The long-term impact of Independence Day fatalities

OK, so according to the wiki, the Harvester aliens in Independence Day caused - directly or indirectly - the deaths of about 50% of humanity. It cites 3 billion deaths due to direct blowing up of cities or downstream starvation and disease. The four horsemen ride supreme for a while.

But using that, what would the world look like? I don’t buy that the second movie is the logical successor at all. I think maintaining an advanced, technological civilization would prove too difficult when the largest first world cities remaining are Sydney, Taipei, Munich, Stockholm and similar. At a minimum, instant global catastrophic recession is caused. Supply chains and distribution networks are gone. How does someplace like Osaka - also on the non-destroyed list - even maintain its 10 million+ people. Hell, how does JAPAN maintain it’s population when it’s a net importer of food?

I’m thinking a period of deprivation followed by a return to an agrarian culture of about 1800 while humanity collects itself. A new industrial revolution will be coming, but not until a coherent economy again asserts itself. Once that’s done we start replacing muscle power with steam and coal again pretty quickly.

On the other hand, the air will clear up in a hurry. But maybe too much. Debris and particulates from destroying the top 100 or so cities probably doesn’t help the climate that much.

So what happens?

What happens in the US?
What happens in Russia with Moscow, Vladivostok, STP and Volgograd gone?
To the pacific rim and China with Manila, Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Hanoi and others gone?
In the middle east with Jerusalem, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, Baghdad, Damascus and Tehran gone?
Australia loses Perth but apparently keeps Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Do we see the redevelopment begin down under? New Zealand appears to be wholly untouched by the Harvesters. But Indonesia takes it on the chin in Jakarta and Medan.

What do you fine people think?

I’m not sure the world has to go back to the 1800s. As long as large amounts of infrastructure haven’t been damaged, I think the recovery can be relatively fast.

Take the US. Large parts of non-large-city middle America might be untouched. If oil fields and oil refineries and most of the rail lines and roads are untouched (or with minimal damage that can be repaired easily) then a lot of middle-American businesses and farms can get back to work. Any ships at sea should be available to move goods and people, if too many large airports are destroyed.

A sad bit of help for the food supply - with so many people dead, there won’t be as big a need for food.

What the atmospheric damage will be, I couldn’t say. If a blanked of city dust covers the entire farm land, then there will be trouble.

While I was not a fan of Lucifer’s Hammer, the break down of society portrayed therein might come to pass, and be a bigger problem than lack of food.

We hit 3bil people around 1960 so it’s not as though we’d all become medieval farmers again based on population numbers. Since we’re already including the starvation, disease, etc in the 3bil dead number, we’re looking at the other 3 billion in a fairly decent spot. Unlike people in 1960, we still have the advantage of 1995-era technology and basic infrastructure. Yes, a lot of it was blown up but a lot more of it was likely untouched – it’s not as though the aliens went around digging up cable lines and setting the Midwestern highways on fire.

We would need a decent regrouping and repair period but I think we’d ultimately come through it relatively okay.

Yeah, or as portrayed in Brin’s ‘The Postman’. The anarchy following the destruction is as bad or worse as the destruction.

Perhaps not 1800s - though I still think it might end up there. But getting stuff moved around would be a problem. Even if the oil fields are there how do you refine it large-scale without Houston? Rail - with Chicago gone - would have real issues getting grain from the heartland to the east coast.

Of course, most of the East Coast of the US is no longer needing food.

All those factories - if they still exist - in China putting together goods for sale in the US and Europe will be idle.

Halving the current US population would put it roughly where it was in the 1920s. So no big deal there.

Think of all the accumulated wealth that would be left to the survivors. It could kick-start a whole new age, like it did in Europe after the Black Death!

We might see some anarchy in the short run. In the long run, I think an authoritarian state would be more likely than prolonged anarchy.

Houston may have the most refineries, but it does not have the only ones. In any case, the technology is well-known, and could be rebuilt quickly.

Chicago is an important hub, but it is not the only one. There are rail lines running across the South, and up the coast. (And across Canada, and down the coast.) If that was not sufficient, then trucks and ships would become very lucrative.

They would shift from producing consumer goods, to producing construction and transportation equipment. They would cash in on our destruction, just the way we cashed in on their destruction, in the aftermath of World War II.

Let me re-phrase that: They would cash in on our destruction, the way we cashed in on Europe’s destruction, in the aftermath of World War II.

How much of the targeted cities remain? We never get to see in any detail what the level of destruction is, or whether it patterns or at what rate the destructive wave dissipates. They zapped downtown Los Angeles, but is Long Beach or San Pedro still there? That’s going to tell you just how much infrastructure still survives in key locations.

