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Milton Bertrand 280 articles

The world as we know it has ended

  • Posted by Milton Bertrand
  • September 6, 2014 12:48 AM EDT
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The world as we know it has ended; do you know how to rebuild it as one of the few survivors? Have you ever stopped to think or wonder of some of humanity’s products of ingenuity? The point is not to scare you; it is indeed a way to make you think. How long will it take for a technological society to rebuild? The point is to take great interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Taking interest in these disciplines has the key to reboot and rebuild a modern civilization.

By MILTON BERTRAND

The world as we know it has ended; do you know how to rebuild it as one of the few survivors?

The planet Earth is in a perpetual state of changes. There are many factors that influence these changes; these factors include solar disturbances, human action, and others. The question remains as to when; it is a fair proposition; it is guaranteed that Earth’s future will be more than interesting. It will not be exactly without chaos.

Imagine a scenario. An asteroid has collided with planet Earth or some form of pandemic disease has wiped out most of the world population. Some form of virulent strain of smallpox that was deliberately released in an act of bioterrorism. As we know it today, there are great tensions between the west and Russia. The tensions reach the breaking point beyond all rational limits, culminating in the use of nuclear weapons. As a result, all major cities worldwide reduce to nothing but radioactive glass.

Based on my casual observation, People living in developed nations become very disconnected or complacent from everyday process of civilization that supports them. Individually, we are very ignorant of even the basics of the production of food, shelters, medicine, materials or vital substances. Our survival skills have greatly diminished to the point that much of civilization would be incapable of sustaining itself if the life support system of modern civilization failed, if food no longer magically appeared on store shelves, clothes on hangers, or portable water.

We take for granted the many technologies that we use today. The questions are alarming; you are one of the few survivors after a cataclysmic event, will you know what to do to keep going right after, and then get to a level to provide the basics of sustainable existence? One of the basic essentials is water; will you be able to find water? Finding water is one; will you be able to clean it so that it is safe for consumption? Will you know how to tell time by the sun? These are some of the infinite questions you as a survivor will have to answer.

There is one major obstacle; there is no doubt; it is for certain. The human knowledge is collective, and cumulative. Our collective knowledge is going to be the fundamental problem because it is distributed across the population. The reason is very simple; No one person possess enough knowledge or skills to keep the vital process of society going. We take for granted the innovations of our ancestors and the complex technologies of modern life without the slightest idea of how they work or how they came to be. Examples include the internet, process food, power, medicine; you have a choice to some extent to do whatever you want today. Your grocery stores still have plenty of food on their shelves. You still have portable running water.  

Have you ever stopped to think or wonder of some of humanity’s products of ingenuity? From the Great Pyramids, Eiffel tower, Statue of Liberty, this electronic device that you are using to read these sentences, to the nuts and bolts that hold your chair in place as you read these sentences; that is mathematics since the beginning of civilization itself. Mathematics has been used as a tool to calculate many things in our daily life. Other than its vital application to engineering, scientific discoveries, technological advancements, we make use of it in everyday fashion. Whenever we are counting the change we have received from a store, or anticipating our delayed arrival back from work, we are using mathematics. The list goes on.

The point is not to scare you; it is indeed a way to make you think. How long will it take for a technological society to rebuild? The point is to take great interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Taking interest in these disciplines has the key to reboot and rebuild a modern civilization.

©Milton Bertrand/2014