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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Those of us writing in the post-apocalypse genre (my PA novel is "Since Tomorrow") have to confront technical problems on almost every page. A couple of the questions I've had to deal with: If we returned to wood burning, how long would it take to deforest a city? Could a steer pull a wagon made from a car chassis? How do you amputate an arm with primitive instruments? Is there a crude way to make opium?

Would you like feedback on some technical PA issue in your writing? Want to float an idea before you commit it to words? Post here. I'm sure you'll get lots of replies.

To start things off, here's a query: In a ruined city would coyotes enter a building and climb stairs to get at corpses?
 

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Interesting question. There are a ton of coyotes in the area we live. I've seen them in people's garbage in broad daylight. It's really amazing how brazen coyotes can be. I think they would enter buildings if they knew they were in no danger from humans and had several escape routes. But I think they'd go into a building, grab what they could, and drag it out into the street to eat it rather than stay in the buildings/houses.

Hope that helps!

Rue
 

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I would guess that any carnivore would treat a cityscape just like the formations of a rock canyon once the odors of mankind had worn off.

Great question - I look forward to reading this thread.
 

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Coyotes will go wherever there is food without immediate danger. Regarding how to do post-apocalyptic things, I rteally do not see your problem. A steer can pull a car if it has inflated tires. Amputation is not hard to do, with any saw- what's hard is preventing infection. Opium is already harvested "crudely" with a knife. Effective wood-burning requires forests or coal or petroleum, not cities.

I think post-apocalyptic writing has merit, because it may help alert people to what's coming. IF the apocalypse is atomic war, the background radiation will rise to where there are no more mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, etc.
 

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morgan_n said:
To start things off, here's a query: In a ruined city would coyotes enter a building and climb stairs to get at corpses?
I'm not a coyote expert, but most of my life I lived on the outskirts of civilization, where wild coyotes roamed and we could hear them yipping at night. They were our version of the bogie man, in that we were told as kids not to go out alone at night or the coyotes would get us. I am almost 50 now, and I do NOT think that was a fib.

In short, YES, I do think coyotes would enter a building in a ruined city and go upstairs to get at corpses.
 

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It would really all depend on how apocalyptic events were - is it a low end global financial collapse return to the Great Depression or the extreme end of global nuclear/biological warfare.

If the former most of the tech base will be in tact, probably functioning, but you'd see a collapse of the large cities given most there have no idea on how to survive or provide for themselves.  In the later, well most things are gone and all you are left with are scattered survivors picking clean the ruins for whatever they can scavenge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ruecole said:
Interesting question. There are a ton of coyotes in the area we live. I've seen them in people's garbage in broad daylight. It's really amazing how brazen coyotes can be. I think they would enter buildings if they knew they were in no danger from humans and had several escape routes. But I think they'd go into a building, grab what they could, and drag it out into the street to eat it rather than stay in the buildings/houses.

Hope that helps!

Rue
Thanks Rue, especially since you're in the area I'm writing about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Super posts, everybody! Looking forward to chiming in on whatever PA tech dilemmas you're caught up in...
 

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I've been spending quite a bit of time on prepper forums gorging on information. For me, the biggest question mark is just how long computers and tablets would last. Assuming that nothing gets dropped or broken, is it realistic to expect a tablet to be in use after ten years?
 

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I grew up with coyotes - well sort of - I lived on a farm in a rual area. As much as I think I might know coyotes your question makes me question my own knowledge. I'm not sure if coyotes are scavangers like vultures are. Would they eat a corpse or will they only eat food they kill? I never saw coyotes eating animals along the road that had been killed or animals that died by other means. They would however kill our baby cows or other small animals. This makes me think they aren't scavengers, but I could be wrong.

Then I have to ask myself in a post apocolyptic world where an animal is desparate for food, would it eat a corpse for survival? I'm just not sure that coyotes would do that even in desparation because eating something rotting might go against their natural instinct even in times of desperation.

I believe coyotes would enter buildings because they already live in cities. I'm not sure if they would attack living humans but I'm guessing if desperate enough they could gang up on a wounded person if they were in a pack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
wolfrom said:
I've been spending quite a bit of time on prepper forums gorging on information. For me, the biggest question mark is just how long computers and tablets would last. Assuming that nothing gets dropped or broken, is it realistic to expect a tablet to be in use after ten years?
Not sure about the hardware... But if the setting is post-collapse, electricity supply and battery life must be problems.
 

