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  • It might feel like the world is ending right  now, but we'll get through this. However,  

  • that is not necessarily true of every scenarioWhat is the most likely way humanity will be wiped  

  • out? Maybe it's something from space, or our  planet, or us. Although the way the world ends  

  • might be because of you, and if this is the  case, you wouldn't have any control over it.

  • We are going to start with world ending events  from space, and then bring things closer to home.  

  • An asteroid impact is one of Hollywood's  favorite ways to destroy the world.  

  • But how likely is it that an  asteroid will wipe out humanity?

  • Asteroid impacts are actually pretty commonAccording to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory  

  • an asteroid enters Earth's atmosphere about once  a year. Granted these asteroids are about the  

  • size of a car, and burn up in the atmospherebut this happens pretty often. That being said,  

  • an asteroid that size would not wipe out life on  the planet. But a bigger one most certainly would.

  • In 1908, which is not that long ago in the scheme  of things, a 200-foot-wide piece of comet entered  

  • the atmosphere and exploded over Siberia. The  energy release was approximately 1,000 times  

  • more than the atomic bomb dropped on  Hiroshima. That is a lot of energy,  

  • but not enough to wipe out humanityIt flattened vast amounts of forest  

  • and killed wildlife in the area. But  Earth and humans continued on as normal.

  • In order to wipe out most life on our planet  an asteroid would need to be around 6 to 10  

  • miles across. And the odds of an asteroid  this size impacting the planet any time soon  

  • is around 0.000001%. So, we don't have to  worry about extinction by asteroid quite yet.  

  • However, an asteroid impacting the Earth  that is big enough to destroy the city or  

  • town you're living in right now has about  .1% chance of happening each year. So,  

  • maybe you should still belittle worried about asteroids.

  • The next world ending event we  wouldn't see comingliterally.

  • It is estimated that there are around 10 million  rogue black holes cruising around our galaxy.  

  • The tricky part about finding black holes headed  our way is that by definition you can't see them.  

  • Since nothing can escape a black holenot even light, they are invisible,  

  • but their effects on the things around them can be  

  • observed. This is how astronomers proved  black holes existed in the first place.

  • As a black hole approaches stars, planets, or  anything else in space it drags that object  

  • towards its massive gravity well. We can  observe celestial objects being thrown off  

  • their natural orbits by black holes. We can also  see light bend around the gravity of black holes,  

  • which allows astronomers to know that they're  there. This is called gravitational lensing.  

  • However, if one of these interstellar  monsters is lurking in the darkness  

  • of space on a collision course with our solar  system, we wouldn't know until it was too late.

  • The first indication that a black hole was  entering our solar system would occur when  

  • the outer planets were pulled from their orbitsWe would watch as Uranus and Neptune disappeared  

  • into the maw of the black hole. The black hole  wouldn't even need to directly pass through Earth  

  • to end the world. Just having one in our solar  system would launch our planet off of its orbit  

  • around the sun, and we would freeze to death  while hurtling through the darkness of space.

  • Luckily, we don't really need  to worry about this occurring,  

  • as scientists estimate that a rogue black hole  destroying our planet is around 1 in a trillion.

  • Now let's discuss some world ending events  that are closer to home. One of the most  

  • powerful natural phenomena on the planet are  volcanoes. These exploding pieces of Earth's  

  • crust and mantle can cause such widespread  damage that they can actually end the world.

  • For example, in 1783 the Laki Volcano  located in Iceland erupted. The lava,  

  • fumes, and ash wiped out around 9,000  people. The dust that was kicked up into  

  • the atmosphere blocked out much of the sun's  light. This caused temperatures to fall by  

  • almost 9 degrees in the northern hemisphereAnd that was a relatively small volcano.

  • There have been 5 mass extinctions during the  history of life on Earth. Six if you count the one  

  • humans are causing right now. It is likely that  volcanoes played a role in several of the previous  

  • mass extinctions. And if the Earth unleashes  its full potential like it has in the past,  

  • humans, and pretty much all life on the planetwill become extinct. So, how likely is it that a  

  • massive volcano will throw our planet into chaosUnfortunately, scientists believe we are overdue  

  • for such an event. The chances of a massive  volcanic eruption occurring are pretty high.

  • There are approximately 40 supervolcanoes  around the planet. At least one tends to  

  • erupt every 50,000 years or so. We haven't  had a massive eruption in around 74,000 years,  

  • so we are overdue. The likelihood ofsupervolcanic eruption that could end the world,  

  • or at least wipe out the human species from  the planet at some point in the future,  

  • is 100% going to happen. That is if  something else doesn't destroy us first.

  • We are probably much more likely to wipe ourselves  out than something from the planet or space.  

  • However, this next end of world  scenario may be Earth's way of  

  • trying to get rid of us because of the  damage we are causing to the planet.

  • It is undeniable that humans  are contributing to climate  

  • change by burning fossil fuels and  depleting the Earth's resources. So,  

  • how likely is it that the damage we are  doing will be the thing that ends the world?

  • If you ask scientists, some believe that it is  a very real possibility that climate change is  

  • what will wipe out humanity. For example, one  climate scientist named James Hansen says:  

  • If we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal,  

  • there's a substantial chance that we  will initiate the runaway greenhouse.  

