19 AM   #11
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I probably should've taken public transit out of the transportation option.

Question for the people picking transportation. If there was no transportation at all, including public transportation, and you could only walk or bike (or use horses if you're in Wyoming), could you keep your job? And if you could get there, would your company be able to stay in business without transportation?

In my case I think I could get to my job easily since I walk anyway and seldom have to drive to meetings. I think my company would also stay in business. I figured this would be a problem for many other people, though.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:22 AM   #12
Just Passin' By Just Passin' By is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
I probably should've taken public transit out of the transportation option.

Question for the people picking transportation. If there was no transportation at all, including public transportation, and you could only walk or bike (or use horses if you're in Wyoming), could you keep your job? And if you could get there, would your company be able to stay in business without transportation?

In my case I think I could get to my job easily since I walk anyway and seldom have to drive to meetings. I think my company would also stay in business. I figured this would be a problem for many other people, though.
Businesses will die without power, too. I went on the assumption that you gave all the relevant losses.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:36 AM   #13
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Losing water and sewer would be like money falling from the sky for me. I would be much better off if this would happen.

I didn't pick transportation, but my plan would be to bike to work (less than 20 miles) and work M-R, sleeping in my office between commutes. We live about a 30 min walk from the grocery store, so that would not be a big deal either.

Loss of shelter would be no biggie if I had everything else. My wife would be none too happy. She hates camping and has arthritis. But within a month i would have a serviceable shelter even if building supplies were scarce. Throw in her electric blanket, a space heater, and I think we would make do.

Since I live in a high population density area, food would be a huge problem. But I think we'd all survive on bread and corn. If you took those staples off the table, this would be my worst case.

Being without power would be the worst of the scenarios presented, IMO. It affects your food supply (no refrigeration), heating and AC, communication, etc. I could burn wood for heat and cooking, but life would totally suck.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archie Bunker View Post
No housing for sure.

Basically just a 2 year camping trip but I'd actually get to have electricity. I'm tempted to do it right now.
I am doing it RIGHT NOW in a 16' by 32' army tent. power and water ran to an old run down trailer for shower and kitchen purposes. It's kinda cool. My buddy just bought the property.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:52 AM   #15
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I voted water. Transportation was tempting but I earn my living transporting tools and materials to my clients' homes. If transportation were toast, everything else would be the least of my worries.
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