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

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

Postby raudorn » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:49 pm UTC

Scenario 1:
I don't know I'm the last survivor. I frantically try to find out if there are others alive and what actually happened. I assume the bodies are there with no indication of how they died. I probably take the first few days just being utterly confused and depressed. This scenarion either ends with me in hospital and an IV slowly draining my blood or it blends into a variation of Scenario 2.

Scenario 2:
I absolutely and ultimatly know there's no one else left. I am also somehow immune to extreme depression and flexibel in my moral and ethic decision making. Yeah, totally realistic.
I sit on the computer day and night accumulating information until the last shred of power runs out and there is no internet service left available. I first go after bulk information like wikipedia. Luckily I know some things about this, so getting a local copy of wikipedia and other major information sources should take me not more than half a day. After this I go after specific information on survival, guns, farming, hunting (again, veganism be damned in that situation) maps, cars and whatever I can think of. I think the power runs out before the food in my apartment.
When I'm done, I visit the nearby supermarket and move possible bodies to a place where they can decompose in peace. Then I load up a car I aquired from one of said bodies with supplies and head to a specific part of our town, that has a lot of solar panels of rooftops and a wind turbine in the neighborhood. I choose a passive energy house, because they are easy to heat, and evict remaining inhabitants. The next days I will also "clean" the neighborhood and prepare the house as a hub. In between I similarly prepare other points of interests, like food sources, libraries and such, so they don't become unusable without intervention. A trip to a police station and an apothecary/hospital is in order too, although I'm not sure what most of the medicine actually does.
The next weeks I hook up the solar panels in surrounding buildings to an array of car batteries (A praise for libraries with an extensive collection of eletrical engineering books), so I have a stable power source to run sensible equipment. During winter this will not even suffice to run a PC, but it's better than nothing.
Since there isn't much power in winter I use the time to make a trip to Italy and check out the housing and power situation there. Unfortunately all the corpses "start to bloom" right during this time period, so maybe I pass on that. Luckily the winter is mild here, so I can do some useful preparation for farming, which mostly involves reading books about it and checking out nearby farms and guessing which soil is good for what plants. I hope that I find out that I can plant soy beans, nuts, berries and oat, because those plants are a boon for long-term survival.
When spring comes, the fresh food is finally uneatable and the corpses "bloom in prime" with the warmer wheater. This is most likely the second hardest time for survival (the hardest is every time I'm sick and don't have a clue how to treat it), but if I pull it off and start a farm, that actually produces something edible, this might just grant me a couple of years.

Long-term:
Working on the food situation, trying to somehow figure out how to use the wind turbine, using the occasional power supply to learn from digital information and play some games, mostly reading good books, traveling around Europe (avoiding places with a lot of bodies) and generally just living until I either have a fatal accident, die of sickness or end my life on my terms.

Edit: I totally forgot about generators and the huge amount of gasoline available. Duh!

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

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:52 pm UTC

I first read this thread about 3 weeks ago, and have thought about it a lot since then - including almost every walk to the train station on my way to work. Lets start with some assumptions:

The OP referred to a situation where everyone else "drops dead". Taking that literally we're left with a world littered with corpses, soon to start decaying and looking pretty gruesome. In that instance, I'd almost certainly off myself pretty quickly - I can't imagine being able to deal with seeing the bodies every day on top of the obvious misery and struggle for survival. Extending the situation to one where everyone just vanishes, I really don't know whether my survival instinct or overwhelming loneliness would prevail, but assuming I decide to keep going, I seem to be in a reasonably good position.

After some quick googling, I'm working with the following constraints. I have no idea how accurate they are, but they seem fairly reasonable:
- Electricity supplies will last 6-12 hours (assuming this happens in the morning, I'll have enough power to do things during the first day, but no light that evening or anytime after unless I get backup power).
- Petrol will last around 3 months before it begins to degrade.
- Diesel lasts at least a year, so I'll guesstimate 2 years since I don't care about efficiency. Supposedly careful storage and treatment can extend this to 10-12 years, but I don't see myself being able to manage this.
- A freezer will keep it's contents frozen for 48 hours after the power goes. I'm going to assume that's for a standard home freezer, and that a big industrial version at a supermarket can extend this to something like 5 days.

