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New Earth Story

  1. Apr 24, 2014 #1
    I have completed a few chapters.

    I am writing a story about a couple on New Earth which is this planet that is not 4.5 billion years old but still habitable by all earth species. Right now in my story they have made some cow's milk cheeses and butter and they have a child but they want some wine for celebrating their anniversaries. They are also building a city like Memphis TN with the same area and everything. Has the same area of land and same area of water combination as Memphis TN back here on the older earth. They are now building hospitals at a 2 a year pace until they get 9 which is the amount in Memphis TN. The key to this city building is that they built a hospital a year before the woman got pregnant. Now why are they starting with the building and not the government? Because they are by themselves. But hopefully when they are finished building the city or at least built a lot of the city more people will come and help them.

    Also they got maps of every city in the World as a collection and are now looking at their Memphis TN map to build an exact copy but with all electricity renewable.

    With each type of building found in a city which this wikipedia page lists:

    What is a reasonable rate for each type besides the hospitals which I have set to a 2 a year rate if they are building a city from their resources plus what people are transporting from the old earth to this new earth?
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. May 13, 2014 #2


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    In order to figure out how long it takes to build something you need to know how large your work force is and what access do they have to tools and materials. the size and complexity of the hospital would also determine how long it takes to build.
  4. May 13, 2014 #3


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    I think it's WAAAAYYYYY more complex that that the simple point that DHF has made. Seems to me that without the medical infrastructure to support it, a "hospital" is just a useless building. The information you have provided (or actually, NOT provided) as to the technological capabilities of your citizens makes your question unanswerable.
  5. May 13, 2014 #4


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    Indeed, I was only touching on a few basics. You need to have lots on information before you can calculate anything.

    This is all assuming there is a large group of people working on this. After re reading your post, you seem to focus on the couple. I hope they are not the only two characters working on this. If they are alone on this new Earth then scrap the hospital and city plans. a nice Hut would be more realistic.
  6. May 13, 2014 #5


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    So you have two human beings building an entire city? Unless they have some sort of magic technology that's just not going to happen. Phinds is right in that man hours alone won't give a good time frame as economies of scale mean that groups can be disproportionately more productive than individuals (I.e. Ten people are often more than ten times as productive as one).

    But what DHF has said is useful too because even assuming you can just take the man hours of a job and work through them as fast with one worker as with ten it's easy to see how simple buildings would take a lifetime. I've got no idea of the exact number of people involved in building and stocking a hospital but I'm willing to bet its hundreds or even thousands of people working for a few years. That's not just the builders but everyone in the logistics chain all the way to the administrators of a rare earth metal mine that feed the factories that build the components for the medical devices to fit in the hospital. And of course on top of that there's the question of how these people have the education to be a builder, electrician, carpenter, metal worker, etc etc.

    I have to assume in that case that we're missing something here and you don't mean only two people?
  7. May 13, 2014 #6
    I am assuming that you have many people and not just your couple.

    The amount of manhours that goes into building a hospital (any building, really) is staggering. Consider that you don't just have to build a frame and slap some walls on it. There are multiple levels, typically with steel superstructure and poured concrete floors. So you'll need a steel mill and foundry, concrete's not too difficult, but you'll also need your mill to put out rebar. Then you've got insulation you'll need, sheet-rock, etc. Now add to that the more complex items like windows, lighting, electrical panels, etc. So you need to be able to produce glass reliably, and you need miles and miles of copper wire insulated with rubber/plastic. So now you need a copper mine and a plant to produce rubber, etc etc etc.

    I haven't even touched on the requirements for plumbing (water mains, pumps, piping, valves, monitoring equipment, etc) and you want to do this all on renewable energy?

    Cities aren't built like that, from scratch. You need infrastructure, and that takes time; lots of time. Unless they’ve got a huge system of processing and manufacturing already in place, they cannot build Memphis. They’ll need to first set up a rudimentary central village and then immediately get to setting up their mines and processing facilities. These take years and years to even set up, and it’s not easy work. You’ll need to set up iron mines (and concentrators and foundries to actually produce steel), copper mines (and smelters), rock quarries, etc. Are they making electronics? Then they’ll probably need gold and silica and platinum and … I haven’t even scratched the surface.

