Mediaeval tech

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Simon Morden

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Feb 19, 2002, 3:35:55 PM2/19/02
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I'm sure this has been hashed out before...

Assuming a post-collapse society being reduced to roughly a late
iron-age technology, what would the most beneficial technologies to
re-introduce that would be nearly immediately applicable?

For example:
microbial theory; boil water, autoclave surgical instruments, keep
wounds and dressings clean.
steam power; could an iron-age smith produce a large scale aeropile?
Steam balista and catapult?
differential gearing;
chemistry; gunpowder is the obvious target here, but oil-cracking is
another.

Any thoughts?

Simon Morden
--
________________________________________________________
Visit the Book of Morden at http://www.bookofmorden.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk

*Thy Kingdom Come - a brief history of Armageddon* coming May 2002 from
Lone Wolf
*Heart* coming September 2002 from Razorblade Press


Ray

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Feb 19, 2002, 4:24:41 PM2/19/02
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"Simon Morden" <simon....@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:3C72B6AE...@blueyonder.co.uk...

> I'm sure this has been hashed out before...
>
> Assuming a post-collapse society being reduced to roughly a late
> iron-age technology, what would the most beneficial technologies to
> re-introduce that would be nearly immediately applicable?
>
> For example:
> microbial theory; boil water, autoclave surgical instruments, keep
> wounds and dressings clean.
> steam power; could an iron-age smith produce a large scale aeropile?
> Steam balista and catapult?
> differential gearing;
> chemistry; gunpowder is the obvious target here, but oil-cracking is
> another.
>
> Any thoughts?
>
> Simon Morden

Glass blowing has been around for a long time, so it wouldn't be too
difficult to create vacuum tubes. Generators and batteries are fairly easy
to make. Resisters, capacitors, and inductors are easy to make. Copper
wire can be drawn. Water wheels or steam engines can be used to power the
generators.

A ruler might want to make some radio transceivers to keep his kingdom in
touch. Communication on the battlefield can make all the difference in the
world. Radio receivers for the masses can give a prince a real advantage
because he will be able to build propaganda into the entertainment programs
that he has broadcast.

The printing press will spread literacy and assist in the improvement of
technology.

Arc lights or lime lights or mantle lamps will be useful in reducing the
chances of a sneak attack on your castle.

Balloons are useful for reconnaissance.

Primitive airplanes can be useful.

Modern "Marconi rig" sailboats perform a heck of a lot better than the old
square riggers.

Steam engines can be added to sailboats for upwind and no-wind performance.
Also, the extra heat can be used to distill sea water.

The knowledge of vitamins will help greatly in the prevention of scurvy.
Citrus fruits are great, but they are hard to preserve and are bulky. Rose
hips can be harvested, the seeds removed, and dried. The resulting dry
shavings can be soaked in water and eaten every day. As a matter of fact,
natural vitamin pills or powder can be made and used as part of the sailors'
rations.

Lye soap works a whole lot better than what they had back in the middle
ages.

Canning is an excellent technique for preserving just about any food that
can be cooked. It can be done in glazed clay containers with rubber
gaskets, but works better with glass.

Smokeless powder works better than black powder.

Aluminum and steel can be made. Precision machining can be brought back.
Sand casting can be brought back.


Ray Drouillard

Derek Lyons

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Feb 19, 2002, 6:00:49 PM2/19/02
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Simon Morden <simon....@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>Assuming a post-collapse society being reduced to roughly a late
>iron-age technology, what would the most beneficial technologies to
>re-introduce that would be nearly immediately applicable?
>
>Any thoughts?
>

You need at several miracles first... Your most pressing problems
will be food, energy, and transportation. All seriously lacking at an
iron-age technology.

D.
------------------------------
Proprietor, Interim Books http://www.interimbooks.com
USS Henry L. Stimson homepage http://www.interimbooks.com/derek/655/
Derek on Books http://www.interimbooks.com/derek/books/
------------------------------

Charles R Martin

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Feb 19, 2002, 6:43:43 PM2/19/02
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Simon Morden <simon....@blueyonder.co.uk> writes:

> I'm sure this has been hashed out before...
>
> Assuming a post-collapse society being reduced to roughly a late
> iron-age technology, what would the most beneficial technologies to
> re-introduce that would be nearly immediately applicable?
>
> For example:
> microbial theory; boil water, autoclave surgical instruments, keep
> wounds and dressings clean.
> steam power; could an iron-age smith produce a large scale aeropile?
> Steam balista and catapult?
> differential gearing;
> chemistry; gunpowder is the obvious target here, but oil-cracking is
> another.
>
> Any thoughts?
>

It seems to me that it'd be very very difficult to reduce a society
like ours even to iron-age levels, for reasons that you suggest in
this list. Pasteur's _ideas_ would be around in many survivors, and
some books would still survive, and soap is actuallly pretty easy to
make given fats and wood-ash, so cleanliness would likely not die
out. Gunpowder is about the same -- nitrates were well known a _long_
time back (they were used in curing meats), it's just knowing that you
can mix sulfur, charcoall, and saltpeter and get gunpowder that's the
trick. And so on.

But given the precondition, I'd guess microbial theory, crop rotation
and crop management, and the mouldboard plow and disk harrow.

--
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we
are powerful beyond measure. -- Marianne Williamson
______________________________________________________________________________
Charles R (Charlie) Martin Broomfield, CO 40N 105W

Jason Bontrager

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Feb 19, 2002, 10:19:39 PM2/19/02
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Derek Lyons wrote:
>
> You need at several miracles first... Your most pressing problems
> will be food, energy, and transportation. All seriously lacking at an
> iron-age technology.
>
> D.

You're kidding right? The British Empire was a product of the
Iron Age, and they didn't lack for food, energy or transport.
Given our greater knowledge base, we, or the survivors of a
worldwide civil collapse, could do just as well if not better.

Jason B.

Ray

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Feb 19, 2002, 8:40:23 PM2/19/02
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"Jason Bontrager" <jab...@mail.utexas.edu> wrote in message
news:3C7315CB...@mail.utexas.edu...

Unfortunately, most of the "easy" ore deposits have been mined out. OTOH,
we can always mine our waste dumps.


Ray

Charles R Martin

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Feb 19, 2002, 10:46:42 PM2/19/02
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Jason Bontrager <jab...@mail.utexas.edu> writes:

I don't think that's the commonly accepted meaning of "iron age". In
Britain, for example, it's generally considered to have ended about
with the Romans. BBC puts it from -750 CE to about 43 CE.

For those of you who get BBC America, they've been running their
"Survivor BC" series, about a group of people who adopted an Iron Age
lifestyle for seven weeks.

Nice article:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/prehistory/iron_age/ironage_intro1.shtml

Charles R Martin

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Feb 19, 2002, 10:47:07 PM2/19/02
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"Ray" <Droui...@home.com> writes:

Not to mentino all the dead cars.

Derek Lyons

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Feb 20, 2002, 12:12:20 AM2/20/02
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Jason Bontrager <jab...@mail.utexas.edu> wrote:

>Derek Lyons wrote:
>>
>> You need at several miracles first... Your most pressing problems
>> will be food, energy, and transportation. All seriously lacking at an
>> iron-age technology.
>>
>> D.
>
>You're kidding right? The British Empire was a product of the
>Iron Age, and they didn't lack for food, energy or transport.

Let's do a reality check here.... What exactly was the situation in
the Iron age. (Note: The British Empire was the product of the late
Dark Ages, in Iron age Britain, IIRC, the Jar people and the Picts
warred for supremacy.)

Food: Mostly locally grown, preservation mostly limited to smoking,
drying, salting/pickling. All have serious problems and are not
skills learned quickly.

Energy: Wood fires and muscle power, Coal and Peat in very limited
areas. Some limited water power.

Transportation: Shank's mare and horses. Both are very limited in
range and capacity.

>Given our greater knowledge base, we, or the survivors of a
>worldwide civil collapse, could do just as well if not better.

Fact is the existing 'knowledge base' presupposes the existence of a
technologic civilization. Most 'Iron Age' skills are quite lost
except among a *very small* segment of the population. (No, the
survivalists are not them...)

Derek Lyons

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Feb 20, 2002, 12:16:25 AM2/20/02
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Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
>soap is actuallly pretty easy to make given fats and wood-ash,
>so cleanliness would likely not die out.

Give it a try sometime... It's not actually that easy. Not to
mention the difficulty of hauling the water needed to actually wash
with. The era of cleanliness began with the wide availability of
fresh water and sewage disposal, despite soap having been available
centuries before.

>Gunpowder is about the same -- nitrates were well known a _long_
>time back (they were used in curing meats), it's just knowing that you
>can mix sulfur, charcoall, and saltpeter and get gunpowder that's the
>trick. And so on.

You might try it some time... The 'trick' is 'mixing'. It's grinding
the particles to the right sizes, moistening it properly, mixing it
properly, controlling grain sizes, proper handling so that it doesn't
seperate... Many, many problems. Old != Simple.

>But given the precondition, I'd guess microbial theory, crop rotation
>and crop management, and the mouldboard plow and disk harrow.

Agreed.

Karl M. Syring

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Feb 20, 2002, 1:08:48 AM2/20/02
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"Derek Lyons" <el...@hurricane.net> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:3c753057...@supernews.seanet.com...

> Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
<snip>

> >But given the precondition, I'd guess microbial theory, crop rotation
> >and crop management, and the mouldboard plow and disk harrow.
>
> Agreed.

