You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

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Beardhammer
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Beardhammer » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:56 am UTC

harpyblues wrote:Of course, there's the question of whether would you want to get pregnant as the last person on earth? Apart from yourself, there's not going to be any med personal to help you with pre/post natal care. And childbirth would be awful, especially if there were complications. You can't exactly give yourself an easy C-section if there's a problem. My mom had a narrow birth canal that required her to have a c-sec, so I'm likely to need one as well, if I get preggers in the future. We need artificial wombs or something.


Or the people that are genetically disposed to tiny birth canals aren't able to successfully reproduce and eventually get genetically eradicated in favor of women with big hips.

It's a concept I can get behind.

*snicker*

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:15 am UTC

Last person on earth.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby harpyblues » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:36 pm UTC

Beardhammer wrote:Or the people that are genetically disposed to tiny birth canals aren't able to successfully reproduce and eventually get genetically eradicated in favor of women with big hips.

It's a concept I can get behind.

*snicker*


Big hips /= roomy birth canals, just like big boobs /= more milk. Females typically have greater fat deposits in those areas because it gives the impression of being better equiped, rather than being the case. Also, that was kinda a creepy post.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby fuzzycuzzy » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:39 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure reproduction would be the last thing you'd want to think about if you were the last person on earth. Still, it might be a good idea to try to make a species of self-replicating robots to inhabit the earth. Hmmm, looks like a job for literature!

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Demented Teddy » Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:51 pm UTC

If I knew for a fact I was the last human on earth I would commit suicide.

There is no point to continue living if humanity is doomed to extinction.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby the_bandersnatch » Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:01 pm UTC

Demented Teddy wrote:If I knew for a fact I was the last human on earth I would commit suicide.

There is no point to continue living if humanity is doomed to extinction.


Really? The Earth and everything will be destroyed eventually anyway when the sun enters it's red giant phase, so should we all just give up now?
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Soralin » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:42 pm UTC

the_bandersnatch wrote:
Demented Teddy wrote:If I knew for a fact I was the last human on earth I would commit suicide.

There is no point to continue living if humanity is doomed to extinction.


Really? The Earth and everything will be destroyed eventually anyway when the sun enters it's red giant phase, so should we all just give up now?

Well not "and everything", there are quite a few other stars around. Earth getting destroyed, doesn't mean that humanity is destroyed. Now, say, the heat death of the universe, would likely be more difficult to escape. :)

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby the_bandersnatch » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:52 am UTC

Soralin wrote:
the_bandersnatch wrote:
Demented Teddy wrote:If I knew for a fact I was the last human on earth I would commit suicide.

There is no point to continue living if humanity is doomed to extinction.


Really? The Earth and everything will be destroyed eventually anyway when the sun enters it's red giant phase, so should we all just give up now?

Well not "and everything", there are quite a few other stars around. Earth getting destroyed, doesn't mean that humanity is destroyed. Now, say, the heat death of the universe, would likely be more difficult to escape. :)


Thanks for completely missing the point I was trying to make.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Singa Crew » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:48 pm UTC

First thing I am going to do is find shelter. When I first read this thread, I thought "PENTHOUSE on the top floor of a very tall building so I can look down on the world", but then, I probably should avoid tall buildings if nobody is going to maintain them, right? Suppose one collapses?

So shelter will have to be a mansion somewhere near a river or failing that, just any house near moving water.

Then start raiding stores for bottled water and food and seeds (to grow vegetables).

I am not really the hunter type, so I will probably go to the pet store and get myself a tribe of bunnies (for my rabbit farm). I guess I will have to survive on rabbit stew for a while.

Next, I am going to raid the bookstores for all sorts of books. DIY books will be near the top of my list. I will need to know how to use a generator for electricity.

Also, while I am raiding the bookstores, I will be on the look-out for electronic devices powered by solar energy.

After getting the books, time to stock up on porn.

Oh darn... it is no fun when there's nobody around to play with!

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby roband » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:58 pm UTC

Singa Crew wrote:I am not really the hunter type, so I will probably go to the pet store and get myself a tribe of bunnies (for my rabbit farm). I guess I will have to survive on rabbit stew for a while.


