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Old 03-26-2014, 10:28 AM   #11
patchwork
 
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Default Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3

With at least 60 days until the scope of the problem is fully realized, followed by mass starvation, people have time for a lot of odd final statements. Blowing up the IRS buildings, or bizarre sculptures in the middle of freeways, or any number of things I'm insufficiently caffeinated to come up with right now. I would imagine a subset of the artistic community to find this world fascinating.

While there would be looting and savagery, the sheer scope of the problem makes the end clear to basically everyone; in the end, I suspect most people would choose to go in an orderly (if deranged) fashion. Lots of mass graves, bodies neatly laid out and cataloged, people executed by their "loved ones", etc.

There's lots of biomass that can and will be preserved and eaten if it's dying anyway. I suspect people in very rural areas of the developed world would be able to hold on for a few years (or until the flashfires get them).

I can't seriously expect there to be any survivors anywhere. That requires enough greenhouse space to feed them, already in operation and defensible at the time of the event.
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:08 AM   #12
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Default Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I'm not sure how complete the die-off will be. Yes, UV radiation is a powerful sterilizer. But life is suburb at surviving. The deep sea vent life, at least, will come out alive. The food chain at the bottom normally fed by the top will survive for a long time by cannibalizing itself, and its got a slow metabolism in the first place. The plankton locked in Antartic ice will survive. I'm also not sure if there is a depth where visible light reaches but the deadly UV varieties do not. That last category offers some hope for sustaining human life, as well as for repopulating the land once UV goes down.
Yes, a couple meters below the water surface appears to be photic enough for life but mostly safe from UV (A thru C).

But oxygen would get depleted very fast in the water. All that dead material would be a bonanza for any decomposer that can survive UV by being buried in its food and/or catch dead stuff falling into the aphotic zone. Deep ocean anoxia also appears to have cascade effects that could kill huge swaths of the biosphere -- it was probably a significant factor in the Permian mass extinction. With decomposition overtaking photosynthesis both on land and in water, I'd expect a CO2 and CH4 increase -- though when offset by a rapid end to industrial activity and possible darkened skies, it may not accelerate global warming.

Some marine life would survive, after all it survived a 96% die-off at the Permo-Triassic. But I think that all or nearly all land and freshwater life would be gone. Keep in mind that Earth plants are exquisitely vulnerable to radiation, compared to animals. Unless humans already had self-sufficient underwaters cities, I doubt any of us would make it. People would have to last on stored food until the ozone layer fully recovered, before agriculture would become viable again. Then they'd have to cope with soils that might be changed -- essential microbes and fungi might be gone, replaced by large quantities of decomposers.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:36 PM   #13
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Default Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3

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The Earth of timeline Lucifer-3 (B528, IW134) was sterilized by a supernova or gamma ray burster (GRB) in 1979. As of 2004, it was being "systematically" looted by Homeline. This description seems to imply that survivors (if any) are not significant in numbers or organization. I'm curious as to what might have transpired between the first indication of trouble and the final collapse of the ecosystem (and civilization along with it).
The use of the word 'sterilized' implies that the world was scoured clean of most life, and almost certainly all human life, at least by the local year 2004. If not, I'd expect some mention of rescue operations, rather than just looting of resources. With the presence of ruins after a fairly short time (on the civilization scale), there's reason to suspect that some survivors squabbled a bit (causing more disarray than nature would on its own) before dying off.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3

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The use of the word 'sterilized' implies that the world was scoured clean of most life, and almost certainly all human life, at least by the local year 2004. If not, I'd expect some mention of rescue operations, rather than just looting of resources. With the presence of ruins after a fairly short time (on the civilization scale), there's reason to suspect that some survivors squabbled a bit (causing more disarray than nature would on its own) before dying off.
Not particularly. Everybody dies in seconds (which may well be the intent here) will produce plenty of ruins in fairly short order as still running machinery and processes do destructively uncontrolled things. Unfought fires alone will damage most cities rather noticeably in fairly short order.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:01 PM   #15
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Default Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3