An interesting variation would occur, if the crop plants have been cured
from their horrible photosynthetic and nutrient inefficiencies by genetic
improvements. If the plants have survived the crash of the predecessor
civilization, the course of development could be very different from the
known time lines.
I am not sure, whether it would mean more stable agricultural communities
because of a lower probability of starvation. The improved productivities
could as well encourage even more nomadic tribes to go on the rampage.

Karl M. Syring


Ian Burrell

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Feb 20, 2002, 1:33:53 AM2/20/02
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In article <3c742e50...@supernews.seanet.com>,
Derek Lyons <el...@hurricane.net> wrote:

>Jason Bontrager <jab...@mail.utexas.edu> wrote:
>>
>>You're kidding right? The British Empire was a product of the
>>Iron Age, and they didn't lack for food, energy or transport.
>
>Let's do a reality check here.... What exactly was the situation in
>the Iron age. (Note: The British Empire was the product of the late
>Dark Ages, in Iron age Britain, IIRC, the Jar people and the Picts
>warred for supremacy.)
>

You are talking about Medieval Britain. That is completely different
from the British Empire which started in the 17th century. The British
Empire was more a product (and cause) of the Industrial Revolution.

- Ian

--
If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you
really make them think they'll hate you.

Serg

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Feb 20, 2002, 8:03:16 AM2/20/02
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Simon Morden <simon....@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<3C72B6AE...@blueyonder.co.uk>...
> I'm sure this has been hashed out before...
>
> Assuming a post-collapse society being reduced to roughly a late
> iron-age technology, what would the most beneficial technologies to
> re-introduce that would be nearly immediately applicable?
>
> For example:
> microbial theory; boil water, autoclave surgical instruments, keep
> wounds and dressings clean.
> steam power; could an iron-age smith produce a large scale aeropile?
> Steam balista and catapult?
> differential gearing;
> chemistry; gunpowder is the obvious target here, but oil-cracking is
> another.
>
> Any thoughts?
>
> Simon Morden


Most cost-effective military advance is stirrup (and modern saddle).
It allow heavy cavalry (heavy cavalry before stirrup (macedonian for
ex.) required training from childhood), effective mounted archers,
lancers and effecive use of nomadic sabre (more light then european
type). For economy - horse drawn plow instead of oxen-drawn, modern
harness for plow and horse-drawn carts ( early-medieval was strangling
horse), several modern froms of plow(including gang plows) and some
other horse-drawn farm machinery, three-crop rotational system.

Jason Bontrager

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Feb 20, 2002, 11:44:26 AM2/20/02
to
Derek Lyons wrote:
>
> Jason Bontrager <jab...@mail.utexas.edu> wrote:
>
> >You're kidding right? The British Empire was a product of the
> >Iron Age, and they didn't lack for food, energy or transport.
>
> Let's do a reality check here.... What exactly was the situation in
> the Iron age. (Note: The British Empire was the product of the late
> Dark Ages, in Iron age Britain, IIRC, the Jar people and the Picts
> warred for supremacy.)

I suspect a communications breakdown. According to the
Encyclopedia Americana:

"Iron Age, the third of the three ages (Stone, Bronze, and Iron)
into which archaeologists customarily divide the prehistory and
early history of humankind. The term "Iron Age" denotes the period,
in any community, during which iron was in general use for tools
and weapons. The concept was familiar to classical writers, from
Hesiod to Lucretius, who were aware that the use of iron was a
comparatively recent innovation and that it had been preceded by
a period when the most commonly used metal was bronze. The term
was first used scientifically by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen,
director of the Danish National Museum, in his epoch-making
arrangement of that museum's collection in 1819.

As the last age in the series of three, the Iron Age has, of course,
not ended, and it is in a sense correct to say that the whole human
race (with insignificant exceptions) is still living in the Iron Age.
But, as a term of common use, "Iron Age" is normally restricted to
iron-using preclassical periods in the Middle East, to the period of
Roman domination in Europe, and to iron-using prehistoric periods in
the rest of the world."

I was thinking of the "Iron Age" as "The term "Iron Age" denotes the
period, in any community, during which iron was in general use for tools
and weapons". You seem to have been thinking of the "iron-using
preclassical periods in the Middle East, to the period of Roman
domination in Europe, and to iron-using prehistoric periods in
the rest of the world". But as you didn't specify a time period,
and because "Iron Age" means different things to different people,
I had no way of knowing what constraints to consider.

Jason B.

Urban Fredriksson

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Feb 20, 2002, 12:20:28 PM2/20/02
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In article <3C73D26A...@mail.utexas.edu>,
Jason Bontrager <jab...@mail.utexas.edu> wrote:

>The term
>was first used scientifically by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen,
>director of the Danish National Museum, in his epoch-making
>arrangement of that museum's collection in 1819.

But it would probably have been better if he had had the
ability to group the objects chronologically instead of by
material. I'm not sure, but didn't he sort of believe that
the stone tools preceded the bronze ones which in turn
preceded the iron tools in the meaning that one kind
replaced the other?
--
Urban Fredriksson http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/
To get rid of an enemy, make him a friend.

Terrafamilia

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Feb 20, 2002, 12:28:12 PM2/20/02
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"Karl M. Syring" wrote:

Given that most crops grown commercially, and for fun, these days (in the
industrialized West at least) are hybrids whose seed are bought every year
from huge agribusinesses rather than from stocks held back by farmers for
that purpose, how difficult would it be to restart large scale agriculture to
meet the needs of the surviving population?

Ciao,

Terrafamilia

Nyrath the nearly wise

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Feb 20, 2002, 12:52:12 PM2/20/02
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Serg wrote:
> Most cost-effective military advance is stirrup (and modern saddle).
> It allow heavy cavalry (heavy cavalry before stirrup (macedonian for
> ex.) required training from childhood), effective mounted archers,
> lancers and effecive use of nomadic sabre (more light then european
> type). For economy - horse drawn plow instead of oxen-drawn, modern
> harness for plow and horse-drawn carts ( early-medieval was strangling
> horse), several modern froms of plow(including gang plows) and some
> other horse-drawn farm machinery, three-crop rotational system.

Agreed. James Burke in CONNECTIONS and THE DAY THE
UNIVERSE CHANGED makes a case for the plow as one
of the fundamental inventions of civilization, as
it allows the cultivation of enough food to permit
supporting non-agricultural workers (inventors,
blacksmiths, etc.)

The invention of the horse harness was the next
quantum leap.

ObSFRef: Jannisaries by Jerry Pournelle
(writing trigometric tables on the wall against the
day the calculator's batteries die, asking for
a copy of Burke's CONNECTIONS to assist the
modernization of society...)

Charles R Martin

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Feb 20, 2002, 2:17:37 PM2/20/02
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el...@hurricane.net (Derek Lyons) writes:

I agree with most of this, but disagree here. First off, old farts
like me, who learned a useful skill as well as computers, know a lot
of these things -- smoking/salting/pickling/canning -- and the
remaining farm families have preserved many of them in the younger
generations, along with good sanitation, efficient farming techniques,
and the germ theory.

Second, all the things you're talking about can be learned from
books.

I still have trouble imagining a catastrophe that would reduce us to
Iron Age technology _but_ also destroy the accumulated knowledge and
all those big books.

Charles R Martin

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Feb 20, 2002, 2:34:05 PM2/20/02
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el...@hurricane.net (Derek Lyons) writes:

> Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
> >soap is actuallly pretty easy to make given fats and wood-ash,
> >so cleanliness would likely not die out.
>
> Give it a try sometime... It's not actually that easy.

Been there, done that. I had a hippy-environmentalist-survivalist
period back in the middle 70's. Beyond that, cleaning with urine, or
with the roots of the yucca out here, are also _relatively_ easy.

Notice the emphasis on "relatively" this time, though: I'm not saying
it's what we''d think of as "easy" -- it's a helluva lot of trouble,
it smells awful, and what you get is the old-fashioned lye soap they
made fun of on _The Beverley Hillbillies_. But the ingrediates are
animal fats (or vegetable fats if you've got enough cocoanuts, cocoa
beans, or avacados -- it's got to have a good bit of stearic acid, I
think) wood ash, water, and knowledge.

> Not to mention the difficulty of hauling the water needed to
> actually wash with. The era of cleanliness began with the wide
> availability of fresh water and sewage disposal, despite soap having
> been available centuries before.

City boy, eh?

Actually, the necessary skills and technology for providing clean
water and disposing of sewage have been known for hundred, or arguably
thousands (see, eg, Chinese use of "night soil"), for years. What was
missing was the knowledge of what you could and could not get away
with, which came from Pasteur. It's not that hard to dig a well
-- the problem is knowing why it's important to keep the well and the
outhouse well separated.

>
> >Gunpowder is about the same -- nitrates were well known a _long_
> >time back (they were used in curing meats), it's just knowing that you
> >can mix sulfur, charcoall, and saltpeter and get gunpowder that's the
> >trick. And so on.
>
> You might try it some time... The 'trick' is 'mixing'. It's grinding
> the particles to the right sizes, moistening it properly, mixing it
> properly, controlling grain sizes, proper handling so that it doesn't
> seperate... Many, many problems. Old != Simple.

But the "trick" is a _knowledge_ trick, not a technology trick. It
was done handily in the 13th century (Roger Bacon describes a process
for it).

Here's a nice description, from the Foxfire project:

http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/foxfire5.html

Nothing I can see there that's unworkable in an Iron Age -- although
there was an older method for making saltpeter using manure _piles_
and wood ash, but as I said, saltpeter was being used in curing meats
before the time of Caesar at least.

