you don't think the tough scrappy types would be the most likely to survive?
Of course I do. I don't think the book-smart folks that would be required would BE those tough, scrappy types I'm talking about, though. At best, a few might be picked up and 'kept' by some of the more organized and forward thinking street gangs or militia-types...
and correct me if I'm wrong ( and I am a lot) but wouldn't a musket be really easy to make out of a piece of pipe and some wood?
[/quote] I wouldn't have to, the exploded piece of pipe, and your ruined hands and face would correct you for me.
Not impossible that you could cobble something together, but we're talking more improvised 1-shot device rather than functional and accurate weapon. For fun, do you HAVE the right length, diameter, and thickness pipe for what you have in mind? And a way to cap the one end to force the explosion out the other? What do you have onhand that you can make lead balls out of, wadding, etc? Got gunpowder handy, and know how much to use? It's more complicated that Kirk vs the Gorn indicated...
Can back that up even more, people today don't know how to make SHIT. You eventually give up on the gun because it's hard and/pr dangerous, and figure you can at least go back to bow and arrow. Turns out that those are hard without experience and materials as well. You can slap something together, but it won't work for shit, and is more likely to hurt you than anyone else. To go back far enough to find a weapon the average person can make and handle, you're going to wind up with swords (Stirling is right, car leaf springs would nice here, or at the very least, plenty of metal around you can work with just by sharpening one end and padding a handle), or a pointy stick.
We take the older low tech for granted, because we're way past that tech-wise. But most of us can't MAKE the current tech ourselves, or even the stuff several layers below that.
Mister Fandango wrote:
Let's assume, just for a few moments, that the Internet is the equivalent of any number of libraries or bookstores around the world.
For fun, while we're assuming things, we'll assume that the reviews of those books were better, and that they included very specific how-to instructions. How many of those types of books would assume that you are working with hand tools and scraps of metal left over from a dead civilization, and that you can't order the parts you need to put this together. You need a book on learning to smelt metal, form parts, etc before you can do this one. And you need a book to learn to build the stuff needed for that step as well.
And that all starts from assuming that the libraries weren't already looted by like-minded people. Or burned for warmth. And the biggest, most comprehensive libraries are in the big cities. Looting, rioting, out of control fires that just aren't being fought by more than a bucket brigade. And that's before the anarchy, cannibalism, and disease/plague parts kick in, as populations in the millions realize that there's nothing left to eat, no help coming, and nowhere to go.
Get past ALL that, grab the 'how to build a steam engine' book. It's great that civilization has it, but what's it doing for YOU? It makes you a target, and unless you're in a large protected group boarded up somewhere, you're not safe enough or stationary enough to try and build up the parts and expertise you need to try it anyway. Even if you can think of anything to do with a small steam engine in the first place. And you need to prioritize carrying those books as you walk/run from place to place hiding, looking for food, etc. How many would you carry, and what would you leave behind to do so? Would the steam engine book really fall above that line?
What I'm trying to point out in all this is that there are some LARGE steps between knowing something is possible to make, and being able to do so. Looking it up on the internet, or finding a book about it does NOT equal ability. And to get to that point, you need a stable, safe location, and enough time in your day where you AREN'T fighting for your survival or staving to death to play in the book to begin with.
Just as many books on how to smelt a sword, doesn't mean you'd have the materials, ability, or time to outfit a clan of ninjas anytime soon.