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Old 01-13-2008, 01:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Tilted Armageddon

This thread is about two things: identifying large scale potential catastrophes and then making realistic plans about what to do in the event, likely or unlikely, that it actually occurs. Catastrophes that effect anything smaller than a large city or larger than our solar system need not apply (but feel free to start a thread about them).

I'll begin:
YELLOWSTONE COULD KILL US ALL!!!

Under Yellowstone National Park is one of the largest calderas known to man measuring at 34 miles (55 km) by 45 miles (72 km). While we've known about the caldera for over 30 years, it was only classified as a "supervolcano" recently. While Wyoming does not fall on a fault line, it is a known hot spot, or an area of land that features volcanic activity directly from the mantle, straight up.

According to people in white lab coats, over the past 17 million years this particular caldera has erupted many times, covering Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Idaho in lava, and covering much of North America in ash. These eruptions are roughly 2,500 times the size of the eruption seen at Mt. St. Helens in 1980. As far as we know, the most recent eruption happened about 640,000 years ago and is responsible for the largest volcanic activity of the Pleistocene.

A full eruption of this caldera would almost certainly result in the deaths of millions initially, and could kill billions. The following image shows a theoretical map of total destruction:


WHAT SHOULD I DO?!
If you're in the zone illustrated above: get the fuck out asap. Plan ahead by making sure your car always has gas and that you have a clear route away from the theoretical center of the eruption. There is no way to know how this will erupt, so your best bet is to simply drive in the opposite direction of Yellowstone. Make sure that you have gas masks to prevent inhalation of ash, and you have plenty of non-perishable food, extra fuel, and a satellite capable phone. Get as far as you possibly can and call for help as soon as possible.

If you're not in the zone illustrated above: this is still likely to have a serious effect on you. Have plenty of non-perishable food items and water filters. If you're in North America, don't expect to see the sun for a bit. Europe is also likely to see quite a bit of ash.

Long term: this will take years to get out of the air and the agriculture industry will probably take decades to recuperate, should there be infrastructure left when the planet starts getting back to normal. Try to plant as many gardens as possible. Clean up ash from local parks and try planting there.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_Caldera
http://people.uwec.edu/ERICKSKM/hazards.html
www.armageddononline.org
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Oh joy, i'm boned.
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Some ideas for others:
La Palma Tsunami
Smallpox Pandemic
Nuclear War
Arctic Melt
Global Economic Collapse
Asteroid(s)
Jesus Returns
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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"Well this place is old
It feels just like a beat up truck
I turn the engine, but the engine doesn't turn
Well it smells of cheap wine & cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn"


Damnit. Since you mentioned larger than the solar system, hypernovas are out of this thread. I always hoped my death would be reclined in a lawn chair, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, drinking a screwdriver, watching the sky burn.

http://www.armageddononline.org/Spac...ding-star.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypernova
http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/head...t21oct98_1.htm

And everyone is invited to my End of the World Party. I wish it could be on 21st of December, 2012, but with Christmas so close, you'll want to spend Christmas with your families, either because you do not know/believe of your impending doom, or you want to spend those last few days with your family.

Either way, my friend and I hope to make it a rather bang on party.

@ will:
Why is "the computers have taken over" not on that list? I support this project here (anticipating it's initial start up), And we all know Google is bound to do it.
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augi
@ will:
Why is "the computers have taken over" not on that list? I support this project here (anticipating it's initial start up), And we all know Google is bound to do it.
It was just a list of ideas, hardly a full list.
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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All right, all right. I will have a go at drafting something acceptable for this thread.
[More about Google's SkyNet'y goodness]
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My favorite disaster scenario, the Zombie Apocalypse, calls for a somewhat more local response.

SAFE-HOUSE: The first thing to do is to find someplace readily defensible and well stocked with provisions. It's unlikely you'll find those two things together, so plan a route to your chosen safe-house past somewhere you can find abundant non-perishable goods. You don't want to be traveling more than a few miles, and you DON'T want to walk.

Zombies are very VERY stupid, but they're relentless and driven by an insatiable hunger for living flesh. If you can hide somewhere that there's absolutely NO indication of your presence, you're golden. An underground bomb bunker or fallout shelter is ideal, especially if it's already well stocked with non-perishables.

Another approach is to find a facility designed for security--a military installation, prison, or other such environment. If it's been more than a few days since the zombie outbreak, you can expect to have a chore ahead of you cleaning out the facility, but once you do, it should keep you good and safe. Just remember that if you're too obvious about your life-status, you WILL attract zombies, and enough zombies WILL push down fences, walls, and doors. So keep a low profile.

EQUIPMENT: Although the classic zombie-dispatching equipment consists of a chainsaw and a shotgun, any weapon that can deliver adequate cranial trauma will work, including all manner of handguns, rifles, clubs, sporting goods and hand tools. Ideally your chosen weapon allows you to take them out without getting too close--remember, one bite and you're a goner. If your facility has a guard tower or securable roof, it'll make a good sniper nest. If you're holed up in a military installation or police station, look around for any sort of bite-proof clothing you can find. While full riot gear would be ideal, a bullet-proof vest, leather coat or motorcycle helmet is better than nothing. Although zombies move very slowly, it's easy to fixate on the ones in front of you and get surrounded--some bite protection could give you the moments you need to get away.

