Thread: Ideas Are Easy
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Old 07-29-2018, 02:34 PM   #471
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Ideas Are Easy

Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
Could people learn the language fast enough to keep critical infrastructure running?
Do the operators forget their skills, or just their language? "Keep this dial in the middle" and "flip that switch to make that light come on" don't need to be translated to be valid. I think the only actual words on the dashboard of my car are "cruise" and "brake", and the meaning of the second one will be obvious as soon as I pull the handle that I know is the parking brake. I might forget the names of the glyphs on the tach and speedometer, but if I remember how to count and add, they'll be pretty obvious as well. (Per the original scenario, even this is worse than the actual situation -- those numbers are all perfectly usable to me in my own private language. I just make different sounds to verbalize them.)

Given that it takes two months (or more) to get back to working proficiency, they won't be consulting manuals early enough to handle non-routine problems. But they might well be able to keep things going, or safely shut down things like hydro power that could damage itself. The inability to coordinate teams is going to be an efficiency problem, but not an absolute block for all those teams that have been working together for months or years. (Plus, you get the bonus of no longer having to file TPS reports or go to a meeting about the cover changes for them.)

A two-month blackout is certainly going to have an effect, but it's also not a civilization-ending catastrophe of the sort we usually get in post-apoc fiction. The bad guys can't organize their crime family or dictatorial warlord state any better than the police can hunt them down. If you have a sufficiently jaundiced view of human nature, perhaps you'll think civilization immediately collapses into people strangling each other to get that last can of beans. But the farmers might just keep growing beans, getting what they need from the coop by pointing at the bags and holding up fingers or making tally marks on paper.

Also, most people are going to realize that the disaster is temporary.
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