In short : how far can you technologically go, (mainly concerning building and weapon) having only an unlimited amount of apple?

details :

  • About apples :

1) You have an infinite supply of apple, to be exact you have an infinite supply of the same apple, down to the atomic level.

2) Leftover pilling up will not be an issue since you can get rid of them the same way you can get the apples.

3)The apple is a granny smith which still have a peduncle.

  • About the setting :

This takes place in a flat world made of something really hard and not reasonably scavengable.

The ground extend really far away and there is no relief whatsoever.

There is a small group of human (~10 peoples), who are "clean" in the sense that they carry no foreign body , have no disease, and a skin completely void of alien bacteria

Also this group is the only living thing on this place, wich mean that apple probably won't rot (if my understanding of the rotting process is correct)

  • About manpower and knowledge :

the amount of knowledge and skill of the group is state of the art in whatever you may need, but it don't extend to impossible end (you can't do magic and the likes) one of the oblivious problem is the total lack of tools , unless you can make them out of apples.

you can also technically use human waste and stuff like saliva but those kind of thing don't come in with infinite supply since you only have an handful of people.

  • About tree :

I am conscious that you may technically be able to just grow trees out of the apples using other apples as a fertilizer but there is 2 problem for this:

1- trees are long to grow, and even if you can effectively plant an infinite amount of them you won't have anything really usable for the fist few years (or generations if you want good solid wood)

2-I am not even sure that tree can grow out of just that, like, can you really make a tree grow on a solid surface with only apple and small amount of apple-based fecee(since human can provide that)?

  • detailled question :

i would like to know what kind of building and tool/weapons you can craft in this setting (especially during the early years since after it just come down to what you can do with lots of wood (if, of course you actually can grow trees in this setting))

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think I'd rather harvest what is in the Apple Store and strip it down for parts.... :0 $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Jul 23 '15 at 0:43
  • $\begingroup$ Well you can try to fell the apple tree in 2 way, stoning it with lots of apples or use the seeds to carve at the bark. Good luck though! I think using teeth is much better than seeds. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jul 23 '15 at 2:05
  • $\begingroup$ @user 6760: Apple trees aren't especially strong... the weight of one human would be enough to break off a medium-sized branch (bigger than anything you could expect to grow in five years). $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '15 at 6:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Joanna Marietti are you not mistaken I've seen an Apple tree when I time traveled into the past climbed up an apple tree and played pranks on an Englishman sitting underneath. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jul 23 '15 at 7:01
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, you can climb it - if you put your weight on the base of the branch, near the trunk. But if you grasp the branch further out, using its length as a lever, it's not too hard to break. $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '15 at 11:11

You can't build anything. Why?

1) You don't have any bonding agents. Your apples will forever be stuck in apple form. Try stacking up a wall made of apples — I bet it'll fall down really quickly, and with the slightest budge.

2) Even if you started with a completely clean environment, your apples would still rot. Consider the amount of bacteria we breathe out each day. On average, on Earth, an average human breathes in something like 860,000 bacteria every day. With 10 people, that's a lot of bacteria that adds up really quickly.

3) Let's say for a moment there is 0 bacteria in the entire system described — your apples would dry out. Dry apples have no strength whatsoever. Also, the humans would probably die from lack of bacteria inside their bodies.

4) Okay, now we assume bacteria dies instantly when outside its host human. Your apples still dry out.

What can you do though? Well, consider not the apple itself but its peduncle. The peduncle is really just a stick. A really really small stick. We can do lots of things with sticks. Luckily for us, peduncles are also fairly flexible. We can tie them together to make longer sticks that bend and can be used as rope.

That means we can also twine them together to make thicker wooden pillars. If that's the case, we can build a house. A house of peduncles. It'd probably be no larger than a small hut — structural integrity becomes a problem when you use tiny little sticks as building material.

In terms of weapons though, you can throw the apples. Apples, being fairly hard, can be used in lieu of rocks. If you kill someone you can use that person's remains to make better weapons (and harvest some meat that you won't be able to cook).

However, eventually you'll be the only person left. Everyone there is going to die.

  • $\begingroup$ Downvoter, reason please? $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Jul 22 '15 at 23:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think you could make glue from the pectin in apples. $\endgroup$
    – Wad Cheber
    Aug 13 '15 at 3:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @WadCheber But how do you produce the glue? the only tools we have are apples, what am I supposed to boil the apples in to extract the pectin, other apples? $\endgroup$
    – Culyx
    May 20 '16 at 16:33

Well, you seem to be able to produce entirely unlimited quantities of apples, right? Assuming you can create them wherever you want, you have a rather good option: create an apple star. If a sufficiently large, gravitationally bound body were created entirely out of apples, it should eventually form a star (due to heating as it contracts). Since apples contain water, nitrogen, and carbon, both the proton-proton cycle and the carbon-nitrogen cycle will be available (if you make your apple star large enough). These can eventually produce heavy elements, so if you wait long enough all the materials for building tools, laying down soil, and even growing food will eventually be available, if you can extract them from the heart of a star.

If the apples can also be produced with any velocity desired, up to the speed of light, it is possible that the process of nucleosynthesis could be sped up (just aim a lot of apples at the right place, and you may not even need to wait for gravity to produce the appropriate density). Unfortunately, you are still left with a large star, with no apparent way to extract the elements or use them to make tools. But if you wait long enough, you will eventually get some planets with something other than apples.

