World Without Us

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Brother None, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all

    Apr 3, 2003
    Briosafreak reports of a pretty fascinating nonfiction book:<blockquote>In The World Without Us, author Alan Weisman takes an irresistible concept: How our planet would respond without the relentless pressure of the human pressure. Breathtaking in scope and filled with fascinating detail, this is narrative nonfiction at its finest that will change the way you view our world - and your place within it.</blockquote>Link: The World Without Us website
    Link: The World Without Us art and videos
  2. Seto

    Seto First time out of the vault

    Jul 20, 2007
    Although the idea looks cool and I loved to see the progress of what would happen to houses without human intervention in a flash animation, I don't like some other points.

    I mean, from what I saw and read on the web page (especially in "Did you know?" section), the book simply says that all humans suddenly disappear, leaving their power stations still on. I seems to me like the author wanted to put forward something "cool" and "legacy-like" in this, so he talked about how all nuclear reactors will meltdown and explode because first the primary source of energy of cooling and then the emergency diesel generators will seize to provide power. I find this ridiculous, because the control rods would simply stop all the fission reactions in a power plant and so no cooling would be necessary... Author's words promote people's fear of Nuclear Power, which is so useful in todays World of climate change (go 42°C summers!)...

    Also - is it just me, or all Americans are so patriotic that they thing Statue of Liberty will survive everything and always put in on a picture of Ice Age or any other similar scenario, where it's the only thing that survived...

    And a last thing - if the plutonium from Nuclear Bombs would really be released because the coating rusts away, isn't there a certain chance of critical mass accumulating? We had natural fission reactors before, so why not something like this? Then the planet wouldn't really be green after we leave, because we would take all those funky looking creatures with us...
  3. MapMan

    MapMan It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Feb 23, 2007
    Rather than reading about how world would look like without us i'd like to read about some survivors, that didnt vanish and try to survive and solve WTF is going on... :roll:
  4. Seto

    Seto First time out of the vault

    Jul 20, 2007
    But that would be too much like a lot of stuff done in the past.

    World taken over by nature with only a few people surviving reminds me of The Day of the Triffids 8-)

    And what about a book about how we would be without the World? :P
  5. Vault 69er

    Vault 69er Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    May 3, 2007
    If we go it's only a matter of time before another animal evolves into a civilization and starts feeling guilty about "going against nature".
    Maybe it'll be termites next time.
  6. xdarkyrex

    xdarkyrex Vault Senior Citizen

    Aug 28, 2006

    cephalopods, man, it'll be cephalopods.

    Discover channel even agrees with me, they showed beautiful rendered cg of squids swinging from trees like monkeys.

    it was awesome :lol:
  7. Fazer

    Fazer First time out of the vault

    Jul 31, 2007
    It's more like "USA Without Us", not World... The only places they give as the examples in the "Did you know?" section are New York, Houston, Panama Canal and English Channel... Oh, and elephants in Africa :-/
  8. quietfanatic

    quietfanatic Ancient One

    Dec 10, 2003
    It is a thought experiment which looks very interesting. It seems more like a collection of trivia on not only how humans affect the environment in subtle or dramatic ways, but also how transient these effects might be in the greater schemes of things.

    Reactors use different systems as part of multiple levels of redundancy, presumably commonly requiring coolant to stop meltdown. I'm not up to date with nuclear safety design and I'd have to read the book to see how it is implemented. Meltdown does not mean nuclear explosion mind. Go putting words into people's mouths to promote one's anti-nuclear power agenda. ;)

    Critical mass for an explosion would almost surely never be reached, as the conditions are too stringent as far as I know.
  9. Killzig

    Killzig It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 12, 2003
    not to pick on you, because others have said this, you're criticizing an entire book based solely on a cursory look at a promo page (kind of like what we all do at FO3/games in general). I heard the interview with the author yesterday on NPR and sent the link on to Brios. The audio for the interview has been uploaded here:

    It's interesting and might answer a lot of your concerns. He goes into detail about the breadth and depth of the research he did for the novel.

    RE: America without us. He does focus a lot on America, which makes sense because he's American and a lot of the research took place here in the states... BUT the book does explore other areas of the globe.

    and yeah, it wasn't meant to be a narrative with characters/survivors and such. it's a hypothetical. how people just stopped being all together at once isn't important to the book though if you're looking to write your own sort of story that might be a neato concept to use.