>
> >But given the precondition, I'd guess microbial theory, crop rotation
> >and crop management, and the mouldboard plow and disk harrow.
>
> Agreed.
>
> D.
> ------------------------------
> Proprietor, Interim Books http://www.interimbooks.com
> USS Henry L. Stimson homepage http://www.interimbooks.com/derek/655/
> Derek on Books http://www.interimbooks.com/derek/books/
> ------------------------------

--

Charles R Martin

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Feb 20, 2002, 2:36:20 PM2/20/02
to

Maybe yes, maybe no. A lot of the high efficiency strains either
don't breed true, or don't breed viably _at all_. Similarly, the
modern efficient strains of milk cows probably wouldn't survive for
many generations, because they depend on a lot of care -- milk farming
has bred out much of anything that doesn't go with making milk, so
they tend to be a little delicate, and have trouble dropping calfs
without help.

Charles R Martin

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Feb 20, 2002, 2:37:28 PM2/20/02
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Terrafamilia <terraf...@irtc.net> writes:

Hard. The size of the surviving population would drop precipitously,
and there would be a hard-scrabble several years while the legacy
strains were found and bred. Not a pretty time.

Ray

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Feb 20, 2002, 3:13:53 PM2/20/02
to

"Terrafamilia" <terraf...@irtc.net> wrote in message
news:3C73DCC0...@irtc.net...

There are plenty of non-hybrids grown. Also, "heirloom seeds" are getting
to be quite popular.

We get the usual bunch of seed catalogs every year just after Christmas. I
didn't do any counting, but, off the top of my head, I would say that less
than 10% of the seeds are hybrid seeds.

Most tomatoes seem to be hybrid seeds. Very often, "volunteer" tomato
plants will grow from the seeds of last year's tomato plants. They are
generally small, but still very good.


Ray Drouillard

Ray

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Feb 20, 2002, 3:18:12 PM2/20/02
to

"Derek Lyons" <el...@hurricane.net> wrote in message
news:3c753057...@supernews.seanet.com...

> Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
> >soap is actuallly pretty easy to make given fats and wood-ash,
> >so cleanliness would likely not die out.
>
> Give it a try sometime... It's not actually that easy.

We make our own soap. I agree that using potash would be difficult, but
making lye soap is downright easy.


> Not to
> mention the difficulty of hauling the water needed to actually wash
> with. The era of cleanliness began with the wide availability of
> fresh water and sewage disposal, despite soap having been available
> centuries before.

Water is a problem - except for places like Michigan :-)

>
> >Gunpowder is about the same -- nitrates were well known a _long_
> >time back (they were used in curing meats), it's just knowing that you
> >can mix sulfur, charcoall, and saltpeter and get gunpowder that's the
> >trick. And so on.
>
> You might try it some time... The 'trick' is 'mixing'. It's grinding
> the particles to the right sizes, moistening it properly, mixing it
> properly, controlling grain sizes, proper handling so that it doesn't
> seperate... Many, many problems. Old != Simple.

The trick is to do it without blowing yourself up.

Still, plenty of people would do it, and would do it successfully.


Ray

Timothy C. Eisele

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Feb 20, 2002, 3:18:39 PM2/20/02
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Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:

> Maybe yes, maybe no. A lot of the high efficiency strains either
> don't breed true, or don't breed viably _at all_. Similarly, the
> modern efficient strains of milk cows probably wouldn't survive for
> many generations, because they depend on a lot of care -- milk farming
> has bred out much of anything that doesn't go with making milk, so
> they tend to be a little delicate, and have trouble dropping calfs
> without help.

Well, no, not unless things have changed a lot since I left the
farm in 1980. Our Holsteins needed precious little help for calving
(we'd put them in a pen for observation when the time came, but only
had to give a bit of a tug about one time in ten). The calf mortality
rate was about 2 per 100 births with minimal medical intervention (we
just kept them separated enough that we wouldn't get plagues of diseases
decimating the calves. It wasn't hard and didn't require advanced
technology).

Some breeds, like the Charolaix, have troubles (my uncle had a few of
them, and they pretty much couldn't give birth without a C-section) but
they are definitely not a popular breed. Holsteins, at least in the
US, are the norm.

--
Tim Eisele
tcei...@mtu.edu

Charles R Martin

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Feb 20, 2002, 3:37:28 PM2/20/02
to
Timothy C. Eisele <tcei...@mtu.edu> writes:

> Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
>
> > Maybe yes, maybe no. A lot of the high efficiency strains either
> > don't breed true, or don't breed viably _at all_. Similarly, the
> > modern efficient strains of milk cows probably wouldn't survive for
> > many generations, because they depend on a lot of care -- milk farming
> > has bred out much of anything that doesn't go with making milk, so
> > they tend to be a little delicate, and have trouble dropping calfs
> > without help.
>
> Well, no, not unless things have changed a lot since I left the
> farm in 1980. Our Holsteins needed precious little help for calving
> (we'd put them in a pen for observation when the time came, but only
> had to give a bit of a tug about one time in ten). The calf mortality
> rate was about 2 per 100 births with minimal medical intervention (we
> just kept them separated enough that we wouldn't get plagues of diseases
> decimating the calves. It wasn't hard and didn't require advanced
> technology).

Since I grew up on an old-fashioned beef ranch (with the springtime
roundup and all) I'm hardly an expert in dairy cattle, and besides I
may have a slanted view, since we figured if the cow couldn't do it
herself when we wouldn't see her again for weeks, it was too much
intervention. (Not that that kind of ranching survives in modern
agriculture either.) I just always heard it from my grandfather that
those skinny-shanked dairy cows needed someone right at hand.

And, for that matter, I wouldn't be surprised that we had more than
2/100 calf mortality, either.

But at the same time (and for just the reason above) I'm curious: what
do you count as "minimal medical intervention"? My impression from a
little chatting with the dairy guys at the stock show and state fair
was that they're constantly messing with the cows -- infected teats,
scours, breeding them by artificial insemination ... and, of course,
if they don't get milked every 12 hours without fail, you're _really_
in trouble, although I'd suspect that subsistance farmers would manage
that nicely.

>
> Some breeds, like the Charolaix, have troubles (my uncle had a few of
> them, and they pretty much couldn't give birth without a C-section) but
> they are definitely not a popular breed. Holsteins, at least in the
> US, are the norm.

--

Timothy Little

unread,
Feb 20, 2002, 4:10:59 PM2/20/02
to
Nyrath the nearly wise <nyr...@io.com> wrote:
> ObSFRef: Jannisaries by Jerry Pournelle (writing trigometric
>tables on the wall against the day the calculator's batteries die,

I haven't read the story so there's undoubtably something I'm missing.
Wouldn't the modern rapid approximation formulas be more useful?
Using them, I can do 6-figure trig or log functions in my head.
Anyone can reproduce such compact formulas, and anyone with basic
arithmetic (enough to use a trig table) can reproduce the tables later
if necessary. Granted, it would take a fair bit more effort than
using a calculator, but if they're important you can get more than one
person to do it. You've only got one calculator.


- Tim

Jim Deutch

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Feb 20, 2002, 4:42:54 PM2/20/02
to
"Simon Morden" <simon....@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:3C72B6AE...@blueyonder.co.uk...
> I'm sure this has been hashed out before...
>
> Assuming a post-collapse society being reduced to roughly a late
> iron-age technology, what would the most beneficial technologies to
> re-introduce that would be nearly immediately applicable?

Pham Nuwen says "radios and guns".

Of course, you haven't specified applicable to _what_. Pham (a character in
Vernor Vinge's "Zones" universe) had conquest (more or less) as the goal...

Jim Deutch
--
Imagine a world without hypothetical situations...


Timothy C. Eisele

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Feb 20, 2002, 4:41:38 PM2/20/02
to
Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:

> But at the same time (and for just the reason above) I'm curious: what
> do you count as "minimal medical intervention"? My impression from a
> little chatting with the dairy guys at the stock show and state fair
> was that they're constantly messing with the cows -- infected teats,
> scours, breeding them by artificial insemination ... and, of course,
> if they don't get milked every 12 hours without fail, you're _really_
> in trouble, although I'd suspect that subsistance farmers would manage
> that nicely.

Well, first off, if you have dairy cattle you pretty much by definition
are going to mess with them all the time, otherwise you don't get any
milk. The whole "milk your cows every 12 hours or they'll explode" idea
isn't really the big problem. They just leak, which does tend to make
them a bit prone to mastitis, but isn't directly dangerous. The
problem is that you get milk because the cow's body figures that as
long as it's getting milked regularly, there must be calves to feed and
it keeps producing milk. If you miss a milking, her body decides
there's no calf anymore, and she dries up. This happens regardless of
the breed.

As far as "minimal medical intervention", I mean things like giving
sick calves vitamin and mineral supplements (usually based on brewers
yeast), and in extreme cases giving them an antibiotic tablet. The
main thing, though, was that they were raised in individual hutches
(kind of like doghouses with a fenced area in front) so that they
couldn't catch things from each other. We'd keep them in the
hutches for about 4 months, and scours (essentially infectious
diarrhea) became a thing of the past. The hutches were cheaper
than barn space, too. We hardly ever had to give calves antibiotics.

Mastitis ("infected teats") is a bit of a problem, but the main solution
is just to keep their teats clean. It usually isn't fatal, it just reduces
milk production (normally you treat it with a shot of antibiotic
injected straight up the milk duct in severe cases).

The artificial insemination isn't a necessity, it just eliminates the
hassle of dealing with a bull (holstein bulls are big, mean, and have
a tendency to smash their way out of the barn, rip up fences, and
kill people).