I haven't found a plausible mechanism for directly killing off the humans while still leaving the atmosphere intact, which is why I've been taking "sterilized" to specifically mean "subjected to lethal doses of solar UV." GRBs are too short to affect more than one hemisphere at a time, although the possibility exists for "aftershocks." A supernova event might last a full 24 hours and cover the entire globe, but in most scenarios the damage would either be limited to the upper atmosphere or strip the atmosphere entire.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:26 PM   #16
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Not particularly. Everybody dies in seconds (which may well be the intent here) will produce plenty of ruins in fairly short order as still running machinery and processes do destructively uncontrolled things. Unfought fires alone will damage most cities rather noticeably in fairly short order.
Ah... Probably not much direct damage from unsupervised machinery, but good call on fire. That might be reason to suspect a quick-kill event, but see below.
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I haven't found a plausible mechanism for directly killing off the humans while still leaving the atmosphere intact, which is why I've been taking "sterilized" to specifically mean "subjected to lethal doses of solar UV." GRBs are too short to affect more than one hemisphere at a time, although the possibility exists for "aftershocks." A supernova event might last a full 24 hours and cover the entire globe, but in most scenarios the damage would either be limited to the upper atmosphere or strip the atmosphere entire.
I wouldn't expect sterilized to be used that way, given Kromm's usual precision in word choice, but you could be right. It might simply mean 'rendered infertile'.
It would be kind of a strange event that killed everyone so quickly.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:54 PM   #17
Vaevictis Asmadi
 
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Default Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3

What if it was a very nearby supernova, one close enough to sweep Earth with plasma waves from the supernova remnant?
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Old 03-26-2014, 05:09 PM   #18
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Default Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3

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What if it was a very nearby supernova, one close enough to sweep earth with plasma waves from the supernova remnant?
You'd still be looking at one hemisphere taking the brunt of the damage, unless the supernova was on a line roughly perpendicular to the Earth's axis.

Consider Beta Hydri. I don't know whether it's a supernova candidate, but Beta Hydri is the closest near-end-of-life star to Earth, slightly over 20ly away. It's close enough to damage the Solar System if it goes nova, although we don't expect it to go nova any time soon - something would have to happen to it. (But in an alternate universe, something could happen to it.) Trouble is, it's almost due south of the South Pole ... so you've got the "one hemisphere only" issue to deal with.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:18 PM   #19
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Default Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3

There is this from NASA, linking the Ordovician extinction to, possibly, a GRB.

And here is a link to a NOVA site on what would happen to the ozone. Aside from the stuff already mentioned C-14 is also produced in the upper atmosphere. If the GRB was the result of a pair of neutron stars in a mutual, decaying orbit (apparently thought to be a common cause of GRBs), you'd get high energy particles just after the gamma rays, lasting for weeks. If it was close enough the particles would come right on the heels of the gamma rays.

As Mr Lloyd points out, I think the intention was that Lucifer worlds be killed off relatively quickly - at least that's how I read it too. But as Mr. Thrash points out, that is hard to do without blowing off the atmosphere. So does a pair of neutron stars colliding, within about 3000 light years, do it? A GRB knocks out most of the ozone in the southern hemisphere, resulting in skin cancers and dying plant life over a period of a few weeks. C14 and other radioactive fallout adds to the destruction. Then several weeks later a new rain of high energy particles sleets through the atmosphere, causing more fallout like material.

In anycase if it was going to take weeks, with skin cancers suddenly appearing, crops and life in general dying in the fields, fallout raining down, people would panic on a grand scale. I'm sure people in the outskirts, away from communications, would swarm into the cities looking for food, medicine and protection. People in the cities would hunker down, hoping for the government to come up with something - especially when people figure out going outside is deadly (at least during the day).

Famine, deaths from cancer and, very quickly, things like cholera and associated diseases pile up. Most cities decay into chaos. Military hardened areas, set up to deal with a nuclear attack, would have supplies and shelter to keep some people alive for a while. Like the government leaders of the US, Soviet Union, and most of the other major countries, along with many military bases. Although you'd probably get mutinies pretty quick when the soldiers realize they're going to die while their leaders live, just because of where they stand in the ranks, not for any nationalistic reasons.

Longer term you'd have to have access to foodstuffs. Deep sea animals would survive, so maybe you'd see submarines used for fishing. Somehow. Or the pockets of survivors would raid surrounding ruins for a few months to years for food, then gradually die off. I suspect you'd have survivors for years at coastal military bases, San Diego, New London, or Pearl Harbor. Maybe with a still President Carter at one of them, or Acting-President Cyrus Vance.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:52 PM   #20
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Default Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3

I'd think there's a fairly straightforward if physically improbable way to get the required effect.

Lethal neutrino flux.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaevictis Asmadi View Post
What if it was a very nearby supernova, one close enough to sweep earth with plasma waves from the supernova remnant?
If you sweep earth that way there's going to be some serious property damage.
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