Careful - that can kill you (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_starvation)

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby tastelikecoke » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:35 pm UTC

I'll grow wheat, plant trees, excavate huge caverns, makes torches, and scoop some lav-

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby JackassLeo » Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:10 am UTC

south park.......cartmanland
nuff said

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby astrekmaster » Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:48 am UTC

The first thing I'd do is be sure no one else survived, and likely grieve the loss of losing everyone I ever knew.
I guess the second thing I want to do is find a plentiful source of water and food, then some sort of shelter (like a house).
I'll need a gun of some sort for hunting.
Perhaps after that I'd attempt to preserve all of humanity's knowledge.
Then I'd learn all the medical info I can from libraries that I can so I can cure myself in case I get a disease. I may have to create my own medications since certain medicines expire.
Afterwords, I'd do everything I always wanted such as breaking into stores and stealing, and maybe learning everything I always wanted to learn.
Finally, I'd try to preserve my consciousness/mind by transferring it into a robot or possibly a clone of myself.

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Samik
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Samik » Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:27 pm UTC

harpyblues wrote: And childbirth would be awful, especially if there were complications. You can't exactly give yourself an easy C-section if there's a problem..

There is always an episiotomy, which could, hypothetically, be performed by the woman giving birth without killing herself. (It's fiction, but in one of the Rama books, Nicole des Jardins performed this procedure on herself during child birth. Gritty scene, that.)

If you were the last human being on earth, and you were about to give birth, and performing the above operation on yourself was a necessity, could you do it*? The thought makes my skin crawl.



*(Of course, the alternative is probably death during childbirth.)

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby semicharmed » Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:02 am UTC

Samik wrote:There is always an episiotomy, which could, hypothetically, be performed by the woman giving birth without killing herself. (It's fiction, but in one of the Rama books, Nicole des Jardins performed this procedure on herself during child birth. Gritty scene, that.)

If you were the last human being on earth, and you were about to give birth, and performing the above operation on yourself was a necessity, could you do it*? The thought makes my skin crawl.



*(Of course, the alternative is probably death during childbirth.)


That... isn't actually a solution to the narrow birth canal/wide head problem. Spoiler'd for kind of graphic.
Spoiler:
Epistotomies are done to reduce tearing, which happens after the head has already passed through all bu the last few cms of the birth canal. It's a controlled rip, basically since bad tears can also tear the rectum and cause fistulas and then, especially if you were the last person alive, infection and horrid septic death time. No amount of self-surgery will correct for a fetus's head being too wide to pass through the bones of the hips, since a c-section would almost certainly kill you if done on yourself. Also, you'd probably pass out from the pain/blood loss before finishing the incision/sewing it up. And then... again, infection time and blood sepsis and horrid death.

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Meteoric » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:21 pm UTC

Well, I don't think I would want to dedicate the remainder of my life to mad science in an attempt to propagate the species. Sounds implausibly difficult, anyway. But even if that weren't a factor - say, if I happened to own and operate a functioning human cloning lab when the event struck - I'm still not sure I'd use it. Thinking about this just gives me a sense of "oh well, we had some good times, time to figure out a way to die fulfilled."

And seriously, I have no idea what that would be. If I was able to avoid crumbling under the tremendous psychological weight of grief and loneliness, and if I handwave away my surely poor self-sufficiency in such an environment, I guess maybe I'd travel (any roof is as good as another if I don't have to worry that it used to be someone else's), maybe look for an unfinished building or sculpture or something and try to finish it. Give myself a sense of connection to and respect for the people who are gone, while also making something that will outlast me, at least for a little while.

Wow, I had a few other things to say, but just thinking about this is making me really sad. I need to go look at something cheerful before I go to sleep.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Samik » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:30 pm UTC

semicharmed wrote:That... isn't actually a solution to the narrow birth canal/wide head problem. ... Epistotomies are done to reduce tearing, which happens after the head has already passed through all bu the last few cms of the birth canal.

Eh, looks like you're right. Shows what I know.

Still wouldn't be fun to have to do, though.