The big difference between beef and dairy cattle isn't inherent toughness,
its a question of when you get the return on your investment. In
beef cattle, you invest just enough to raise them up, and you get
a lump profit when you sell them, so there isn't a lot of incentive
to spend money keeping them in tip-top health at all times. For dairy
cattle, you have a long-term investment with a higher final
return, but only if you keep her going a long time. So, you
have incentive to invest more time and fussing in them, not so
much to keep them alive, as to keep them in peak health and productivity.

If you got knocked back in technology, the fastest way to make a
nice, robust "house cow" would be to breed a dairy breed with
a beef breed. You get a nice compromise animal right away. Some of
our cattle were crosses of holstein and angus, and it made a nice,
compact animal with moderate milk production and a decent
amount of meat on her bones (the reason we had these is that, for
a smaller heifer, you wanted to make sure that her first calf was
not too huge, so breeding her to an angus bull made for small calves).

--
Tim Eisele
tcei...@mtu.edu

stipe42

unread,
Feb 20, 2002, 4:52:43 PM2/20/02
to

"Simon Morden" <simon....@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:3C72B6AE...@blueyonder.co.uk...
> I'm sure this has been hashed out before...
>
> Assuming a post-collapse society being reduced to roughly a late
> iron-age technology, what would the most beneficial technologies to
> re-introduce that would be nearly immediately applicable?
>
> For example:
> microbial theory; boil water, autoclave surgical instruments, keep
> wounds and dressings clean.
> steam power; could an iron-age smith produce a large scale aeropile?
> Steam balista and catapult?
> differential gearing;
> chemistry; gunpowder is the obvious target here, but oil-cracking is
> another.
>
> Any thoughts?
>
> Simon Morden
> --
> ________________________________________________________
> Visit the Book of Morden at http://www.bookofmorden.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
>
> *Thy Kingdom Come - a brief history of Armageddon* coming May 2002 from
> Lone Wolf
> *Heart* coming September 2002 from Razorblade Press
>
>

The most useful skills in a post-collapse society would be those held by
mechanical and electrical engineers. It is hard to imagine a post-collapse
world without, as Stephen King put it in the Stand, 'all the toys are just
laying around waiting to be picked up.' The amount of canned food sitting
in grocery stores alone would be enough to sustain a fraction of the
population in America for a very long time. Engineers and technicians would
be the only ones who could keep the old toys still working and fix them when
they break. When you're talking about a drastically reduced population, I
think that with enough technically minded people, you could survive on the
expendable resources left behind by the old world long enough to get new
sources set up.

stipe42


Coridon Henshaw

unread,
Feb 20, 2002, 5:50:55 PM2/20/02
to
Terrafamilia <terraf...@irtc.net> wrote in
news:3C73DCC0...@irtc.net:

> Given that most crops grown commercially, and for fun, these days (in
> the industrialized West at least) are hybrids whose seed are bought
> every year from huge agribusinesses rather than from stocks held back
> by farmers for that purpose, how difficult would it be to restart large
> scale agriculture to meet the needs of the surviving population?

Extremely difficult. Many modern crops don't turn to seed all that well--
either through design or as a side effect of engineering. Indeed, it is
illegal to allow GM crops to go to seed (patent infringement) and
agribusiness has been and is working very hard to produce crops which won't
seed at all.


(Along similar lines, some Frankenstein bio business has developed a breed
of non-alergenic GM cats which will only be sold to the public in copy
prevented form. When this insanity spreads to GM people, start digging a
biohazard-proof bomb shelter...)

--
49 Americans exposed to anthrax: U.S. considers invalidating Cipro patent
to reduce costs. 36 million people with AIDS: U.S. sues governments which
invalidate drug patents not to save money but so their people can live.
With policies like these, is it any wonder why the US is the most hated
nation on earth? -- Coridon Henshaw / http://www3.sympatico.ca/gcircle/csbh

Ray

unread,
Feb 20, 2002, 8:07:14 PM2/20/02
to

"Coridon Henshaw" <"chenshaw?????????????? wrote in message
news:Xns91BBB5926...@207.35.177.134...

> Terrafamilia <terraf...@irtc.net> wrote in
> news:3C73DCC0...@irtc.net:
>
> > Given that most crops grown commercially, and for fun, these days (in
> > the industrialized West at least) are hybrids whose seed are bought
> > every year from huge agribusinesses rather than from stocks held back
> > by farmers for that purpose, how difficult would it be to restart large
> > scale agriculture to meet the needs of the surviving population?
>
> Extremely difficult. Many modern crops don't turn to seed all that well--
> either through design or as a side effect of engineering. Indeed, it is
> illegal to allow GM crops to go to seed (patent infringement) and
> agribusiness has been and is working very hard to produce crops which
won't
> seed at all.

I would be really pissed if I owned an organic "No GMOs here!" farm, and
someone planted GMO crops next to it and the pollen got into my crop.

Interestingly enough, the neighbor of someone who plants GMO crops got
successuully sued by the seed company because he saved and planted the
seeds. I believe it was later overturned. Does anyone have a reference for
this?

>
>
> (Along similar lines, some Frankenstein bio business has developed a breed
> of non-alergenic GM cats which will only be sold to the public in copy
> prevented form. When this insanity spreads to GM people, start digging a
> biohazard-proof bomb shelter...)

You mean that when I buy a hypoallergenic cat, it will already be neutered
or spayed? Of course, someone who wants an "illegal copy" could have it
cloned. They cloned a cat not too long ago.


Ray

Ray

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Feb 20, 2002, 8:15:47 PM2/20/02
to

"stipe42" <sti...@pcwatch.com> wrote in message
news:LUUc8.65080$dG.26...@news1.rdc1.sdca.home.com...

<snip>

> The most useful skills in a post-collapse society would be those held by
> mechanical and electrical engineers. It is hard to imagine a
post-collapse
> world without, as Stephen King put it in the Stand, 'all the toys are just
> laying around waiting to be picked up.' The amount of canned food sitting
> in grocery stores alone would be enough to sustain a fraction of the
> population in America for a very long time. Engineers and technicians
would
> be the only ones who could keep the old toys still working and fix them
when
> they break. When you're talking about a drastically reduced population, I
> think that with enough technically minded people, you could survive on the
> expendable resources left behind by the old world long enough to get new
> sources set up.

I agree 100% - assuming we weren't nuked into oblivion.

That begs the question about exactly what wipes out the population. The
original poster didn't make that clear.

A war would break a lot of our "toys", and a really nasty war that causes
that much damage would probably entail the "scorched Earth" techniques that
makes General Sherman so disliked in the American South-East.

If, however, it was a plague or little green men from Alpha Centauri
kidnapping and eating most of the population, the survivors could probably
turn the Earth into a very nice place in a generation or so.


Ray Drouillard

Terrafamilia

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Feb 20, 2002, 9:35:41 PM2/20/02
to

Ray wrote:

Okay, since The Stand was brought up how about a supervirulent engineered
disease some wacko misanthropic doomsday cult makes which wipes out at least
9/10ths of the world's population in the space of a few months? On top of that
you would have the requisite riots which would result in more deaths and
property damage. More property damage from fires which aren't put out as well as
hurricanes, tornados, floods earthquakes, etc. which don't get cleaned up after
and would result in more deaths. Plus piles and piles of dead bodies which might
be still laying around as breading ground for other diseases to hound the
survivors of the original plague.

I may be pessimistic but I think a generation is pushing it.

Ciao,

Terrafamilia

Derek Lyons

unread,
Feb 20, 2002, 10:21:34 PM2/20/02
to
Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
>el...@hurricane.net (Derek Lyons) writes:
>
>> Fact is the existing 'knowledge base' presupposes the existence of a
>> technologic civilization. Most 'Iron Age' skills are quite lost
>> except among a *very small* segment of the population. (No, the
>> survivalists are not them...)
>
>I agree with most of this, but disagree here. First off, old farts
>like me, who learned a useful skill as well as computers, know a lot
>of these things -- smoking/salting/pickling/canning -- and the

And how many can you do from almost scratch, without a visit to store?
Have lots of hardwood nearby, as well as the tools to harvest it?
Have a salt source nearby? Replacements for the jar seals as they
age? Not to mention, where are you going to get the foodstuffs to
preserve? Even simple technologies frequently have considerable
infrastructure behind them.

>remaining farm families have preserved many of them in the younger
>generations, along with good sanitation, efficient farming techniques,
>and the germ theory.

ROTLMAO. Those 'farm families' are not only a vanishingly small
segment of the population, most of them are *not* the general
self-supporting farms of the past. They grow cash crops and buy food.
What techniques they have preserved all start with "Go to Wal-Mart and
buy...".

>Second, all the things you're talking about can be learned from
>books.

*Knowledge* can be gotten from books. *Skills* come only from
practice. It's a subtle but crucial point.

>I still have trouble imagining a catastrophe that would reduce us to
>Iron Age technology _but_ also destroy the accumulated knowledge and
>all those big books.

It's not the knowledge that's lost, but the skills that support the
infrastructure.

pete hardie

unread,
Feb 20, 2002, 10:56:31 PM2/20/02
to
Ray wrote:
>
> The trick is to do it without blowing yourself up.
>
> Still, plenty of people would do it, and would do it successfully.

non-sparking tools are the only tough part.

