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This is a question The Apocalypse

Power cuts, internet outages, mild inconvenience to your daily lives - how did you cope? Tell us your tales of pointless panic buying and hiding under the stairs.

thanks, ringofyre

(, Thu 14 Jun 2012, 14:15)
Pages: Popular, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

I spend a lot of time at work looking at worst case scenarios and putting together disaster recovery plans. These days we use cloud backup as part of a lot of our solutions The customer will often ask what happens if the internet fails, and my standard reply, delivered in a jokey voice, is that if the internet itself went down they’d probably be worrying less about business continuity and more about how to keep the zombie hordes out of their house.

After a trotting this out a few dozen times I actually spent a boring tube journey carrying out a more formal risk assessment and this led me into doing a little research. Did you know that between 1900 and 2000 rationing in some shape or form was in force in the UK for total of 18 years? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationing_in_the_United_Kingdom). Let’s face it, if you had an 18% risk in business you’d take steps to insure against it.

Now start thinking about how food production works. the UK is around 60% self-sufficient in food overall, and around 74% self-sufficient in the types of food that can be grown here, though our potential capacity for self-sufficiency is probably closer to 90% thanks to intensive farming technologies. (http://files.uniteddiversity.com/Food/rethinking_britains_food_security.pdf). However this production capacity depends almost entirely upon petrochemicals, as does the supply chain. The UK holds strategic fuel and food reserves, but these have now been run down to less than a week’s equivalent of national consumption, so we would rely almost exclusively on the existing retail capacity. Strategic fuel reserves are in better shape at 67.5 days at normal national consumption rates, and far longer if rationing were introduced.

Assuming international supply of food ceased, for a week or two food would still get delivered to shops from existing reserves, and after that things would start breaking down. Rationing would have to be draconian, and fuel would almost certainly be reserved for essential services and farming. After three months you could expect to see substantial drop off in food supply, followed by starvation, looting (not for trainers this time), civil unrest, and inevitably Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA), which is what we call martial law. Contingencies plans already exist for this and similar scenarios, and while I am not privy to the fine detail I am sure that they do not make pretty reading for the populations of large cities where civil control would be most difficult and populations would be considered expendable.

There are a number of scenarios that would interrupt food or fuel production, ranging from full on nuclear war through to use of nuclear EMPs which apparently the Chinese are researching. Or the French may just get arsey with us and stop sending cheese. Frankly given that a 25kg bag of rice costs less than £20 and will keep a person alive for a couple of months I’d say you’d be stupid not to keep a bag under the bed so that you are able to fully experience the pleasures of surviving in a post-apocalyptic world.
(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 13:08, 6 replies)
The horror, the horror
There I was about 6 or 7 years old and minding my own business watching Baggy Pants and the Nitwits on a late Sunday afternoon when a powercut chose that moment to turn everything off in the area.

What was to be done? My cartoon viewing had been interrupted and being late autumn night was already closing in. I was dumbfounded, without anything to do and my boredom threshold was being reached rapidly.

Then my mother made a suggestion.... "Let's go to early evening Mass where they sing hymns".

Not the mass that lasts a minimum of an hour.


Thirty years later and I'm still traumatised by it.
(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 12:57, 2 replies)
If a nuke goes off nearby
I'll just take shelter inside my fridge.
(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 12:50, 6 replies)
If a nuke goes off nearby
I shall be all British and stand tall with a stiff upper lip and shake my fist in defiance at the mushroom cloud.

Have at you.
(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 12:15, 8 replies)
*something about strawberry cough*

(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 11:05, 1 reply)
Saw four horses, reflected a bit;...fuck it, my legs runneth themselves away.

(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 11:01, Reply)
Red weed insanity made me hide, knocked out a priest; made my way home :)

(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 10:53, 2 replies)
The Millennium bug
I know a guy who lived in a small detached house with a large garden, who was convinced that the turn of the millennium would mean massive food shortages, with shop shelves empty, water supplies cut off and people fighting over bread in the streets.