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As for the coyote, yes, they would go inside to get food. 

I grew up in Anaheim Hills, CA which is a residential area built in a hilly area above Anaheim, CA.  Without the end of the world anywhere in sight, we had coyotes come out of wilderness area behind us and walk directly into people's houses all the time.  We would hear people's dogs being eaten in their backyards, and the owners said later that by the time they jumped out of bed and ran outside to aid their dog, there was nothing left of him.    We often worried that people with young children shouldn't allow them to walk around in their yards during the morning and evening hours, which was when the packs most often came looking for food.  They'd stroll around our neighborhood with cars driving down the street honking, my father shooting BBs at them, and people screaming and throwing things at them.  I actually saw a small pack of coyotes chase a guy walking his dog down the street and attack the dog at the end of the leash with the owner kicking and screaming and fighting to pick up his dog. 

Hell yes, they'd walk into an abandoned building looking for food.  And they'd stand there and eat it as well.  Survival of the fittest.  When an animal is hungry, he'll do anything to get food.
 

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Glad to help, Morgan! :)

I can see a desktop lasting longer than a tablet or laptop. Eventually the batteries would stop holding a charge. I suppose it could be kept running by keeping it plugged into a power source, but in a world where power would be a precious resource that might only be used for a few hours a day at most, that's not necessarily going to work well. I've got a laptop from 2004 or 2005 that we had to keep going this way and in the last week the charger finally died, so it's not even possible to run it that way. Plus, I think it's easier to replace the parts in a desktop than a laptop/tablet. I can see, with proper maintenance and repair--especially once the internet is gone--a desktop lasting for 10 to 20 years. Maybe more!

Hope that helps!

Rue
 

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You bring up some really good points and you start with a series of good questions, not just the one you ended your first post on. Something that I have found with regards to PAW (Post Apocalyptic World) fiction is that as a genre it is as multifaceted as just about any other genre but, and I got nailed for this for my first drafts, the "prepper" sub-genre is one that you really need to know your stuff. They will forgive some things, up to a point, but after that point you are going to get called out. I don't mean this in a bad way, just that they want their I's dotted and T's crossed and for things to be consistent.

I'm a fairly active member of a number of online communities and it has been invaluable to be able to bounce ideas off of people there and get insight into what's going on, how a particular mindset works, etc. I'm trying to stay away from saying "they" because, well, deep down I guess I'm "one of them" and that probably helped in writing the books but I still got a lot of things not quite right the first time around.

So, what does that have to do with post-apocalyptic tech? The prepper community is all over the board when it comes to ideas on what a PA world will be, what tech will still be available and how to work within it. They are also constantly trying to prepare for it and coming up with some ingenious ways to overcome the hurdles that will undoubtedly face everyone, regardless of the scenario.

When it comes to medical/dental care, if you are serious about research (not necessarily for your own preparations, but for PAW fiction writing), don't reinvent the wheel. There are a couple of books available on those two topics in a fair amount of detail: Where there is no Dentist and Where there is no Doctor (where, not when...totally different books).

Getting to some of the questions you've had to deal with (I don't know if you have totally worked them out yet or not but if you have, additional perspectives might be useful to others):
If we returned to wood burning, how long would it take to deforest a city?
Depends on how large of a city we are talking about, the size of the community using the trees inside the city/surrounding area and the climate/latitude. Northern, say north of the Mason-Dixon line (I live in NC), with a population of 2,000 people all running their individual homesteads? I would think you could run through everything that was growing inside the "city" withing a couple of months just with cooking fires because most folks wouldn't know how to bank their coals at night and/or would run through a lot of wood at first just learning how to use a fire. A larger group could strip all the trees from the surrounding area even faster and if it was fall and they were trying to get ready for the winter, it could get ugly quick.