Although if you were really the last person on earth, you probably wouldn't have any trouble stocking up on medication/pain killers/local anesthetics before hand. Hell, when you knew you were close to popping, you could go take up temporary residence in a hospital. (Provided this isn't a zombie scenario. I haven't read the whole thread - were we supposing a zombie scenario?)

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby drkslvr » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:04 am UTC

Day 1
Of course, my first reactions would be panic, then mourning. I don't think any sane person could escape that. Most insane people would probably feel it, too.

Panic at finding my little sister dead. Panic when no one answered at 911. Panic as I rushed her lifeless body to the hospital, and saw crashed cars and house fires all along the way. Panic when there was no one there to help her. Then the mourning.

That phase would probably take awhile. At least the first half of the day. My next instinct would be determination to survive. Perhaps not everyone would feel that way, but in the more-than-likely scenario that I did not know for certain that everyone world-wide was dead and that I also didn't know what killed the people around me, I would want to live to find this sort of thing out.

I would probably start by looking for other people. Try the internet, first, if I can get it to work. If no luck, try searching my town more exhaustively than just my route to the hospital. If that didn't happen for me, I would probably spend the rest of the first day mouring, then start again tomorrow.

Day 2
The next day, aquire some basic tools and weapons and get ready for a journey. Probably also bury my sister, or at very least entomb her body somewhere safe. Crazy, I know, but how else do you hold yourself together when the world is falling apart?

A crowbar would be a must, as I will likely be doing a lot of breaking and entering. At minimum a pistol, a rifle, and plenty of ammo would be looted from the police station across the street. I would be expecting to protect myself from both animals and potentially from other armed humans. I wouldn't want to go too crazy, though, because I don't want to be condemned for excessive looting when I finally meet back up with the rest of the world.

I'm not sure what I would bring with me as far as food and clothing, but probalby not much. At this point, I would still be hoping to find civilization out there somewhere. I suppose some sort of pump would be necessary for stealing gas, if the electricity is off. There's a Home Depot down the road. Then, it's in the car and off.

I would go northeast a little ways through the town I grew up in and check my parents' house. I would probably mourn there for a while, too. After that, I might stop by the nearby fire station and steal a fire axe. You never know when something like that could come in handy. Then, I would survey Kansas City. On not finding anything, I would return to my parents house to spend the night and say my goodbyes. The next day, my journey would begin in ernest.

Day 3-5
Head south. Visit Joplin, Tulsa, Dallas, Huston. Head west. Go as far as I can each day, taking time to explore each major City. San Antonio, Juarez, Tucson, Pheonix. I'd hit San Diego and the Pacific Ocean before the end of the week.

Day 6
Panic again. At very least, most of the U.S. and parts of Mexico have been wiped out. But the fact that I've not seen anyone doesn't rule out that society is still out there. Maybe the affected area has been quarenteened. In San Diego, try to find some sort of salilite up-link. Surely, that couldn't be too hard in the home of one of the world's largest naval bases. If it is possible to communicate with the outside world, it will be possible from San Diego. I bet that the base is able to keep running for weeks without outside power. Surely, their equipment will still be operational.

Day 7
Desperately try to conact the outside world. Fail, fail, and fail again. Finally, it looks like I'm getting through. But the connection is to an empty room. I realize that there is no one out there to be contacted. There may be a few scattered survivors like myself, but civilization has without question been wiped off the map. Panic again.

Day 8
Mourn again.

Day 9
Visit the beach. Maybe take a destroyer for a joyride. Not sure if that's possible, but I'd probably try. Ponder my own existance and what I wanted to do with my life.

Day 10 thru the rest of forever
After this point, it could go one of several different ways.

If it is in fact possible to take a joyride on a destroyer, that will probably be a big part of my long-term plan. If I pick one that is nuclear and either new or recently re-fueled, I have it for about 20 years before the core runs out. I'm sure I'll damage the thing due to my own ignorance of how to run it, but these buckets of bolts were built to withstand torpedoes and ariel assault. I'm sure I'm not dumb enough to sink it. Stock that baby up with food that won't go bad and see the world. Or, at least, the parts of the world with nice, deep harbors. Eventually I'd have to settle somewhere. But it clearly wouldn't be here! I would prefer somewhere easier for sustainence farming, thank you very much. And even at that, who knows. After I have seen the globe, and know first-hand that I am really the last one left, I might not want to cash in on my full three score and ten. Being old and alone doesn't exactly sound like fun. I might choose to off my self at forty, and then the rest doesn't really matter.