PROCEDURES AND TECHNIQUES: Periodically, you'll probably have to go out from your bunker and clear out the zombies that will have accumulated around the area. Unless you're very well hidden you'll draw the nearby roamers, and they will draw others, and so on, and so on. Inevitably, you'll end up with a bunch of zombies clustered outside your facility--so you want to blast a hole through them (or find some other way past them) and draw them away from your facility, picking them off one at a time as they advance on you. Don't waste ammo--one shot right through the skull is what you're after here. And watch your back! You definitely don't want to get surrounded, and the gunfire will attract zombies who aren't already on the scene. Once you've cleaned house, you'll want to burn the bodies. Remember: zombies can't scale walls, but they CAN shamble up a wall-high pile of zombie corpses. Bodies burn well, being made largely of fat.

First aid will be critical. Depending on which zombie tradition is coming true, you may already be infected with the zombie virus. In that case, even if you die of natural causes you will come back as a zombie. That's okay for you, but no good for anybody else you're holed up with. In such traditions, zombie bites don't transmit the virus, they just cause death. That's good news, because it means if you're quick enough amputating a bitten limb, you can escape death and zombification. Ideally you'll have a doctor, medic, or nurse holed up with you who can perform the amputation. You're not likely to have much access to antibiotics, so don't forget the antiseptic properties of alcohol.

SURVIVAL: The next thing to deal with is whether you expect to be locked down for a long time (A.K.A. "the duration"). A good way to know whether this is a minor, local infestation or a global apocalypse is to see if TV and radio stations are still broadcasting. The minute the news goes off the air, you're in trouble. Remember, the further away the signal is coming from, the more it tells you about the scope of the outbreak. If you can find satellite TV, that's the most likely to still be broadcasting, and if it is, there's a good chance there's still a military to mount a rescue. If not, prepare to fend for yourself, because the whole system has broken down. N.B.--you will likely need a generator to power the TV in question, as the local electrical system will almost certainly be offline. Likewise, if you still have running water, boil it before drinking.

If it is look like like a permanent situation, you want to start thinking agriculture. Even the biggest stash of canned goods won't hold out forever. A few raised garden beds on the roof can keep you in the veggies year round, in some climates. Northern zombie survivors will want to grow as much as they can during the growing season and do whatever they can to preserve it--pickling is an option, if you have access to salt. Use rain barrels or other containers to capture rainwater.

Good luck, survivor!
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I was hoping the zombie scenario would come up soon. Rat, do you have any sources to cite?

I really hope someone will tackle the "Jesus Returns" one from an atheist survivalist standpoint. I can't because Pan might get mad.

Edit: But to be clear, this thread is mainly about surviving a real catastrophe, and would thus fall under Knowledge instead of Paranoia.

Last edited by Willravel; 01-13-2008 at 08:49 PM..
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Will, don't forget that in case of zombies, the gun owners are going to help save your ass
Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
Some ideas for others:
La Palma Tsunami
Smallpox Pandemic
Nuclear War
Arctic Melt
Global Economic Collapse
Asteroid(s)
Jesus Returns
Jesus Returns

What if means for you:
Apocalypse imminent. Remember, Jesus was the friendly, forgiving New Testament God.

What you should do:
Check for false messiah.
Repent. Rinse. Repeat.

Last edited by MSD; 01-13-2008 at 10:12 PM..
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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SMALLPOX IS GONNA GET YOU, SUCKA!
Smallpox is a contagious disease that is one of the world's most feared. 400,000 people in Europe died as a direct result of smallpox in the 18th century. During the 20th century, smallpox killed 300-500 MILLION deaths. While the disease has been theoretically eradicated, there have been several cases that have popped up in areas of extreme poverty, such as Somalia.

This particular disease is airborne, easily capable of infecting someone from 6 feet away or more. It can also stay alive on objects and be transmitted by touch. It could infect an entire movie theater in less than 2 hours. Without immunity, smallpox will infect anyone, be they young, old, or in the prime.

I won't go into too much detail about the symptoms, but let's just say it's really, really bad and then you die... and that's usually in around 2 weeks from infection to death.

An outbreak of smallpox can come from one of three causes:
1) Random development. Smallpox came from somewhere, and it's entirely possible that it could pop up again. In Somalia it seemed to spring out of nowhere decades after the last case (outside of infection by scientists experimenting with it). This is the worst possibly because it's not preventable.
2) Accidental Release from a lab. Currently there are two locations, the CDC in the US and VECTOR in Koltsovo, Russia. One wrong move and this could easily infect someone unknowingly who walks out the door, meets more people and bam.
3) Intentional release. Let's face it, this could eradicate an entire human populations and there are monsters out there that could use this to their own horrible ends.

JESUS CHRIST, WHAT DO I DO?!
If there is any worry, duct tape windows and unused doors shut and do NOT answer the door. Disinfect the whole house from top to bottom and bleach all clothes in hot water. Check all members of your family for a fever, using rubbing alcohol to clean the thermometer for 15-20 minutes between use. If anyone has the symptoms (outlined below), contact the CDC immediately and quarantine them in the house. Check other members of the family for symptoms for 17 days following.

Listen to and watch the local news as much as possible for up-to-date information. Follow the instructions of public health officials.

If anyone comes to the door, DO NOT OPEN IT (unless they've got credentials, and even then be careful). You must especially keep pets and children safe.

