It seems that there are always a few disastrous events that are about to destroy humanity at any given time. Either it’s a comet, some sort of technical failure (like Y2K), some kind of war (like World War III), or some sort of cultural collapse (the end of the United States if you don’t elect *insert any candidate’s name here* as president).
The truth is that in spite of all the fearmongering that goes on in the media and in politics, there are in fact a few legitimately bad things that could happen to us as humans. Now, when we talk about bad things, these aren’t just any bad things. These are the sorts of things that could theoretically make quite a mess. They range all the way from global war to little technical issues that could be quite expensive to fix.
Of course, a few of the things on this list are only meant for a little comic relief, but it should quickly become apparent which ones are which. There really are quite a few things out there that could potentially go wrong. But in all honesty, it’s not worth getting too scared about any of them. Leave that to the politicians. These are 25 disastrous events that are on the verge of happening.
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Because people don’t finish their entire course of antibiotics, bacteria are evolving and developing immunity. It’s only a matter of time before we no longer have the means to cure diseases that were once very curable.
It’s unpredictable what will happen to the American Southwest, but one thing is for sure – it will be drier. A worst case scenario, however, could leave half the country in a mega-drought for the next 100 years.
In case you didn’t know, Yellowstone is actually a huge super-volcano just waiting to melt North America.
Year 2038 problem
Similar to the Y2K problem, this is the date past which 32-bit systems can no longer count. Although this may or may not affect your life, if you work in IT, this will be a bit of a question mark in the coming years.
Cascadia subduction zone
Although everyone knows about the San Andreas fault line and how it is supposed to “unleash the next big one,” there is debate over if this true. The size of the San Andreas limits its potential to create earthquakes. The Cascadia subduction zone though? Located in the Pacific northwest, it has the potential to unleash an earthquake that could destroy the entire western seaboard.
West Antarctic ice sheet
Scientists believe that the West Antarctic ice sheet has reached a point of “inevitable collapse.” By itself, it could raise the sea level by 1.2 meters. The only thing they are unsure about is how fast the rise will occur.
If you ask any Saudi, they will tell you, “we were once herders, we will be herders again.” Their economy is almost completely dependent on oil and foreign labor. Combine pending economic collapse with growing hard-line Islam, and you have a brutal recipe for disaster. If you think Syria was bad…
It is New Zealand’s largest lake, and it is also the crater rim of what scientists believe was the largest volcanic eruption on Earth (Oruanui eruption 26,000 years ago). It’s just a matter of time…
New Madrid Seismic Zone
This is a seismic zone in the southeastern United States that caused the 1812 New Madrid earthquakes and a bunch of smaller earthquakes since then. According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, a serious earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone could result in “the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States,” predicting “widespread and catastrophic” damage across Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee.
By this point, you may have come to terms with the fact that a lot of these involve earthquakes and volcanoes, and Istanbul is no different. What makes it worse, however, is that it is an extremely populated region with very poor infrastructure. Bad combination.
The Mosul Dam
This dam in Iraq has been plagued with problems since the get-go. Now to make matters worse, ISIS has been in control. If it collapses, the low casualty estimate hovers around half a million people.
The Ogala aquifer
This has been the Midwest’s primary source of water for the past 60 years. The problem is that it’s depleting rather quickly and could eventually trigger another “dust bowl” scenario.
Not only does CO2 retain heat, it reacts with water to form carbonic acid. To make a long story short – no more seafood.
The college bubble
Like the housing bubble, this one is already on its way to popping.
Erosion of privacy
This one is already creeping up on us. It will be slow, but it will be sure. Just read 1984.
Scientists have warned that a volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands could create a mega-tsunami with enough power to wipe out entire cities up and down the Atlantic Coast.
Another Carrington Event
The Carrington Event was a solar storm that occurred in 1859. If it happened again today, it could knock out all of our major power grids and cause quite a bit of chaos.
Nearly 80 million people call these floodplains home and just as with Mosul, there’s a dam, and that dam holds over 1 billion cubic meters of water. You guessed it…that dam has cracks.
The nukes we have today make Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like toys. Just one of them would be enough to end life as we know it.
It’s true. With new methods, the world has much more oil than we previously thought. Everyone thought the US hit peak oil in the 70’s, but now with new technologies, states like North Dakota are poised to turn into their own Persian Gulf countries (North Dakota is one of the fastest growing states in almost every metric because of new oil fields). The problem is that we will still eventually run out. It may be in 100 years. It may be in 1,000 years, but we will definitely run out.
Really big forest fires
The reason these have been so bad lately has a lot to do with forest fire prevention. It seems illogical at first, but when you don’t have fires or controlled burns, the dead material just builds up so that when you actually do have a fire, it’s ugly.
Your computer crashing
We know that this seems like light humor in an apocalyptic post, and it is, but seriously…you should always backup.
Although this has been a politically charged topic for some time, it’s becoming less and less so and for good reason. The climate is changing rapidly, and without sustainable solutions, this is going to be an issue for our grandkids.
Basically, this is how Google becomes self-aware. By programming something to be “artificially intelligent,” it could theoretically eventually start programming itself which would lead to something called artificial super-intelligence. Basically exactly what Hollywood has been warning us about.
If you follow global politics with any diligence at all, you will be consistently amazed at how close Russia and the US come to exchanging fire. All it takes is one bad call for a missile to launch.