During the whole of 1999, he dug a cellar under his house, put a high fence up, frantically turned his lawn into a vegetable patch, got a gun and stockpiled his cellar floor to ceiling with BOGOf purchases, like tinned beans and peaches.

I called him in January 2000 to ask whether he felt a bit silly, and he informed me curtly that he was now well-prepared for the end of civilisation in December 2012.

He was still eating the peaches, last time I asked.
(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 10:17, 2 replies)
The Flood Box
I went to live with (and work for) my Father for about a year, in my mid 20’s. It was ok, he is a bit of a hard-living hard-working bugger, but at least I got to know him a little bit better, which put to rest a few demons (only a few).

He lived on a farm in a semi-rural area in Australia. It was reasonably remote, and from time to time the heavy Summer rains would cut off access into the farm.

Dad often travelled abroad and before leaving on one particular trip, he told me there was a “flood box” of emergency rations stored in the shed just in case I might be flooded in.

Sure enough, I was alone on the farm, the rains came, power went off and access across the creek to town was cut.

No worries, cooked all the perishable food out of the fridge on the camping gas stove until the gas ran out, that saw me through for a few days. Then, I remembered the flood box. “Oh goody”, I guessed I’d be eating cold Baked Beans out of tins for a few days.

So, I cracked open the flood box..........24 packets of cigarettes.

That was it, nothing else. Dad's version of Emergency rations.
(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 3:40, 4 replies)
Drought breaks with Flood ...
Here in sunny Brisbane, Australia, we don't often have much to complain about weatherwise.

Four years ago, the worst problem was how lovely and sunny it was. All the fucking time. No rain worth mentioning for almost two years. Wivenhoe Dam, our supply of drinking water, got down to 14% capacity spawning a God awful bum splat plague because the last few percent of drinking water was little better than mud.

Water restrictions were introduced. They started off with;

Level 1 water restrictions: Don't water your garden during the heat of the day. Why not? Because all the fucking water will evaporate you fool! That's why! Pardon me B3tans, but first generation Brits (of which I am one) were the worst offenders. No concept of a drought at all.

The restrictions quickly escalated through to Level 6: Each household restricted to 140 litres per person per day with a ruinous fine and supply cut off for a day in punishment. To put that in perspective, a load of washing was 160 litres. The joke at the time was under Level 7 restrictions you could only water the garden with your own tears.

The odd thing about this Apocalyse was the slow burn effect. Unlike earthquakes, tsunamis and bush fires, there was no PANIC PANIC PANIC! Grab the kids, the photo albums and find the fucking cat! Things were just steadily getting worse and we were all saying loudly with forced cheer that the Rains will be along any day now and quietly wondering just how much longer we could hold out.

And then, the Rains came! It was early December 2010. We ran about in the backyard chasing our naked giggling children drenched to the skin. We were wet, warm and perfectly happy. Oh the joy! The sweet relief! The IMPENDING DOOM!

We got over our celebrations pretty darn quick when the Rains settled in for six long weeks.

The Wivenhoe dam was back up to 100% within a week. And then 125%. And then 150%. My husband works in the electricity industry (much of Brisbane's electricity is supplied by the dam) so he was privy to the growing concern in the industry. Would the dam hold? What was it's maximum capacity? The dam was built in the 1970's and had never been tested by this volume of water.

After three weeks of rain we were at 175% and rising fast.

The greatest problem was the mindset entrenched by the severity of the water restrictions only a few weeks ago. As a result, water releases from the dam were considered Sacrilege.

It's water! More precious than gold! Must keep!

And then it was Christmas. Most senior management went off on two weeks holiday. This seemed quite reasonable at the time. Unfortunately, there were precious few junior staff left guarding the switch and no instruction on how to cope with what happened next. My husband would return home each night after that Christmas looking grimmer and grimmer. He quietly let me in on his concerns and asked me where I would go with the kids if the dam burst. I told him he was being melodramatic. But I did stock up on batteries, toilet paper and casks of drinking water (oh the irony!)