Well, that and a nonflammable workshop - uncontained blackpowder is
not terrible explosive

--
Better Living Through Circuitry

Charles R Martin

unread,
Feb 20, 2002, 11:54:47 PM2/20/02
to
el...@hurricane.net (Derek Lyons) writes:

> Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
> >el...@hurricane.net (Derek Lyons) writes:
> >
> >> Fact is the existing 'knowledge base' presupposes the existence of a
> >> technologic civilization. Most 'Iron Age' skills are quite lost
> >> except among a *very small* segment of the population. (No, the
> >> survivalists are not them...)
> >
> >I agree with most of this, but disagree here. First off, old farts
> >like me, who learned a useful skill as well as computers, know a lot
> >of these things -- smoking/salting/pickling/canning -- and the
>
> And how many can you do from almost scratch, without a visit to store?

The first two, for sure: salt is easily found if you know what to look
for, and smoke is even easier. You don't actually _need_ hardwood, by
the way. Pickling is primarily an issue of having salt and crocks to
pickle in. Canning is tougher, but I'm still not clear on just what
catastrophe would wipe these things out so thoroughly.

> Have lots of hardwood nearby, as well as the tools to harvest it?
> Have a salt source nearby? Replacements for the jar seals as they
> age? Not to mention, where are you going to get the foodstuffs to
> preserve? Even simple technologies frequently have considerable
> infrastructure behind them.

You _are_ a city kid, aren't you? Look, I'm not claiming that
everyone in New York City can make this work, but believe it or not
there are _lots_ of people still alive who have had kitchen gardens,
raised chickens (and can kill one) and have gathered eggs, and can
butcher a steer or a hog.

> >
> >remaining farm families have preserved many of them in the younger
> >generations, along with good sanitation, efficient farming techniques,
> >and the germ theory.
>
> ROTLMAO. Those 'farm families' are not only a vanishingly small
> segment of the population, most of them are *not* the general
> self-supporting farms of the past. They grow cash crops and buy food.
> What techniques they have preserved all start with "Go to Wal-Mart and
> buy...".

Son, *I'm* from one of those "farm families". And, yes indeed, most
farms that are feasible now farm big crops, but the notion that farm
families don't still raise chickens and such just demonstrates that
you don't get outside city limits enough.

>
> >Second, all the things you're talking about can be learned from
> >books.
>
> *Knowledge* can be gotten from books. *Skills* come only from
> practice. It's a subtle but crucial point.

Guess what, Derek: one can learn skills from books. Yes, they aren't
skills until you do them, but I made japanese pickles successfully the
first time, and all I had was some radishes, some cucumbers, and some
salt. Oh, and a big jar.

>
> >I still have trouble imagining a catastrophe that would reduce us to
> >Iron Age technology _but_ also destroy the accumulated knowledge and
> >all those big books.
>
> It's not the knowledge that's lost, but the skills that support the
> infrastructure.

Derek, ignorance isn't really an opinion. These skills and
infrastructure that you're talking about are things that people have
done in living memory: I still remember my grandfather's smokehouse,
in which he made ham that still has me spoiled for these insipid
things you get in the stores today. (Look for real country ham
sometime -- it's a whole 'nother experience.) And, surprisingly
enough, people still practice many or all of these skills, along with
things like papermaking and book binding, as hobbies today: I knew
several people in North Carolina who raised hogs in factory hog farms,
but who also slaughtered a few at hog-killing time, and made their own
ham, sausage, lard, scrapple, and so on. Right down the road there
were people who still made their living making traditional pottery,
sometimes using a hickory-fired kiln.

Shee-it, Derek, a few minutes in a local bookstore should give you
several examples of people writing about the various factors of "back
to the land" hippies in the last 30 years. These simply aren't lost
skills.

Ray

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 12:13:35 AM2/21/02
to

"Charles R Martin" <crma...@indra.com> wrote in message
news:m3k7t7z...@localhost.localdomain...

My own internal reaction to Derek's post was "Are there so few people who
have ever grown or canned their own produce? Are there that few who have
raised (or hunted) and butchered their own meat? To me, those are all
common skills that "everybody" knows.

OK, I realize that there are lots of city slickers who have never grown a
garden or canned produce, but there are plenty of people who have.

Canning isn't that tough. You seal the food in an airtight container - a
container that is impervious to bacteria. Then, you heat it enough to kill
any bacteria that happens to be inside.

Most home canning is done with jars and lids with some gummy rubbery stuff
that causes it to seal. Before that, there were the "snap top" jars that
have a wire bail that holds down a glass lid. It is sealed with a wide
rubber gasket. Those rubber gaskets last for a few years. When you run
out, if you have nothing else, you can probably use leather soaked in pine
tar.

Jellies, or "preserves" (note the name) are made by boiling the fruit with a
sweetener (honey, if you don't have sugar - though sugar isn't all that hard
to make). It is immediately poured into the jars and covered with paraffin.
If you don't have paraffin, the more expensive solution is to use bee's wax.

When you run out of glass jars, you can make containers out of clay. I
don't know how to glaze pottery, but I'm sure that plenty of other people
know how to do it.

I can go on and on. I am not a survivalist, nor am I a "back to Earth
hippie", though I do have some tendencies in that direction. I,
unfortunately, even live in the city right now (a sad situation that will be
corrected as soon as I get the dough). Still, I could make a big
contribution in a situation like the one described in this thread.

It's not due to any great skillset that I have. The abilities that I have
are not all that uncommon.

I suspect that any catastrophe that ends up wiping out 90% or more of the
population is going to hit the cities much harder than the country.
Therefore, a larger fraction of the population will have those skills.

The rest can learn, or perhaps dig up a copy of the Foxfire books.


Ray Drouillard

Ray

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 12:16:12 AM2/21/02
to

"pete hardie" <har...@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
news:3C746FEF...@bellsouth.net...

> Ray wrote:
> >
> > The trick is to do it without blowing yourself up.
> >
> > Still, plenty of people would do it, and would do it successfully.
>
> non-sparking tools are the only tough part.
>
> Well, that and a nonflammable workshop - uncontained blackpowder is
> not terrible explosive

Actually, I just read the link that someone provided. It turns out that
it's easier than I thought.

Obviously, you do all your grinding before mixing. (duh!) Then, you mix
enough water in it to give it a doughy texture. Crumbling it afterwards is
something best done by remote control (a container under a tree, a rock, and
a long rope).


Ray

Karl M. Syring

unread,
Feb 20, 2002, 11:47:53 PM2/20/02
to
"Timothy Little" <t...@freeman.little-possums.net> schrieb

(Snicker)

What would you do, if you get the brain rot?

Karl M. Syring


Karl M. Syring

unread,
Feb 20, 2002, 11:48:04 PM2/20/02
to
"Terrafamilia" <terraf...@irtc.net> schrieb

What you call "hybrids" belong to the old fangled stuff. What I meant are
radically reengineered plants, both improving on the nutrient efficiency and
the suitability for direct human consumption.
Of course, those plants would get built-in suicide genes from the copyright
holders, but you can imagine that during the fall of civilization, a small
group of scientists will work on the survival of mankind by removing those
bad genes.This is a little bit romantic of plotting, as gene twiddlers in
China or India will have removed the copyright labels long ago.

Kalr M. Syring


Karl M. Syring

unread,
Feb 20, 2002, 11:58:14 PM2/20/02
to
"Charles R Martin" <crma...@indra.com> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:m34rkc2...@localhost.localdomain...

You do not need cows, if you can get rid of that damn grasses and replace
them by plants carefully constructed for direct human consumption.

Karl M. Syring


Charles R Martin

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 12:41:52 AM2/21/02
to
"Ray" <Droui...@home.com> writes:

>
> My own internal reaction to Derek's post was "Are there so few people who
> have ever grown or canned their own produce? Are there that few who have
> raised (or hunted) and butchered their own meat? To me, those are all
> common skills that "everybody" knows.

Yeah, to all the above.

> ....


>
> I suspect that any catastrophe that ends up wiping out 90% or more of the
> population is going to hit the cities much harder than the country.
> Therefore, a larger fraction of the population will have those skills.
>
> The rest can learn, or perhaps dig up a copy of the Foxfire books.
>

I think there's also good reason to think that the farm people would
survive more readily anyway, for just these reasons.

Charles R Martin

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 12:44:41 AM2/21/02
to
"Ray" <Droui...@home.com> writes:

There's a story about how the proper liquid is really urine, and the
urine was provided by the black powder maker, after the King or
whatever provided the beer.

Obviously, if it didn't work well, it was because the quality of the
beer was poor.

Ray

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 12:46:03 AM2/21/02
to

"Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message
news:a52089$3v65u$3...@ID-7529.news.dfncis.de...

There are some places that are best suited for grass, and which don't
support the more "tender" species that are suitable for human consumption.
In those areas, the cow's specialized digestive system is a very effective
way of converting the nutrients in the grass to a human-digestible form.

Besides, cows taste a whole lot better than grass.

(I see, on the horizon, an attempt to repeat that "we ought to all be
vegetarians, and we will naturally gravitate to that when we become more
civilized" thread that bloated this newsgroup a several months ago).


Ray Drouillard

Charles R Martin

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 12:48:57 AM2/21/02
to
"Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> writes:

>
> You do not need cows, if you can get rid of that damn grasses and replace
> them by plants carefully constructed for direct human consumption.

Uh, with all due respect (and a careful choice of words) bullshit.

First off, name me _one_ human culture that gets by without animal
products. It's very difficult to get enough of certain nutrients,
especially for children.

Second, one of the whole reasons cows became popular was that they're
fine mechanisms for converting those grasses _into_ things well suited
for human consumption.

