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Ten apocalyptic theories on ‘The End of the World’ on December 21, 2012

November 16, 2009


In The Guardian, an article by journalist Kate Ravilious in consultation with leading scientists about the threats that could trigger the end of the world highlighted the following statements:

* The theory of Reinhard Stindl, MD, University of Vienna – Climate Change – “At the end of this century is possible that greenhouse gases will have doubled and global temperatures have increased by at least 2 degrees. This is more heat of what the Earth has experienced in the last million and a half years. In the worst case it could alter the climate in many regions, it could lead to global food shortages and the massive collapse of existing social systems, causing migration and conflicts for natural resources as parts of the world become uninhabitable. I don’t think it would mean the end of mankind, but would be potentially devastating. “

*- Erosion of telomeres – Reinhard Stindl – “At the tip of an animal’s chromosomes are protective caps called telomeres. Without them our DNA would become unstable. Every time a cell divides, almost never fully copies the telomeres , so during our lives our telomeres get shorter and shorter as our cells multiply. Eventually, when they are very short, we begin to see age-related diseases: cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart attacks, strokes, etc…”

* – Virologist Maria Zambón Health Protection Agency’s Influenza Laboratory, UK  – Global pandemic – “Over the last century we have had 4 major flu epidemics, along with AIDS and SARS, the severe acute respiratory syndrome, which has extended the use of surgical masks in China and Asia. Massive pandemics plague the world each century and it is inevitable that at least one would occurr in the future. The 1918 flu caused 20 million deaths in just one year, even more than the First World War. A similar outbreak today could have a more devastating impact. “

* Professor Paul Wilkinson, chairman of the advisory board of the Center for Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews – Terrorism – “Society today is more vulnerable to terrorism because it is easier for an evil group to get the necessary materials , technology and expertise to make weapons of mass destruction. Right now, the most likely cause of mass casualties caused by large scale terrorism would be a chemical or biological weapon. Something like Anthrax or smallpox virus would have a huge effect, and modern communications would immediately make it a transnational problem. “

* Lord Garden, Marshal of the British Air Force and defense spokesman of the Liberal Democratic Party – Nuclear War – “In theory a nuclear war could destroy human civilization but in practice I think the time of that danger has passed. There are three nuclear potential points of attention now: the Middle East, India-Pakistan and North Korea. Of these, North Korea is the most worrying, with a trigger-happy conventional army that could start a war by accident. But I like to think barriers against the use of nuclear weapons remain high for the way we have developed an international system of nuclear use restriction. “

* Donald Yeomans, director of the NEO Program, NASA – Impact of a meteorite, “In a very large time scales, the risk of dying as a result of the impact of a meteorite is approximately equivalent to the risk of dying in a plane crash. To cause a big problem to our civilization, the impact would have to be about 1.5 kilometers wide or greater. We expect an event of this type every million years or so.”

* Hans Moravec, a research professor at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh – Robots take over the world – “robotic CPU’s double their complexity (processing power) every year or every two years. They are now just below the lower range vertebrate complexity, but should reach us half-way into the century. By 2050 I predict that there will be robots with brain power like that of humans, with capcidad of abstraction and generalization.”

* Nir Shaviv, professor of physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Bombing of cosmic rays by the explosion of a star – “Every few decades, a giant star in our galaxy, the Milky Way, runs out of fuel and explodes. It is called a supernova. Cosmic rays (high energy particles like gamma rays) are spread in all directions. If it appears that the Earth gets caught in the middle of the shooting, it could cause an ice age. If Earth already has a cold weather, an extra discharge of cosmic rays could make things really worse and perhaps cause the extinction of a number of species.”

* Professor Bill McGuire, director of the Benfield Hazard Research Center at the University College of London – Supervolcanoes – “Approximately every 50,000 years the Earth experiences a supervolcano. More than 1,000 square kilometers of land can be undone in a pyroclastic flow of ash, all around could be covered with ash and sulfur gases would be injected into the atmosphere, creating a thin veil of sulfuric acid around the planet that would prevent the pass of sunlight for years. In broad daylight there would be no more light than during a moonlit night. A supervolcano is 12 times more likely that a large meteor impact.”

* Richard Wilson, a physics professor and researcher at Harvard University, USA, – The Earth swallowed by a black hole, “About seven years ago, when the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collector was being built at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, there was concern that it might form a sort of dense matter that had not existed before. At that time it was the largest particle accelerator built in the world and allowed to collide gold ions with immense force. The risk was that it could reach a stage that was sufficiently dense to be like a black hole, taking material from outside. Although the possibility of a black hole engulfing the Earth in the next 70 years is very low, perhaps in a few decades, with other particle accelerators…”

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