If that level of awesome is not actually possible, which I suspect it wouldn't be, I'd probably start by sewing cyanide capsules into the collars of all my shirts. I can think of hundreds of terrible ways to die. I don't want to experience any of them. Any good university will have cyanide somewhere. Just fill up some caps in a fume hood and you're good to go. Sewn into the collar of your shirt you simply have to move your neck down and bite them. If you're so incapasitated that even that is impossible, death is pretty imminent, anyways.

Then, live life. Survive however long I felt like it. Stockpile honey, corn syrup, seeds, and Everclear. (Or better yet, get unpoisoned 95% ethanol from the same university you get that cyanide from. It comes in two gallon glass containers. Don't confuse it for the poisoned kind, though!) Go somewhere lush and live off the land. There are enough areas in California that you could do that in. It would be hard, but possible. Our ancestors did it for thousands of years. Admittedly, few of them ever did it alone, but I could live and enjoy life as long as I wanted. And when the time came, say goodbye. It would be a good run. Maybe not as good as the one I would have had if humanity had survived, but something to be happy about anyways.

(How is that for thought-out? I've been pondering this for most of the day.)
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Chen » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:58 pm UTC

drkslvr wrote:If it is in fact possible to take a joyride on a destroyer, that will probably be a big part of my long-term plan. If I pick one that is nuclear and either new or recently re-fueled, I have it for about 20 years before the core runs out. I'm sure I'll damage the thing due to my own ignorance of how to run it, but these buckets of bolts were built to withstand torpedoes and ariel assault. I'm sure I'm not dumb enough to sink it. Stock that baby up with food that won't go bad and see the world. Or, at least, the parts of the world with nice, deep harbors. Eventually I'd have to settle somewhere. But it clearly wouldn't be here! I would prefer somewhere easier for sustainence farming, thank you very much. And even at that, who knows. After I have seen the globe, and know first-hand that I am really the last one left, I might not want to cash in on my full three score and ten. Being old and alone doesn't exactly sound like fun. I might choose to off my self at forty, and then the rest doesn't really matter.


I'd be more worried about a breakdown out at sea and getting stranded. I'd try to stay as land based as I could. Being lost in the middle of the ocean would be pretty terrible.

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:05 pm UTC

Samik wrote:Although if you were really the last person on earth, you probably wouldn't have any trouble stocking up on medication/pain killers/local anesthetics before hand. Hell, when you knew you were close to popping, you could go take up temporary residence in a hospital. (Provided this isn't a zombie scenario. I haven't read the whole thread - were we supposing a zombie scenario?)


Because as we all know, everyone is completely lucid and logical when hopped up on painkillers, and have no problems at all with muscle control, fine or otherwise.

.... y'all are seeing the sarcasm, right? Cool. Just wanted to be sure.



And no, there is no scenario proposed other than "It's just you. That's it". All the other riders are up to you, but most people are assuming either the entire human population of Earth drops dead at roughly the same time for no reason, or they're Magick'd away for no apparent reason, leaving you alone.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Samik » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:49 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Because as we all know, everyone is completely lucid and logical when hopped up on painkillers, and have no problems at all with muscle control, fine or otherwise.

.... y'all are seeing the sarcasm, right? Cool. Just wanted to be sure.


Well, no need to be nasty about it. Are you really trying to say that if you had to perform an Episiotomy on yourself, that you wouldn't pop a couple of vicodin and use local anesthetic? (Certainly won't be a comfortable experience regardless, but it's got to be better than nothing.)

I took the GRE's 'hopped up' on vicodin after having a tooth pulled, cause the test was the very next day and I hadn't yet figured out that I didn't actually need the meds. Did just fine too. Obviously, if you choose to take enough to smear your brains around the inside of your skull, that's no good.

