94

I know you want proper booby traps, but I doubt they would be the biggest dangers or challenges of invading a military base. Security measures would have a far larger impact. Firstly a 1 meter thick steel door should make it extremely hard to get in. With the electronics degraded and any ball bearings and grease long gone you will literally have to drag ...


85

Mongrels There is no reason to think that left to themselves, dogs will remain in breeds. They will cross breed. In a few generations, there won't be any separate breeds. All dogs will be mongrels. There may be some specialist types. For example, smaller dogs may specialize in hunting in tunnels (e.g. rabbit warrens). The largest dogs will likely ...


63

I'm going to respond to this with a framing challenge, because as it stands I think you're asking the wrong question. The issue is that the modern industrial world is a product of population DENSITY rather than total population. This may seem semantic but in a post-apocalyptic environment it's very meaningful. Modern industrialism depends on and benefits ...


51

I'm thinking in an entirely different direction. In one of the Indiana Jones movies he met this cult that was dedicated to protecting a relic and keeping unworthy people from getting it. Suppose that, since the apocalypse, the locals have built up a cult that just absolutely does not want anybody to have what's in the military base. They could be the ...


49

"Some kind of exotic particle? Or perhaps a form of gravity that we haven't encountered yet?" I'd go way more realistic: make it a virus, (maybe developed by some weird apocaliptic cult), and there you go. Wikipedia states that Aphasia is an inability to comprehend or formulate language because of damage to specific brain regions Which is perfectly ...


48

On September 28 2003, Italy experienced a nation wide black out. After three hours, energy was restored in northern regions. Electricity was restored gradually in most places, and in most cities electricity was powered on again during the morning. Energy was restored first in the northern region because there is where hydroelectric plants are located, ...


36

I once read an article called "You Will Survive the Doomsday" which argued that you will, well, survive the Doomsday. How realistic their assessment is I hope to never learn, but the main line was that nobody is going to carpet-bomb every square inch of American soil over and over and over again. The enemy will send everything they can to the top priority ...


36

Diesel is your freind here. The diesel engine was originally designed to run on peanut oil. In fact there are conversion kits out there that can modify various diesel engines to run on used vegetable oil. All you have to do is filter the crud out. Granted, it made your car smell like a McDonalds as you drove around, and your friends could smell your car ...


35

A few months at best It's the lack of vitamins that gets you. Vitamin C deficiency is known colloquially as scurvy and was one of the biggest killers of sailors in the age of exploration. Simply, you need your fruit and veg or you're going to die. You can get around this if you have supplies of concentrated fruit juice or vitamin supplement pills, but ...


34

Already Exists Behold, the Submarine Cable Map! A wide network of underwater cable that connects the major coastal population centers. In fact, I believe you may be using it to view this page, or even if not you, someone else. (By the way, don't use solar power. A nuke-fest that destroys the Earth and forces everyone to live in bunkers will cause a nuclear ...


31

They reproduce like cicadas. Some small creatures take their time about reproducing. Some cicadas take 17 years to reach sexual maturity. That's more time than larger creatures such as dogs and cats. Your fairies may reach sexual maturity only after they are 40 or 50 years old. And then, like cicadas and so many other insects, they mate, lay eggs and die, ...


30

Flying creatures have a much higher metabolism for their size, especially non-gliding kinds like fairies. If you assume they have a metabolism similar to a hummingbird, then a 10 pound fairy will need just as much food as a full grown man; so, scarcity would be just as meaningful if not more so to them because not only do they need just as much food, but ...


28

No, the internet is not needed for a GPS-based device to calculate location. A standalone device learns about updates to the GPS constellation (broadcast by GPS) as part of it's startup. That's why the take a minute or two to startup - they are listening for updates. Phones often receive these updates via internet, which is why they start working faster ...


27

Mid Spring Around late April the last freezes will have passed through the U.S.. It will be possible to remain outdoors with little protection for seven months from this time. Farmers will have already prepared their fields (which would have required the heavy equipment) and planted the first crops of the year. Setting up manual irrigation will not be an ...


27

I've used a personal analogy for this, which I call "The brake pad problem." I estimate (without any serious research) that maybe a few hundred people around the world really know what it takes to manufacture an automobile brake pad. If you kill them all off, we're in serious trouble at least until a new process (or a reconstruction of the original) can be ...