Use the internet (like TFP!) to send and receive information. If you think something funny is going on, post it online.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox
http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox...s/outbreak.asp
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:25 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: Yonder
Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
I was hoping the zombie scenario would come up soon. Rat, do you have any sources to cite?
Films:
- Night of the Living Dead
- Dawn of the Dead
- 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later
- Shawn of the Dead

Books:
- World War Z
- The Zombie Survival Guide (Thanks, Redlemon)
- the (EXCELLENT) graphic novel series The Walking Dead


I should note, not all zombies are slow. The 28 Days Later zombies run and fight as well as you or I. But those aren't "risen dead" zombies, they're living people infected with a virus.

Last edited by ratbastid; 01-14-2008 at 09:23 AM..
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:35 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
YELLOWSTONE COULD KILL US ALL!!!

-snip-

A full eruption of this caldera would almost certainly result in the deaths of millions initially, and could kill billions.

-snip-

WHAT SHOULD I DO?!
If this were to happen I assure you I would most definitely not be renewing my membership with the Yellowstone Association.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratbastid
Books:
- World War Z
You include that, but not
The Zombie Survival Guide The Zombie Survival Guide
by the same author? I haven't picked up WWZ yet, but the Guide was an amazing read.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redlemon
You include that, but not The Zombie Survival Guide by the same author? I haven't picked up WWZ yet, but the Guide was an amazing read.
Oh yeah. Forgot about that one!
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:56 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Well, I'm no great shakes at geology. Astronomy is more my bag. So if no one else is going to tackle it, I'll present another armegeddon guide. I call it:

Ahh! Meteor!
There are billions of rocks floating around out there, and one of them has our name on it!

So Just What's Out There, Anyway?

Space is big. Really, really big. Heck, our solar system is bigger than most people can conceive of. And there's lots of stuff floating around out there.

Most people have a vague idea from grade school astronomy lessons that there's a bunch of asteroids floating out somewhere between Mars and Jupiter. Fewer, I think, know about the Kuiper belt (although everybody knows at least one Kuiper belt obejct; we'll get to that later). Fewer still know about the (hypothetical) Oort Cloud, and fewer than that have studied astronomy in enough depth to be aware of the concept of LaGrangian points and the Trojans. Let's go through these in order from nearest to farthest, shall we?

1. The (Main) Asteroid Belt

Where Is It?
Floating in the space between Mars and Jupiter, spanning from approximately 1.5 astronmical units to just over 4 astronomical units (from 47 to 280 million miles from Earth) is the asteroid belt. This group of objects in recent days has actually come to be known as the Main belt, due to the discovery of other similar groups of objects within our solar system.

What Is It?
The Main belt (as the name implies) is a grouping of asteroids that orbit the sun in a mostly continuous belt. Currently there are hundreds of thousands of known objects there, ranging in size from a few hundred metres to just under 1000 kilometres in diameter. There is also quite a few objects that are smaller still, along with a large amount of dust; however, these pose no threat and are extremely difficult to detect and catalogue. The largest object, known as Ceres, is large enough to be considered a dwarf planet under the new rules.

These objects tumble through space, frequently colliding with one another. This has two effects; one is that the geography of the Main belt is constantly changing, as asteroids break apart or fuse together to form new objects. The other effect is that debris is occasionally thrown off.

What Kind Of Threat Is It?
Moderate. As previously noted, high speed collisions do occasionally produce debris that will be flung out of the Main belt. Some of it comes our way and occasionally even impacts us. Most of that is too small to get worked up about; it either burns up in orbit or is slowed and broken up sufficiently that when it does impact it doesn't do any serious harm. However, every once in a while something big enough to be a threat does get through. It was an object of that nature that is theorized to have wiped out the dinosaurs.

2. The Trojans

Where Are They?
There are two groups of Trojans, known as the Trojans and the Greeks (fans of Homer will get the reference). They occupy the Lagrangian points around Jupiter (the explanation of what Lagrangian points are is fairly involved; suffice to say that the ones we're talking about are two stable points where objects may share an orbit with another object or planet). This puts them between 5 and 5.5 AU out (approximately 370 to 420 million miles from Earth).

What Are They?
As mentioned above, the Trojans are a group of asteroids sharing an orbit with Jupiter. Hypothetically Trojan objects may occupy Lagrangian points and thus share an orbit with any planet, and Martian and Neptunian objects have been identified as well. It is even theoretically possible to have Trojan planets that share orbits, although there are none of those in our solar system. Regardless, the Jovian Trojans are the most widely recognized ones.

Currently there are 600 known Trojans sharing space with Jupiter, and split between the two 'camps'.

What Kind of Threat Are They?
Negligible. Unlike the Main belt, the Trojans are relatively stable. They're smaller on average than Main belt objects and tend to throw off less debris. A large amount of what they do throw off is captured in Jupiter's gravity and poses no threat to us.

In short, the odds of one of these things killing us are longer than the odds of me winning the powerball (keeping in mind that I am Canadian and thus ineligible).

3. The Kuiper Belt

Where Is It?
The Kuiper belt lies on the fringes of our solar system, just past Neptune's orbit. Much larger than the Main belt, it spans from about 30 astronomical units to roughly 55 astronomical units (approximately 2.5 billion to 5 billion miles from Earth).

What Is It?
The Kuiper belt has a consistency very similar to the Main belt, with asteroids ranging in size from hundreds of metres to a bit over 2000 kilometres in diameter. The largest object in the Kuiper belt is very well known; Pluto was until very recently the ninth planet in the solar system. However, when Eris was discovered, definitions were changed and Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet (which, despite the name, is not actually a planet in the strictest sense of the word). The objects of the Kuiper belt do contain more ice and less mineral content than objects in the Main belt, which is useful when attempting to detemine what came from where.