    I don’t mean to discourage you in your writing, but unless this is a fantasy novel where they have a device which can produce computer chips and cranes from dirt and rock, it’s just not feasible in the timeframe you’ve suggested.
  8. May 13, 2014 #7


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    Even if we misunderstood and there is in fact a group of people working on this, for all the reasons everyone here has posted, you cant just build a city from scratch. Memphis is what it is today because hundreds thousands of people have been working at it for many centuries.

    Now scaling things back, you can have lots of fun working from the ground up. There are just two people here so explore all the challenges we have just outlined. how do they get food? how hard is it to construct even a basic shelter front scratch? how frighting is it for them to deliver a baby without the comfort of a hospital? all of these things can make for very exciting frontier challenges.

    If you want some reference material I might suggest looking up "Life Below Zero" on The National Geographic Chanel. It follows the lives of a group of families and individuals clustered around the Arctic circle. Most of them live with very few modern convenience. One man lives all alone hundreds of miles from the nearest city and has no running water or electricity. It might give you an appreciation for how hard it is to build and live from scratch.

    Let us know if you need anything else.
  9. May 13, 2014 #8


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    As a side note it would be interesting if there was a study on how to build a city from scratch. How many people would be needed, what would their training have to be, what supplies would be needed, what would the plan for what to build and when etc. I imagine the answer to most questions would be "you need a lot of X and a bunch of substitute Y stored for until the X factory is set up"
  10. May 13, 2014 #9
    No I have lots of couples and unmarried people working on the city with unmarried people having twice as slow of a rate as the couples because it is half as much working on a building.

    I have in my story 1 couple or unmarried person working on each building so that in 1 year they get as many buildings as possible done in that year. Also I am taking the average rate for each building as far as working on it and having that be the rate at which they build that type of building no matter the circumstances and so in my story there are fixed rates that would not be there in real life.

    This is one of my story's mathematical twists.

    Another one of them is how long they can walk in 1 day.

    I did these calculations:
    8 hours sleep
    1 hour total eating

    24 hours/day-9 hours = 15 hours/day walking
    and use this for the number of days it takes to walk along the path of a particular highway in a particular state(including the part of a US or Interstate highway that is in that state) along with the distance of that highway in a particular state.

    I don't know what the maximum hours walking is for us humans and the only information I can find on it is what people say is their maximum.

    When these people in my story build cities cities help them build highways and highways help them build more cities.
  11. May 13, 2014 #10
    The people on the old earth have sent them infrastructure after the house was built for the first family there during the summer and 2 months of the fall in the first year that those 2 people were there.

    As far as average rate a hotel is usually built in 2-3 years sometimes 1 year and a hospital usually is built in a shorter amount of time than a hotel is.
  12. May 13, 2014 #11
    Just to be clear, you mean to have just one couple or one guy per house? It is impossible for a single couple to build a hospital, hotel, or large commercial building in one year without assistance. I'd say it's likely impossible they'd get it done in a lifetime, but I think perhaps it could be done. It takes crews of dozens (totaling hundreds) of men and women to build these structures. They require cranes and other equipment to be operated while joints are brought into place and set. It would take decades for a single couple to build a hospital.

    This isn't Civ5; people get tired, people get hurt, people get thirst, people get hungry, people need socialization. A couple could reasonably build a house (or a few) in a year if they put their minds to it. A hospital, hotel, office building, stadium, or processing facility? No.

    Have you ever tried walking 15 hours per day?
    For multiple days?
    On one hour of eating per day?

    That's for accelerated schedules. First, hotels are built faster than hospitals because developers need to recoup their investments and they can't do that if the hotel isn't making any money. So they pay high prices to accelerate schedules so that they can start recoup'ing money sooner. Hospitals are funded by governments or funds and typically take way longer, especially when you consider the engineering phases behind them. That's with experienced crews of dozens/hundreds of people of all disciplines (pipefitters, masons, steel workers, general laborers, carpenters, electricians, etc).
  13. May 13, 2014 #12


