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Old 02-11-2019, 03:41 PM   #31
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Making Synthetic Rubber in an AtE/AH/Lest Darkness Fall Situation

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Canals are a great choice, but construction of them is even more energy-intensive than Roman roads. They'd be the last (albeit, best) mode of transportation built. Until steam-shovels and dredges exist, that much digging is really hard.

For instance, construction of Erie Canal mostly took place before the U.S. industrialized and depended entirely on human and animal labor. In addition to the several hundred skilled masons brought from the German principalities, the canal needed thousands of diggers, teamsters and draft animals.

Even with all that, it took eight years to build a single canal 363 miles long, through terrain carefully chosen to present the least amount of topographical difficulties.

A canal network such as Germany's takes many decades to complete. Until it's done, other modes are needed.

I can't imagine Germans would settle for dirt tracks, so I figured I'd list alternatives in order of difficulty, based on the available resources and skill levels of the labor force and those supplying materials.

Canals eventually, absolutely. But until then, people need roads. What are the best roads to start with, given available resources and labor?
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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
However, the ASN have armies of Kadavergehorsamer who can be put to work, and can do far more than normal workers. The Erie Canal was the world's second longest canal at the time; putting shorter canals between is far easier, when it's possible.
As johndallman notes, mere digging with brute strength is not as much of a barrier as the number of skilled and willing workers required who need knowledge of higher TL construction methods than the local natives.

In the first few years of ASN settlement, it 'costs' them less to devote a few hundred skilled masons and maybe 20,000-30,000 slaves, living and Kadavergehorsam, to a project than it does to devote 1,000-2,000 people who have the technical skills needed to make TL5+ roads to a task.

Yes, I know that Roman roads are probably officially TL2, but it's stupid to class them as TL2 technology when almost no other TL2 culture had them and it wasn't until late TL3 or even TL4+ that technology was reproduced and not until TL5 that their scale started to be matched.

In a lot of ways, Romans had higher TL in economic infrastructure and civil engineering than most European cultures did until the Early Modern Era, simply because they controlled a 'global' (of their known world) trade network over the Mediterranean that made them a larger economy than other European polities at later dates in history.

As for Roman roads for the ASNs, the local cultures don't build them. They use tracks, navigate rivers or sail the seas. Some of them have beautiful TL3 boats, others have wonderful, swift small horses of TL3 animal husbandry and many of the Celtic-esque ones have individual artistic and craftsmanship that reaches TL3, but in macro-scale industry, they are very much a close-to-the-earth type of people and either unable or unwilling to do much in the way of imperial scale megaprojects.

In fact, the pseudo-Celt culture blending of artistic or craft skills with magic is probably a big reason why they can even reach TL3 craftsmanship and count as TL3 in several other fields, but have a societal structure that is closer to early Iron Age peoples in Northern and Central Europe. Basically, if there was no magic, they'd likely be TL2 and an early TL2 at that. Which, I guess, makes the local TL a TL2 to TL2+1 and sometimes a TL2+1^, if we want to be accurate. And, technically, there are surviving TL1+1^ and TL1+2^ cultures, though none of them are located near the ASNs.

There are cultures in this world where road-building has been known for centuries, but the ASNs aren't settling among those people, they're settling among magic-using analogues to pre-Roman Celtic and Germanic tribes. So the ASNs will only have comparatively few slaves or hired experts from cultures where brick, stone or otherwise paved roads are built, in comparison with the absolutely huge numbers of local slaves they seize during their version of Caesar's Conquest of Gaul.

So even the TL2-3 people they have available as unwilling workers would mostly be unfamiliar with the skills required to make a Roman road, though no doubt they could be taught. It's just that if teaching them to do this requires higher numbers of TL6-7 Germans than managing a much larger canal-digging operation would require, it's a net loss.

From what I can find, canals are far superior to Roman roads for transporting industrial quantities of coals and other supplies, and while they require more work to construct, they don't actually require higher numbers of the TL6-7 Germans, just higher numbers of people of TL1+ who will dig and do hard physical labour.
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Last edited by Icelander; 02-11-2019 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:00 PM   #32
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Default Re: Carrying lots of stuff on bicycles

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Checking my copy of Bicycling Science (first edition), Table 7.4, I see that rolling resistance for a 150 lb. man is 58 newtons, while rolling resistance for a cyclist at the same speed, total weight 170 lbs., is 4 newtons.
Well, a human doesn't actually have rolling resistance since we don't have wheels, though that number doesn't look absurd for the equivalent (metabolic efficiency of transport * efficiency of muscle).

However, 4N is a rolling resistance coefficient of 0.0053, which is possible for racing tires on pavement but not ordinary tires on dirt.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:23 PM   #33
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Default Re: Carrying lots of stuff on bicycles

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Well, a human doesn't actually have rolling resistance since we don't have wheels, though that number doesn't look absurd for the equivalent (metabolic efficiency of transport * efficiency of muscle).

However, 4N is a rolling resistance coefficient of 0.0053, which is possible for racing tires on pavement but not ordinary tires on dirt.
On one hand, I'm looking at the ratio of bicycle resistance to human resistance; it seems plausible that both figures were determined on comparable surfaces. On the other, it gives me a divisor of 16.5, or in round numbers 15, which is in between the GURPS values for carts and wagons, which doesn't seem like an implausible result. Granted it's an approximation. . . .
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:32 PM   #34
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Default Re: Carrying lots of stuff on bicycles

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Well, a human doesn't actually have rolling resistance since we don't have wheels, though that number doesn't look absurd for the equivalent (metabolic efficiency of transport * efficiency of muscle).

However, 4N is a rolling resistance coefficient of 0.0053, which is possible for racing tires on pavement but not ordinary tires on dirt.
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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
On one hand, I'm looking at the ratio of bicycle resistance to human resistance; it seems plausible that both figures were determined on comparable surfaces. On the other, it gives me a divisor of 16.5, or in round numbers 15, which is in between the GURPS values for carts and wagons, which doesn't seem like an implausible result. Granted it's an approximation. . . .
I think his point is that the values for carts and wagons are pretty optimistic without good modern roads, tires and axles.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:14 PM   #35
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Default Re: Carrying lots of stuff on bicycles

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
On one hand, I'm looking at the ratio of bicycle resistance to human resistance; it seems plausible that both figures were determined on comparable surfaces.
Legs and bicycle wheels do not have anything like the same scaling for different surfaces. Best case approximation on a good modern road gives around a factor of 50 advantage to the bike; on the other hand, the most efficient way to get a racing bike through a mudpit is picking it up and carrying it.
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