What Kind Of Threat Is It?
Minimal. Like the Main belt, objects in the Kuiper belt do collide frequently and have been known to throw off debris. However, between them and the Earth are the gas giants. These four planets act a bit like guards for the inner solar system and block a large portion of the stuff that comes from the outer reaches. Kuiper belt objects are less stable (and therefore pose a greater threat than) Lagrangian objects, but the chances are far greater of a Main belt object hitting us first.

4. The Scattered Disc Objects

Where Are They?
The Scattered disc objects lay on the very outer reaches of the solar system. The inner edge overlaps with the Kuiper belt, approximately 50 astronomical units out. It extends out to about 100 astronomical units (approximately 10 billion miles from Earth) and possibly further.

What Are They?
Honestly, we don't know a whole heck of a lot about them. These things are on the very outer fringes and are quite difficult to detect. We can postulate that they are probably objects similar in composition to the Kuiper belt objects and we can say that the largest currently known Scatted disc object is Eris, with a diameter around 2500 or 3000 kilometres. As noted above, it was the discovery of Eris that forced the IAU to finally create a firm definition of what exactly a planet is, and thus lead to the demise of Pluto's status as such. How many are there? Where are they? What do they do for fun? We can't say.

What Kind of Threat Are They?
Miniscule to mild. It's hard to say for sure just how threatening these things are because we know so little about them. We can note with a bit of relief, though, that any Scattered disc object with evil intent faces all the same obstacles the Kuiper belt objects do, plus the added obstacle of navigating the Kuiper belt itself. Thus, we're probably pretty safe.

5. The Oort Cloud

Where Is It?
Hypothetically, the Oort cloud is a spherical cloud of objects enveloping the solar system, about 50 000 astronomical units out (nearly 5 trillion miles from Earth).

What Is It?
In short, conjecture. Nobody even knows for sure if it exists, at this point. The Oort cloud was advanced as an explanation for where long-period comets come from; we have no direct evidence of it whatsoever.

What Kind Of Threat Is It?
Unknown. With it's very existence still in doubt, whether or not the objects in the Oort cloud pose a threat to us is anybody's guess.

6. Long-Period Comets

Where Are They?
It's impossible to give one location or distance for these things, because they're highly eccentric. They possess very long elliptical orbits which makes it difficult to even catalogue them all, let along know where they all are at any given time.

What Are They?
As the name implies, long-period comets are objects which take a very long time to complete an orbit. Their orbits, as noted above, are highly elliptical and not always completely stable. This, unfortunately, makes it nearly impossible to track them all with any degree of accuracy.

What Kind Of Threat Are They?
Moderate to high. Our methods of detecting these things simply aren't good enough for us to even be completely sure that there isn't one bearing down on us right now. To make matters worse, once such object is currently projected to actually be on a collision course with Earth. The good news is that current estimates place that collision somewhere around 2900 AD, so nobody reading this will be around to see it.

So What Do We Do?
Unfortunately, there isn't really very much that can be done to prepare for the worst. In a worst case scenario, it's possible that one of these objects could throw enough dust and debris into the air to start another ice age. Plants would be unable to survive, and the whole food chain would collapse on itself. Smaller objects may only cause local extinction events or throw up a thinner dust cloud. To prepare for these eventualities, one could stock up and canned and frozen goods, so as to have food to survive the disaster. Aside from that, all we can really do is try not to think about it.

So smile, Because we could all be dead tomorrow!

(All information is backed up by links to wikipedia, for simplicity on behalf of both the author and the readers. For more information on comets of doom, consult your local library.)
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian
Where Are They?
There are two groups of Trojans, known as the Trojans and the Greeks (fans of Homer will get the reference). They occupy the Lagrangian points around Jupiter (the explanation of what Lagrangian points are is fairly involved; suffice to say that the ones we're talking about are two stable points where objects may share an orbit with another object or planet). This puts them between 5 and 5.5 AU out (approximately 370 to 420 million miles from Earth).
So when people think of Trojans, they should think of protection. (Fans of Homer Simpson will get the reference).

Fantastic post, Martian. How apropos that one with such a name would have an affinity for things celestial.
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:04 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Martian, what news is there of that meteor/asteroid that will pass so close to Earth sometime in the near future that it will come back in 7 years?
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:18 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
...


YELLOWSTONE COULD KILL US ALL!!!

.....


WHAT SHOULD I DO?!
If you're in the zone illustrated above: get the fuck out asap.

....

Long term: this will take years to get out of the air and the agriculture industry will probably take decades to recuperate,

Looks like we're safe from immediate danger in S.Ont., but I remember the effects on the climate after Mt Pinatubo erupted in 1991. That resulted in the summer that wasn't. I wonder how it will affect Vancouver?
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:36 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Vancouver probably won't get lava, but you would get a ton of ash, assuming there's a full eruption. You'd need a gas mask for a few months to avoid pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (my favorite word) and a rather serious dust-buster.
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:50 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augi
Martian, what news is there of that meteor/asteroid that will pass so close to Earth sometime in the near future that it will come back in 7 years?
I suspect the object you're thinking of is Apophis, aka 2004MN<sub>4</sub>. Apophis created a stir back in 2004 because it passed near Earth and projections put it on a collision course with Earth ca 2029. That netted it a 4 on the Torino scale, the highest threat rating granted any Near Earth Object to date. Subsequent data collection showed that it would most likely be a miss (albeit a fairly close one, relatively speaking) and today Apophis is back at a 0, indicating negligible risk.

