Paging Chicken Little...
June 25, 2003 9:59 AM   Subscribe

We're all gonna die! But how? Wired breaks down the likelihood of ten (and a half) options.
posted by Ufez Jones (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've always been partial to 'supervolcanoes' and global thermohaline exchange failure, myself (numbers 8 and 9, respectively). The rest seem a bit far-fetched. Yellowstone IS due for #8, and #9 looks increasingly likely within the next 50 years if the current problems off Greenland in heat and salt exchange problems continue their course.

I have to admit - it would be nice to see the civilized world collapse right about now, as it doesn't seem like anything else can put a stop to our steady march into a dystopian future.
posted by Ryvar at 10:15 AM on June 25, 2003

Should point out that this article was written by the beloved Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN (and originally Slate)'s Tuesday Morning Quarterback. Nice to see him tackling the less important subjects like planetary holocaust, in addition to the NFL.
posted by jonson at 10:21 AM on June 25, 2003

If you're the type to read comments before you read the article, you might consider the non-print version of the article. It has amusing illustrations accompanying the text that are sadly lost in the printer friendly version.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:24 AM on June 25, 2003

Yay Easterbrook. EasterbrookFilter? Okay, I hate people who do that.
posted by xmutex at 10:28 AM on June 25, 2003

What I'd like is a statistical breakdown of how individuals are likely to die. Lifetime (none of this "men in their 20s" stuff). Flu virus? Heart Disease? Cancer? Car wreck? Homicide? Blood gone septic from a neglected tooth decay and following infection? Falling rock in a canyon? All ways I know people have died, but I just don't know which one to guard against most.

Although I'm planning on taking out all post-doc researchers in Brooklyn eating chinese food, just to remove the possibility of destroying the universe...
posted by weston at 10:35 AM on June 25, 2003

My money's still on heart disease, infectious disease, and cancer for most of us (link is a PDF file).
posted by straight at 10:40 AM on June 25, 2003

Of course we're all going to die. If we don't do something drastic every single person reading this post will be dead in less than 100 years!

Don't say I didn't warn you.
posted by spazzm at 10:42 AM on June 25, 2003

Depression, which has become 10 times more prevalent in Western nations in the postwar era, might grow so widespread that vast numbers of people would refuse to get out of bed...

I'd be terrified, if I weren't so apathetic.
posted by Bletch at 10:43 AM on June 25, 2003

I think I'd rather get deleted at the speed of light that waiting for the corrosive rain to eat it's way through my roof or starve to death as the food supply drops to zero.
posted by tayknight at 12:06 PM on June 25, 2003

Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland's "How We Die" does an excellent job of explaining the physical process of how common causes of death (heart disease, Alzheimer's, murder, accidents, cancer, stroke, etc.) kill people. It's not nearly as morbid a book as it sounds.
posted by Frank Grimes at 12:42 PM on June 25, 2003

this is good, but not as entertaining as "20 Ways the World Could End."
posted by serafinapekkala at 1:34 PM on June 25, 2003

Of course the other article is more entertaining. It wasn't written by Easterbrook, or rather, it wasn't filtered through a right-wing think tank's "environmental threat minimalization" filter by Easterbrook. That's why he has to wait 'til Tuesday Morning. He has to give his overlords all of Monday to review his work.
posted by wendell at 2:01 PM on June 25, 2003

Wendell: ???
posted by Hildago at 4:26 PM on June 25, 2003

From serafinapekkala's link - "Someone wakes up and realizes it was all a dream". Interesting concept.
posted by dg at 5:05 PM on June 25, 2003

Hidalgo: !!!
Just extra grumpy today, I'll take more of it out on some left-wingish writer the next chance I get.
posted by wendell at 6:30 PM on June 25, 2003

Bill Clinton sat in the White House wringing his hands about the preposterous sci-fi thriller The Cobra Event, in which nearly everyone in New York City drops dead from an unstoppable supergerm, when he should have been worrying about al Qaeda, a confirmed threat to New York.

The author of this article writes for The New Republic. I'd be surprised if he could write a review of toilet paper for Consumer Reports without taking a swipe at Clinton in the process.
posted by GriffX at 7:28 PM on June 25, 2003

I've read a lot (a LOT) of his work, and in general, he tends to swipe fairly even handedly at both parties.
posted by jonson at 7:31 PM on June 25, 2003

I wonder what criteria he used that allowed chemical and biological weapons to make the list, when nuclear weapons did not.
posted by sfenders at 7:33 PM on June 25, 2003

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