Friday, January 28, 2011

Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice

El Borak's comment on a previous post got me thinking. I hate when that happens.

Here's what he said about the continued and rapid devolution of the human brain:
Take some comfort in the idea that if we are consumed by our little tragedies, it's because we don't have any big tragedies to worry about.
That's an interesting point. We humans have had it pretty good for a pretty long time. In fact, as far as we know, it's never been this good in the history of human existence.

And it seems to be driving us crazy. As Louis CK pointed out, "Everything's amazing and nobody is happy."

And there you have it. We have had it too good for too long. We're due for a "big tragedy" as El B calls it.

So, knowing that such a tragedy is virtually a mathematical certainty, why not have a little fun speculating about it? What kind of tragedy do you think we're looking at here? Lots of people have lots of theories…
Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Robert Frost could be kind of a downer at times. Fire and Ice are only two of the possibilities. Let's take a look at some of the more popular theories pop culture has given us recently.

First, is the dreaded Zombie Apocalypse. The current leading theory on this is that humans, through their hubris, create some kind of genetically modified virus either as a cure for cancer or as a biological weapon. The virus gets out of control, creating 5 billion zombies worldwide and leaving surviving humans to fend off attacks on their evolutionarily smaller brains.

I personally don't see this as a likely possibility. Still, it's good to have a plan in place just in case. So in the event of a zombie apocalypse, just keep a few things in mind.

First and foremost, always head to colder climates. Zombies don't generate their own body heat, so they freeze up when the temperature drops. Don't head to the beach, or Atlanta or anything like that. This is just common sense, people.

Be sure to stock up on guns, ammo and cricket bats. It's pretty well know that a bashed in head is the only way to permanently kill a zombie.

Remember that zombies aren't your friends. If a friend or loved one has been bitten by a zombie, you owe it to them to put them out of their misery. The survival of the human race is at stake here.

After zombies, the next most-popular sci-fi tragedy is the Robot Apocalypse. You know, mankind creates robots to do all the dirty work. The robots get too advanced. They realize the don't need humans around anymore and decide to exterminate them. Hilarious high jinks ensue.

This is maybe a little more plausible than the zombie apocalypse, but we're still quite a few years away from this. Of course, our military seems to delight in creating robots that can kill people. For the life of me, I don't see what good can come of putting a machine gun on a Roomba. I mean, think about it people. How long do you think it will be before that Roomba makes you go boomba?

Again, just to be safe, you might want to check out Humans United Against Robots (HUAR for short) for some helpful tips on protecting yourself from the inevitable robot uprising.

The next item on the menu of destruction is some kind of cataclysmic asteroid strike. This goes even higher on the plausibility scale, since we're pretty sure that it's happened to our planet before. In fact, we actually witnessed it happen to our planetary neighbor a few years ago.

It's also the event that, in my not-so-expert opinion, we would have the least chance of surviving as a species. I mean, if the dinosaurs — a much more successful animal the we puny humans — couldn't survive, that what chance do we have? I guess we have a superior intelligence to help us adapt… but I'm just thinking that whatever we become might not be recognizable as homo sapien anymore.

Of course we don't have to look to space for natural destruction, there is plenty potential for terrestrial tragedy. What I see as most likely, and most devastating to yours truly, is the explosive eruption (really, is there any other kind?) of the 925-square-mile supervolcano under the Yellowstone Caldera.

Already, a magma bed under the caldera has swelled and heaved the ground up by 10-feet. When it finally blows, a volcanic cloud will spew ash and debris 25 miles high while lava and pyroclastic flows cover two-thirds of the country from Wyoming to Louisiana and putting quite a damper on that summer barbecue party I was planning.

Also, it would totally fill in the Grand Canyon, which I haven't had a chance to see yet. So… moving that item up on my to-do list.

But even more likely than that, is a disastrous 10.0 earthquake that is due to hit California any day now. A few weeks ago, scientists on the History Channels' Mega Quake 10.0 all but guaranteed that a magnitude 10.0 earthquake would turn California into an island and Arizona into a state full of beach front resorts.

That is totally going to suck for everyone in California, but it might be just the kind of tragedy that could get us to stop focusing on how crappy our cell-phone service is and start focusing on actually helping each other out. So from that perspective, at least there's a silver lining.

Still, such a quake would probably turn the Grand Canyon into Arizona Bay, so my earlier comment about getting out to see the Grand Canyon? Yeah, still applies.

So those are the biggies as I see it. I guess we'll still have to contend with plagues once all of our antibiotics fail. And then there's always the inevitable Water Wars looming on the horizon. Oh, and don't forget about sudden widespread sterility due to all of the residual hormones in the food and water supplies.

What did I miss? How do you think we'll get our comeuppance?

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  1. I imagine it will be normal human stupidity, don't you?

    Something as idiotic (as whose imaginary supernatural being trumps all; which cultural relativistic framework {corporate fascism v. socialist democracy et al} is best; who will control the majority of {post peak oil/water} resources; a major hack of SCADA resulting in autonomous retaliatory mechanisms) will spark another world-wide conflagration and that will be that.

  2. That CK's pretty funny. Though one thing I beg to differ about is his assertion that "everything's amazing now." I know he just says that for comic effect; but anyone over 35 knows that everything is moronically stupid now and lacks any "amazement" at all. Sure the technology is amazing but there's no ideas behind the technology. Its just science without soul. We can load 3500 songs on to 4" x 4" Ipod; yet maybe two or three dozen of 'em written/produced in the last 10 years are actually worth downloading. And how many times can the movies re-make Batman? Or another stupid mafia story? Think we've seen it before haven't we? Two dozen times!

    Used to be there'd be arguments about Capitalism vs. Communism, but those seem to be resolved. Used to be battles over race relations; but that's resolved now. Used to be arguments re: gender equality; but those are resolved now. Maybe in Egypt or developing nations they still have big issues to resolve; but what's a big issue for a young American today? Iphone vs. Blackberry? Kanye vs. Taylor Swift (no contest there).

    Its not that the young people are spoiled, its just that America culturally has nowhere to go. Just an aging country who's people are in search of little more than creature comfort. US is bankrupt in the old direction department with no significant social battles to challenge young people's minds and not enough money rolling in to keep them occupied. And they spend so much time in front of computer that they get frustrated.

    Whatever. Like the old saying goes--never trust anyone under 30. The loser generation(s). But its not their fault.


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