In keeping with the tone of the piece, I will admit I've exaggerated some of the threats involved here. After all, where's the fun in saying 'this could hypothetically happen, but it's not very bloody likely'? The aforementioned object slated to strike Earth ca 2900 is named 1950 DA, and has the dubious distinction of being the only object out there currently with a threat rating higher than 0, as it's at a 1 (the Torino scale, as a point of interest, increments only in integers and goes from 0 to 10, making a 1 the lowest possible value that's not 0). Essentially, based on the eccentricity of it's orbit, 1950 DA has a possibility of going one of two ways; if it goes one direction, it passes no nearer to us than Mars; the other way it comes closer and has a chance of hitting us. In 2900. Assuming our predictions are correct.

Really folks, not something to lose to much sleep over. But smile all the same, because even with all this we could all be dead tomorrow.

Also, just to straighten out the terminology:

A meteoroid is a very small object that travels through the solar system; the generally accepted threshold is 10m, smaller than that it's a meteoroid. Larger, it's an asteroid. Meteoroids beget meteors when they hit the Earth's atmosphere and burn brightly; a shooting star is a meteor. Meteors in turn beget meteorites when they're travelling slow enough or are large enough for part of the object to make it through the atmosphere and to the surface of the Earth; a meteorite is a grounded meteor. And tektite, for the geologists out there, is a type of rock formed when a meteorite or other object impacts with enough force to deform the surface of the Earth. The energy from the meteorite is converted largely into heat, which melts the rock. When the rock cools it reforms as tektite.

Asteroids are larger than meteoroids but smaller than dwarf planets. The exact distinction of what makes a dwarf planet and what makes an asteroid gets a bit technical, but that's the long and short of it. And planets are a step up from dwarf planets. Moons are objects in orbit around a planet, of which there are dozens currently known, the bulk of them belonging to Jupiter and Saturn.

The most numerous type of object in the solar system by far and away are asteroids. The only other type of object that does not fall into one of the above categories is the comet, which is distinguished by it's tail. A comet's tail is the result of it's composition, which undergoes a thermal reaction as it approaches the Sun.

And I think that about covers it.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:23 PM   #21 (permalink)
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K, haven't even read any of this yet but I know I'm going to like this thread.

During a not-so-recent visit here, my mom left behind a supply of extra-strong antibiotics in case, as she said, "of a biological attack." She'd be proud.
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it's better if you can ride without having to wonder if the guy in the car behind you is a sociopath, i find.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:52 PM   #22 (permalink)
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WHAT?! GLOBAL IMPOTENCE?! AHHHH!!
Oh yeah. It's worse than asteroids, super-volcanos, zombies, vampires, and werewolves combined: no more sex (you mean coitus?).

This could happen a number of ways, but most are going to deal with an intentional biological attack. Let's say you're the new Tzar of Australia and you want to take your neighbor's land without war... sterilize the males with a virus that's tailored to attack the male reproductive organs. While this would not be an easy task, or sane, it's entirely possible. Some viruses, including HPV, have a much higher infection rate in a particular gender, and effect part of that gender's reproductive organs. If tweaked in ways I can't begin to understand, it's not impossible that a virus that's male particular could be engineered and released.

Typhoid Harry! Australia drops off Harry Dundee in Auckland and waits 100 years. Bam, the population drops off and dwindles to a very small few that learned to wear a raincoat, if you catch my meaning. Worse, though, is that std's tend to spread. A lot. If released into a populated area, an STD can become global in a surprisingly short time and people don't like to be told to keep it in their pants.

WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I DO?!
Keep it in your pants. The CDC or any government organization will likely begin to set up infrastructure for insemination so that the population can continue to reproduce. Don't shag anyone.

Yep. Hell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSelfDestruct
Jesus Returns

What if means for you:
Apocalypse imminent. Remember, Jesus was the friendly, forgiving New Testament God.

What you should do:
Check for false messiah.
Repent. Rinse. Repeat.
That's it? Comon. Here, I'll start you out, and you finish it (warning, the following is massively offensive, but not intended to be serious):

Jesus is here. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!

Jesus Christ, in His infinite mercy, has blotted out the sun with his fleet of ships from the moon (that's where Jesus lives). Please remain calm. The rapture should be pretty quick and painless for Jews for Jesus (there are only like 12 of them), but if you're a gentile expect several months of running and no kosher foods (Jesus, after all, is Jewish).

Step 1: GET GUNS
Much like the zombie scenario, you will be dealing with hoards of the undead. While these undead don't feast on live human flesh, they will ingest your self-esteem and require 10% of your income, retroactively. You need to make sure that...

Now, MSD, please continue.

Last edited by Willravel; 01-14-2008 at 09:13 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 01-20-2008, 08:52 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian
So What Do We Do?
Unfortunately, there isn't really very much that can be done to prepare for the worst. In a worst case scenario, it's possible that one of these objects could throw enough dust and debris into the air to start another ice age. Plants would be unable to survive, and the whole food chain would collapse on itself. Smaller objects may only cause local extinction events or throw up a thinner dust cloud. To prepare for these eventualities, one could stock up and canned and frozen goods, so as to have food to survive the disaster. Aside from that, all we can really do is try not to think about it.
There actually is a fair amount of stuff our civilization can do to survive an asteroid/comet hit. The key, yes, is to stock up on canned, non-perishable foods -- but you want to build everything underground and hunker down for a few years...