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:20 pm UTC

Well, no, thought we were still talking about a Cesarian. It's not impossible because, as stated, it's happened. (But also required hospitalization to fix the damage and for observation)

The likelihood of survival? Tiny.

Even with the relatively safer episiotomy it's still... not good. Not by a long shot. As for what I'd take if I had to do some sort of surgical procedure to myself? I have no idea. I have no medical knowledge and wouldn't even know what a proper dose should be. So lots of reading ahead of time, I suppose, assuming I could find the proper documentation.

(this is before we even approach the insanity of getting yourself pregnant with no access to any sort of medical care whatsoever. A pre-existing pregnancy is one thing, but to do it deliberately after the fact? Madness. Even with the notion of trying to repopulate the species, there's not going to be enough genetic diversity. Not unless you have access to a fuckload of eggs and sperm and the knowledge to mix the two, implant them in yourself or some other animal capable of carrying the resulting kid to term.)

Basically, if you're the last human on Earth, the species is dead. All you can do is enjoy the final days.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:39 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:It's not impossible


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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Samik » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:15 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Well, no, thought we were still talking about a Cesarian. It's not impossible because, as stated, it's happened. (But also required hospitalization to fix the damage and for observation)

The likelihood of survival? Tiny.

Even with the relatively safer episiotomy it's still... not good. Not by a long shot. As for what I'd take if I had to do some sort of surgical procedure to myself? I have no idea. I have no medical knowledge and wouldn't even know what a proper dose should be. So lots of reading ahead of time, I suppose, assuming I could find the proper documentation.

Agree on all counts. I was imagining the scenario where you had a pre-existing pregnancy that was already very far along, so that you had time to find a location to settle in, collect some equipment, do some reading, but no chance to abort. Essentially, I was trying to figure how one would at least make an attempt to stack the odds in their favor as much as possible.

Basically, if you're the last human on Earth, the species is dead. All you can do is enjoy the final days.

For every single one of us here, you're right. I'd have to think that there might be one or two super-geniuses somewhere on the planet that could make some attempt at saving the species, in the manners you suggest, with greater than 0% probability of success.

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:22 pm UTC

I humbly disagree. The days of a single genius driving research and development and such, if they ever even existed in the first place, are long long gone. These days it's all done in teams. Teams of teams. Because shit that complicated may be worked out by a single individual in their entire lifetime, but a team can knock it out in a couple of decades if not years.

For something as complicated as animals carrying humans to term, that's.. just a huge collection of skills and knowledges that I don't think a single person currently has, and would likely take a person a good 50 years to get, even if they're learning as they go.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Ubik » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:39 pm UTC

The eggs and sperm would be lost soon anyway unless you can rig some permanent power source for the cryogenic equipment before the power plants (and the backup generators) go offline. It would be very hard to do it in time, especially because the first weeks when the power probably still works, you are most likely trying to get your personal stuff together.

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Samik » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:06 pm UTC

Look, I'll grant you that the odds are long, but I feel like I could envision a scenario where there was at least the possibility of extending the species from one survivor.

Assumptions:

A.) Start out with the assumption that the one remaining person - female - feels so strongly about preserving the species that she is willing to risk a great deal of pain/hardship, and near certain death to attempt it. I feel there have to be people on this planet that fit that description, because I am one. Were I to find myself in this situation, I would spend the rest of my life (likely futilely, being male and all) trying to figure something out.

B.) Forget animal implantation - assume the one survivor is a youngish, healthy and well-developed female.

C.) Assume she's a brilliant doctor or scientist, in some specialty that gives her a head start on the knowledge she'd need to perform the preparations and implantations in herself.

So you have three main problem areas:*

1.) Finding and preserving sufficiently many and diverse viable gametes. As Ubik points out, time is short. She'd likely have to know exactly where to find the necessary material (hopefully aided by assumption 'C'). Preserving would be the trick. (Obviously, finding the material is one thing. Keeping an entirely facility's worth of equipment up and running over the long haul is another.)**

2.) Actually implementing successful implantations.

