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Rnmorg  (Level: 128.2 - Posts: 689)
Thu, 27th Dec '07 1:03 PM


I just finished this book by Alan Weisman. It gives a pretty detailed account of what may happen when/if the human race becomes extinct. He has a timeline on his website that gives a brief but fascinating overview of the pivotal events

One thing that he doesn't address is what might happen to structures like the Hoover or Three Gorges Dams, so I was wondering if any of our resident experts had any ideas or knowledge about this?

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Thu, 27th Dec '07 2:30 PM

Neat link Robin, Thanks!

Spacecat  (Level: 163.4 - Posts: 673)
Thu, 27th Dec '07 9:30 PM

Thanks Robin
Looks like a good read.

Oldcougar  (Level: 226.1 - Posts: 1935)
Fri, 28th Dec '07 6:14 AM

Somewhere on the list it says the dams will fill with silt, overflow & breakdown. Thanks for the link, Robin Sobering.

Rnmorg  (Level: 128.2 - Posts: 689)
Fri, 28th Dec '07 8:27 AM

Randy: I suspected that the Hoover dam would be different, just judging on the insane amount of structural overbuilding that was done on it. I found this response this morning on a forum about the Hoover Dam:

"...About 20 -- 25 years ago, Scientific American did a similar article. They picked several American structures like the St. Louis arch, the World Trade Center, and the Hoover Dam, and for each one asked an expert, "What will happen to this if all the humans suddenly disappeared?" For most, the answers were fairly straightforward ("A hurricane will eventually take it out," "An earthquake will knock it over"), but the one for the Hoover Dam was fascinating:

Eventually, the dam's power systems would notice nobody was around and close all the penstock gates. But the dam needs power to hold the gates closed, and it's no longer making power. Once external power fails (yes, electricity flows to the dam as well as from) and the battery backups fail, the penstock gates will open about a quarter of the way, and the turbines will start to spin up. But the breakers have all tripped, so there's no electricity coming out of the generators. This is important, because without electric power, you can't lubricate the generators' bearings. So after a while the bearings seize, which is guaranteed to be dramatic.

After the powerhouse destroys itself, the dam itself will probably survive until the end of the next ice age. That's when a lake the size of Montana eventually bursts through the ice and about half its contents slam into the dam all at once, tearing its top off and chewing apart the rock all around it. There will be enough rubble left over for Lake Mead to partially and permanently reform, at a third its original depth."

Kaufman  (Level: 265.0 - Posts: 3941)
Fri, 28th Dec '07 9:35 AM

Fascinating! When we were in Las Vegas a bit over a year ago, we paid our obligatory visit to Hoover Dam. As many of you know, traffic goes right over the dam; it's the only bridge over the Colorado River for something like 100 miles in either direction. Of course since 2001, there has been a lot of concern that the dam might become a terrorist target, so a lot of restrictions were put on the crossing, with vehicle inspections on either side of the winding road going down into the canyon where it's located. Slowed the crossing down horribly.

Anyway, last year we saw a new bridge being built that bypasses the dam and whose approaches don't drop way down into the canyon. Instead it will be a quarter mile downstream of the dam and cross a dizzying 840 feet above the water. This will leave the dam itself to the tourists.

See, for example,

As for the fate of the dam when we're gone. I'd expect that even without an ice age, it would definitely be toast. After all, if that river could carve the Grand Canyon, over geological time, even the best-built dam should be child's play.

Sargon  (Level: 112.9 - Posts: 1256)
Sat, 29th Dec '07 11:55 PM

History Channel is going to have a series entitled Life After People.

Phitzy1  (Level: 66.4 - Posts: 873)
Sun, 30th Dec '07 10:02 AM

When is that to air?

Sargon  (Level: 112.9 - Posts: 1256)
Sun, 30th Dec '07 1:06 PM

It was a quick ad that said coming in 2008.

Phitzy1  (Level: 66.4 - Posts: 873)
Mon, 31st Dec '07 9:16 AM

Saw it last night:

January 21: Primetime - Wow it looks pretty cool!

Tuzilla  (Level: 141.7 - Posts: 3830)
Mon, 31st Dec '07 11:39 AM

Is that the show where the Libertarians say, "They are right. We are destroying the planet and ourselves. We need to pass a law."?

Sargon  (Level: 112.9 - Posts: 1256)
Mon, 31st Dec '07 1:41 PM

Wonder what the book says about New Orleans.

Chyenn  (Level: 207.1 - Posts: 1332)
Mon, 31st Dec '07 2:06 PM

another interesting Book gives a different view regarding the end of the world. here's a quick summary:

"What will happen at the End Of The World?

The specific date as to when the world will come to an end is not known by man. The Apostle Peter says in II Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up". This event could not come unexpectedly as a thief in the night if the date were known. God will not reveal the date to man.