So -- okay, I guess I can imagine a suitable bio-engineered thing
which grows where grass would grow, produces enough B-complex vitamins
and a sufficiently broad spectrum of amino acids, and which is
digestible by humans without a ruminant's four stomachs.

But we're _way_ far from that iron-age technology now.

Karl M. Syring

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 1:01:49 AM2/21/02
to
"Charles R Martin" <crma...@indra.com> schrieb
> "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> writes:
>
> > "pete hardie" <har...@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
> > news:3C746FEF...@bellsouth.net...
> > > Ray wrote:
> > > >
> > > > The trick is to do it without blowing yourself up.
> > > >
> > > > Still, plenty of people would do it, and would do it successfully.
> > >
> > > non-sparking tools are the only tough part.
> > >
> > > Well, that and a nonflammable workshop - uncontained blackpowder is
> > > not terrible explosive
> >
> > Actually, I just read the link that someone provided. It turns out that
> > it's easier than I thought.
> >
> > Obviously, you do all your grinding before mixing. (duh!) Then, you
mix
> > enough water in it to give it a doughy texture. Crumbling it afterwards
is
> > something best done by remote control (a container under a tree, a rock,
and
> > a long rope).
>
> There's a story about how the proper liquid is really urine, and the
> urine was provided by the black powder maker, after the King or
> whatever provided the beer.
>
> Obviously, if it didn't work well, it was because the quality of the
> beer was poor.

You would not need beer. Storing all the dead meat inside a porous fodder
silo and watering the mess would provide a readily available source of
nitrate.

Karl M. Syring


Karl M. Syring

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 1:12:43 AM2/21/02
to
"Ray" <Droui...@home.com> schrieb

Not true. The ecological advantages of grasses are well known and have
nothing to do with "tender" species.
The cows digestive system is not especially effective, but it's advantage is
that it can break down cellulose and we can not. Breeding for more
digestible grasses would take care of that.

>
> Besides, cows taste a whole lot better than grass.

Believe me, you would forget about this if you have not got anything to eat
for three days.

>
> (I see, on the horizon, an attempt to repeat that "we ought to all be
> vegetarians, and we will naturally gravitate to that when we become more
> civilized" thread that bloated this newsgroup a several months ago).

Nonsense, we have discussed survival under conditions that would reduces the
population to almost zero, if it were not be for the wonder plants. If
things get better, there would be demand for more tasty foodstuff.

Karl M. Syring

Karl M. Syring

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 1:24:17 AM2/21/02
to
"Charles R Martin" <crma...@indra.com> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:m3k7t7x...@localhost.localdomain...

> "Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> writes:
>
> >
> > You do not need cows, if you can get rid of that damn grasses and
replace
> > them by plants carefully constructed for direct human consumption.
>
> Uh, with all due respect (and a careful choice of words) bullshit.
>
> First off, name me _one_ human culture that gets by without animal
> products. It's very difficult to get enough of certain nutrients,
> especially for children.

You will find, that the true problem for most isolated agricultural
communities is survival through critical periods of some months. Having some
not very tasty, but always accessible food resource would take care of that.

>
> Second, one of the whole reasons cows became popular was that they're
> fine mechanisms for converting those grasses _into_ things well suited
> for human consumption.

Well, the premise was to genetically engineer the grasses. Making them more
digestible should not be that difficult.

>
> So -- okay, I guess I can imagine a suitable bio-engineered thing
> which grows where grass would grow, produces enough B-complex vitamins
> and a sufficiently broad spectrum of amino acids, and which is
> digestible by humans without a ruminant's four stomachs.

Drinking wheat beer with yeast would take care of that, especially the B12
problem. To be PC, you would remove the alcohol to feed the children.

>
> But we're _way_ far from that iron-age technology now.

Uh?

Karl M. Syring


Ray

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 2:42:49 AM2/21/02
to

"Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message
news:a5257c$42trr$2...@ID-7529.news.dfncis.de...

> "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> schrieb
> > "Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message

> > There are some places that are best suited for grass, and which don't
> > support the more "tender" species that are suitable for human
consumption.
> > In those areas, the cow's specialized digestive system is a very
effective
> > way of converting the nutrients in the grass to a human-digestible form.
>
> Not true. The ecological advantages of grasses are well known and have
> nothing to do with "tender" species.
> The cows digestive system is not especially effective, but it's advantage
is
> that it can break down cellulose and we can not. Breeding for more
> digestible grasses would take care of that.

Go for it. After you have bred some nice, tender grass, have yourself a
good meal!

I, meanwhile, will enjoy a nice, tender steak :-)

Or, maybe I'll have a hamburger with a thick slab of sweet Vidalia onion,
lettuce, pickles, mayonaisse, hot sauce, catsup, and tomato, all placed on a
home-baked whole wheat bun. Yummy!


>
> >
> > Besides, cows taste a whole lot better than grass.
>
> Believe me, you would forget about this if you have not got anything to
eat
> for three days.

What does that have to do with anything?


>
> >
> > (I see, on the horizon, an attempt to repeat that "we ought to all be
> > vegetarians, and we will naturally gravitate to that when we become more
> > civilized" thread that bloated this newsgroup a several months ago).
>
> Nonsense, we have discussed survival under conditions that would reduces
the
> population to almost zero, if it were not be for the wonder plants. If
> things get better, there would be demand for more tasty foodstuff.

If we are dumped back to iron-age tech, we aren't going to be breeding any
goofy wonder plants.

If our population is almost wiped out, it would behoove us to move away from
the deserts and into places where we can grow some decent crops.


Ray Drouillard

Ray

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 2:50:11 AM2/21/02
to

"Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message
news:a5257d$42trr$3...@ID-7529.news.dfncis.de...

> "Charles R Martin" <crma...@indra.com> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
> news:m3k7t7x...@localhost.localdomain...
> > "Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> writes:
> >
> > >
> > > You do not need cows, if you can get rid of that damn grasses and
> replace
> > > them by plants carefully constructed for direct human consumption.
> >
> > Uh, with all due respect (and a careful choice of words) bullshit.
> >
> > First off, name me _one_ human culture that gets by without animal
> > products. It's very difficult to get enough of certain nutrients,
> > especially for children.
>
> You will find, that the true problem for most isolated agricultural
> communities is survival through critical periods of some months. Having
some
> not very tasty, but always accessible food resource would take care of
that.

That's where such techniques as canning come in. We can also make vitamin
suppliments that will last the winter. The very best suppliments that can
be purchased right now are made from natural ingredients. The fact that we
can't easily synthesize vitamins will be of little consequence. The fact
that we know about how much we need of each, where they can be found, and
how to preserve them will be a great help.


>
> >
> > Second, one of the whole reasons cows became popular was that they're
> > fine mechanisms for converting those grasses _into_ things well suited
> > for human consumption.
>
> Well, the premise was to genetically engineer the grasses. Making them
more
> digestible should not be that difficult.

Why bother? Cows are a whole lot tastier than grass.

If we get dumped back to iron-age tech, we are likely to concentrate on more
useful ventures. Right now, there is no reason to bother with it.


>
> >
> > So -- okay, I guess I can imagine a suitable bio-engineered thing
> > which grows where grass would grow, produces enough B-complex vitamins
> > and a sufficiently broad spectrum of amino acids, and which is
> > digestible by humans without a ruminant's four stomachs.
>
> Drinking wheat beer with yeast would take care of that, especially the
B12
> problem. To be PC, you would remove the alcohol to feed the children.

Why bother? The cows do a fine job.

The B vitamins are just an example. Beer has little in the way of amino
acids. Plants don't produce much in the way of amino acids.

We humans are omnivores. We need a certain amount of meat, eggs, and/or
milk to stay healthy - unless we want to do some very careful planning.
Adults can, in many cases, do well on a vegetarian diet. Putting a child on
such a diet (unless appropriate suppliments are given) would really
constitute child abuse.


Ray Drouillard

Karl M. Syring

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 3:05:05 AM2/21/02
to
"Ray" <Droui...@home.com> schrieb
> "Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message
> news:a5257c$42trr$2...@ID-7529.news.dfncis.de...
> > "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> schrieb
> > > "Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message
>
>
> > > There are some places that are best suited for grass, and which don't
> > > support the more "tender" species that are suitable for human
> consumption.
> > > In those areas, the cow's specialized digestive system is a very
> effective
> > > way of converting the nutrients in the grass to a human-digestible
form.
> >
> > Not true. The ecological advantages of grasses are well known and have
> > nothing to do with "tender" species.
> > The cows digestive system is not especially effective, but it's
advantage
> is
> > that it can break down cellulose and we can not. Breeding for more
> > digestible grasses would take care of that.
>
> Go for it. After you have bred some nice, tender grass, have yourself a
> good meal!

Well, there are those human competitors, and they would eat mice and rats
too.

>
> I, meanwhile, will enjoy a nice, tender steak :-)

If you like rat steak. There would be nothing else.

>
> Or, maybe I'll have a hamburger with a thick slab of sweet Vidalia onion,
> lettuce, pickles, mayonaisse, hot sauce, catsup, and tomato, all placed on
a
> home-baked whole wheat bun. Yummy!

If civilization has broken down? May you could chew some tree bark.

>
> >
> > >
> > > Besides, cows taste a whole lot better than grass.
> >
> > Believe me, you would forget about this if you have not got anything to
> eat
> > for three days.
>
> What does that have to do with anything?

You should remember that the breakdown of civilization was the general this
of this thread. And that means starvation for starters.