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    Now a way to smooth some reality into this is to take your mind off Memphis, I know that is your template but that is a very mature city with structures that took generations of work, sweat and tears. It is however conceivable to have all the needed structures if the buildings are simple enough. Instead of a 15 story concrete & glass building that can house hundreds of patients.. why not have a single story structure resembling a barn? Any building can be a hospital, all it needs is doctors and poof its a hospital. A simple four walled single floor building could easily be built in a day if the community put their mind to it.
  14. May 13, 2014 #13


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    Caters I have specific replies for you below but I strongly suggest you take a step back and think for a minute about what you're actually trying to achieve. You've set up a very strange situation with no good reason as to why it should be that way (i.e. why so few people, why a replica of a real city, why one person per building etc) and are focusing on a completely minor point. You should really go back to basics other wise you run the risk of getting bogged down in minutia whilst the gaping plot holes are ignored.

    One person building a building is very inefficient and unrealistic. Inefficient because many jobs can be done more than twice as quick with two people. Consider a simple example of moving two loads of materials a distance that takes 15 minutes to walk. If a single individual can carry one load at once then it will take them 45 minutes to transport the two loads as they will have to walk there, back and there again. Two people can have the job done in 15 minutes as they only have to make one journey thus for 2x the workers the job is done in 3x the speed. Or if you want another example think of any time you've asked someone to help you with something because two hands weren't sufficient but four meant it was done instantly. Whilst not every job can be done faster with one person the vast majority have optimum numbers greater than 1, in short a team of 100 builders could build 100 houses together far faster than each building 1 house.

    It's also unrealistic as it assumes that each person is a competent brick layer, electrician, plumber, landscaper, builder etc. That's just not going to happen and making people try to do everything will result in shoddy work all round rather than having people specialize.

    You're way off. Human beings are not automatons, they can't work or walk continually for every waking hour day on day. Aside from the sheer physical stress this would put on their bodies they would have significant mental and social problems from the lack of leisure and socialization time. If you want to get a ballpark figure of the amount of man hours it is reasonable to expect the average human to work I'd just use something already in existence: South Koreans on average work the most man hours in the OECD per year at ~2,300. Which is about 30% higher than the states for comparison.

    If they can ship enough infrastructure for an entire city why can't they ship enough labourers? For that matter why build a like-for-like remake of an extant city? Cities aren't rationally designed but grow over time which means in many cases things aren't as good as they could be. For example: many cities IRL could benefit from trams or busways but there simply isn't space on the road because they weren't build with that in mind. You also have to take into account the handicap of the headstart in which legacy infrastructure has to be expensively and slowly replaced with a new generation (e.g. replacing copper with fiber optic) that wouldn't be nearly as expensive as building the new design from the get go.

    Hospitals can take a long time to build, my lab is in a hospital which is getting completely rebuild and it's projected to take four years at least. Admittedly it's being used and there's a lot of red tape that could be cut down but you're still talking years worth of work by multiple teams of people.
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  15. May 13, 2014 #14


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    If it's going to be a good hospital it's going to need more than a shelter and doctors, it's going to need specialized equipment, rooms and employees which a small community couldn't provide. Without that it's just a badly stocked doctors surgery.
  16. May 13, 2014 #15
    well first off my story is fiction so I can have it be at a 1 couple or unmarried person per building rate and 15 hours walking. Plus the walking is not a constant 15 hours. It is 4 20 minute meals with 4 hours walking between meals(because that is the average time after eating that a human becomes hungry again in adulthood) and 8 hours sleep so the schedule for walking on the path of a highway in my story is like this:
    Breakfast, walk for 4 hours, lunch, walk for 4 hours, dinner, walk for 4 hours, dessert, walk for 3 hours, sleep for 8 hours.

    I didn't even take potty breaks into concern because that usually happens in seconds and minutes is the smallest unit of time I have in my story.

    Also in my story people in the family tree that Rebecca and Ronald started when they went to New Earth all live to 120 years before death because they have this lifestyle:
    Healthy diet
    At least 1 hour total of excersize
    Bioflavaniods from things like celery to prevent cancer
    Antioxidants from chocolate, berries, other fruits, and 1 glass daily of red wine to slow down aging

    This lifestyle here is what the supercenetarians that live past 110 years old have. The oldest documented person at 122 before her death had this lifestyle.