  • If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I  believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.”

  • What he is referring to is that if  humans continue doing business as usual,  

  • and burn all of the fossil fuels on the planetthat Earth's temperature will increase so much  

  • that there would be a runaway greenhouse effectThis is because the amount of carbon dioxide  

  • and pollution we are putting into the atmosphere  will continue to trap heat, causing our planet's  

  • temperature to increase more and more. At some  point there will be so much pollution in the  

  • atmosphere that Earth won't be able to cool itself  down, and the temperature will just keep going up.

  • In this end of world scenario humans have  a choice. If we choose to do nothing,  

  • and just keep burning fossil fuelsthere is a 100% chance the world as  

  • we know it will end. However, there  is something even more terrifying.  

  • There are some scientists that think we have  already passed the point of no return, and death  

  • by climate change is inevitable. RegardlessEarth will bounce back once it gets rid of its  

  • pesky human problem, but almost everything  alive today will not be around to see it.

  • A more immediate threat that humans pose to the  planet, and ourselves, is destruction by nuclear  

  • war. It is estimated that within the next 100  years there is a 1% chance humanity ends the world  

  • in a nuclear holocaust. That is a really grim  thought. This could happen accidentally through  

  • a malfunction in a missile silo's computer systemor intentionally by one government or another.

  • Basically the world is being held hostage by  humanity's desire to stockpile nuclear weapons  

  • and blow one another up. There are approximately  3,750 active nuclear warheads as of right now.  

  • Some scientists estimate it would take  about 100 nukes to end the world from  

  • the fallout and nuclear winter that would  follow. So, this means that humans have a  

  • 1% chance of ending the world 37  times over in the next century.

  • Humans also hold the key to another end  of world scenario. What about death by  

  • Terminators? Or to take it out of the realm  of sci-fi, death by artificial intelligence.

  • We have created very basic artificial  intelligence at this point, and there  

  • is no possible way that our Alexa's or iPhone's  will be taking over the world just yet. Although,  

  • some of us may feel like they already have. But  researchers from Oxford and Yale say that there  

  • is a 50% chance that AI will start outperforming  humans in everything we do in the next 45 years.  

  • This doesn't necessarily mean that they  will take over the world quite yet though.

  • However, those same researchers predict that  in about 120 years every single human job  

  • will be able to be done by machines and  computers with artificial intelligence.  

  • At that point there would be no further use  for humans, and the AI takeover would commence.  

  • So, humans have roughly around 120  years before the machines take over.

  • Let's take a step away from how humans  could cause the end of the world,  

  • and look at something we  have no control over. Aliens.

  • What are the chances that the world ends by  alien invasion? Well first let's talk about  

  • the likelihood that aliens exist. Using complex  statistical equations such as Drake Equation  

  • and Bayesian analysis, some scientists believe the  chance of intelligent alien life in our galaxy is  

  • close to 45%. Most scientists believe that life  of some kind in our galaxy is almost a certainty,  

  • but alien microbes probably won't be  invading our planet any time soon.

  • However, many scientists, including the late  Stephen Hawking, think that if aliens did come  

  • to Earth, it would be almost inevitable they would  try to conquer the planet and wipe out humanity.  

  • Like when Europeans came to the Americas some  scientists suggest aliens might come to Earth  

  • for resources and to take what they want  while subjugating humans. Or perhaps also  

  • like the European conquerors, they would  bring an alien disease with them that would  

  • decimate our species. So, if aliens do exist it is  probably better that they don't find our planet,  

  • because it is more likely than not first  contact will be a world ending event.

  • Should you be worried bouthostile alien takeover though?  

  • No. The only natural resource on this planet  that is not in embarrassing abundance all over  

  • the universe iswell, us. Everything else  an alien may want to take our planet over  

  • for- including habitable territory- is in  extreme abundance all over the universe, or  

  • easily created through some long-term geo  engineering. And who would want humans as  

  • slaves anyways? We're rebellious and grossly  inefficient- an advanced alien species would  

  • be better off with cheap, efficient, and  durable robots to do all their slave labor.

  • But alien diseases are something you  should definitely be concerned about,  

  • because while aliens may not want to purposefully  invade our world and take our resources,  

  • they might accidentally wipe us out with a sneeze.

  • A final way the world might end may be the most  

  • surprising of all. Maybe you  will cause the world to end.

  • What if the world we live in is just a dream  or simulation? If you were the one in control,  

  • even if you didn't know it, at some point  you would be pulled out of the simulation,  

  • thus ending it. Whether it is a dream, or some  advanced computer game you are playing right now,  

  • when it ends you would be what  causes the end of this world.

  • The scariest thing is that scientists say there  is about a 50/50 chance that we all live in some  

  • sort of simulation. So, there is a 50% chance you  are going to be responsible for ending the world.  

  • Please do us all a favor and continue dreaming  or playing the game of life, because when you  

  • wake up or unplug, there is a 50% chance the  rest of us will be blinked out of existence.

  • Now watchScary Experiments That  Could Have Ended the World.” Or  

  • check outWhy You Wouldn't Survive World War 3.”

It might feel like the world is ending right  now, but we'll get through this. However,  

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This is How the World Ends

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    Summer posted on 2021/11/05
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