Five weeks of rain and one week after Christmas. Dam was at 200% capacity. Water releases are ordered. The spotlight of attention from the media and the State Government was (quite rightly) on the north of the state where the Rains had already translated into Floods and massive relief efforts were underway.

I felt so safe here in Brisbane. We lasted through the Drought. The Rains will stop soon. It's okay.

3... 2... 1! Happy New Year 2011!! Yay. Drink champagne, make a few calls, go to sleep with the rain hammering on the roof. When will it stop raining!

The first indication that the floodgates of Hell had opened came on Tuesday 11 January 2011 in the sixth week of the Rains. It started like any other day. It was fucking raining! The first sign that something was wrong was a lack of signal on my mobile phone when I tried to check in with my husband.

Odd, I thought.

Then I overheard a whispered conversation between two shop employees. "The city has been evacuated."

Which city? I wondered. I assumed they had family in one of the many cities in the flooded North.

I got home, the phone rang. It was my mother. She told me that the city being evacuated was Brisbane. She was heading home. I wished her luck and told her to call me as soon as she could. I called my husband at his office. No answer. I tried his mobile. No signal. I checked the email. Nothing.

I turned on the news. Fuck. Me. Devastation on an indescribable scale. I heard the words of the Hindenburg announcer. "Oh the humanity." So sudden and so devastating.

Acts of stupidity and bravery abounded. A car park in Toowoomba was rapidly flooding. One guy waded through fast flowing shin deep water to save his car. His fucking car. The water was covering its wheels as he started the motor and the car was being shunted by the floodwaters as he drove off just in time. Fucking leave it! I was shouting at the TV. It's insured! Just get out!

A 12 year old boy was one of the first to die. He was trapped on the roof of a car and insisted that the rescuers take his mother and 8 year old brother first.

The piers along the Brisbane River used by the city's Rivercats (public transport catamarans) broke loose and were heading out to sea. The Storey Bridge, biggest bridge in Brisbane, was right in their way. I watched the bravest man in the world, a tugboat captain, damn near burn out the engine on his livelihood by skilfully nudging these twenty tonne pieces of wreckage so that they turned sideways and speared out to sea, sparing the bridge and the thousands of people trapped on it. I never found out his name.

The next five hours were the longest of my life. This Atheist briefly found God and prayed earnestly for the safe return of her beloved husband. "Oh, and if you've got time God, please try and help out my Mum too".

When my husband arrived at the door, drookit, solemn and exhausted, I felt the most intense sensation of relief of my life. He had walked 15 kilometers to get home, some of it through fast running water.

His story was of an entire city's rapid descent into chaos. He saw people punching each other for a place in a queue 150 deep waiting for buses and trains that never came. The Army was on the ground. Evacuation centers were being established. We offered to put up a family who had lost their home.

My Mum's still caught in that, I thought.

Two hours later, the phone rang. It was Mum, almost hysterical with relief. Her house was fine. Her cat was pissed at her. All was well. For us at least.

And after all that, I realise that we were very lucky. Wivenhoe Dam peaked at 225% capacity. If it had burst, Moses himself couldn't have parted those waters. Brisbane would have been washed away. Like vast swathes of Japan only a few months later. We lost 35 people. Mostly folks trapped in their cars by the rising floodwaters. Some were children ripped from their parent's arms by Mother Nature at her most merciless and indifferent.

And there were sharks. Mother fucking bull sharks heading upstream, eating the dead and dying. God I love Australia.
(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 2:34, 13 replies)
This was the beginning of the end.