3.) Surviving a great number of pregnancies/births (as many as possible in your life time).


Are any one of those three tasks, in principle, impossible? is it, all, collectively, so impossible that it wouldn't even be worth the attempt for someone who satisfies the conditions I suggest?




*Well, obviously those are not the only problems - raising a large number of children alone in a world without infrastructure would be no simple task.

**If we're assuming an everybody-is-just-gone-when-you-wake-up scenario, rather than some kind of holocaust, then it would be relatively easy to stockpile the necessary resources for short term survival quickly. You have your car, or anyone else's you want - just break into their house and steal the keys (hell, I'd find a good RV with a nice little kitchen, hitch a trailer up to it with a generator and stockpiles of fuel...). If gas pumps aren't working, you can siphon off whatever you need from the millions of filled tanks in every car around you. Break into any EMS/REI/whatever, get some cooking equipment/fuel, break into Walmart and stock up on batteries, weapons from a gun store... and so on and so on. Maybe things are complicated a bit if you're in a cold climate, but since I'm trying to imagine the best case scenario here, let's just assume weather is no concern in the short term.

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Роберт » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:38 pm UTC

Samik wrote:1.) Finding and preserving sufficiently many and diverse viable gametes. As Ubik points out, time is short. She'd likely have to know exactly where to find the necessary material (hopefully aided by assumption 'C'). Preserving would be the trick.

Anyone know how sperm banks work?
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:52 pm UTC

I'm not really equipped for reproduction and I doubt even if I had access to advanced cloning equipment and knowledge that I could do much to save the species. I mean, you'd have to clone a genetically sustainable population and raise/educate them, quite a task for one person.

I'd try to set up a beacon of some sort that might attract any extra-terrestrial visitors to my location, and then freeze myself for the long haul.

With any luck, some interstellar explorers will wander buy before the Earth get's all crispy and have the capability to thaw me out.

Anyone know how sperm banks work?

There are problems with long term storage of sperm, IIRC it's only viable for a few months frozen.
Edit: see below.
Last edited by EdgarJPublius on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Роберт » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:54 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:I'm not really equipped for reproduction and I doubt even if I had access to advanced cloning equipment and knowledge that I could do much to save the species. I mean, you'd have to clone a genetically sustainable population and raise/educate them, quite a task for one person.

I'd try to set up a beacon of some sort that might attract any extra-terrestrial visitors to my location, and then freeze myself for the long haul.

With any luck, some interstellar explorers will wander buy before the Earth get's all crispy and have the capability to thaw me out.

Anyone know how sperm banks work?


There are problems with long term storage of sperm, IIRC it's only viable for a few months frozen.

Shoot, best case scenario it needs to be viable well over 9 months.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:07 pm UTC

Actually, wiki'd it real quick, apparently sperm remain viable indefinitely while cryo-preserved (record for successful implantation is 21 years) but can only survive a certain number of freeze/thaw cycles, which limits the number of times a specific sample can be used.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Samik » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:10 pm UTC

At least one new post has been made to this topic. You may wish to review your post in light of this.

Oh, phew. I was in the process of composing my admission of defeat. Saved, for once, by the "post review" warning.

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:14 pm UTC

Samik wrote:Look, I'll grant you that the odds are long, but I feel like I could envision a scenario where there was at least the possibility of extending the species from one survivor.


Alright, so you're allowing for one person to carry all the people needed. Using this and being generous, we'll go with the 50 individuals needed. For the purposes of this little exercise, we'll assume the resulting gender doesn't matter.

50 individuals, roughly 9 months a pop, works out to 37.5 years. Assuming every attempt is successful, which it won't be. Assuming every attempt has one failure - which is more than fair, as for every attempt that works without a hitch you'll have one that takes five or six attempts (read: months) to work. Which puts the total time needed at 41.6 years.

This, of course, is assuming single births. Which are the least risky, relatively speaking. This is also assuming via magic that things like food, shelter and environmental protection (read: Clothing) are taken care of, as is Education for the resulting children. Because a pregnant woman has no problems at all chasing a bunch of 3, 4, 5, and 6 year olds around and making them sit down and pay attention.