Two big events will take place at the end of the world, according to Peter. First the heavens shall pass away with a great noise. This means the atmosphere will pass away with one big explosion. And second, the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Man knows approximately 105 elements in science. The great majority of these are called natural elements. For example, hydrogen and oxygen are well known elements. The proper combination of the two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen will make water. These two elements, hydrogen and oxygen, will melt with fervent heat, as well as all the other elements out of which this material earth is made. The great result of these two events will be, "the earth also and the works therein" shall be burned up. This earth will be destroyed with all of the banks, land, building, and other material possessions." (

Rnmorg  (Level: 128.2 - Posts: 689)
Mon, 31st Dec '07 4:14 PM

...And then the Lord will say, "Let it be Sploofus 2.0!" and it will be good ...

Phitzy1  (Level: 66.4 - Posts: 873)
Tue, 1st Jan '08 2:27 PM

Don't hold yer breath...

Geophile  (Level: 164.9 - Posts: 1543)
Wed, 2nd Jan '08 3:58 PM

I came in on a piece about the Three Gorges Dam on television, and I wished I had watched the beginning. It talked about the major problems they have already with the dam. I spent three weeks in China and had the option to go down river and regret I didn't take it.

Rnmorg  (Level: 128.2 - Posts: 689)
Fri, 4th Jan '08 12:33 PM

One of the chapters in the book deals with the issues presented in this article. I was very shocked to hear about the 'swirling vortex of trash' in the Pacific Ocean, and astounded beyond belief to learn that it is TWICE the size of Texas. Very eye-opening!>1=10832

Nelly  (Level: 178.0 - Posts: 1167)
Fri, 4th Jan '08 3:52 PM

Eye opener indeed Robin. Quite shocking! Sadly the waste and destruction in this world becomes more evident daily. Man creating his own demise!

Phitzy1  (Level: 66.4 - Posts: 873)
Fri, 4th Jan '08 11:26 PM

I live on a small canal that goes to a large estuary that leads to the Atlantic...

I routinely use my "pool net" to remove crap from the canal tossed from cars using US 1...

It is a shame...

Phitzy1  (Level: 66.4 - Posts: 873)
Sun, 20th Jan '08 2:32 PM

"Life After People" airs tonight at 9pm (?) eastern time... 2 hours...

this is going to be interesting...

Acofish  (Level: 59.9 - Posts: 98)
Sun, 27th Jan '08 12:21 AM

Hi y'all! The plastic in the ocean is a very interesting topic. I have done some research on the subject and what I found is very peculiar. The story in the link is just the beginning of what you should read about the deposit "twice as big as Texas". Alot of what I found reminded me of a recent Michael Crichton book.....

Rnmorg  (Level: 128.2 - Posts: 689)
Sun, 27th Jan '08 1:25 AM

Hi Mike! What have you found out? This topic is very intriguing, as well as pretty horrifying to me

Ricksdusa  (Level: 22.6 - Posts: 69)
Wed, 30th Jan '08 1:07 PM

I think the world without the human race is an interesting concept. It's kinda like the Cartesian riddle...."If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear it - Does it make a sound?" (I'm paraphrasing). We can all postulate what the planet will look like, or if it will be destroyed, but we'll never know. Similarly, the existance of God cannot be established to the satisfaction of man. For a believer, no proof is necessary, for a sceptic, none is enough. Also it's impossible to prove a negative - (try it if you don't believe me). I think it is the responsibility therefore, of every human being to treat all others with dignity and respect and promote the birth and development of ideas and thought, with the ultimate aim of living in harmony with oneanother, regardless of our differences, so we can find ways to preserve our race beyond its current projected lifespan. Just think what delights evolution will have in store for us.....massive heads, no use for legs, long middle fingers for 2 fingered typists like myself. Of course this is far into the future, but I am humoured to think that one day, my relatives may look at a picture of me and laugh at the ridiculous proportions of my body. Wait! My kids DO that already! Have a good and peaceful day fellows.

Ricksdusa  (Level: 22.6 - Posts: 69)
Wed, 30th Jan '08 1:11 PM

Oh - and the long middle fingers will also come in VERY handy when we're driving our Hover cars to work.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Wed, 30th Jan '08 7:41 PM

I guess I don't understand. Best I can understand from scientists, the earth did just fine for billions of years "without us." I'm guessing it was just as hot, cold, soupy, stormy, dry, wet, and gunky before us as it will be after us some day.

And to think, if you believe in evolution, humanity came to be anyway, through it all. No reason I can see that if we all go away, and things continue on this planet, humanity may start up all over again. I mean why not if the evolutionists are correct.

If they aren't, this world and the creator are much bigger than anything we could ever do, good or bad here. I would think a Creator who can make a universe from nothing who isn't at all intimated by our warming, cooling, messing, cleaning, recycling, wasting or anything else. We're not in control. A Creator can create, re-create, destroy, and heal. I say nothing I can do can do much damage to anything created by anybody that big and awesome.

Leeze83  (Level: 35.2 - Posts: 70)
Tue, 4th Mar '08 7:30 PM

wat i don't get is that 'in temperate climates, without heating, pipes would burst'. Well, New Zealand is a temperate climate, and nobody has heating (only a few houses being built now do), and i've never once heard of pipes bursting. from what we were taught, temperate climates have virtually no snow (except in the mountains).

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