1. Larry P. says:

    Your discussion of milk needs a little tweaking. During colonial times (and probably further back) silver dollars were used to preserve milk since they lacked refrigeration. Putting a silver dollar in can keep milk fresh from 2-10 days longer. Refrigeration will extend that figure.

  2. notleia says:

    Instead of energy-to-food replicators, what about something more like 3D printing food? You have a supply of proteins, carbs, fats, flavor-type chemicals, etc, that get assembled into a synthetic food? No idea about the texture and palatability, but something something pun about flavor text.

    Also, I still wish somebody would remake Voyager. Neelix and his kitchen was a good idea, but I want less Neelix in general.

  3. I really enjoyed this post. It had a lot of concrete and useful information. I knew that cold blooded animals burn less energy, for instance, but I didn’t have much of a concrete reference of exactly how much until now. 🙂

    Trying to feed an army full of obligate carnivores would be fun. Especially if they were large. Though exactly how that would turn out would depend on different factors. Some carnivores have teeth that are structured in a way that lets them break large bones and get at the marrow, so they would be making the most out of each carcass. Of course, after a battle, they might be able to snack on the carcasses of the opposing side, too, so that might cut down on some of the difficulty.

    One thing about keeping herds of prey species is that they can convert unedible things(like weeds we can’t eat) into edible things(meat). From what I understand, goats can eat a lot of things we can’t, and are often used to clear brush from areas that are hard to get to. Since goats are more nimble, can eat a lot of things we can’t, and can also give milk, maybe they would be a good choice for some armies.

  4. Rose says:

    Also, if you have either ancient or modern armies rucking (I.e. marching while carrying 40+ lbs on their back) for hours, they will be burning 4000 – 5000 calories a day. Marching is a lot of work!

    • Travis Perry says:

      German Army figures were lower than that (and German infantry did a lot of marching) and the US Army provides less than that as well for people marching long miles in tough training environments (the Army gives just short of 4000 calories a day). I had heard the 4000-5000 calorie figure before though and was surprised my research pointed to less than that. It’s swimming that burns the most calories for a human!

      But I’ll double check my figures. 🙂

      • Terrain would make a huge difference, though. Plodding up and down sand dunes in the middle of the day is way worse than it would be in a flat, cool meadow.

      • Rose says:

        A 200 lb. man doing an infantry standard ruck march (4 mph) will burn about 450 calories an hour. Add 40 lbs of gear and you burn around 550-600 calories an hour. But it’s probably more calories because historically most soldiers were carrying around 80 lbs of gear and were often required to march much faster. There are reports of men dropping where they stood after long marches and even some cases of men who dropped dead!

        • Travis Perry says:

          I think though that lean, in shape soldiers burn less calories per hour on the march than average people–their bodies get more efficient in processing food over time. The figures from the Colonial and German armies are real figures that were actually used to feed human beings in war time (and for both armies, marching long distances for combat troops was routine).

          What’s your source for the 450 calories per hour per 200 lb. man? (I’d like to compare it to the historic data I’ve already seen.)

          • Rose says:

            I used some online calorie calculators. It’s true the more in shape you are would probably be more efficient. I think that the historical figures are correct. Armies don’t march all the time. It seems from many of the accounts I’ve read there is a lot of sitting in camp doing nothing. Or just standing guard. A few days of doing nothing combined with a few days of marching and the calories probably even out.

What do you think?