For someone to have all the skills needed to do the job, frankly, we're looking at a woman in her mid 30s. Minimum. She has to know a lot about the human reproductive system. She has to be an obstetrician. She has to be a farmer - there's more to it than "dig hole, dump in seeds". She has to be a power plant engineer, with probably Solar, Wind and Nuclear (in that order) being the best choices. She has to be a K-12 teacher. While animal husbandry wouldn't be necessary, it'd be a hell of a lot easier. Knowledge of hunting and how to clean and butcher animals - all sorts of animals - while not 100% necessary, will make the job so much easier. She has to have the knowledge and skill to do all the shit I'm forgetting. And, of course, the physical ability to do all this while constantly pregnant at least in to her 50s, when potential daughters exist to start taking up the slack of creating Generation 1 while simultaneously working with the sons to make Generation 2.

You're looking at an individual who doesn't exist.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Samik » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:33 pm UTC

A lot of what you're saying is very valid. I have a few nits to pick, though.

For one, we're talking about the survival of the species, so it doesn't matter how it happens - if some of the outcomes are less than ideal - as long as a road is started down that has at least a non-zero probability of not being a dead end.

Thus, a few nits:


1.) Education of the children (and, more broadly, raising them in such a way that they found a society that would look familiar to us) is a secondary concern. We can shake out re-founding modern society over the next 1,000 generations or so. First concern is a sustainable breeding population. Once that is achieved, our cryo-stasis facility can rot to the ground, as well as the rest of the world's infrastructure.

2.) Why is it necessary that our original heroine is the sole source of the 'minimum viable population'? If Edgar is right, and gametes can survive for 20+ years in cryo, then the first few female children born to new Eve can be implanted as soon as they pass through puberty (hell, possibly before, since they're not actually supplying their own eggs...??), and knock out a few kids of their own before the supplies lose viability. This may not get us to the magic '50' number, but it will help. And most of the concerns raised in that Wikipedia article do not apply to humans who can just raid stores for any amount of non-perishables they care to find (weapons for hunting / self-defense not the least of which). (Obviously, the genetic diversity component does apply.)

3.) There are populations all around the world that survive and get by just fine without agriculture, power plants, and K-12 institutions. We're not re-founding modern society here in a generation. We're trying to keep the human species alive past one generation. At any and all costs. We'll leave worrying about getting back to our glory days to future generations.



Look, I'm not saying it would be easy. I'm not saying there is anyone alive who even has a 1% chance of pulling it off (the number of births needed and the cumulative odds of death during childbirth alone must make the percentages tiny). I am saying that I think it is, in principle, possible. You appear to be posing all sorts of additional challenges to Eve that she has no real need to actually tackle, for the sake of showing how hard it would be. it's hard enough as is. Let's stick to the meat and potatoes.
Last edited by Samik on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:45 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:44 pm UTC

Samik wrote:1.) Education of the children (and, more broadly, raising them in such a way that they found a society that would look familiar to us) is a secondary concern.

2.) Why is it necessary that our original heroine is the sole source of the 'minimum viable population'?
Points 1 and 2 are in direct opposition. If there is no education, who's doing the implantation? Our original woman? In the 15ish years it'll take the daughters to be relatively safely viable, she may have forgotten how to do it safely, or may simply no longer have the physical capability to do it - eyesight's gone, hands shake, whatever.

Nevermind that yes, damn it, education is goddamn important. We have a hard enough time figuring out shit that, in retrospect, looks sensible (Remember, the ancient Greeks invented the damned Steam Engine, but metallurgy wasn't up to snuff so it wasn't until the 1800s that someone actually put it to use) that asking the species to start over from Zero is... idiotic. Books aren't going to be fine on their own, computers won't work and there's no linguists around to decipher these strange "French" words.

Everything we have today was built on the shoulders of those who came before. To not worry about education is to willingly leap off those shoulders saying "no no, we'll be fine."

3.) There are populations all around the world that survive and get by just fine without agriculture, power plants, and K-12 institutions.
And none of these societies are attempting to restart the human race using things like in vitro fertilization with gametes from cryogenic freezers. This... is before we debate the "just fine" part of your statement.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Samik » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:47 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote: asking the species to start over from Zero is... idiotic.