The waterways of the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, and others would certainly be available for the transport of goods and services. The Erie Canal and others could be revived for smaller boats. Population would center around waterways again.

I think ways to clear up the pollution from all those crashes would be developed quickly. Even if a lot of the infrastructure of major cities is destroyed, knowledge won’t be, and secondary and tertiary cities will still be intact to carry on. It could be a great boon for them. A great salvage industry would develop, too, and lots of knowledge gained from the crashed alien ships.

Think of the amount of refined metal that just got dropped on us. Once we get into the ships and get them sussed out, we should leapfrog decades if not centuries in tech.

Long-term the aliens may have just made us a galactic threat.

I don’t remember the sequel that well, but didn’t they figure out how to use the alien tech to great effect? Depending on what they found it seems like they could use tech 100K years (estimating) ahead of us to make up for a lot of the problems created, especially if they found an unlimited energy source (for example).

The fireball reaches to Andrews Air Force Base from the White House (and is still going), so that’s a 10 mile radius at minimum.

Yes, that’s one thing the sequel got right. It wasn’t our 2016 in the movie, but the 2016 of a planet that survived an alien invasion. Alien-based tech was everywhere.

I think you guys are underestimating the loss of infrastructure and that impact. Sure, there are other rail lines. But moving up the US coast won’t be easy with Boston, NYC, Philly, DC, Atlanta and Miami all gone. Though I see STRONG market opportunity for my home of Charleston!

Anyway, on the strength of the primary weapon. Wiki says it’s a ‘Direct Energy Cannon’ used for mining and as a weapon. It also says that it can demolish an area as big as a large city. The largest US cities in terms of square mileage range in the 300-400 square mile range. Los Angeles, for example, is listed as 468 square miles so that’s 20x20 give or take. But if we include suburbs then it’s pretty damn big. So figure a blast radius of 10-15 miles. San Diego survives because the craft that attacked Area 51 was bingoed there from SD. So that’s a win. But the rest of the West Coast is pretty much done. LA, SF and Seattle as well as Vancouver are gone.

They do like their coastal and river cities.

The war would be an apocalypse but it is different from others:

As others have said, there is alien tech everywhere and the places where it is easiest to access have an advantage.


We have definitive proof we aren’t alone and at least some of Space is hostile.

These motivations pull in opposite directions with regard to cooperation but I think the second one wins out. The Sequel was bad but people for the most part working together is something it got right I think.

Here’s a list of the cities destroyed in the movie by wave. Once the first wave hit then everyone would know the aliens were out for blood and it would just be a matter of predicting the next major target and being somewhere else. The initial issues would favor countries who had the better infrastructure and/or favorable geography for mass evacuations.

Ok, well, none of this would be my problem then. :frowning: :eek: :frowning:

But as an example that definitely takes out the DC sewage treatment plant. Which leaves a whole lot of yuck spewing down the Potomac river and into the Chesapeake bay. There’d be whole fisheries wiped out just by what was in the plant at the time. And that’s assuming nobody is left here still pouring sewage into the system.

If Andrews goes up that is a National Reserve’s worth of jet fuel also going into the river. Petroleum products in water kills a whole lot, really fast, and for a really long time. If we’re lucky, it mostly explodes and burns. No good for the neighborhood, or for the surrounding ones trying to breathe, but a better long term result for the local environment.

From what I can see there are going to be a lot more deaths in the first 2-3 months, from thirst. Local reservoirs are going to be polluted, even assuming the pipes are still able to deliver the water anywhere. And the groundwater will be contaminated as well. Rain Gods will prevail in the next couple of decades.

Can you imagining having to evacuate Philadephia in less than 24 hours when DC and NYC have been destroyed?

Your wiki link does not list Baton Rouge or New Orleans among the targeted cities. Despite being a much smaller city than Houston, Baton Rouge refines an enormous amount of oil–the ExxonMobil refinery there is the 4th largest in the US and 12th largest in the world, taking in more than half a million barrels per day. That’s more than all the refineries in Houston combined, and it’s sitting on a major navigable river, just north of a large seaport. If I spot the aliens Baytown and Galveston as well, we lose another million barrels per day in capacity…but numerous smaller plants around Baton Rouge and across southern Louisiana collectively refine even more, adding up to another 2.5 million barrels. Then we get into all the capacity in Texas that’s not in the Houston area…

That’s not to say there wouldn’t be shortages, but even with the whole Houston area out of commission, there would still be a lot more capacity available than you seem to imagine.

According to that city list, both St Louis and Indianapolis survived so getting stuff across the country east to west shouldn’t be any real problem. In fact, before Chicago took off in the late 1800s, it was a legitimate question of whether Chicago or St Louis would become the primary midwest hub since both cities were well situated for it. This is St Louis’ time to shine!