How The World Can End In The Next Few Hours
Doomsday may either sneak in as fire or ice. Through the news, everybody has been privy to the risks posed by fiery global warming, flooding coastal cities and bleaching corals, or frosty climatic shift, ushering in the latest Ice Age.
They are terrifying in themselves but there are more pressing apocalyptic scenarios, ones which could occur in the next few hours. Below are highly likely end-of-the-world scenarios that prove adage to “live each day as if it’s your last.”
This one is a no-brainer, seeing as so many movies, TV shows, and books revolve around this scenario. As yet, astronomers have suspected several planets outside the solar system to harbor life. With infinite number of galaxies dotting the universe, scientists are truly faced with the unquestionable probability of extraterrestrial life.
Should alien life forms have a civilization infinitely more progressive than the one on hand, then their giant leap forward is colonization. They’re the Brits; Earth is the New World.
As one reads this article, astronomers have detected more than 1000 near-earth objects. In truth, an obscenely incalculable amount of these objects lie out there, undetected. The Kuiper Belt alone keeps in place so many asteroids, albeit dangerously loosely.
It took one renegade asteroid to kill the dinosaurs. The next shooting star may be humankind’s last.
Black Hole on Earth
Everyone was terrified when the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, the world’s largest particle accelerator, was switched on in 2008. That fear is not entirely unfounded, for the accelerator has every potential to create a black hole right here on earth.
Earth has yet to be sucked into itself but an increasing number of credible physicists have come clean about the peril. Other than a black hole, the accelerator could create particles called strangelets, which could ravage the earth in the span of a heartbeat.
Gamma Ray Burst
Nobody lives to see this spectacle however. Should a burst happen in Earth’s neighborhood, at least a thousand light years away, the ensuing radiation would be fatal to all of humankind.
Ever inquisitive, scientists are in the nascent stages of nanotechnology or the manufacturing of products at atomic level. Truth to tell, they are already building nanobots, self-replicating robots more minute than a virus. There is the very real danger these tiny things would defy restraints and start eating away at everything and everyone.
Scientists have coined a word for this hazard, “ecophagy,” which only serves to underscore its urgency. When the nanobots finally control the globe, all that would be left is grey goo, a word which could not be more scientific.
During the Cold War, America’s guiding principle was “mutually assured destruction.” Just because the Soviet Union is long gone does not make the world a more livable place though. Right now, 20,000 nuclear warheads are strewn worldwide, not a few of which are weakly secured. More are likely to be produced by warmongering nations like North Korea and Iran. With peaceful geopolitics ever hanging by a thread, the world is truly a powder keg waiting to explode.
In the Middle Ages, innumerable men and women, young and old, rich and poor, left and right, fell to the Black Plague. Centuries later, the Spanish Flu made its own world tour and annihilated 100 million people in its wake. Talk about dreaded diseases!
Each year seems to concoct a new pandemic, e.g. SARS, bird flu, swine flu. Hindsight is 20/20 yet doctors have yet to find a definitive cure for these diseases. Exacerbating this state of affairs is the fact that diseases are increasingly resisting antibiotics and swiftly mutating. Worse, today’s transportation connectivity virtually makes a jetsetter out of a lethal organism.
To add to these natural menaces, laboratories around the world hold pirate’s caches of bioweapons. Just one broken vial and the human species could be a goner.
Geological history is rife with these tragedies. Every 300,000 years, the planet’s magnetic poles changed places, eradicating most life. Survivors died of radiation, let in by the weakened magnetic shield.
Earth shifted poles 800,000 years ago. This only means a polar shift could be in the offing tomorrow.
Japan’s 2011 earthquake notably shifted the axis of the planet by six inches, abbreviating daytime by two microseconds. That’s a mere irk compared to the events attendant on a mile-long shift.
So long as there is sunshine, there is creation. At times, the sun bombards the planet with solar flares, interfering with satellites and creating the wondrous Aurora Borealis. Either too much of them or one big, pent-up superflare spells apocalypse.
Wherever there are volcanoes, there are fertile lands – occasionally made of the decayed flesh and bones of people. Erupting volcanoes almost always leads to death, to say nothing of climatic changes and modified coastlines. Then again, the threat of ordinary volcanoes is localized, unlike that of supervolcanoes.
The Toba supereruption – in the island of Sumatra 70,000 years ago, a supervolcano erupted, its ash cloud blocking sunlight the world over. Humans hardly survived the catastrophe.
Poised to follow is the gargantuan supervolcano right beneath the Yellowstone National Park – Yellowstone Caldera. Already showing signs of volatility, it has erupted every 600,000 years. The last of its three eruptions occurred 640,000 years ago, leaving humankind 40,000 years more to prepare for the inevitable “boom!”