I think this is a large part of the substance of our disagreement.

I view sapience as something so worth preserving that it must be preserved at all costs. If that means going back to the stone age for a few tens of thousands of years before we get rolling again, then so be it. That's why I don't see that as, in principle, even remotely relevant to the discussion.

Once the minimum viable population has been achieved, Eve's work has been done. The rest will sort itself out over the coming millenia.

Points 1 and 2 are in direct opposition. If there is no education, who's doing the implantation? Our original woman? In the 15ish years it'll take the daughters to be relatively safely viable, she may have forgotten how to do it safely, or may simply no longer have the physical capability to do it - eyesight's gone, hands shake, whatever.


Again, you're making points that, while valid, don't have anything to do with the issue, in principle. Sure, the original woman's eyesight could go. But she could also die during the very first childbirth, and this whole thing is a non-starter. For the last time, I'm not saying the odds are in her favor - just that it is not, in principle, impossible.

And as for who's doing the implantations: yes, the original woman. You don't think that it's even, in principle, possible that she could still be in decent shape at the age of 50 (assuming she got all this started around 30ish?) And if she's constantly doing implantations, every 9 months, bare minimum, for the rest of her reproductive lifespan, I doubt she's going to forget how...

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Samik » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:56 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Nevermind that yes, damn it, education is goddamn important. We have a hard enough time figuring out shit that, in retrospect, looks sensible (Remember, the ancient Greeks invented the damned Steam Engine, but metallurgy wasn't up to snuff so it wasn't until the 1800s that someone actually put it to use) that asking the species to start over from Zero is... idiotic. Books aren't going to be fine on their own, computers won't work and there's no linguists around to decipher these strange "French" words.

Everything we have today was built on the shoulders of those who came before. To not worry about education is to willingly leap off those shoulders saying "no no, we'll be fine."

I guess I just don't understand the mindset you're operating out of.

When faced with the choices:

1.) go back to the stoneage

2.) extinction of the human race

You'd choose option 2?


I mean, if your back is against the wall and these are your only two options, you'd really choose extinction over losing all the progress we've made as a species?



EDIT:
This... is before we debate the "just fine" part of your statement.

Now that is picking nits if nits have ever been picked. The vast majority of humans that have ever lived have done so without power plants and K-12 institutions. So there is poverty in the world - yes, you're right. But man is that the worst kind of obfuscating the issue.
Last edited by Samik on Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby SecondTalon » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:00 am UTC

When the options are

A - Do a bunch of stupid, reckless shit that makes you absolutely miserable for the rest of your (likely brief) time for the faint, practically nonexistant hope that somehow, in the next few millennia, humans still exist and are something more than hairless apes flinging poo at each other

B - Do shit you like, maybe build a little monument or some shit and basically just enjoy yourself because fuck it, Humanity is extinct and you're just capable of turning the lights out before you go

Then yeah, B.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Samik » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:03 am UTC

You're forgetting my original condition 'A'.

It's not reckless if no one but you stands to be hurt, and you consider the pain worthwhile.

And perhaps living alone in the world, with the knowledge that the human race has died and with it, possibly, all sapience in the universe (a different debate entirely, but it is a possibility), might make some people far more miserable than going through the ordeal I've suggested.


The question I, personally, was addressing, was never "Would SecondTalon be able to pull it off?" It was "does there exists anyone on earth today who could have a non-zero shot at it?"
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby SecondTalon » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:05 am UTC

.. only if you consider jamming rusty nails into your skin not reckless, because you're the only one who could be hurt. Or leaping out of an airplane over a deserted area and trying to catch a parachute on the way down as.. again, you're the only one who will be hurt.

It's something that will, with great probability, kill you long before any of your children are capable of survival on your own. So you had one kid.. then two.. then three.. and then you die giving birth to #4. You now have three toddlers who are going to die a slow death of starvation, assuming some critter doesn't get to them first.

Sure, it's also the only way to restart people. Doesn't also make it magically not reckless.
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