(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 1:00, 19 replies)
Oh great, I know now I live in hell
for a few weeks ago the Secret Millionaire was "living" 6 doors down from my house and it was aired on Channel 4 tonight, plus on some faded night shots you could see my house and car sitting there, waiting to get knifed by poverty and lack of industrial opportunities.

Oh give us your money saviour of the land, oh help thee!
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 22:26, 1 reply)
I am not sure if anyone remembers "Threads" from the mid-80s fear mongering years - I remember some of it, gave me nightmares for months afterwards. I think I wasn't much more than 10. And then in the mid-90s got reminded of it again, suffered more nightmares, though for a couple of weeks.

Haven't had the balls to watch it again! Probably shit as well.
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 21:15, 8 replies)
I went to the coast once, strangely it was out of season yet all of the arcades and chipshops were still open, it was almost as if the locals hadn't realised and it had slipped their minds to close up.

Every where I looked people were in their finest clothes, as if they had just got up to go to church, walking past all of the preachers with their signs beckoning the end of the world.

I also saw a couple being hit by a double decker bus, and then to make matters worse they were crushed by a ten ton truck.

And then I shot Hector.
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 21:09, Reply)
Nuclear carnage
I've basically painted my house white and have a sturdy kitchen table to hide/cry/poo under.

I'm fucking sorted.
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 20:44, Reply)
The strategic toilet paper reserve
In my 20s, I was sharing a house with some other guys. Four of us shared one bathroom. Before I moved in, somehow toilet paper was purchased, but it was a game of waiting out the others, and I always cracked. I bought four roll packs, but I kept them in my bedroom, and only brought them out one at a time, and only when no paper was left and only when I needed to wipe my ass. More than once, I used the last, or left only enough for one wipe, and 24 hours or more later, no one had bought TP.

SO since then, I have kept a strategic toilet paper reserve. I set aside a roll and don't use it, except when I run out and I'm too lazy to go shopping, but then I always make sure to replace it. Recently I moved, and discovered that the strategic toilet paper reserve had grown to five rolls: One in my dresser, one in my car, one in my luggage, one in my soft sided set of drawers, and one in my picnic box.

I have a pretty extensive collection of small batteries too. Anyone need an LR357?
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 18:48, Reply)
I was on a geology dig, and throughout all of the Jurassic layer of the rocks I was looking at, there were fossilised lips. Just lips as far as I could see.

It was an epoch of lips.
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 17:10, 4 replies)
Clients DO NOT give in to terrorism
A few years ago I'd recently started a new job, and was still getting to know our somewhat demanding clients.

The first day I was actually going down to Winchester to meet them face to face, my journey to work was a nightmare. First, the bus inexplicably stopped halfway to work and turfed us all off. Then I couldn't get through to work on my mobile to tell them I was running late.

Finally got to work, grumbling about TfL, to discover VERY few people in our office, and something about bombs. Yes, 7/7, and I'd managed to not notice due to an iPod playing Shostakovich distracting me from the fact EVERYONE was walking.

What happened next astonished me. Rang the client to explain we wouldn't be able to make it:
c: But there's nothing happening in Winchester
m: We're in London. There's no trains and police are asking people not to travel
c: But we need to plan our advertising campaign. Can't you drive down?
m: No seriously, it's bombs and stuff. It's quite big news
c: Don't you value our account?
m: Um, yes. But not as much as I value my life, and not irritating the police who are tense and carrying guns during a major terrorist incident
etc etc.

tl;dr: In a crisis, I respond as if I'm in a crisis. Public sector management believe nothing should stop the bureaucracy, and perspective is for losers.
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 14:25, 4 replies)
Einstein, Eisenstein.
Leonard Bernstein.

PS "Top 40 music is so mindless. You should check out REM." - pale youths, the 80s.
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 12:55, Reply)
Baby's first apocalypse
When I was about four years old, my mother set fire to the kitchen. She was like that. This was the 1960s, and our kitchen had these futuristic new polystyrene tiles on the ceiling - and we quickly discovered why they are no longer recommended for kitchens, as droplets of toxic burning sludge rained down from the merrily blazing ceiling.

