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Blog Posted in avatar   David Rothbauer's Blog

If an apocolypse hits...

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By David Rothbauer
Posted Dec 13, 2011 in Technology
This generation is screwed…and the following ones, exponentially so. Technology is pretty much borking our ability to survive an apocalypse.
I was in a convenience store the other day when I saw a little girl point to a map rack and ask what they were.
When she was told a look of pre-adolescent bewilderment crossed her face and she asked, “Why wouldn’t people just use their phones?”
That got me to thinking, as I’ve been watching a few post-apocalypse movies and tv shows lately. My favorite so far is Survivors…a show out of the UK. I caught it on Netflix.
My least favorite is the News. It sort of bounces around a lot and the plot line is all over the place.
We’ve become too dependent on technology. Need to know where something is? Tap it into your GPS or your phone and viola…there it is, along with turn by turn directions. (Just a hint, if you’re hurtling along a highway at 120km/h and your iPhone tells you that it will take 27.3 hours to get to your destination…you’ve probably got your mode of transport set to “Walk”).
Back in olden times, if we didn’t know how to get some place we had to use maps. This was quite involved. The process generally started with the realization that you didn’t have a clue as to either where you were, or were you were going (or both).
The next step is locating a map. The involves frantically tearing through your vehicle and locating a map. (Note: If you are ever in this situation ensure that the map is for your current city!).
If you didn’t have a map, you needed to find a place where you could buy one…and, if it was after 11pm…well, you were screwed because every gas station and convenience store on the planet closed at 11pm (if not before).
You could choose to hole up for the night in your car or drive around aimlessly, but either way at about 2-3am you would see the streets fill with people staggering about, dressed in bright lycra pink and blue camo, broad artificial shoulders, pink leg warmers and spiky hair. Nowadays this would be mistaken as an alien invasion and would likely trigger a military response. But back then, that’s just how we dressed when we went drinking.
Sorry about that. Really, we are.
So anyway, you get your map. And now this is where the hard part begins. When you open it, there is no blue dot showing your location. Any dots you see would indicate that this is a used map, and those are the remnants of someone’s lunch.
All that aside, first you need to locate the street that you wish to find in the Index. It will give you a secret code, something like A-15 which your must interpret in order to locate your target.
Once you locate where you are going, you must locate where you are currently.
Once you have both points A and B, you will note that a magic line will not appear between them giving you the shortest route. You must then look at the map, whilst driving in order to get to where you are going. You could have a friend do this, but if you have trust issues like me….you’re not going to want someone wearing pink camo leggings navigate for you.
I remember once,my first wife was navigating for me. She told me to look for "Sealtic Drive". We were rather excited as I was driving her to a job interview as I foolishly believed that if she got a job and started making her own money she would stop spending all of mine.
After passing Celtic Drive a half-dozen times I realized that the only other person (besides the entire population of Boston) that pronounces the "C" in Celtic like an S was my first wife.
...she got the job by the way....but still spent all of my money.
That makes me wonder what people did before maps….and now there is a sickening sensation in the pit of my belly as I realize, many gas stations no longer carry maps.
And that was the mother of all digressions wasn’t it?
We, as a society are increasingly bred to be dependent on technology. Take the Dennis Weaver move Duel for instance. Dennis Weaver plays this guy who gets chased by a maniacal trucker through the desert.
When I was a kid, I thought this was a great movie! As and adult I thought so too, but as I watched it I kept thinking, “Why don’t you just get your cell phone out and call 911?” Of course, I grew up in a society where cordless phones weren’t around, let alone wireless, so suspension of disbelief was easy. But this illustrates my point. We are training ourselves to rely on technology.
If I, a child of the 60′s and 70′s have to actually remind myself that cell phones didn’t exist in 1971, how would today’s generation adapt to a sudden loss of technology. Hell…how would I adapt? I’m a computer programmer! “Oh, I’ll just write a series of scripts that will monitor our security and grow crops so we can eat.”
I envision a few hours after the apocalypse, millions of people running around the street with their phones held high in the air asking each other if they have any bars. Millions more will be sitting at dead computers, trying to get online to find out what to do.
It is we older ones who will survive. Take season 1 of The Colony as an example. A reality show where they throw 12 strangers together to survive for 40 days (or something like that). The most useful guy there was in his 60′s and he built a freaking solar power array that tracked the sun….out of crap he found lying around! He built a few other things too, very cool stuff!
You know, my parents are in their 60′s. With all this 2012 BS everyone’s talking about I’m going to pay more attention to them, maybe this weekend dad can show me how to build a working water purification system out of a few tin cans and some rusty rebar.

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