>
>
> >
> > >
> > > (I see, on the horizon, an attempt to repeat that "we ought to all be
> > > vegetarians, and we will naturally gravitate to that when we become
more
> > > civilized" thread that bloated this newsgroup a several months ago).
> >
> > Nonsense, we have discussed survival under conditions that would reduces
> the
> > population to almost zero, if it were not be for the wonder plants. If
> > things get better, there would be demand for more tasty foodstuff.
>
> If we are dumped back to iron-age tech, we aren't going to be breeding any
> goofy wonder plants.

To keep the record straight: The starting point was the assumption, that the
improved plants were created by the the previous civilization.

> If our population is almost wiped out, it would behoove us to move away
from
> the deserts and into places where we can grow some decent crops.

"Moving the population" under these circumstances means killing the
population. The technique is well known, even today.

Karl M. Syring


Karl M. Syring

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 3:15:13 AM2/21/02
to
"Ray" <Droui...@home.com> schrieb
<snip>

> > Well, the premise was to genetically engineer the grasses. Making them
> more
> > digestible should not be that difficult.
>
> Why bother? Cows are a whole lot tastier than grass.

A lot of cows will die, and it takes years to restore the population. Until
then, you are dead.

> If we get dumped back to iron-age tech, we are likely to concentrate on
more
> useful ventures. Right now, there is no reason to bother with it.
>
>
> >
> > >
> > > So -- okay, I guess I can imagine a suitable bio-engineered thing
> > > which grows where grass would grow, produces enough B-complex vitamins
> > > and a sufficiently broad spectrum of amino acids, and which is
> > > digestible by humans without a ruminant's four stomachs.
> >
> > Drinking wheat beer with yeast would take care of that, especially the
> B12
> > problem. To be PC, you would remove the alcohol to feed the children.
>
> Why bother? The cows do a fine job.

The problem will be to survive the initial crisis. Cow take too long rise.

>
> The B vitamins are just an example. Beer has little in the way of amino
> acids. Plants don't produce much in the way of amino acids.

Now, this is utter bullshit. Did you ever hear of peas or soy beans?

>
> We humans are omnivores. We need a certain amount of meat, eggs, and/or
> milk to stay healthy - unless we want to do some very careful planning.
> Adults can, in many cases, do well on a vegetarian diet. Putting a child
on
> such a diet (unless appropriate suppliments are given) would really
> constitute child abuse.

Well, a yeast culture would constitute an adequate supplement. This
technique was definitely known during the iron age.

Karl M. Syring


Ray

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 3:47:52 AM2/21/02
to

"Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message
news:a52ark$4340r$1...@ID-7529.news.dfncis.de...

> "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> schrieb
> > "Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message
> > news:a5257c$42trr$2...@ID-7529.news.dfncis.de...
> > > "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> schrieb
> > > > "Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message
> >
> >
> > > > There are some places that are best suited for grass, and which
don't
> > > > support the more "tender" species that are suitable for human
> > consumption.
> > > > In those areas, the cow's specialized digestive system is a very
> > effective
> > > > way of converting the nutrients in the grass to a human-digestible
> form.
> > >
> > > Not true. The ecological advantages of grasses are well known and have
> > > nothing to do with "tender" species.
> > > The cows digestive system is not especially effective, but it's
> advantage
> > is
> > > that it can break down cellulose and we can not. Breeding for more
> > > digestible grasses would take care of that.
> >
> > Go for it. After you have bred some nice, tender grass, have yourself a
> > good meal!
>
> Well, there are those human competitors, and they would eat mice and rats
> too.

They are welcome to all the rats and mice they can eat. I tend to avoid
"unclean" meat, though I occasionally eat pork.


>
> >
> > I, meanwhile, will enjoy a nice, tender steak :-)
>
> If you like rat steak. There would be nothing else.

Why would I want to eat a rat when there are so many cows just waiting to be
killed for human consumption?


>
> >
> > Or, maybe I'll have a hamburger with a thick slab of sweet Vidalia
onion,
> > lettuce, pickles, mayonaisse, hot sauce, catsup, and tomato, all placed
on
> a
> > home-baked whole wheat bun. Yummy!
>
> If civilization has broken down? May you could chew some tree bark.

Naw... Euell Gibbons has written some good books on what to eat out in the
wild. There is still a whole lot of wilderness left on this Earth. Look at
a population density map if you don't believe that.


>
> >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > Besides, cows taste a whole lot better than grass.
> > >
> > > Believe me, you would forget about this if you have not got anything
to
> > eat
> > > for three days.
> >
> > What does that have to do with anything?
>
> You should remember that the breakdown of civilization was the general
this
> of this thread. And that means starvation for starters.

It might, but that would be independant of your magical edible grass. The
people either manage to find some canned food, get out to the country where
things grow, or sit around and starve.


>
> >
> >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > (I see, on the horizon, an attempt to repeat that "we ought to all
be
> > > > vegetarians, and we will naturally gravitate to that when we become
> more
> > > > civilized" thread that bloated this newsgroup a several months ago).
> > >
> > > Nonsense, we have discussed survival under conditions that would
reduces
> > the
> > > population to almost zero, if it were not be for the wonder plants. If
> > > things get better, there would be demand for more tasty foodstuff.
> >
> > If we are dumped back to iron-age tech, we aren't going to be breeding
any
> > goofy wonder plants.
>
> To keep the record straight: The starting point was the assumption, that
the
> improved plants were created by the the previous civilization.

So, you're advocating the creation of those wonder plants right now. Nobody
expects civilization to end, and nobody sees any profit in creating the
plants - at least nobody that is capable of doing so.


>
> > If our population is almost wiped out, it would behoove us to move away
> from
> > the deserts and into places where we can grow some decent crops.
>
> "Moving the population" under these circumstances means killing the
> population. The technique is well known, even today.


And this supports your assertion that the super wonder grass should be
created how?


Ray

Ray

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 4:01:04 AM2/21/02
to

"Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message
news:a52arm$4340r$2...@ID-7529.news.dfncis.de...

> "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> schrieb
> <snip>
> > > Well, the premise was to genetically engineer the grasses. Making them
> > more
> > > digestible should not be that difficult.
> >
> > Why bother? Cows are a whole lot tastier than grass.
>
> A lot of cows will die, and it takes years to restore the population.
Until
> then, you are dead.

Perhaps, but probably not. If we are nuked, the cows will not likely be at
ground zero. If a really nasty disease wipes us out, the cows will probably
be unaffected.

You can't assume that they won't be wiped out, but you certainly can't
assume that they will.

Besides, we can go deer hunting in the mean time.


>
> > If we get dumped back to iron-age tech, we are likely to concentrate on
> more
> > useful ventures. Right now, there is no reason to bother with it.
> >
> >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > So -- okay, I guess I can imagine a suitable bio-engineered thing
> > > > which grows where grass would grow, produces enough B-complex
vitamins
> > > > and a sufficiently broad spectrum of amino acids, and which is
> > > > digestible by humans without a ruminant's four stomachs.
> > >
> > > Drinking wheat beer with yeast would take care of that, especially the
> > B12
> > > problem. To be PC, you would remove the alcohol to feed the children.
> >
> > Why bother? The cows do a fine job.
>
> The problem will be to survive the initial crisis. Cow take too long rise.

The cows already exist.


>
> >
> > The B vitamins are just an example. Beer has little in the way of amino
> > acids. Plants don't produce much in the way of amino acids.
>
> Now, this is utter bullshit. Did you ever hear of peas or soy beans?

Yah... and quinoa, too. Quinoa is pretty good stuff.

For general kicks, amusement, and edification, go ahead and compare the
amount of protien available in those plants (on the order of a few percent)
with the protien available in meat (on the order of fifty percent or so).


>
> >
> > We humans are omnivores. We need a certain amount of meat, eggs, and/or
> > milk to stay healthy - unless we want to do some very careful planning.
> > Adults can, in many cases, do well on a vegetarian diet. Putting a
child
> on
> > such a diet (unless appropriate suppliments are given) would really
> > constitute child abuse.
>
> Well, a yeast culture would constitute an adequate supplement. This
> technique was definitely known during the iron age.

Yeast might be a good non-animal source. I wouldn't count on it having all
of the amino acids necessary.

I just did a google search. It would appear that there isn't much lysene or
carnitine in yeast. They are, however, abundant in meat.

http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:UGFOOUXJPc8C:www.biochem.ucl.ac.uk/~mar
/JME99.pdf+amino+acid+content+of+yeast&hl=en

>
> Karl M. Syring
>
>


Karl M. Syring

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 4:30:13 AM2/21/02
to

Well, here nearly all cows live indoors all the year. They would die even
faster then humans.

>
>
> >
> > >
> > > Or, maybe I'll have a hamburger with a thick slab of sweet Vidalia
> onion,
> > > lettuce, pickles, mayonaisse, hot sauce, catsup, and tomato, all
placed
> on
> > a
> > > home-baked whole wheat bun. Yummy!
> >
> > If civilization has broken down? May you could chew some tree bark.
>
> Naw... Euell Gibbons has written some good books on what to eat out in the
> wild. There is still a whole lot of wilderness left on this Earth. Look
at
> a population density map if you don't believe that.

I think, here in Germany it would take a month to hunt down the last traces
of edible stuff, including the last hedgehog.

>
>
> >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Besides, cows taste a whole lot better than grass.
> > > >
> > > > Believe me, you would forget about this if you have not got anything
> to
> > > eat
> > > > for three days.
> > >
> > > What does that have to do with anything?
> >
> > You should remember that the breakdown of civilization was the general
> this
> > of this thread. And that means starvation for starters.
>
> It might, but that would be independant of your magical edible grass. The
> people either manage to find some canned food, get out to the country
where
> things grow, or sit around and starve.

