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LetterRip
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I've been watching old episodes of a show called 'The Colony' on the Discovery channel.

Basically a group of 10 or so people are dropped into a part of a city assuming a post apocolyptic scenario. Scare resources, most people wiped out, survivors gather the resources they can to survive.

The producers cheated a bit, dumping them in a location that was quite a bit better stocked than would be typical, but other than that highly realistic.

I found some things quite heartening - an engineer has been innovating some excellent technology, and a machnist/handyman has fabricated a number of useful tools. Other stuff though I found totatly depressing - the majority seemed to ignore major issues staring them in the face on a frequent basis - ie a shower was built before the facility the were in was properly secured, even though they had two attempted break ins early on.

The women seem to be extremely non practical, and have major amounts of attitude, engage in behaviours that put the group at risk (ie the RN refused to treat a cut, of one of the individuals who had contributed the most to the groups survival, that had a high risk of infection via sewage, because the guy was rude/demanding when he asked for treatment) while contributing little or nothing to the common good. It was a bit odd in the majority of useful skills were heavily concentrated among the men. There was a woman RN and a woman aerospace engineer. Also the age/experience was heavily concentrated among the men. Average age for men was 45 or so, and for the women was 25 or so.

The groups decision making process, planning process, in general are awful, as are their conflict resolution skills and lot of time management skills.

I'm curious as to the differences of the two genders- I suspect that most of differences in attitude and action are age and professional background related, but would be interesting to see what differences there would be if the age and professional backgrounds were reversed.

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vulture
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Sound interestng - I wonder if it will make it to the UK in some form.

Bear in mind though that the producers of reality shows are generslly careful to pick people who will 'make good TV', so expect a high proportion of idiots, selfish gits and useless freeloaders, combined with a few very useful people whose job it is to a) do the work and b) get pissed off with the muppets, thus creating conflict and ratings.

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Rallan
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quote:
Originally posted by vulture:

Bear in mind though that the producers of reality shows are generslly careful to pick people who will 'make good TV', so expect a high proportion of idiots, selfish gits and useless freeloaders, combined with a few very useful people whose job it is to a) do the work and b) get pissed off with the muppets, thus creating conflict and ratings.

Yeah there's probably a lot of that at play. A group of ten team players who can always be relied on to keep the long game in mind would be a lot less compelling viewing than ten people who are all qualified but don't get on well. And ten people who sorta kinda get on would make less compelling viewing than ten people who sorta kinda get on who are edited to make it look like there's lots of feuds and personal stuff happening.

Also, if you're wondering why the average male participant's age is 40-something and the average female participant's age is roughly 30 or a little younger, then you're obviously not familiar with how casting works [Smile]

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by vulture:

Bear in mind though that the producers of reality shows are generslly careful to pick people who will 'make good TV', so expect a high proportion of idiots, selfish gits and useless freeloaders, combined with a few very useful people whose job it is to a) do the work and b) get pissed off with the muppets, thus creating conflict and ratings.

In other words, an accurate cross section of society.
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Colin JM0397
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Ditto - made for "good TV" (ie high drama), not a functional group.

IMO, the prima donna attitude would be gone in a post-apocalyptic scenario simply because all those with such attitudes would probably just roll over and die, or they would be ostracized. If we think group conformity is strong now, just wait until it’s a band together or die situation.

I watched a very interesting show a few weeks ago - it was either on History, TLC, Discovery - one of those. It was a 2 hour docu-drama type thing showing a what if scenario of 90% causalities from a virus pandemic.

Interspersed in the several months the drama followed this family from LA were survival experts, scientists, psychologists, etc. talking through all the what/how mechanisms people would use to survive.

I’ll have to track it down and find a link…

On a side note, all these doomsday movies and TV shows get my conspiracy theory hackles up.

What are "they" planning???!!!
[Wink] [DOH]

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
The producers cheated a bit, dumping them in a location that was quite a bit better stocked than would be typical, but other than that highly realistic.

I've seen parts of the show and I'd have to say this is like most reality TV - not that real. The situations are manufactured, the people are essentially "cast" and they all know they can quit or get medical care anytime they really need it. The "attacks" are staged, nobody will really get hurt except by accident so that changes the dynamic significantly. Editing and situation management will help create the hero and villains (just like they do on Survivor).

The show is interesting but it's reality television and reality TV is not even remotely real.

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LetterRip
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I haven't seen any 'reality tv' to speak of, so not sure how they typically play out.

I was impressed with some of the engineering feats accomplished in certain timelines.

