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Re: y2k/gary north delusions

Igor Chudov @ home wrote:
> Michael Hohensee wrote:
> > Latrines aren't sufficient to the task.  In a city like NYC, latrines
> > might solve the problem for perhaps a week (assuming that we tear up all
> > the roads and sidewalks --something which we cannot do in time, even if
> > we wanted to), but then they'll be full, and there won't be any more
> > places the latrines can be rotated to.
> Why, shit is actually pretty compact. usually with latrines, the liquid
> filtrates out, and the compressed shit does not take too much space.
> If you dig a deep enough hole (2-3 yards) it should last for a long,
> long time. I estimate that a human being produces about 1/2 to 1lb
> of hard waste per day, some are more full of it, some less. Let's settle
> on one lb per day.
> Let's see, a hole that is 5 yards wide, 3 yards deep, and, say, 2 yards
> wide, is about 30 cubic yards. It could take about 40 tons of hard
> compressed waste, that is, 80 thousand man-days of shitting can be
> compressed in it.
> You definitely need some heavy machinery to dig this kind of hole
> (and then you have to build smoe kind of frame over it to prevent people
> from falling into it if it collapses), but it is not hard and can even
> be done in a catastrophic scenario.
> That's a lot!!! Let's see,a high rise building with 50 floors and 10
> apartments in each floor, that's about 1200 people. The latrine would
> last them what, about sixty days! And then they can dig another one.

This assumes that we can compress it this much, which assumes that we
have sufficient machinery.  It further assumes that we will be able to
ignore the "wet" component of human waste.  You can't just pour it down
the drains.

Next, we should realize that these latrines are themselves not going to
be particularly sanitary, and it would be most unwise to use them for
any extended period of time.  Hell, even *with* flush toilets, I've seen
people squatting down in subway stations to take a leak not more than 5
feet from the restroom.

Further, we should realize that for the above reason, people are not
going to be particularly motivated to use these latrines.  After all,
nobody wants to hold it for a long time while they wait in line to take
a leak, just for the privilege of relieving themselves in disease
central.  You're going to see shit in the street in any case.

Finally, even if we dig these holes, (and they're *going* to be bigger
than what you describe, as they must contain liquid, as well as solid
waste), we're going to end up messing up the roads something fierce. 
Big cities *need* roads to transport life-critical items.  If we dig
them up, we're in even worse trouble.

> > Then we're back to doing it in the open.  Less concentrated cities might
> > last a while longer, but not much longer.  There's no getting around it,
> > we *need* working sewer systems to have modern cities.  Otherwise, the
> > cities die.
> Not in the short run. They could survive for a while.
>         - Igor.

In the *very* short run.  Like, say, a few weeks.  That is if the food
doesn't stop coming in first --then things finish up a bit sooner.

Michael Hohensee