In the very-near vicinity (i.e. easy walking distance of my house), I have access to:
- A river (medium flowing speed, occasional flooding but not to the extent that my home or any other critical properties would be at risk)
- A canal, with canal boats
- A small high street (including an Argos, a camping shop and a sports equipment shop)
- 4 supermarkets
- A large domestic hardware shop/garden centre (Homebase)
- 3 petrol stations
- A builders yard (sand, bricks, cement etc.)
- A construction trade depot (more technical hardware)
- 2 doctors surgeries (one with a small ambulance base)
- 2 veterinary surgeries
- A medium-sized residential area (typical UK semi-detatched houses)
- An area of woodland

Within a long walk or short drive:
- Farmland
- A country park with many, many deer
- A safari park
- Other construction trade premises
- Plenty more woodland

I live in a small town in the south-east of the UK, a fair distance from the coast. At medium driving distance, I can also reach a number of other towns, and I should be able to get into central London, although I imagine that the roads being clogged with abandoned cars would slow me down such that it would be a multiple-day mission.

I had originally planned on using the final few hours of on-grid electricity to download as much of human knowledge as possible from the interwebs and make some sort of back-up system, but the difficulties associated with storing a useful amount of data in a long-term medium makes me think that my time would be better spent on other things. I figure governments and other large organizations have enough redundancy and archiving that my efforts would be pretty meagre by comparison anyway.

Instead, my current thinking is that I should use the first few hours to drain the petrol stations into any cars, buses and other containers I can find. I imagine the pumps will only work with an external electricity supply, and getting the petrol and diesel out of those buried tanks any other way is going to be a massive hassle.

I imagine short-term survival will be fairly simple with access to so much canned food and bottled water from the various supermarkets, so I'd work on the medium and long-term needs - purifying the river water, planting fruits and vegetables and figuring out what supplies I don't have to hand, so I can use the abandoned cars to gather things from elsewhere. I should also learn as much as I can about preserving food by salting and pickling, ready for when I eventually take to hunting those deer. I can always practice on the fresh or frozen meat in the supermarket if I get organised quickly enough.

I have 2 house cats, and would continue to look after them at my current home throughout their natural lives. Somewhere like a caravan might prove easier to get electricity for a longer period if I can get hold of a diesel generator, but in that instance I would just use the caravan to cook and do any final salvaging of files from my computers, then come back here at the end of each day.

Fishing, hunting and farming should all be possible, and I don't expect any severe issues with climate in this part of the world. Winters will be tough given the increasing tendency towards snowfall recently, but if I'm careful about storing the food I should be able to manage.

As to what I would actually do for the rest of my life other than just surviving, I've come up with the following:
- Releasing any trapped pets in my local area. Many of them would still die, but they should at least have a fighting chance. I suppose one obvious exception would be large dogs - I'd either try to keep them loyal to me with food, or kill them to avoid the risk of being hunted myself later on. Not really sure which would be best. This could also extend to the safari park, which is sufficiently far away that I'd only be affected if I went back there to hunt and stumbled across the pride of lions or the bear.
- Travelling into London to ... shut doors. Assuming this happens during weekday daylight hours, museums and libraries would have their doors open. Closing them would keep the weather out, giving the exhibits/books a much greater lifespan in case any alien archaeologists find Earth in the coming millennia. I suppose I'd also check on the other important buildings like Buckingham Palace and Downing Street, but they usually keep their doors closed.
- Writing a record of my own life up until the event, with emphasis on how I fit in to society and any other details which might help archaeologists and historians of an alien race figure out the meaning of what they find. Since mine will be the newest set of human remains on the planet when they find me, I just need to keep a copy of my document in good condition and close to my person. I'd initially just write it out by hand on paper, then once the content was sorted I'd try to come up with something longer lasting. I can only make any meaningful records in english, so would have to hope that the aliens are skilled at linguistics and that enough other examples would exist to make the translation possible.

I'm sure other things such as technical drawing (to help with my written record), collecting artwork, or venturing further afield to seal important buildings would play a part if I got used to the life and found myself coping with the sudden loss of 21st century lifestyle and all human contact, but that's all I've got for now.

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

Postby Ralith The Third » Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:01 am UTC

Assuming I *knew* for certainty that I was the last person alive on earth?