No transportation and food means death marches.

>
>
> >
> > >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > (I see, on the horizon, an attempt to repeat that "we ought to all
> be
> > > > > vegetarians, and we will naturally gravitate to that when we
become
> > more
> > > > > civilized" thread that bloated this newsgroup a several months
ago).
> > > >
> > > > Nonsense, we have discussed survival under conditions that would
> reduces
> > > the
> > > > population to almost zero, if it were not be for the wonder plants.
If
> > > > things get better, there would be demand for more tasty foodstuff.
> > >
> > > If we are dumped back to iron-age tech, we aren't going to be breeding
> any
> > > goofy wonder plants.
> >
> > To keep the record straight: The starting point was the assumption, that
> the
> > improved plants were created by the the previous civilization.
>
> So, you're advocating the creation of those wonder plants right now.
Nobody
> expects civilization to end, and nobody sees any profit in creating the
> plants - at least nobody that is capable of doing so.

Someone may see a profit in selling improved plants to poor countries. As
there definitely are dangers that could wipe out most of the people on
earth, there may even a kind of survivalist movement that pays for their
development.

>
>
> >
> > > If our population is almost wiped out, it would behoove us to move
away
> > from
> > > the deserts and into places where we can grow some decent crops.
> >
> > "Moving the population" under these circumstances means killing the
> > population. The technique is well known, even today.
>
>
> And this supports your assertion that the super wonder grass should be
> created how?

Grasses are already superplants, you will note that grains provide a
significant contribution to the worlds nutrition.
To create a food source that is accessible all the year round, you could
start with grasses that already form subterranean storage organs (Agropyron
spp.) an improve on then.

Karl M. Syring

Nyrath the nearly wise

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 9:46:26 AM2/21/02
to
Timothy Little wrote:
>
> Nyrath the nearly wise <nyr...@io.com> wrote:
> > ObSFRef: Jannisaries by Jerry Pournelle (writing trigometric
> >tables on the wall against the day the calculator's batteries die,
>
> I haven't read the story so there's undoubtably something I'm missing.
> Wouldn't the modern rapid approximation formulas be more useful?

Well, yes, but there are additional constraints
due to the plot that you are unaware of. <grin>

Specifically the high-civilization group transplanted
to the alien world are a bunch of mercenaries scooped
up by a passing UFO.

In other words: their education did not include
modern rapid approximation formulas.

Jason Bontrager

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 10:04:25 AM2/21/02
to
Urban Fredriksson wrote:
>
> In article <3C73D26A...@mail.utexas.edu>,
> Jason Bontrager <jab...@mail.utexas.edu> wrote:
>
> >The term
> >was first used scientifically by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen,
> >director of the Danish National Museum, in his epoch-making
> >arrangement of that museum's collection in 1819.
>
>I'm not sure, but didn't he sort of believe that
> the stone tools preceded the bronze ones which in turn
> preceded the iron tools in the meaning that one kind
> replaced the other?

I don't know. I was just quoting the encyclopedia. Though
it's my understanding that stone *did* come before bronze,
which *did* come before iron wrt general usage. There would've
been some overlap, and certainly not all areas and cultures
segued from one "age" to the next at the same time (we still
have some poor folks stuck in stone-age cultures today).

Jason B.

Ray

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 10:49:06 AM2/21/02
to

"Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote in message
news:a52g5u$4630o$1...@ID-7529.news.dfncis.de...
> "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> schrieb


> > > > I, meanwhile, will enjoy a nice, tender steak :-)
> > >
> > > If you like rat steak. There would be nothing else.
> >
> > Why would I want to eat a rat when there are so many cows just waiting
to
> be
> > killed for human consumption?
>
> Well, here nearly all cows live indoors all the year. They would die even
> faster then humans.

Really? Most of the cows I met spend quite most of their time outdoors.

> > > If civilization has broken down? May you could chew some tree bark.
> >
> > Naw... Euell Gibbons has written some good books on what to eat out in
the
> > wild. There is still a whole lot of wilderness left on this Earth.
Look at
> > a population density map if you don't believe that.
>
> I think, here in Germany it would take a month to hunt down the last
traces
> of edible stuff, including the last hedgehog.

Ah... that explains your perspective! I agree that a whole lot of Western
Europe is crowded. I enjoyed the two years I spent in Germany, but I got
rather tired of living in the city - even a city as nice as Frankfurt AM.

Anyhow, I believe there is some wilderness left in the mountainous areas.
The wildlife there should be able to support a reduced population for a
while. Also, there is a remarkable amount of wildlife right in the city.
Squirrels are edible (I don't like small game, but I would eat it if I was
hungry). 'Possums can be eaten, though most would have to be rather hungry
to do that.

>
> >
> >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Besides, cows taste a whole lot better than grass.
> > > > >
> > > > > Believe me, you would forget about this if you have not got
anything
> > to
> > > > eat
> > > > > for three days.
> > > >
> > > > What does that have to do with anything?
> > >
> > > You should remember that the breakdown of civilization was the general
> > this
> > > of this thread. And that means starvation for starters.
> >
> > It might, but that would be independant of your magical edible grass.
The
> > people either manage to find some canned food, get out to the country
> where
> > things grow, or sit around and starve.
>
> No transportation and food means death marches.

I suppose it could. That would tend to increase the total death toll.

Some would, of course, tend to avoid the crowd and go in another direction.
Those people would be more likely to survive.

> > > To keep the record straight: The starting point was the assumption,
that
> > the
> > > improved plants were created by the the previous civilization.
> >
> > So, you're advocating the creation of those wonder plants right now.
Nobody
> > expects civilization to end, and nobody sees any profit in creating the
> > plants - at least nobody that is capable of doing so.
>
> Someone may see a profit in selling improved plants to poor countries. As
> there definitely are dangers that could wipe out most of the people on
> earth, there may even a kind of survivalist movement that pays for their
> development.

That might be the case, but there is generally a whole lot of resistance to
change among the general population of those countries. Also, developing
such a plant would be no easy task. The reason that plants that live in
"scrub" areas are tough is because they have to be tough to survive.


> > And this supports your assertion that the super wonder grass should be
> > created how?
>
> Grasses are already superplants, you will note that grains provide a
> significant contribution to the worlds nutrition.
> To create a food source that is accessible all the year round, you could
> start with grasses that already form subterranean storage organs
(Agropyron
> spp.) an improve on then.

Perhaps you could start with nut grass (Cyperus Rotundus), which is a common
"pest" grass. It is hardy, but normally found in wet areas. Making it
drout hardy might be a challenge.

Chufa (Cyperus esculentus), anothe species of nut grass, is commonly eaten.
It, too, likes the wet areas. Check out
http://www.ediblewild.com/chufa.html.


Ray Drouillard


Terrafamilia

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Feb 21, 2002, 11:40:24 AM2/21/02
to

Charles R Martin wrote:

> "Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> writes:
>
> >
> > You do not need cows, if you can get rid of that damn grasses and replace
> > them by plants carefully constructed for direct human consumption.
>
> Uh, with all due respect (and a careful choice of words) bullshit.
>
> First off, name me _one_ human culture that gets by without animal
> products. It's very difficult to get enough of certain nutrients,
> especially for children.

Hmm, scratching my head, how about medieval Japan? For the peasants, unpolished
rice & bean curd as staples plus all the pickled anything you could stand. Fish
would be a bonus, more available at the coasts of course, much less so in the
interior. Land for animal husbandry was at a premium though not unknown. Though we
are talking about getting by.

Ciao,

Terrafamilia

Karl M. Syring

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Feb 21, 2002, 12:05:20 PM2/21/02
to
"Terrafamilia" <terraf...@irtc.net> schrieb

>
>
> Charles R Martin wrote:
>
> > "Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> writes:
> >
> > >
> > > You do not need cows, if you can get rid of that damn grasses and
replace
> > > them by plants carefully constructed for direct human consumption.
> >
> > Uh, with all due respect (and a careful choice of words) bullshit.
> >
> > First off, name me _one_ human culture that gets by without animal
> > products. It's very difficult to get enough of certain nutrients,
> > especially for children.

You can make a well balanced vegetarian food by a suitable mixture of
grains, soybeans and some vitamin additions, probably from yeast. You only
need to look up the proper pig feed recipes. Good enough for humans, but add
some vitamin C.

>
> Hmm, scratching my head, how about medieval Japan? For the peasants,
unpolished
> rice & bean curd as staples plus all the pickled anything you could stand.
Fish
> would be a bonus, more available at the coasts of course, much less so in
the
> interior. Land for animal husbandry was at a premium though not unknown.
Though we
> are talking about getting by.

There is a well known nutrient deficiency caused be a rice-only diet:
Beri-beri, caused by a lack of vitamin B1
(http://www.rcpe.ac.uk/controlled_trials/doc8.html).

Karl M. Syring

Urban Fredriksson

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Feb 21, 2002, 12:13:46 PM2/21/02
to
In article <3C750C79...@mail.utexas.edu>,
Jason Bontrager <jab...@mail.utexas.edu> wrote:

> Though
>it's my understanding that stone *did* come before bronze,
>which *did* come before iron wrt general usage.

I'll readily agree there was a stone age. But where did
the copper age go? And in some places it's easier to get
iron than bronze, and if you think about it it doesn't
really make sense to replace bronze with iron, but you can
make things of iron which are hard to make of bronze.
--
Urban Fredriksson http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/
A boundary between the known and the unknown always exists.

Terrafamilia

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