Yes there is definitely the artificialness that the danger is much less so in that most people have an expectation that a producer won't let other participants kill them, etc. and that they have likely been told when to expect to be able to get back to their normal lives. So without the higher survival pressure folks will make less survival optimal decisions than they otherwise would.

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Greg Davidson
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We had a friend who did the sound to the show (one of the features of living in the LA area) and he said that you should not under-estimate the effects of lack-of-sleep on the participants. Plus a great deal of footage, so you don't see everyone at their best.
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LetterRip
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Some other things the producers 'cheated' on. It is clear that they watched while folks were planning things to do and planted supplies sometimes to make things easier,

Ie one engineer made a derigible (they had a camera hooked up to it to use for getting a visual overview of their surroundings, alas when they tried testing it in high winds it got wrapped up in some razor wire) - and happened to find a book on their design and a take of helium was found. Also they found a net for protecting one of their entrances.

Most things though were fully within reason for a warehouse with a reasonably stocked workshop.

Also they did do things to heighten the drama. They 'disappeared' their doctor, apparently they convinced him to violate the security protocol (no one left alone) and wander off while scavenging was being done. He was presumably disappeared because he was the most adept at conflict resolution and group skills, etc.

Things that bugged me was how many dumb risks they took - ie testing things with a reasonable chance of going wrong in an explosive manner with the entire group standing around close by and watching.

Working with powertools without eye protection on.

Doing certain tasks without gloves on that had a high risk of cuts or infections.

I just watched an episode from the second season, and it is a new group of people in a similar but different situation - all of them are amazingly clueless about survival, and are self centered shallow idiots.

The first show was a testament to mans ability to survive and use teamwork and knowledge to accomplish survival in a hostile situation.

This second season appears to be a testament to how shallow, self centered, and dumb people can be.

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Praetorian
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I just can't get past the nagging thought that there's a lot of intervention from the producers. These otherwise relatively shallow people are pulling off some pretty innovative engineering. In the first season, I believed that the old guy with the Einstein hair probably thought of a lot of the things he used up on his own. This time around, aside from the mechanic and the inventor, anyone else's ideas seem pretty scripted.
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JWatts
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I've only seen one episode. The one where the female mechanic comes up with the idea of getting a tractor running using boiled pig fat. I thought that was doable and pretty intelligent.

Getting boiled pig fat from rancid pig carcasses is not an easy feat. I'm sort of thinking they cheated though. You can run a diesel engine off of animal fat, but I've always heard you need to prime the engine with diesel first. However, warming the fat up first might have made it successful.

I need to check if this series is on Netflix.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
I watched a very interesting show a few weeks ago - it was either on History, TLC, Discovery - one of those. It was a 2 hour docu-drama type thing showing a what if scenario of 90% causalities from a virus pandemic.
I recorded that show, and am about half-way through watching it.

It's called "After Armageddon" and it was on the History Channel (IIRC). Really good, especially if you want to write post-apocolypic SF, although the family did get a number of "lucky breaks" so far to survive.

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OceanRunner
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I'll have to check out both the History channel series and the show. Even though I've thought The Colony looked ridiculous when advertised, it sounds interesting from a storyteller's perspective.

I also think even manufactured situations can exert a realistic amount of psychological pressure.

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LetterRip
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It is really shocking to me how long it takes them to set up even half way reasonable security.

The first group never set up an emergency signal, and didn't finish securing their compound till really late.

The second group didn't secure their compound or set up an alarm till after they were attacked twice and had a high expectation of a third attack.

The second group eventually though of hiding some of their supplies during the third attack.

Praetorian,

agreed about the interference of the producers for the second show - it was pretty obvious that the windmill and smoker didn't originate with the guy who proposed them. I don't think the fat rendering idea originated with them either, i suspect even the idea of using biodiesel didn't originate with them.