So I'm four years old staring, down the hall at the raging inferno that had been our kitchen mere moments before. Determinedly, I trotted out into the front garden, scooped up a handful of snow, returned to the hall and tossed a toddler's-hand-sized snowball into the flames.

Satisfied that the crisis had now been averted, I returned to the lounge to read comics.
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 12:03, 1 reply)
Woke up hallucinating, went up river; killed a mad man.

(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 11:50, 3 replies)
Growing up on a farm in Zambia
we were fairly self sufficient.
Anything we couldn't grow and eat or raise, kill & eat wasn't worth the effort. You usually had to queue for anything else & the only real worth-while queue was the toilet-paper line.
We did have a thriving trade in all sorts of goods and services however.

Now I'm fat, old(ish) and bald, living in a "nice" 'burb here in Oz. No wood-burning anything, no gennys, no guns, no "proper" animals (if the apocalypse comes then as far as our cats & dog are concerned - we're suddenly Korean) and all our fresh produce comes from a supermarket.
However in our "Goode Life" we have a 2100L. rainwater tank, a bore which I can attach a manual rather than electrical pump to, and solar panels which the inverter can switch from mains to stand-alone. We also have stacks of batteries, torches, battery powered radios and even the odd windup torch/radio.

If "salt-baths" become the norm I'm reverting to a large pry-bar ala Halflife.
All I really need now is the zero-point gravity gun Mr. Freeman has in the latter part of HL2 - flinging bodies around... now that would be fun.
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 10:31, Reply)
Similar to the bloke down there (fnarr) who had the dream about the mushroom cloud, I had a similar one where I was the pilot of a helicopter evacuating people from somewhere because the sun was about to go out. It was a strangely awful feeling.
I've heard enough about Nevil Shute's book On The Beach to not want to go anywhere near it thanks very much.
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 10:14, Reply)
Having made quite a few zombie movies now
I've amassed a fair bit of kit for our "survivors" that would still be handy in the event of a real zombocalypse, and the thing about being prepared for that is that you tend to be prepared for all the other little crises that life throws your way.

Like, for example, when your homebrew bottles (due to insufficient fermentation and a dramatic rise in the temperature) start exploding like faulty hand grenades. When glass is flying like shrapnel every time you go to the cupboard for a beer, it's really useful to have zombie-proof clothing to hand:

Also, learning how to brew your own booze is essential apocalypse planning. My tobacco seedlings are doing pretty well too :)
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 9:41, Reply)
When they kick down your front door
How you gonna come? With your hands on your head? Or on the trigger of your gun?

We're both on different 'buses, pollution, but we're both using petrol ...

(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 9:14, 7 replies)
Do you remember when Reagan bombed Libya?
My Father was in the forces at the time and I went to a military school in Germany. For several days following the American attack we had armed guards patrolling our school. Frankly, knowing that at any minute bomb carrying maniacs could kill us all, was rather boring.
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 1:24, Reply)
You'll remember that all computers would implode on 1/1/2000
And that would be the smouldering end of the world as we enjoyed it. Who'd have thought to teach a database the difference between 1999 and 2000? They'd not work it out by themselves.

I was in Eugene,Oregon in February 1999 and rather against my will found myself in lengthy strategic discussions with a gentleman who really believed this was going to be the endgame.

He had it all planned out. He had the supplies and the guns and the bullets and as the beers carried on he told me what he'd need to do to survive. It involved the guns, the bullets and the violent demise of his immediate neighbours. Also anyone who had survived the implosion he clearly envisaged for Portland. The most alarming thing was that he not only believed that this WOULD be the end, but that he'd planned out his survival strategy in obsessive detail.

I wonder what he thought on January 2nd 2000.
(, Sun 17 Jun 2012, 19:07, 3 replies)

This question is now closed.

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