We’ve all heard, and thanks to Hollywood SEEN, some pretty crazy end of the world scenarios, but the reality is that as things progress here on our planet there are some rather viable “nightmare scenarios” that could in fact spell disaster. Our Coffee Talk on Wednesday, December 12th, and our ParaChat on Sunday, December 16th, will cover these topics in detail, but for those who can’t make it – or want to further carry on the conversation – we’ve started up this thread on our boards.
Here are the “Top 5 Nightmare Scenarios” voted on and presented by SGRA researchers… Are any of them yours? Do you agree or disagree? Have another idea in mind? Tell us what YOU believe…
Zombie Apocalypse / Viral Outbreak
Yea, yea, laugh all you want. While movies like the Resident Evil series and TV shows like Walking Dead have forced zombies into the spotlight more than ever before, and the results are a little terrifying, there are some things to seriously consider. The concepts behind many zombie features do have some baring on reality, especially when it comes to the idea that a genetic mutation or engineered virus could be the cause of such an event. As was the case with Resident Evil, an event like this could easily begin by a disgruntled employee in one of hundreds of labs around the world involved in experimenting with strange and unseen viruses. And many of the same things that we do actually use in our lives for good, could also result in negative things. But, if there’s any question of how a zombie outbreak could really happen, just take a look at what happens when the power goes out in areas and there isn’t any online or cable TV. Yeesh, stay out of their way! And then there’s viruses… The Black Plague killed one European in four during the 14th century; influenza took at least 20 million lives between 1918 and 1919; the AIDS epidemic has produced a similar death toll and is still going strong. From 1980 to 1992, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mortality from infectious disease in the United States rose 58 percent. The grimmest possibility would be the emergence of a strain that spreads so fast we are caught off guard or that resists all chemical means of control.
Earth Changes / Natural Disasters
The last few years have brought natural disasters to everyone’s attention, as no place has been immune to the effects. It’s also clear that whether or not people want to admit it, our planet is changing and things are getting pretty hairy around here. The thing about natural disasters is that many of them, such as earthquakes, are undetectable until they happen. Others, like tornadoes, are ones that you can’t do much to get out of their way. And hurricanes… well, we’ve seen how unprepared those on the coastline are for them. With storms increasing in size and severity, there are larger and larger regions that are being devastated by them, and in some cases rebuilding is not an option. These disasters WILL be increasing, and when large portions of the world are effected by them, chaos will ensue, and the end of the world as we know it will come. What’s the worst part about this scenario? There’s not a thing we can do to stop it. Nature will do what it wants, when it wants, regardless of what we try to do to. And of course there’s the idea of “geoengineering�� that’s been taking place, basically what amounts to attempts (successes?) with weather manipulation. What could go wrong seems more obvious than what could go right.
Catastrophic Astronomical Event
This is another one we’re powerless to stop. Films like Armageddon and Deep Impact always end with humanity being spared, but let’s face the cold-hard-truth… we’re toast. That’s right, see ya, adios, bye bye. If an asteroid only 2 – 4 miles wide was set on a collision coarse with our planet we could do nothing more than sit there and watch. Sorry, there’s no secret space plan to send drillers up there, land on the asteroid, and blow it to hell. And the current plans that are actually “on the books” show little chance of really making a difference unless the asteroid is spotted YEARS ahead of time, which will likely not happen at all. And there’s another astronomical event we’re powerless to avoid… Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) also known as “solar flares.” These are enormous magnetic outbursts on the sun that speed towards our planet at a rate that makes the 93-million-mile journey to Earth in just three to four days. When the flare hits our planet we are bombarded with powerful electromagnetic force that can zap satellites out of the skies, destroy computer systems on the ground, knock out power, and more. And hardly any of these systems have any protection – simply turning them off won’t do the trick. Think about it… how much around you relies on computers to operate? Transportation systems. Power systems. Aircraft systems. You get the picture. We’re not just talking blackout, we’re talking TOTAL BLACKOUT. And not only COULD it happen, but the peak time for these storms is right now… 2012… yup.
Science today… boy, talk about the downfall of the world, it’s getting pretty mad out there. Technology is growing by leaps and bounds daily, but it’s not always a good thing. We’re toying around with things we don’t understand, looking to produce things we have no idea if we can control, or even what the result will be. From bigger bombs to crazy science experiments, this isn’t just mixing baking soda and vinegar anymore it’s mixing end of the world type stuff! About five years ago we decided to go on a kick of “let’s try to use a giant particle accelerator to fabricate a mini black hole,” and we’re still trying that. The problem is a) we have no idea what the result will be, b) we don’t know if we can properly control or contain a mini black hole, and c) we can’t do anything if we can’t manage to control it. Oh yea, it sounds like a GREAT idea! So maybe trying to create something that could consume the planet from within until there was nothing left isn’t such a grand idea. Nah, we’re going to give it a shot anyway!
The Rouge Terrorist Factor
It’s not the ones you can see that are the worry, it’s the ones you CAN’T see. The Cold War is over, and the threat of nuclear war from Russia isn’t on the boards any more… but that doesn’t mean by far that nuclear annihilation isn’t a concern. In fact, despite all of that nuclear attack is even MORE of a concern. Not from another country, but from the “rouge terrorist factor.” This may not even be something as organized as Al Qaeda, it could simply be a small group of a few people who get a hold of nuclear material. It’s what’s known as a “dirty bomb” and it scares the crap out of military and government officials even more than all-out nuclear war. Like the other Doomsday scenarios, there’s little we can do to actually stop this from happening. It’s not like someone needs to launch a missile at one of our cities, they simply need to get in a very small amount (less than about 5 pounds) of nuclear material. The fear-factor of a “dirty bomb” is that it doesn’t even need to be a large blast, but a small one in a major city will still be devastating.