Apocalypses have always fascinated me. I’ve lived through a bunch of pretenders. In eighth grade, a cult predicted the end of the world on a Friday. Didn’t happen. Y2K turned out to be a big bust. The main thing I remember about December 21, 2013 is that I got a Mayan Apocalypse-themed tattoo. Still, there are lots of other things that could end life as we know it in an instant. Here are 10 reasons to lose sleep during the week of the first Blood Moon.
Black holes aren’t stationary objects: They move. There are tons of them running around near us on a cosmic scale. If one decides to roll through our backyard, not even Ben Affleck can stop it from destroying the solar system.
If the Yellowstone Caldera goes off, it’s going to cover most of the Western United States in ash. That’s not really a big deal… except that crops need sunlight to grow. As the United States produces most of the world’s grain, that could be a problem.
Humanity is rapidly developing computers that can think for themselves. While limited at this point, breakthroughs in technology could quickly have computers with brainpower dwarfing humanity’s by orders of magnitude: You’re as smart to them as an ant is to you. How much concern do you have for the life of an ant?
Secrets Man Was Not Meant to Know
When Oppenheimer and the gang detonated the first nuclear bomb, they weren’t entirely sure that it wasn’t going to ignite all of the earth’s atmosphere. Similarly, no one really knew what was going to happen when the Large Hadron Collider went live. We’re reaching a point where we can invent things that could destroy the earth or even the entire universe. Speaking of which…
Nanotechnology—machines built on an atomic scale—holds a lot of promise, including Star Trek-style replicators. It might also result in self-replicating machines. Unchecked, that could mean “grey goo” outweighing all the stars and planets in the universe combined in a matter of days.
Polar Magnetic Reversal
If the Earth’s poles reverse—something that happens, apparently—you’ll have bigger problems than resetting your compass. Electrical devices will basically cease to work and all kinds of solar and cosmic radiation could start leaking through, causing a spike in cancer rates.
There are asteroids, and then there’s the notion of a hypergiant star exploding and collapsing light years away, poisoning everything with radiation. No one has ever seen this happen, but it’s theoretically possible. Scientists have postulated that hypernovas have caused mass extinctions in the past.
Are alien invasions the stuff of science fiction? Maybe. But what if it’s less War of the Worlds and more Contagion? With private space flight ramping up, there’s a very real possibility that space tourists could bring back microscopic invaders with them. But maybe you’d rather worry about…
The Plague of Justinian wiped out about 40 percent of Europe. The Black Death might have wiped out as much as 70 percent. While the game has changed in some ways thanks to modern medicine, the advent of antibiotic-resistant bacteria could kick us right back to the Dark Ages.
Blood Moon Prophecy
If you’re reading this, congrats. You’ve survived the first of a tetrad of Blood Moon eclipses (next three: October 8, 2014, April 8, 2015 and September 28, 2015). Depending which particular Christian pastor you believe, they either portend something totally vague like “changes for Israel” or the Second Coming and End of the World. Guess we’ll just have to see, won’t we?