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Apocalyptic Scientific Experiments

It may not be surgically clean or painless, but it can be very fast

We love science and the scientific method - without it we'd be still thinking that lightning was Zeus hurling thunderbolts, the sun was an enormous campfire, and the earth itself was balancing on huge turtles (a
cosmology that still holds a certain charm to certain people). We'd be ignorant troglodytes who would not know what hit us, if the world suddenly came to an end.

We have scientists to tell us that we should learn to love - and fear - the Finality, the coming End of All Things, that is darn nigh inevitable, though hopefully removed by a few quadrillion years. But rest assured, science can speed up things considerably in this direction, and here is a short how-to list:

1. Nuclear Fun-Was-Had-By-All. "Now we are all sons of bitches."

The poster child for the fear that science and engineering can give us – beyond Shelley’s fictitious Frankenstien, of course -- was born on July 16, 1945, in New Mexico. Not one to miss something so obvious, its daddy, the one and only J. Robert Oppenheimer (‘Oppy’ to his pals) thought “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds” from the Bhagavad Gita – but Kenneth Bainbridge, the Test Director, said it even better: "Now we are all sons of bitches."
Sure, the Trinity Atomic Bomb Test -- the event that began the so-called atomic age, leading to our now-constant terror that one day the missiles may start to fly and the bombs begin to fall -- was the first, but since then there have been all kinds of new, if not as flashy, scientific investigations that could be ten times more destructive, or even could ultimately gobble up our Universe...

2. A Subatomic Nightmare, or the Bubble of Doom
Naturally this is an exaggeration, but it’s still fun – in a shudder-inducing kind of way – to think about all these wildly hypothetical doomsdays. Putting aside the already overly publicized fears over the Large Hadron Collider creating a mini black hole that immediately falls to the core of the earth – eventually consuming the entire globe – some researchers have expressed concern that some day we may create, or unleash, a subatomic nightmare.

The hunt for the so-called God particle (also called a Higgs boson), for instance, has made some folks nervous: one wrong move, one missing plus or minus sign, and we could do something as esoteric and disastrous as discovering that we exist in a metastable vacuum (or "false vacuum") – when one of our particle accelerators creates ("nucleates") a bubble of lower energy vacuum, which would then "approach at nearly the speed of light and destroy the Earth instantaneously, without any forewarning."
"Vacuum decay is the ultimate ecological catastrophe; in the new vacuum there are new constants of nature; after vacuum decay, not only is life as we know it impossible, so is chemistry as we know it. However, one could always draw stoic comfort from the possibility that perhaps in the course of time the new vacuum would sustain, if not life as we know it, at least some structures capable of knowing joy. This possibility has now been eliminated." - S. Coleman
Some models describe the bubble as pretty much Universal, or bigger than our Universe, in which case we - just like these troglodytes - certainly would not know what hit us.

3. "Grey Goo" replaces everything, wants more
A new threat to everyone on the planet is the idea of developing nanotechnology. If you've been napping for the last decade or so, nanotech is basically machines the size of large molecules: machines that can create (pretty much) anything on a atomic level. The question – and the concern – is what might happen if a batch of these microscopic devices gets loose. The common description of this Armageddon is "grey goo."

The little machines would dissemble the entire world, and everything and everyone on it, until all that would be left is a spinning ball of, you guessed it, goo.
Somewhere down there are nanobots, busy having breakfast. Some Dr. Doom scenarios mention that once the Earth is consumed, the army of nanobots could be directed toward the Sun, and the Sun would dispose of them (or it could be the other way around - you never know 'till you try)

Written By Awais Ali


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