Could a steer pull a wagon made from a car chassis?
I would say yes but I would use oxen before a steer. Oxen were pulling wagons for the pioneers and were far more...tractable (by comparison mind you) than steer. In lieu of oxen I would go with draft horses or a double team of regular horses for the same reason. Cattle are almost like mule...stubborn or stupid or both. phildukephd did make a good point about the tires though. If they can be inflated, it would make things easier on everyone involved, regardless of the species. Obviously any extra weight would be removed (engine block, etc.). If the tires can't be inflated, some type of solid tire other than the rims would need to be used, I would think, since the rims really wouldn't hold up for very long as they bend easily. Off the top of my head I don't have any suggestions and this post is getting REALLY long already.

How do you amputate an arm with primitive instruments?
See the suggestion above re:Where there is no Doctor.

Is there a crude way to make opium?
Can't speak to the simplicity of opium but I'm sure something similar can be found, if not in the book above...Google is your friend.

I'll ask a couple of my questions in a different post.

--Dave
 

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Regarding tablets, laptops, and computers...

Hmm... I'd thought about the electrical supply, but I'd forgotten about how quickly the batteries would degrade.

That's definitely an issue. :)
 

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There isn't a whole lot you can do about battery degradation. However, as far as power, solar should still be a viable source for a long time (unless we burn the sky like they did in the Matrix). If you have solar charging capability or the ability to directly power something from solar you could run tablets or laptops.

It would be more likely that you would charge a bank of large batteries and then run the device off of those batteries, even if the device battery was dead, probably through an inverter, but the power is still possibly there. Just a thought.
 

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morgan_n said:
Not sure about the hardware... But if the setting is post-collapse, electricity supply and battery life must be problems.
Solar Panels will be one of the most valuable trading commodities around. They will be plentiful at first (solar powered homes) but rapidly become rare. Simple river or wind powered generators will be commonplace. A computer - even a laptop - can be opened and have the existing power supply bypassed. All you need is a twelve and a five volt rail - simple to build as you don't need to step down from 110/240v. Solar hot water systems can be converted to heat small areas in homes - even in winter. Trees in cities would not last more than weeks or possibly days.
 

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DavidCWaldron said:
It would be more likely that you would charge a bank of large batteries and then run the device off of those batteries, even if the device battery was dead, probably through an inverter, but the power is still possibly there. Just a thought.
That's what I've got for my characters... a battery bank of scavenged car batteries powered by a modular solar plant.

I guess after so many years they'll have to give up on being mobile with their tablets, assuming they didn't have the foresight to have some backup batteries lying in wait. I assume if it's left unused, a fresh tablet battery would be almost as good as new when first charged up and used, even after five years.

Maybe...

There's always the possibility of just switching genres and saying "a wizard did it".
 

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morgan_n said:
Those of us writing in the post-apocalypse genre (my PA novel is "Since Tomorrow") have to confront technical problems on almost every page. A couple of the questions I've had to deal with: If we returned to wood burning, how long would it take to deforest a city? Could a steer pull a wagon made from a car chassis? How do you amputate an arm with primitive instruments? Is there a crude way to make opium?

Would you like feedback on some technical PA issue in your writing? Want to float an idea before you commit it to words? Post here. I'm sure you'll get lots of replies.

To start things off, here's a query: In a ruined city would coyotes enter a building and climb stairs to get at corpses?
The biggest problem with using cattle to pull wagons is feeding the cattle. In a real breakdown of society they would be more likely eaten than fed. Amputation is simple - in the days of old they were sawn off and the remaining limb dipped in hot tar to seal the wound and prevent blood loss. The patient was usually give a few slugs of rum or whiskey and then given a piece of bound wood to bite down on. They were held down by volunteers. Wild dogs of any type are inventive - they will go wherever there is a food source. Climbing is not a problem for them.
 

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DavidCWaldron said:
Could a steer pull a wagon made from a car chassis?
I would say yes but I would use oxen before a steer. Oxen were pulling wagons for the pioneers and were far more...tractable (by comparison mind you) than steer.
--Dave
Dave -

As far as I am aware, a steer when matured, is a bullock / ox... So really they are one and the same, except for age. Think 'male bovine with surgery applied'. Bulls - male bovine intactus - would be too unruly of course, for the task. [My late grandfather was a 'bullocky' in the wilds of Australia, many, many, many years ago].

Cheers,

John
 
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