26

Dogs are dogs. Barring some of the more physically-incapacitated dogs, as long as they have a means of escaping their homes, there is unlikely to be any particularly advantageous breed. A feral dog lost as a puppy easily sustained itself off hunting. Millions of dogs live on the streets in Mexico The St. John's water dog lived as a feral breed for decades ...


25

The medical term is kwashiorkor. It was first identified in Africa in 1935. Mothers would stop breast-feeding their child when they became pregnant again. The older children would get plenty of calories from a high-carbohydrate diet, but were no longer getting protein (from the breast milk). The name "kwashiorkor" is a word in Ga which means "the ...


25

Genetic no..... Physical yes. Ample food, modern healthcare and clean water means they would be healthier, taller and good teeth. Skin would be paler and less blemishes. A child's access to health and nutrition greatly impacts on height, strength and intelligence later in life. Genetic changes are only really likely if the vault dwellers use genetic ...


23

It depends on how soon after the apocalypse you're trying to use it. The GPS system is conceptually divided into three segments: the "space segment", the "control segment", and the "user segment". Other satnav systems function similarly. The "space segment" is the satellites. You need four satellites to be visible to figure out your location; right now, ...


23

There isn't anything people won't loot Oh look, a sign for a dentist office. Let's check it out. You have to understand that whether or not people loot a dentist office has nothing to do with having thought of it...simply seeing one along their travels will be enough for them to loot it. People will see a location, and then think about whether that ...


21

Given that there is enough food in convenience stores / supermarkets (ie. little enough people have survived that the quantity of food is not a problem) quite a few years, by which time they'd hopefully find local library (as I'm not too optimistic about their skillsets) and learn to plant, grow and eat the natural food outside the city to survive ...


21

Do you have a genuine anarchy or is it more a tribal or organized crime setting? The "families" do not want any city government to interfere with their business. The "families" want to do business with each other, so in the absence of law they must gain a reputation for keeping their word, and for punishing betrayals. The "families" want tourists to spend ...


21

Unsurprisingly, some people have already put a lot of thought into this sort of problem, and come up with some quite neat ideas. I particularly like the Rosetta Disk, part of the much larger Long Now project (well worth a closer look, especially the 10000 year clock) and a prototype of their information-preserving library idea. The Rosetta Disk in particular ...


21

No Here is a good essay on the strategic implications of nuclear weapons. (I'm not an expert myself, but it strikes me as plausible enough that it seems legit). It's long, but worth reading. A couple of salient points: 1) A warhead doesn't destroy a whole city. There is a zone of guaranteed total destruction, but it's much smaller than most think it is....


21

Electric cars and solar power battery charging. The tech already exist and there's a lot of panels and batteries around.


20

One of the more common symptoms of certain kinds of stroke or TIEs (Transient Ischemic Episodes) is aphasia - for you, this is perfect - you should have a prion disease which selectively targets that brain region, and causes a ton of small bleeders... in specific, the area your prion disease should attack is called Wernicke’s area. Damage to the Wernicke'...


19

The Four Horsemen Global warming is making crop failures look likely. Famine can kill large numbers of people and historically has done so often. Tens of millions died in the midcentury famines in China and the USSR. If global warming makes the tropics unsuitable for agriculture that would lead to famine in Africa and India for sure and possibly China. ...


18

No By 2100, assuming we're using the arsenal gathering rate that took place during the Cold War (40,000 Nuclear Warheads produced between 1950-1990 is 1,000 Nukes per year) that adds an extra 110,000 Nuclear Warheads for 150,000 total. (I'm using this because it's somewhat realistic and smaller than other methods that you could use to calculate it.) Given ...


17

Previous answers have correctly pointed out that infrastructure and electronics decay over time. However, what if that particular base had been the test site for cutting edge military weaponry? More specifically, AI research, with integrated combat and repair drones. As the world succumbed to the apocalyptic event which wiped out civilization as we know it, ...


16

Given the sheer volume of disposable electronics that have been manufactured to date it seems inevitable that junkyard scavengers would be able to get some working again. Old smart phones, iPods, etc.. are literally in landfills. No cellular network left but as long as you have battery power it can still play music. Charging a small DC battery really is ...


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