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LetterRip
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I googled around and found this link that two participants in the original show are commenting in forum posts,

http://community.discovery.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/17219151201/m/43319272201?r=31519623201#31519623201

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LetterRip
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Here is a quote of the pertinent part,

quote:
Very little of the show was scripted in the sense that anyone told us what to do. Occasionally.. Occasionally we'd get some advanced notice.. as in.. 'were able to go to the river tomorrow'.. other times they'd tell us something like. .. 'go to the board and draw that out'.. but for the most part, we were on our own. We never got advanced notice of things like marauder attacks. They were always a surprise. As far as the builds.. once a week we'd brainstorm on the type of stuff we'd attempt in the coming week. Sometimes the production folks would suggest something, sometimes it was us, but they rarely told us what we had to do. What's more, they never told us how to do things. Occasionally if we got stuck, we'd get some suggestions from the technical staff.. but they were very reluctant to give us the answer outright. They would stop us if they through we were doing something really unsafe.. though I found that relatively unsafe was just fine. :-)..
One of the coolest moments I had was after the end of the show..when we were allowed to tour the production facility above the colony. They showed us the storyboard they'd made of all 10 episodes. On the top of the board we could see all the things they'd thought up for us to do.. on the bottom, we could see all the things we'd decided to do .. Sometimes we'd done what they'd expected.. other times we'd done something entirely different . It was very cool seeing what lined up and what didn't.


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LetterRip
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Interesting - in the most recent episode they have had a member abducted for ransom.

During the comments - it turns out that they did establish basic security protocols - a buddy system, etc. but didn't follow them.

One of the individuals states 'it is sad how incompetent we are'. So they recognize it at least.

While I liked the first show for its ability to show competent people over coming adversity, this is interesting in that it is showing the unfortunate consequences and dangers of incompetence, and people becoming aware of how dangerous their own incompetence is.

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JWatts
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It's hard to completely call this incompetence. Defining incompetence as the lack of a skill you 'should' have in this case. People don't do well at 'new' behaviors when they are tired, hungry, cold or hot, etc. Hence, the military drills recruits so that their expected behaviors under those conditions aren't new.

The key is in recognizing that mistakes will be made and being aware of the likely consequences and having fall back plans. The plans don't have to be elaborate. Just something as scream for help if someone you don't recognize shows up or run away.

Of course, in many cases like this you are going to have people who just refuse to follow the agreed upon plan/protocol. What to do in those cases is much harder.

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LetterRip
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Definitely not all of the issues they are having are incompetence related.

I don't blame them for not having skills. According to the bios lots of the folks actually do have the backgrounds that many of the obvious things should be being thought of and taken care of.

They were 'hit' 3 or 4 times, and only after the kidnapping have they decided to do the basic precaution of bringing inside important equipment at night and a possible night watch (they had a raid of a large number of people come and steal a lot of medical supplies, they had someone come and burn down a neighboring house and steal a few important items they had lying around the yard). Only after the neighboring house was burned down did they establish an alarm protocol.

The kidnapping issue I'm sure was just something that had never occurred to them, most folks have difficulty thinking of the all of the things bad guys can do.

quote:
Defining incompetence as the lack of a skill you 'should' have in this case.
It isn't so much lack of skills, as lack of thought that is the problem.

When the two new people arrived the first thing they thought of doing was hiding some of their stuff so it didn't get stolen. They did a recon of what was available quite shortly after they arrived. When they joined the group one of the first things they suggested was establishing an alarm and other protocols. Neither of them had any more background in this stuff than the rest of the group (indeed, according to the bios, one of the folks in the main group is an ex marine and woods survivalist enthusiast).

quote:
People don't do well at 'new' behaviors when they are tired, hungry, cold or hot, etc.
Yes I'm aware of that.

quote:
The key is in recognizing that mistakes will be made and being aware of the likely consequences and having fall back plans. The plans don't have to be elaborate. Just something as scream for help if someone you don't recognize shows up or run away.
Agreed.

The bad guys for the kidnapping actually did a fairly good ambush. One of the colonists actually though about it and realized a couple of important things

1) that it was a well planned and executed ambush
2) that the ambushers had done significant recon on them based on where and how it was done; and based on how and where the ransom note was left

The most interesting thing to me is that folks really are realizing some of their personal weaknesses and growing a bit based on them.

Ie one person realized that he has poor judgement/decision making skills and is prone to rash action and thus has voluntarily begun limiting himself to pitching in where others direct him.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
It isn't so much lack of skills, as lack of thought that is the problem.

I would say it isn't so much a lack of thought as a lack of consequences.

They get "kidnapped", what's the worst case scenario? Loss of screen time? If this was real, what's the worst case scenario? Pretty damn bad. With the consequences being so minimal, they focus on other things that seem more important. It's an elaborate game, not a real survival situation and they behave accordingly.

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LetterRip
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G2,

quote:
I would say it isn't so much a lack of thought as a lack of consequences.

They get "kidnapped", what's the worst case scenario? Loss of screen time?

while they are unlikely to die, comfort takes a massive hit. They are on fairly rationed food supplies, and to ransom her cost them most of their canned food, things get quite a bit blander and more miserable as a consequence.

