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August 13, 2010 10:24 AM   Subscribe

12 Events that Will Change Everything is an interactive article from Scientific American that offers rich information on potential major discoveries or cataclysms that could change the world, as well as their chances of happening. The list is a surprisingly sane look at future discontinuities as these sorts of lists go: it includes human cloning, artificial life, asteroid collisions, ice caps melting, and room temperature superconductors. For less sanity, see fifty or so ways the world could end at Exit Mundi.
posted by blahblahblah (50 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
But really, this should be entitled 12 Events that Might Change Everything. There is no guarantee that any of these events will actually happen, although they are all possible, and some are even likely.
posted by grizzled at 10:32 AM on August 13, 2010


12 Hypothetical Events that Will Could Change Everything a Lot of Things on Earth, if They Were to Ever Actually Happen, Which is Extremely Unlikely in Most Cases

FTFSciAm
posted by Sys Rq at 10:33 AM on August 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


... in bed.
posted by swift at 10:39 AM on August 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't think anything changes everything.
posted by notmydesk at 10:42 AM on August 13, 2010


I enjoyed the video of 4D Tetris.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:44 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think anything changes everything.

Clearly you are unfamiliar with the works of Lauper et al, 1984.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:58 AM on August 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


asteroid collisions, ice caps melting

the ozone layer leaving, and the sun exploding, we're definitely going to blow ourselves up.
posted by 7segment at 10:59 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


No grey goo scenario?
posted by prunes at 11:00 AM on August 13, 2010


Based on Twitter trending topics you'd think one of these events would be if Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber sung a duet together. But here we are.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:09 AM on August 13, 2010


#13 Development of an even more obnoxious Flash interface than the one featured in this article.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:17 AM on August 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


The top 10 ways to destroy the earth pops up here every few years.
posted by mkb at 11:19 AM on August 13, 2010


I'll believe this stuff when I get my jet-pack and/or flying car.
posted by HuronBob at 11:29 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Clearly you are unfamiliar with the works of Lauper et al, 1984.

Clearly you are unfamiliar with the works of The Brains et al, 1979.
posted by Sailormom at 11:31 AM on August 13, 2010


12 oh shit events that will make you go out and have sex with the first person you see.
posted by stormpooper at 11:34 AM on August 13, 2010


12 oh shit events that will make you go out and have sex with the first person you see.

* prints copies of article, runs outside naked*
posted by joe lisboa at 11:36 AM on August 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


Although last week, my husband blew the nastiest, lamb chop infused fart that woke me up and caused me to controllably wretch. And hey, we're all still here. So I think they either need to add 13 reasons or STFU. Nothing is destroying us after that experience.
posted by stormpooper at 11:36 AM on August 13, 2010


I mean uncontrollably. How could I forget?
posted by stormpooper at 11:37 AM on August 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


13. Human brains lose ability to parse information not in handy list form.
posted by chasing at 11:40 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


@chasing, can we then merge it with room temp superconductors?
posted by stormpooper at 11:43 AM on August 13, 2010


If this horrible wallpaper doesn't kill me, I think I can handle just about anything.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:49 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's all about the order in which they happen. I mean, if the Singularity goes down, then the Yellowstone supervolcano letting go wouldn't be such a thing. In fact--fuck it, I say that we make it happen, just to watch it. I'm sure that the hive mind (and the blue can make it happen, we'll be a real hive mind then) can get it sussed out. Best meetup in posthistory, whaddaya say?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:56 AM on August 13, 2010


With such insights in hand, perhaps a path towards room-temperature superconductors would come into view. But progress has remained slow. The winds of change don't always blow on cue.
Ugh. Really, SciAm? You decided to finish with a rhyme?
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:11 PM on August 13, 2010


*promptly gets hit by asteroid*
posted by joe lisboa at 12:18 PM on August 13, 2010


joe lisboa: *promptly gets hit by asteroid*

Or possibly your wife.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:24 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm going out on a limb and guessing that one of the events is not the scientificamerican.com website succumbing to the public's ravenous appetite for more disaster scenarios.
posted by itstheclamsname at 12:42 PM on August 13, 2010


ice caps melting. please. they've been around for what ... hundreds of millions of years?
posted by GrooveJedi at 12:52 PM on August 13, 2010


'ice caps melting. please. they've been around for what ... hundreds of millions of years?'

Not true. During 'greenhouse Earth' periods, tropical temperatures may reach the poles - no ice caps.

Greenhouse and icehouse Earth.

A more detailed link explaining why this is.

We are currently in an icehouse period, which means there are polar caps, and also deserts (as opposed to a tropical climate globally).
posted by plep at 12:57 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Turtles once swam in the Arctic.
posted by plep at 1:01 PM on August 13, 2010


*sits down at desk*

*logs into MetaFilter*

*reads story*

*takes glasses off slowly with trembling hand*

*solemnly whispers "This changes...everything!"*
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:29 PM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


12 Cover Ideas That Will Sell Lots of Magazines When Editors are Stuck for a Better Idea
(especially at outfits like SciAm, NatGeographic & PsychToday):

1. Killer volcanos
2. Secrets of the Pyramids
3. The last of the polar bears
4. What killed the dinosaurs
5. When earth collides with a comet or asteroid
6. Saving the baby seals, whales or gorillas
7. Alien worlds
8. The last of the giant pandas
9. Insects having sex
10. The last of the penguins
11. What killed King Tut
12. People having sex
posted by beagle at 2:10 PM on August 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also:

13. The Simpsons gets cancelled.
14. A man with TWO black parents gets elected President of the United States
15. A man with THREE black parents gets elected President of the United States
posted by blue_beetle at 2:21 PM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Although last week, my husband blew the nastiest, lamb chop infused fart that woke me up and caused me to controllably wretch.
posted by stormpooper at 2:36 PM on August 13 [+] [!]