Mmm. First thing? Find out where the best centers of cloning, etc. tech are before the 'net crashes. Get as much information as I can downloaded to hard drives as I possibly can. This would involve pidgin coding and hijacking business internet frantically. It's absolutely vital that I get information that I can use down. All of wikipedia is a must. If I could, I'd get the whole internet. Get generators and gas set up at my house. Teach myself to drive a semi. Drive a semi out, with all my stuff and anything I looted (probably a lot of guns and ammo and computer parts and electronic entertainment. High end generator, aforementioned hard drives..) and get out to those centers. I'd be willing to take a couple days to learn, but no more. I'd need to get going - fast - before the technology self-destructed. I can only expect the grid to stay up for so long, but electricity stilll works - I just have to ensure I have generators, and don't get killed by something nasty like wild animals or freak accident. Get antibiotics. I can overuse'em a bit - I'm gonna be the last human around for a while. Priority will be to get myself cloned and try to restart humanity. Hope to god I don't have any nasty recessives. Maybe try to freeze a few bodies... I'm male, so I can't use sperm banks, but maybe egg banks, for genetic variety? Are there egg banks? Ideal situation, this all happens after I'm a nuclear tech and I can somehow manage to keep a plant running on a local scale near a heavy scientific community. Doubtful, though - best bet will be to jury rig a few wind turbines. Maybe I can keep a plant running. Hydroelectric?
Omni.

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

Postby Red Hal » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:01 am UTC

The chances of being able to clone in your lifetime, working on your own, are miniscule. If you absolutely knew you were the last person left on earth then there is very little to hope for. If you are in possession of a functional womb, then stores of semen are not hard to get a hold of, should restarting the human race be a priority, but best to go down the artificial insemination route, and hope that you can build enough diversity through appropriate choice of material to give your offspring a fighting chance; better hope your mitochondrial DNA is in good condition!

If you are not in possession of a functional womb, then the human race is doomed. I fall into this category.

Irrespective of the above, air, shelter, water, food. In that order.

Given that I survived whatever killed my family, then the air is not an issue, and I don't live downwind of any power plants. You could argue Sellafield, but at 150 miles S by W with the prevailing wind from the SW, with all the failsafes, that's probably not a major concern.

So air and shelter are not a problem, and there is sufficient pressure in the gas mains, and sufficient woodland nearby to solve any heating problems.
There are three supermarkets within five miles so food and water for the first few months won't be a problem.

There are two barracks and a QM nearby so access to MREs with their long shelf-life could probably provide my water and food requirements for at least five years, longer if I get lucky. This is plenty of time to relocate and start farming.

Bury my family. Cry. Pack up all the photos I can find. Cry some more.

Cut away.

Next up, blag a landy and a trailer, load up with properly stored fuel and supplies (including seeds from the local garden centre and basic medication from the hospital - antibiotics, a few text books) and head South to more clement weather, with the added bonus of being on the South coast so weather comes in off the Atlantic (cleaner air).

Pick up a paper copy of a UK atlas on the way, and bring non-electronic nav; gps won't hold out for long in the absence of corrective signals from the ground station.

Find a farm within 20 miles of the coast, and consider options from there. Check out local libraries for useful media.

Keep busy to stave off the crushing inevitability of my situation. Set up wind and solar power as time and capabilities allow, bag a few radios and tune them to different AM channels, do the same with an Amateur Ham radio - just in case someone else is out there.

Tune into the lincolnshire poacher numbers station. Cry.

Find an art supplies shop; get acid-free paper and indian ink for long-term stability. Keep a diary.

Survive as best I can, knowing that it ends with me.

Keep an ear out for Langoliers.
Lost Greatest Silent Baby X Y Z. "There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..."

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

Postby Ralith The Third » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:16 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:The chances of being able to clone in your lifetime, working on your own, are miniscule. If you absolutely knew you were the last person left on earth then there is very little to hope for. If you are in possession of a functional womb, then stores of semen are not hard to get a hold of, should restarting the human race be a priority, but best to go down the artificial insemination route, and hope that you can build enough diversity through appropriate choice of material to give your offspring a fighting chance; better hope your mitochondrial DNA is in good condition!



Yeah, but I'm not the sort to give up. It'd be less "Clone myself" and more "Use my genetic material to make babies in testtube and transfer them to another animal's womb"
Omni.

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3rdtry
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby 3rdtry » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:30 pm UTC

Oooh, this is one of my favorite non-sexual fantasies :P.