There is also embarassment and looking like an idiot to friends and family that are watching.

I also think you underestimate how they are likely to adjust to the various stressors, etc.

People get deeply emotionally involved with watching football games.

Emotions are not rational and the psychological and physical stresses are telling them it is real even if they know intellectually it is not.

[ August 25, 2010, 08:26 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
G2,

quote:
I would say it isn't so much a lack of thought as a lack of consequences.

They get "kidnapped", what's the worst case scenario? Loss of screen time?

while they are unlikely to die, comfort takes a massive hit. They are on fairly rationed food supplies, and to ransom her cost them most of their canned food, things get quite a bit blander and more miserable as a consequence.
For the duration of the game. They don't have to live with the consequences but for a very short time. Plus, they know the producers are not going to let them starve or cause them too much trauma.

quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
There is also embarassment and looking like an idiot to friends and family that are watching.

It's reality TV, everyone knows it's manufactured and entire weeks are boiled down to 40 minute segments. Any embarrassment is probably due to editing or situational manipulation rather than major mistakes and can easily be explained away. People will be "cast" in roles and editing made to support those roles. It's SOP for reality shows.

quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
I also think you underestimate how they are likely to adjust to the various stressors, etc.

I think you overestimate them. Always, they know this will end soon and they will return to their lives. They know nothing truly bad or irreversible will happen. Nobody will really get hurt except by accident. They can stop anytime they want and go back to their lives. That changes everything.

quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
People get deeply emotionally involved with watching football games.

Emotions are not rational and the psychological and physical stresses are telling them it is real even if they know intellectually it is not.

Are these people such emotionally driven children they can't think? Not unless they raided a special needs facility for the cast. It's a game, no different than all the other reality games. They know that. They know they really have nothing to lose. This is, at best, a faint shadow of reality. What people would really do in these situations, we have plenty of history to tell us that and it's not what's happening on TV.

[ August 26, 2010, 09:43 AM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
It was a bit odd in the majority of useful skills were heavily concentrated among the men. There was a woman RN and a woman aerospace engineer. Also the age/experience was heavily concentrated among the men. Average age for men was 45 or so, and for the women was 25 or so.
The show sounds interesting but this depresses me. I can't help but think that it's because societally we STILL expect women to be young, hot, and lacking in useful skills - unless they are in a conventionally "nurturing" profession (RN). I am happy that there was a token woman aerospace engineer.
But middle-aged women who are competent are, you know, threatening to male dominance.
[Frown]

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LetterRip
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Ops,

for the second season, the most competent individual is a woman who is a business owner and mechanic.

The average age for the men dropped quite a bit, so it is more like average age of 30 for men, and 25 for women.

For the first season, the wife of the 'professor' was added towards the end and she was smart and competent as well.

Women are fairly uncommon in professions that would be useful in this situation. Less than 10% of women are engineers, scientists, mechanics, carpenters, survivalists. The only skillset where women are common that would bring a useful skillset is the medical field. Women tend to enter the legal, teaching, business major, entertainment, and hospitality fields.

Have a look at this chart to see the professions that are 'women dominated'

http://womeninbusiness.about.com/od/challengeswomenface/a/jobswomendom.htm

If you go by statistics, in a group of 10 people you are unlikely to have more than one women who brings a useful skillset, and she will generally be a nurse or doctor. In that same group how many men will have backgrounds in one of the following - engineering, medical, military/cop, carpenter/mechanic, or a reasonable chance of one or many of them interested in survival or hunting.

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LetterRip
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Just from personal experience - of the guys I know about 80% have mechanical, medical, military, or hunting/survival experience. Many have experience in 2,3 or even all four areas.

Of the women I know - probably about 5% has experience in any of those, and maybe 1% in more than one area.

I live in Alaska, so men and women are more often knowledgeable and self reliant in those areas than average. I think though that the dominance of where the experience lies would heavily favor men in any state in the US.

[ August 26, 2010, 05:17 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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OpsanusTau
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Right, that was kind of my point.

Women aren't equally well represented in every profession. Media portrays women in accordance with this. Society reinforces that this is what is expected of women. & so.

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LetterRip
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Since the whole experiment is sort of 'could a group of typical americans survive/thrive' in a disaster scenario, I don't think it would make sense to stack the cards in accordance to how we might like things to be.

It might be fun though to have some future scenario where a group is stacked with all competent women. That could certainly happen at say a 'women in science or women in engineering' conference.

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