I smell a cover up. stormpooper indeed.
posted by darkmatter at 2:33 PM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


9. Insects having sex

Really? Insect sex sells? Is it the incest/insect confusion, because otherwise I can't see it; Polar Bear sex, King Tut Sex, Panda Sex, Dinosaur Sex, Secret Sex, Pyramid Sex, and Killer Sex-- these all sound like attention grabbers. Aphid Sex, not so much.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:59 PM on August 13, 2010


Fusion: Less likely than aliens and usable extra dimensions.
posted by ymgve at 3:23 PM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


12 Events That Will Change Everything, Made Interactive

1. Flash is eliminated from the internet, forever.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:43 PM on August 13, 2010


Agreed ymgve.

The Sun's good at it, because, well, it's an insanely-super-massive nuclear fusion reactor.

Decomposing the Sun's output is the most likely way we can continue to thrive in the upper atmosphere of this generator.
posted by vectr at 3:51 PM on August 13, 2010


charlie don't surf's list of events that will change the world:

Flash Browser Plugin
Polar Meltdown
Extra Dimensions
Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Nuclear Exchange
Creation of Life
Room Temperature Semiconductors
Machine Self-awareness
Cloning of a Human
Pacific Earthquake
Fusion Energy
Asteroid Collision
Deadly Pandemic

Hey charlie... you know you don't have to install the plugin, right?
posted by vectr at 4:02 PM on August 13, 2010


President Madagascar!! A cloned Brazilian survivor of the Big Pacific Quake caused by an asteroid impact, who just detected an extraterrestrial transmission about a nuclear exchange in another dimension using a AI signal detector fed by zero-resistance lines from a floating fusion reactor, is coughing due to a synthetic virus.
posted by codswallop at 4:16 PM on August 13, 2010


Nobody seems to have noticed it, but check out Exit Mundi via the OP link; it's every possible angle on the End of the World visited with a light heart and, where appropriate, an asteroid-sized grain of salt.
posted by localroger at 5:50 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Insect sex sells when Isabella Holy Shit It's Really Her Rossellini is involved. If you thought her scenes in Blue Velvet were disturbing, check out "Bedbug" to get your world cataclysmically rocked.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:00 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Up next: Stuff that hasn't happened yet - What you don't know could kill you!
posted by qvantamon at 7:06 PM on August 13, 2010


You know, for all we hear about nuclear war and how we can end the world because of nuclear technology, I'm wondering: What if all the nations on Earth were to declare a war on Earth itself? How far would we get with everyone blowing up their nukes at just the right spot? Death of all humans, but some small mammals and most less advanced life survives? Generally all plants and animals die, save for a few extremeophiles? All life gone, and emergence of new life spontaneously forming unlikely? The Earth actually becomes a molten ball of magma again? How far away are we from the point where we can just vaporize this rock once and for all?

Inquiring minds want to know, and I feel like when we leave this planet for greener pastures, we should have a method to blow it up, just in case we accidentally left a vial of grey goo sitting out or something. It's kind of like putting out a bonfire once you leave a campsite.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:23 PM on August 13, 2010


what do the numbers mean at the bottom of the animated climate impact of nuclear war page? - it doesn't say - temperature? - percentage of blocked sunlight? - something else?

it's hard to understand when one doesn't know what metric's being used
posted by pyramid termite at 7:23 PM on August 13, 2010


Actually, wait, I was doing this the hard way. Instead of wasting a bunch of uranium and plutonium on Earth, how far away are we from modifying the rate at which the sun burns so that we could force it to go nova and melt our planet like so much slag?
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:28 PM on August 13, 2010


Also, what are the chances this guy was on to something and not just taking bad notes? A part of me really wants to see how badly we could mess stuff up with gamma radiation-packed nuclear hand grenades.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:31 PM on August 13, 2010


charlie don't surf's list of events that will change the world:

Flash Browser Plugin...

Hey charlie... you know you don't have to install the plugin, right?


I use ClickToFlash to block them. I just want Flash to die so people use something that works properly. And besides, this wasn't a "list of events that will change the world." It was a "list of events that will change the world, made interactive." This event seems like it will "change the world made interactive."
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:19 PM on August 14, 2010


12 Events that Will Change Everything is an interactive article from Scientific American that offers rich information on potential major discoveries or cataclysms that could change the world, as well as their chances of happening.

...

12 Events that Will Change Everything is an interactive article from Scientific American

...

an interactive article from Scientific American

Can we have a filter on the FPP submission page that automatically rejects any post containing this phrase?
posted by spitefulcrow at 4:40 PM on August 15, 2010


How far would we get with everyone blowing up their nukes at just the right spot?

You mean like the Nevada Test Site? We nuked the fuck out of that place. Over a thousand nuclear detonations; a hundred of them above ground. And it turns out nuclear armageddon is totally compatible with a tourism-based economy. Who knew?
posted by ryanrs at 4:50 PM on August 15, 2010


BTW, this didn't go down in some desolate, unpopulated part of Nevada. The test site is 65 miles outside Las Vegas.
posted by ryanrs at 5:08 PM on August 15, 2010


The test site is 65 miles outside Las Vegas.

Such a pity is wasn't 65 miles closer.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:40 PM on August 17, 2010


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