    Earth Abides also has a strong nature takes the world back over theme to it. With characters and survivors if that's the sort of thing you're looking for. Check it out.
  10. monsharen

    monsharen Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Staff Member Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Apr 2, 2005
    Isn't it supposed to be more like, "Look, there's nothing there. But wait, we can clearly see that this used to be New York. America has fallen." :crazy: Americans can relate to that. And they hate the french so a picture of the eiffel tower would just send the message that they finally nuked them. And that might not be the case. Imagine the bad pr.
  11. Sytxferryman

    Sytxferryman Still Mildly Glowing

    Mar 14, 2005
    I like it as a general look at what would happen if *poof* we all disappeared. I might even buy the book.

    I do wish those sideshow pictures of Manhattan were available in high resolution shots for wallpaper. The one of the bridge is my favorite.
  12. P-Funk

    P-Funk First time out of the vault

    Jul 30, 2007
    I work with Nuclear Reactors, not bombs, but general knowledge carries over. So here is what I know about the nuclear side: Critical Mass is reached by carefully placed Conventional Bombs arranged in a sphere around the fuel exploding simultaneously to compress the nuclear fuel to a MUCH greater density than it was originally. If humans disapeared, there would be no explosions, just as there would be no exploding cars in FO3 or exploding Nuclear Reactors. They could, *under the right circumstances*, "melt down." And the cars in FO3 wouldn't even do that, they were fusion powered, if I remember correctly. A fusion reactor can't even melt down without human intervention.
  13. Paladin Solo

    Paladin Solo So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Nov 7, 2003
    It's just you. "Oh look, a piece of scrap in front of a glacier in NYC!!! PROPAGANDA I SAY!!!" I guess being artistic these days means being patriotic by default, but only if you're an American.
  14. Seto

    Seto First time out of the vault

    Jul 20, 2007
    Of course, but as I said, those were only some things I noticed from looking at the website. And I did call it "points that looked weird to me" not "drawbacks of the book". Just a few first impressions...

    I will listen to the Audio Interview tomorrow, it sounds like something I'm gonna want to hear.

    By "a certain chance" I meant "non-zero" chance. In theory, I though, if there was a storage of several bombs, the coating would rust, and the building (or whatever the area is) would start falling apart, then the movement could MAYBE cause enough mass of enriched fissile material to accumulate at one place.

    And what I didn't like about the 7 day thing is that I didn't find it relevant to anything. Even if humans would just disappear, as far as I know, the computer control would fully lower the control and emergency rods, stopping all fission processes within a few seconds. It just seemed to me that pumps of coolant losing power in 7 days are one of the last concerns...

    The artworks and the flash on the website are amazing though. The bridge is indeed the coolest one, it's one of the best postapocalyptic artworks I have seen this summer...
  15. Seto

    Seto First time out of the vault

    Jul 20, 2007
    Exactly! I mean you just don't look for a minute and apparently squids are swinging from trees like monkeys!!!
  16. quietfanatic

    quietfanatic Ancient One

    Dec 10, 2003
    I would guess some plants might use gravity, hydraulics or some other systems that don't require any back up electronics or power. Someone with a lot of time on their hands (i.e., not me) would be so kind as to provide us with a summary.

    Er, we don't 'all do that'. Most people don't invent information and fail to read things properly, being Fallout fans. Speculation and criticism is different to attention to detail verses laziness. I spend a bit of time talking about negative details because I take many positive things for granted.

    Thanks for sharing the news with us.
  17. P-Funk

    P-Funk First time out of the vault

    Jul 30, 2007
    Yeah all the nuclear stockpiles and reactors would just be persisting sources of radiation for years to come. Probably speed up evolution a little bit, hehe. No explosions, maybe a few meltdowns.

    I know the reactors I have knowledge of are designed to drop the control rods in such cases, but mechanical failures in theory can prevent it. Or, for instance, one of the many reasons Chernobyl happened was because they had the safety mechanisms disabled for a drill they were running. That could happen, too.
  18. Jason Mical

    Jason Mical First time out of the vault

    Jul 6, 2006
    I picked up a copy of this book yesterday based on this post, and so far it's pretty good. It's very American-centric (not surprising since I think it's aimed at an American audience and most Americans have a hard time visualizing anything outside of the US unless it's been on "24"). The information is pretty cool, and the author does a pretty good job talking about the rate of decay for major structures and that sort of thing. I would definitely recommend it as a read for anyone interested in doing some post-apocalyptic world-building; there's a treasure trove of adventure opportunities and ideas about what ruins would look like after the ravages of time (especially a temperate freeze-thaw cycle.)