What will the impact do? Well, for starters, there's not much anyone can do within a few hundred mile radius of the impact site. You'll either be incinerated in the impact fireball, or be buried in the ejecta. After the impact, the area will be uninhabitable as it'll essentially be a molten pool of lava for a while, so once the impact site is known -- the key is to flee!

So locally the effects will be devastating, but the impact will still have regional and global effects... For a global extinction level event (think K/T), the ejecta that is ballistically launched upwards out of the atmosphere will eventually settle back to the Earth. This means that you have a large amount of dust entering the atmosphere at high speed, and all of the friction created by this generates a lot of heat -- enough to turn the atmosphere into a broiler. This will raise the temperature at the surface high enough to incinerate plant matter and spark a global firestorm just about everywhere. So everything burns. Once that's over with ... the soot clouds and other chemicals (like sulfur dioxide) that were generated in the impact reside in the atmosphere for several years, helping to dim or completely block out the sun and launch the Earth into a global ice age.

But eventually, things turn back to habitable conditions. Surprisingly quickly, say 10ish years. So the key is to stay underground and survive for that multi-year period, and then emerge from the bunkers and rebuild civilization.

I got basically all of this from watching a special on cable, i think it was discovery channel -- "supercomet: after the impact"
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:50 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Well I live in South Carolina, so Yellowstone can fuck off.
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:57 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetroGunslinger
Well I live in South Carolina, so Yellowstone can fuck off.
South Carolina? Then you're in danger of a massive tsunami. If the volcano on La Palma in the Canari Islands goes off, it could set off a giant landslide that creates a tsunami that could wipe out the Eastern seaboard.
http://www.geo.arizona.edu/~andyf/LaPalma/
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:33 AM   #26 (permalink)
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That smallpox thing should be not big deal. Some of us oldsters were immunized as kids. We should have at least some minor immunity. (Don't we?)

Failing that... well, if I recall, the vaccine was developed from cowpox. Even if it's not currently available - there's a lot of cows in the world... I'm going to walk on thin ice with a dodgy idea here, and suggest that in the event of a smallpox apocalypse we deliberately infect the cows with cowpox then

(a) make vaccine, or
(b) milk them by hand, or
(c) just hang out on farms until we are immune
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Old 03-27-2008, 08:30 AM   #27 (permalink)
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This is going to be a very interesting thread. The one that interests me the most is "Global Economic Collapse" . I think about that possibility quite often. Let me see what I can put together. I already have some decent stores of food and water, but nothing to live years off of. . . and not enough weapons. . .
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Old 03-27-2008, 08:39 AM   #28 (permalink)
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I look forward to it, Mondak. I'll see if I can work global cylon nuke attack into something people will enjoy.
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Old 03-27-2008, 08:47 AM   #29 (permalink)
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LRH was right!

The eternal-battery turned out to not be so eternal after all and the force-field has failed. Xenu has escaped from his mountain prison and boy is he pissed. Apparently, the critic-thetans did not care for the plot of the so-called implant movies. They have said that the God, Devil and Christ characters were weak and poorly written and the dialogue was trite and hackneyed. They particularly did not like that Mel Gibson was cast in the role of God and that Xenu could have benefited from using an unknown in this role.

What to expect

You should expect to be approached by psychiatrists encouraging you to go in for a tax "inspection." It is unclear how this procedure will work in countries that have no formal tax structure. If you do fall victim to this tactic you may be given an injection of alcohol and glycol and placed on a space ship to await your final destination.

What can I do?

You MIGHT be able to escape if you are a member in good standing with the "Church" of Scientology. To be a member in good standing you just have to give them a lot of money. That's pretty much it. But once the H-bombs start going off you won't have much of a chance if you are still on the planet.
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Old 03-28-2008, 11:13 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Mondak, don't overestimate how much shooting you are actually likely to do (and survive).

If you have a small caliber rifle for small/medium game w/ a couple thousand rounds ($50 worth of ammunition for a .22), and something bigger for larger game/people w/ a couple hundred, you will probably be good for a long, long time.

The only way you are going to go through several hundred rounds in an engagement (and survive) is if you are in a military-like situation where you are laying down a base of fire so others can move.

Otherwise, you will probably either win or die before you go through 30 rounds. If you win, you will get whatever weapons and ammunition your attackers had. If not, it doesn't matter.

Your biggest expenditure will probably be rounds fired gathering day to day sustenance. Squirrels, birds, rabbits, deer, etc, at least while they last.

If yellowstone erupts, and it is going to, it will not only kill a bunch of people straight away, but will blanket the earth with an ash layer in the upper atmosphere wich will block out most sunlight. Then once the ash settles out, it will phosphate load streams causing all kinds of problems. The greenhouse gases that will get released may cause an episode of uncontrolled warming after the initial cooling caused by the ash. Farming probably won't be possible for a while, even on the other side of the world.
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Old 04-06-2008, 08:25 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Just so everyone is clear, I've run the numbers and CERN can't make a black hole that would suck in the Earth. They can't create the mass necessary to create anywhere near that level of gravity.