  • $\begingroup$ Apple-physics. Awesome. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Jul 23 '15 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ So your tool is a torch? try a little harder maybe you can get a vacuum cleaner lol. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jul 23 '15 at 7:06
  • $\begingroup$ Huh? What do you mean? $\endgroup$
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 23 '15 at 15:21

One thing missed by the other answers (assuming your apples magically have protien and whatnot to permit survival), it that you have poo. Poo probably has more utility than the apples.

I am not an expert on drying and burning human poo but cow patties have been used as a fuel source. In a more wet consistency, mud brick-like walls can also be constructed with the fecal material. Dried apples will probably help by acting as a binding agent. I am unaware of how hard the poo will get when dried. There have been reports of making shanks out of poo but I think those are ususally frozen. I think the best way to discover if these will work is with experimentation... I don't want to do.

  • $\begingroup$ Sorry mate you can't survive on fruit alone regardless the amount you try to excrete. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jul 23 '15 at 7:02
  • $\begingroup$ How is dried poop a tool? $\endgroup$
    – Samuel
    Jul 23 '15 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ And how does this answer the question regarding the use of unlimited apples? $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Jul 23 '15 at 7:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Samuel it must be inspired by dung beetle, once dried you can convert it into a hamster wheel roll down a steep slope and you can wack the tree like a wrecking ball man this person is good! $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jul 23 '15 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Aify I didn't expect this to be a stand alone answer but to add to the answers which consider the apple (or corpses) to be the only material. I assumed that survival was possible (though noted it as unlikely) as it seems to be an assumption in the question and several other factors (magically appearing apples for instance) are more absurd. $\endgroup$
    – kaine
    Jul 23 '15 at 11:11

The most "useful" tools are going to come from the bones of the dead.

Step 1: Make tools.
Step 2: ...
Step 3: Profit.

There are not any useful tools that you can build from apples (unless you count a throwing ball as a tool). However, these humans, surviving on apples alone will die within a year or two from malnutrition. Once dead, any survivors can use their bones to make more "useful" tools, like a mildly effective digging implement. Or a stabby-do-hicky.

Ok, now what? There isn't much to do with any tools. These people are apparently trapped on an infinite flat plane and they want to build tools to do what exactly? Perhaps kill themselves. This can be effectively done using a splintered bone.

Before they realize the hopelessness of their fate they might be able to build an igloo type structure from some apples. It would be rather fragile though, and probably wouldn't offer much more privacy than simply piling up a few walls of apples under the tree.


It's hard to develop a technology when your population is dead.

Apples are tasty, and healthy, and all that, but they are badly deficient in various essential nutrients. Using http://www.health-alternatives.com/apple-nutrients.html as a source for nutrient levels in apples, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietary_Reference_Intake#DRI_estimations to estimate dietary requirements, assuming 26 apples/day for 2500 calories per day gives the following shortcomings expressed as supplied/required/result:

Iodine: 0/150 ug/ goiter, hypothyroidism,cretinism

Niacin: 4.3 mg/16 mg/ pellagra

Folate: 130 ug/ 320 ug / anemia

Sodium: 52 mg/ 1500 mg/hyponatremia: heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure

Protein: 12.2 g/56 g/ cachexia, kwashiorkor, various

Fat: 8g / 56 g / vitamin A,D,E,K transport deficiencies, essential fatty acid deficiency

And there are probably others.

  • $\begingroup$ Well Obviously eat substantially increase your apple intake, though couldn't solve the problem that apples don't contain any iodine they probably have other nutrients you can't get from any amount of apples $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '15 at 3:05
  • $\begingroup$ You mean, 11,000 calories /day to get enough protein, or 72,000 calories/day for enough sodium? Or 17,000 calories /day for enough fat? $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '15 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah I suppose you couldn't really have any chance of being able to consume more than 10,000 calories no matter how hard you tried. $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '15 at 4:14
  • $\begingroup$ Although, I hear Michael Phelps ate 12,000 per day while training for the Olympics. $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '15 at 6:24
  • $\begingroup$ That's assuming the tree do not support an ecosystem it is free of delicious bugs. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jul 23 '15 at 7:09

I don't know how well this would work, because I don't think anyone has ever tried it before, but it should be possible to make a kind of composite material by chewing up the peduncles (which, to avoid any confusion, are usually referred to as stems) into a fibrous mass, and then blending that with a sticky apple juice concentrate. You'd then form the substance into the shape of a house, or whatever, and allow it to dry.
I actually think this would work, because:

  1. Wood fiber is pretty strong.
  2. Apple juice concentrate is quite sticky.
  3. The two characteristics mentioned above, when combined together, form the basis of all sorts of materials that actually exist and are widely used, both by humans and in nature. (Think of fiberglass, or particle board, or the nests of wasps [made by chewing up wood fiber and mixing it with a sticky saliva].)
  4. The lack of mold in this environment (which would otherwise be a serious problem for an apple-juice-based building material) should make the resulting structure reasonably long-lasting.

I doubt if this stuff would be strong or hard enough to make tools out of, but it should suffice for a dome-like structure of modest size. A good technique might be to pile up a hemispherical mound of apple mush as a scaffold, then pack apple-fiber resin around it until it's enclosed. Let that dry and harden, then dig out the mush from inside. Voila - you've built a serviceable hut out of nothing but apples. It would take a lot of stems, though.


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