    There are however several that claimed they lived to 130 or longer but aren't documented because not all of the documents for being a supercenetarian were filled out or all were filled out but 1 or more didn't get authenticated or something along those lines.
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  17. May 13, 2014 #16
    You asked us what a reasonable rate is. We tried to help you with legitimate information. I work in engineering and construction management in the mining and minerals processing industry and several of my best friends work in major cities as construction managers for developers of residential and commercial buildings. I have a good amount of experience in what it takes to build large structures. I'm sorry that the advice we've lent doesn't sit well with your story.

    It may be fiction, and people are willing to suspend some degree of belief if the story is interesting. But you shouldn't make it so unrealistic that it doesn't make sense anymore.

    Good luck with your story. If you really want it to go that way, then you'd be better of having them build robots.

    Also, two people can't spawn an entire city's (let alone planet's) population. There's not enough genetic variation.
  18. May 13, 2014 #17


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    Sure you can have whatever you like but a good story needs to maintain willing suspension of disbelief. On top of that if you're not worried about realism why are you asking us for advice on whether or not your story is realistic...? Is there any reason for this thread to remain open if you're not going to listen to the good advise you've been given and instead just dismiss it? This sub forum is for people who want critical feedback only.

    It's not the distribution of breaks we're objecting to but the length of them. It's simply unrealistic to expect humans to work for so long day after day without serious health problems.

    Bioflavanoids and ingestible antioxidants at best have a very limited effect on aging and disease. In the majority of cases eating more of them will do nothing despite of what advertisements suggest.

    Longevity and healthy aging are very complicated phenomenon that are not well understood. There are a wealth of factors, biological and environmental and we don't have a good enough understanding of them to say definitively what the best possible combination of factors are. Healthy ageing is a huge topic in life course epidemiology, if you do some reading on this you should realize how poorly understood it is.

    Just how capable do you think people are in their old age of constant work? Physical and mental capability peak at around age 25 and decrease onwards. By the time one is 60+ physical activity especially becomes much harder with most people having an ongoing condition.
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  19. May 13, 2014 #18


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    Granted. I didn't mean to imply it would be a good hospital, I was just trying to give him something feasible that a very small community could construct in the least amount of time.
  20. May 13, 2014 #19


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    @ Caters, yes it is fiction and yes it is your story but coming from someone who reads lots of fiction and science fiction, you need a base of reality. if your science fiction has no base in realism then it gets tired pretty fast.

    If I read a story that isn't based on magic an dragons and the narrator describes something impossible, like a person walking around the earth in 24 hours or a single man building a skyscraper. I am going to call BS on the book an close it. many science-fiction stories have unbelievable "facts" in them like warp drive and such but in said tales they give an explanation as to how this was done.

    If you are hard set on the buildings being constructed the way you portray and that is something that you feel MUST happen then I suggest giving a decent technobable explanation. Nanobots are the Sci Fi cure all in cases like this. just have each person or couple equip with a replicator device that launches trillions of nanobots to assemble the buildings, then each couple could simply supervise.
  21. May 13, 2014 #20
    there are 2 people at the start and then after their child is in 2nd grade 100 couples and 100 unmarried people come to help and it continues leading up to 2000 couples and 2000 unmarried people at the end of the second volume and during that time there are 4 generations.

    bioflavanoids do prevent cancer and antioxidants do slow down aging. That is how come a high bioflavanoid, high antioxidant diet is best for people who want to live long lives up to a century or more. That cancer prevention and slowing down of aging is not a gimmic like those fad diets that they claim help you lose weight are.

    The reason I chose to start with Memphis, TN is because it is the goldilocks zone of the goldilocks zone.

    What I mean by that is that the seasons are not too cold or too hot and most plants can grow there including citrus trees.
  22. May 13, 2014 #21


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    ok well good luck on the story.
  23. May 14, 2014 #22


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    Staff: Mentor

    I already did the same with this thread.
  24. May 14, 2014 #23


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    The evidence is not strong on either of those claims with many studies showing conflicting data or failing to take into account a variety of other factors. Look at any review and it will show the need for further, bigger studies:


    In any case even if there is a positive effect it clearly isn't a strong one so your idea of using them as a reliable way of boosting the average human life span by 50% is completely unrealistic.

    I think everything that is needed to be said has been said at this point. Thread closed.
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