Taking bets on how the Earth will perish...
February 7, 2009 4:48 PM   Subscribe

I thought this was going to be one of those cracked.com lists. I was more or less right.
posted by The White Hat at 4:52 PM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

The difference between this and a cracked.com list is Phil Plait kicks ass and knows his stuff.
posted by flatluigi at 5:03 PM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Professor: Thus our best estimate is that the sun will die in 5 billion years, killing all life on earth.

Student: Oh my God! Everything is going to die in 5 million years?!

Professor: No, you misheard me. I said 5 billion years.

Student: Oh. Whew!
posted by Joe Beese at 5:07 PM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, and what eschatological post would be complete without a link to Exit Mundi?
posted by The White Hat at 5:23 PM on February 7, 2009

Wasn't there a time when Discover Magazine was better than NewScientist?
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:27 PM on February 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

I wonder where he comes up with the ~10-7 chances for supernova and GRB death? Assuming a human lifetime of 102 years that still suggests there should have been a handful of cases of fried earth due to supernova and GRB in the fossil or geological record. Did I sleep through that day in class?
posted by hattifattener at 5:33 PM on February 7, 2009

Bacteria is going to kill us long before any of those things. I know it's a list of death from space. I'm just sayin'.
posted by diogenes at 5:48 PM on February 7, 2009

He goes over it in much more detail in the book the table was taken from, hatti.
posted by flatluigi at 5:49 PM on February 7, 2009

one word..

posted by HuronBob at 6:03 PM on February 7, 2009

11. Thriller Night. | Zombies, dancing, crotch grabbing rash. | 1 in the funk of 40,000 years. | Unpreventable. No mortal can resist the evil of the thriller.
posted by stavrogin at 6:05 PM on February 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

hatti: We aren't close to any stars that are good supernova candidates.
posted by argybarg at 6:09 PM on February 7, 2009

12. love?
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 6:24 PM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

argybarg: But you're saying we will be soon (and for the next billion years)? What I'm pointing out is that unless the chances of supernova and GRB sterilization are higher now than they used to be, it should have happened a few times already.
posted by hattifattener at 6:32 PM on February 7, 2009

How to destroy it yourself
posted by Mwongozi at 6:35 PM on February 7, 2009

Non, mon ami, it all goes down in 2012.
posted by emjaybee at 7:04 PM on February 7, 2009

I bet people will be twittering the end of the world
posted by mattoxic at 7:15 PM on February 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Planetophagy.... "...V838's brightening showed three distinct peaks. These, the researchers contend, correspond to its consumption of each of the planets...."
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 7:46 PM on February 7, 2009

From Mwongozi's link:

"The Earth has taken more devastating asteroid hits in its lifetime than you've had hot dinners, and lo, it still orbits merrily."

This, this quote, it comforts me so.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:05 PM on February 7, 2009

The world has better uptime than Twitter.
posted by flaterik at 8:07 PM on February 7, 2009

Ice is also nice
and would suffice.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:10 PM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by bardic at 8:36 PM on February 7, 2009

For three decades the Institute for Human Continuity has brought together the world's foremost scientists, politicians and business leaders to ensure the survival of humankind beyond 2012. The IHC: Ensuring the End Is Just the Beginning.

The IHC's comprehensive research has confirmed with 94% certainty that in the year 2012 cataclysmic forces will decimate our planet and much of its inhabitants.

Subterranean city planned in Antarctica.

We hope to see you in the future.
posted by netbros at 9:12 PM on February 7, 2009

where's the "choking on our ow gasses" part? Or the rise of the machines?!
posted by noriyori at 9:29 PM on February 7, 2009

what a crappy subtext to the collective ambition of humanity..
posted by kuatto at 9:38 PM on February 7, 2009

God damn it. I am so fucking tired of not making these lists! I know it's like the Oscars where it's supposedly all 'who you know' and all, but come on, isn't it time to look at some real new talent for a change?

I'm so going to boycott any awards these people give out from this point forward. It may be an honor just to be nominated, but hell, I guess I just don't know anything about that.
posted by quin at 9:58 PM on February 7, 2009

13. Quin. | Whining. | 1 in ~80,000. | Preventable. Electrical fire.
posted by stavrogin at 10:16 PM on February 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

hattifattener: Who says we haven't? What is now freaking me the hell out is the theory that a meteor didn't kill the dinosaurs, a GRB did. It postulates that the iridium layer was caused by one or more meteor impacts, but that happening after the fact, caused by Oort cloud objects having their orbits perturbed by the heating of the GRB.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 10:43 PM on February 7, 2009

14. Neglect.
posted by mazola at 10:55 PM on February 7, 2009

I just listened to him discussing this on the CERN podcast, episode 38.
posted by autodidact at 11:18 PM on February 7, 2009

15. My next supermassive flatulence attack.
posted by Duke999R at 3:13 AM on February 8, 2009

i'm rooting for 'galactic doom'. so metal.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 8:09 AM on February 8, 2009

Some of those odds are better than winning the lottery.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:58 AM on February 8, 2009

I love how they have the deaths from a Solar Flare/CME at 0. So the planes falling from the sky, ICU's shutting down and total loss of infrastructure wouldn't cause any deaths?
posted by Megafly at 11:22 AM on February 8, 2009

They didn't include SkyNet's computers becoming selfaware and taking over the world.
posted by Man_in_staysis at 4:31 PM on February 8, 2009

“where's the "choking on our own gasses" part?”

Humanity farts and pulls the covers over the Earth’s head?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:44 AM on February 9, 2009

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