The first thing you should do in any case is try to stockpile as many resources as you can while the infrastructures still work. That means: fill a few tanks of water, find a gas station and a few generators, and download lots of data (start with Wikipedia, then crawl all the sites you can, you'll probably want to find a fast connection for that).

You should probably start off by driving to the nearest big city: they have everything you could possibly want. Unfortunately the most important thing (food) degrades really fast so you'll need to learn how to grow your own.

After your primary needs are satisfied you can pass the time by building a fort (in case zombies come or something), snooping through places you couldn't go before, crashing remote-controlled helicopters into buildings and watching movies (luckily there is enough content made that you could still watch a new movie and hear 10 new songs every day for the rest of your life). Oh and try to restore humanity, if you think you have any possible way to achieve that.

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

Postby eternauta3k » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:10 am UTC

Once I saw the piles of bodies in the street, I'd consider I might be in a hypothetical situation. I'd wonder what might drive someone to simulate this horrible reality in their mind. Ponder the nature of consciousness. Run around shouting "HELLO PEOPLE FROM THE REAL WORLD" because maybe someone, somewhere, is reading it (and there's no one around to call me crazy).

Go to George R.R. Martin's office, hope to god that he's written down the ending.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Adacore » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:43 am UTC

I'm really curious as to what would happen to the electricity supply if nobody was there to maintain anything now. I'm pretty sure nuclear and fossil-fuel power plants would trip within hours, if not minutes. This has been mentioned already - but things get more interesting when you think about the power distribution grid as a whole. With everyone being dead, I guess electricity demand would be fairly stable for a little bit, but fairly rapidly (whether due to demand decreases as towns burn down from things like hot irons being dropped by their suddenly-deceased users or due to supply decreases as the nuke plants trip) the grid itself is going to be having severe trouble achieving the correct voltage/frequency. I suspect it would pretty rapidly shut itself down in self-protection, even if most of the power stations were still online. This would, of course, cause all those still-functional power stations to immediately trip.

I'd estimate you'd have an hour at most, depending on what time of day this happens. If it's the middle of the night you might be ok for a few hours, but then you'd probably be asleep and the power would be gone by the time you woke up.

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

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:18 pm UTC

eternauta3k wrote:Go to George R.R. Martin's office, hope to god that he's written down the ending.
"Rocks fall, everybody dies. Oh, like that's surprising"
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heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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

Postby roband » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:20 pm UTC

It's probably HIS fault that I'm the last person left on earth. He killed everyone else.

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

Postby Jesse » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:18 am UTC

Piss myself whenever I wanted. Fuck the corrupt 'toilet' system.

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

Postby tms » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:29 pm UTC

Not much else to do than try and reduce the damage to the post-human ecosystem. Probably (pick your fight and all) just on this continent, oceans are too dangerous. Though from day one I shouldn't assume any road to be quite what they used to be, either.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Negrebskoh » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:20 pm UTC

This thread reminds me of Minecraft in so many ways.

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

Postby Shepherdess » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:56 pm UTC

I'd probably cry a good fair bit, to be honest. Not sure what I'd do next, I get overwhelmed quite easily.
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby Tomlidich the second » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:17 pm UTC

initially? cry. cry big manly tears.

suck it up.

find resources to take care of myself, make local copies of stuff from the internet.

travel around and find large data centers, ensure that the data will be preserved, and shut them off for future generations. no sense in leaving hundreds of hard disks of information spinning to degrade into nothingness.


devote life to stabilizing eco system so that natural plant and animal life can take over the earth, one giant biomass to be left here after i am gone. maybe someday a primate will evolve to become a race like us someday millions of years from now.

make hundreds of thousands of my own historical documents, detailing society's failings, the horrors of history, mistakes that could have been corrected. maybe someday some being will see it.

then, pass away in peace, knowing that our planet can no longer be ravaged by the human race.


sounds depressing i know, but everyone is dead. what do ya expect?
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Re: You are the last person left on earth. What do you do?

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:49 am UTC

Negrebskoh wrote:This thread reminds me of Minecraft in so many ways.

Christ, now if this apocalypse scenario happens and I hear that "SSSSssss" noise I'm just going to shit myself.

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

Postby harrystefanou » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:26 pm UTC

I'll also died if me are the last person on this world...because what i'll do if i'm alone on this world...


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