Still, they might be able to create a new, MAN MADE universe. I fucking love science.
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Old 04-06-2008, 08:46 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
Just so everyone is clear, I've run the numbers and CERN can't make a black hole that would suck in the Earth. They can't create the mass necessary to create anywhere near that level of gravity.

Still, they might be able to create a new, MAN MADE universe. I fucking love science.
I am so excited about this.
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Old 04-06-2008, 08:53 PM   #33 (permalink)
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That's what this thread is all about! Even when science is busy scaring the living fuck out of you it's still so awesome.

Maybe I should make an armageddon about us creating a new universe with cylons in it.
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:02 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
Maybe I should make an armageddon about us creating a new universe with cylons in it.
We are the cylons.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:21 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru
We are the cylons.
Isn't that a song by Queen?
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:21 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Okay, your guys end-times one is terrible. Let me elaborate.

Ahem.

REPENT, SINNERS!

The threat: The Rapture, the TRibulations, and Armaggedon

What is it: The final judgement.

What will happen: It all starts with the rapture. You will have no warning of when this will happen, no clue whatsoever. Every faithful christian will me swept away to heaven before death, leaving our sorry asses to face the consequences of out hedonistic indulgences, like pancakes. Soon after, we will have the antichrist show up. he will be a charismatic figure, able to sway people to do his bidding at will. He will be forced into power against his will. Still not convinced? The jews will rebuild the temple of jerusalem, where the islamic holy site currently stands. THEN you know we're screwed. From here, we will have a 1 1/2 years of false peace. prep time. after that, the antichrist will show his true colors and start branding people with his mark. 7 years of hell on earth, and then the final battle between good and evil, armageddon, happens. The devil is wiped out, and christ will come again for 1000 years of peace. then humanity is taken to heave, and the earth is plunged into darkness.

What you can do: Once the rapture happens, theres no do-overs. Now, all you can do is start being a good christian and hope something kills you, so you can go to heaven. use this 1 1/2 years to prepare some form of shelter that will protect you from being located in the event of some kind of sweep. The beast will begin to place his mark on all people. You must not accept this mark, or else you'll burn in hell. No exceptions. Stockpile arms to fight for the army of the lord in the final battle. Do NOT kill yourself, or else you'll burn in hell. Preferably, move to somewhere highly dangerous, like somalia, and get yourself killed. Home free. Just make sure you repent your ass off before you go. Do not, under any circumstances, deny the lord.

Danger: Extremely high. As we all know, the middle east is becoming increasingly unstable. Evangelism is on the rise in the Sttates, and currently, the main religion denying the Saviour (islam) is the fastest growing religion on the planet. Clearly, the antichrist will come soon, and all sinners will be judged soon after. Many believe that the large locusts described in revelations can be compared with todays military helicopters, and the fire rising from the ground could be nuclear war. Ronald Reagan thought that it was coming soon, and if he's trippin', you should be too.

Further reading: Revelations, Various authors
Left Behind Series, Tim Lahaye

Last edited by AKR; 04-14-2008 at 08:22 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 04-20-2008, 03:20 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
While these undead don't feast on live human flesh, they will ingest your self-esteem and require 10% of your income, retroactively.
The DNC?!?!?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKR
Every faithful christian will me swept away to heaven before death, leaving our sorry asses to face the consequences of out hedonistic indulgences, like pancakes.
I love pancakes...







... oh yeah, and Jesus. I meant to say Jesus first. Did I mention I love pan.. Jesus.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:07 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
Just so everyone is clear, I've run the numbers and CERN can't make a black hole that would suck in the Earth. They can't create the mass necessary to create anywhere near that level of gravity.
Not right out of the chute, perhaps, but....
EEK!! MAN-MADE MICRO BLACK HOLE!

CERN's quest for the God Particle leads to their building the Large Hadron Collider inside which micro- and macro-physical forces unseen since the dawn of the universe are toyed with. One day the right muon smacks into the right gluon and BAM, micro black hole.

The singularity is, like any black hole, infinitely small. But it's also SMALL--its mass is that of the two subatomic particles that created it. So it's not the massiveness that makes it a black hole like in cosmological black holes, it's the density.

Our micro black hole has two things going against it. The first is that gravity is a function of mass and distance. Since the mass is so small, its gravitational field is very weak. So at first, only the particles that are vanishingly close to the microscopic event horizon (it has one, as nature abhors a naked singularity) are sucked in.

The second is that it's now emitting Hawking radiation. This is the safety valve built into the LHC (and unlike other gross speculations, rank assertions, and wild-ass guesses I'm making here, this paragraph is 100% true). Hawking radiation is emitted by black holes of any size, and since it causes the black hole to lose mass, it theoretically should have any micro black holes evaporate nearly as soon as they're created. This is what CERN says will keep us safe from this scenario.

Unfortunately, our little friend is created right in the stream of the Collider's particle fountain--so more and more mass is pumped into it. Within a few fractions-of-a-second, it's eaten all the particles in the Collider ring, and now has measurable mass. Still microscopic, but measurable. Enough to overcome both the minuscule range of its gravitational field and the evaporating effect of its Hawking emissions.

At this point, the magnetic containment of the ring can no longer direct it. A stream of individual particles, yes, but all the particles clumped together and emitting both Hawking radiation and a strong monopolar magnetic field, no. It begins to drop, and as it contacts the bottom of the ring, it eats whatever material is in its immediate path. It drops right through the ring, the floor of the tunnel, and falls straight through to the center of the earth leaving a charred circle surrounding a microscopic pinprick of a hole.

