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Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Monday, February 11, 2008

We're All Going To Die

These TED talks are like a 'Fun Sized' education. Today's lecture is brought to you by The Texan and the letter 'C'. Stephen Petranek talks about the 10 ways the world could end. It's 30 minutes long and I know your ADD ass can't handle such an exorbitant amount of talking.

So I'll break it down for you:

10. We Lose the Will to Survive - The average lifespan of a woman is now 83, and the average goes up almost 1 year of every year that passes. That means 50% of the people born in 2020 will live past 100. Currently 1 out of 5 people in the world is clinically depressed. People over the age of 65 are the people most likely to commit suicide.

9. Aliens Invade Earth - 1993 we discover the first planets outside our own solar system. It is projected there are 100's of millions of planets in the Milky Way. Statistically speaking, there is life on other planets and some of it is smarter than we are.

8. The Ecosystem Collapses - We are experiencing a species extinction rate that exceeds the fossil record by a factor of 10,000. At some point the rainforest will be logged beyond it's ability to sustain itself. A collapsing ecosystem of that size could destroy our atmosphere.

7. Particle Accelerator Mishap - A collider on Long Island performs an experiment that creates miniature black holes. They expect them to evaporate each time. Perhaps the larger collider in Switzerland can create some that don't.

6. Biotech Disaster - BT Corn is a genetically engineered corn that produces a pesticide to kill a corn borer. It is not intended for human consumption. Genes from this corn have been found in Mexico where genetically engineered plants are completely illegal. A disaster like this could potentially make 99% of corn species inedible for humans.

5. Reversal of The Earth's Magnetic Field - This happens every couple of hundred thousand years. The last one happened 800,000 years ago. When this happens we will be irradiated.

4. Giant Solar Flares - Usually blocked by the magnetic field. Turns out that while watching other stars, of similar makeup to our own, they will brighten by about 20 times. This brightening is believed to be a large solar flare. Again, we would be irradiated.

3. A New Global Epidemic - About 12,000 years ago there was a massive wave of death in the mammal population. It's believed that this was caused by a plague. All it takes is for one germ to mutate in a very bad way.

2. We Meet a Rogue Black Hole - The universe is vast, but it is also full of black holes. Most are orbiting something, but there are a few that are free traveling. If one of these comes within a billion miles of us, it could turn earths orbit into an elliptical shape. That means summer would be roughly 180 degrees and winter is 50 below.

1. A Really Big Asteroid - In 1989 a planet killing asteroid swung within 400,000 miles of earth. It passed directly through Earth's orbit. The Earth was in that spot 6 hours earlier.

It's not a question of 'if', it's a question of when.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh, I'll be dead first

2/11/2008 8:31 PM  
Blogger mattjustmull said...

I don't think it's a race :P

2/12/2008 9:19 AM  

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