Fox ran an interesting story yesterday on five ways the world could end.
Now this isn't intended to bring anyone down, I just find it fascinating. Also, I find it helpful to put things in perspective occasionally. We are all worrying about the socialization of America, the Middle East, who will win American Idol this year, you know life changing things. If you start worrying about these too much, just stop and take a breathe and realize things could be worse, the world could end.
Actually if you want an even better analysis of this or have a budding mad scientist at home with the goal of destroying the Earth, read Top 10 Ways To Destroy Earth
First, what's not on the list. No matter what the Goracle says, global warming will not destroy the earth.
Global warming is bad for people who live in low-lying coastal areas and at the edges of deserts, but the truth is that Earth been much warmer throughout most of the past 500 million years, and life did just fine.
So now that everyone's nerves are calmed by that piece of good news, let's see what can do us in.
Asteroid - according to the article it would take a asteroid the size of a small planet to destroy life on Earth
Volcano - it would have to be a big one. Not Mount Pinatubo, not Krakatoa, not even the giant super-massive volcano that is boiling right now under Yellowstone National Park.
For that, it would take something along the lines of the long-ago prolonged eruptions that created India's Deccan Traps and the Siberian Traps in Russia.
In both instances, giant fissures in the ground simply opened up, oozing lava that spread in every direction for hundreds of miles, releasing huge amounts of deadly gas, smoke and soot into the atmosphere. These events went on for tens of thousands of years.
Nuclear War - not a couple of missiles lobbed but your father's nuclear war in which the US and Russia unloaded on each other. This would cause a Nuclear Winter that would destroy plant life and therefore cause animals to starve.
Black Hole - Some theorists believe there may be black holes all around us (maybe even inside of us) . These aren't the problem. The problem is the super massive black holes that suck in anything that comes near.
Finally, if we make it until then, the sun will expand as it dies and envelop the Earth in a billion or so years.
So, hug your kids, call your mother, live today like you only have 365,000,000,000 left.
Note: If you really need to get away, rent The Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy (see graphic above). This movie, while not for the mature, is incredibly good fun if you like Brittish humor.