Now, here's where things get interesting. This thing was the product of collision between two particles of different masses. So it retained some linear velocity inside the Collider ring. Therefore its drop through the earth isn't at a 90-degree angle to the surface. It's elliptical. It doesn't tag the center of the earth. It accelerates PAST the center of the earth--eating as it goes--then decelerates as it approaches the surface on the other side.

Now, it won't quite reach the surface. It's eating the whole way, and so has encountered minimal friction to slow it on its journey, and it has so little mass that Earth's gravity has little effect on it. But the LHC is an average of 100 meters underground, so it will only carry enough velocity to reach that depth inside the Earth before gravity finally manages to overcome its velocity and pulls it back. But it's retained almost all of its lateral momentum, and will curve back and fall in a parabola back toward the center of the earth.

It will trace a lovely spirograph pattern as it goes, eating ever-growing, arcing paths out of the deep earth. You could say that it's in orbit around the Earth's center-of-mass; an orbit that will never have it climb high enough to exit the surface.

As it travels, it grows. So the tunnel it's cutting gets bigger and bigger, and the effects of the Earth's gravity on it get stronger and stronger. Its growth will be exponential--it'll only consume microscopic amounts at first, and that will be how it is for almost all of its life (or, I should say, all of our duration of being able to observe it). But eventually a time will come when its event horizon is the size of a golf ball, and it's eating a golf-ball sized channel through the earth with every pass, then the size of a baseball, eating a baseball-sized channel, then of a basketball, eating a basketball-sized channel, until it's the size of a car, then a house. And as it grows, Earth's gravity will exert a stronger pull on it--from ALL directions, not just from the center-of-mass. This will decay its orbit and cause it to reach ever shallower apogees on each orbit.

Before long (maybe 50 years?) its orbit has decayed to the point that it has hollowed out basically the entire center of the earth. All the matter that the weight of the earth is resting on is consumed and infinitely compressed inside this black hole, leaving a gaping void.

The tectonic implications of this are very serious indeed--earthquakes on an unprecedented scale for both intensity, frequency, and duration. Eventually the planet itself will break down and collapse into itself.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

The most obvious thing is to invent space travel. Mars is our nearest safe haven--the Moon isn't safe from an Earth-sized black hole. Once this is showing effects, it's way too late; start working on that Mars rocket right now.

On the other hand, the black hole could probably be detected with a sufficiently sensitive seismological study from many points around the globe. If you could detect it and locate it at several points in time, you could predict where it will be several orbits from now, and could erect a magnetic tunneling system of sufficient strength to capture it. You'd need a massive magnetic containment field to hold it, and even then, you've got the tiger by the tail and you can't let go. If you dropped it, it would fall straight to the center of the earth and game over. You could put it in a rocket and fling it into space, but that's like the ultimate in being irresponsible with your trash.

Sources: Singularity, Bill DeSmet, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, Dan Simmons

Singularity Spoiler: Whatever you do once you've got it captured, you don't want to use it to time travel to 1921 to prevent the assassination of Lenin, because paradox won't let you. But that's, frankly, a lousy way to end the story.
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Old 04-20-2008, 09:29 PM   #39 (permalink)
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That is a fairly good post ratbastid.

Just a couple of points:
  • "The singularity is, like any black hole, infinitely small. But it's also SMALL--its mass is that of the two subatomic particles that created it. So it's not the massiveness that makes it a black hole like in cosmological black holes, it's the density." Actually, the mass is greater than that because the particles had kinetic energy (from their velocity) which also gets turned into mass.
  • "The second is that it's now emitting Hawking radiation. This is the safety valve built into the LHC (and unlike other gross speculations, rank assertions, and wild-ass guesses I'm making here, this paragraph is 100% true). Hawking radiation is emitted by black holes of any size, and since it causes the black hole to lose mass, it theoretically should have any micro black holes evaporate nearly as soon as they're created." Hawking Radiation as well as many other theories that relate to the decay of blackholes is still theoretical and debated. But I mean come'on, it's Stephen fuckin' Hawking.
  • "But eventually a time will come when its event horizon is the size of a golf ball, and it's eating a golf-ball sized channel through the earth with every pass, then the size of a baseball, eating a baseball-sized channel, then of a basketball, eating a basketball-sized channel, until it's the size of a car, then a house." Doing a quick calculation on a blackhole's Schwartzchild radius, the event horizon's diameter doesn't reach an inch (0.70" or 18mm). Granted I can't figure out if I have to take into account the potential energy of the engulfed mass. An argument against it is that the blackhole is moving at speeds far less than light, and the potential energy of the mass inside is not comparable to high Lorentz contractions (gamma constant effects).
  • "strong monopolar magnetic field" Monopole magnets are impossible even with blackholes. A blackhole does not retain charge or magnetic properties of the mass engulfed inside it. Plus, relativity prevents the existence of monopole magnets (I don't know how, I just remember a rant of a professor about how unrealistic science fiction movies and games are becoming).
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Old 04-21-2008, 05:47 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Good catches, Augi--particularly the monopolar magnetic field. I wondered if anyone was going to call me on that. It's necessary in order to have any sort of capture and containment scenario work out, although it's poor physics.

The growth of the thing as it orbits inside the earth falls under the "gross speculations, rank assertions, and wild-ass guesses" clause I inserted into Paragraph 4...

Last edited by ratbastid; 04-21-2008 at 05:54 AM..
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