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Scientific American Lays Odds

I just received Scientific American’s September Special Issue on “The End” and immediately turned to pages 82-83 to read the article “Laying Odds on the Apocalypse: Experts Assess Doomsday Scenarios.” Eight scenarios are listed, ranging from a killer pandemic (Destruction Ranking 4, Odds: 1-in-2 over the next 30 years) to bubble nucleation, in which a universe pops up within our own (Destruction Ranking 10, Odds: 1-in-1,000,000,000 over the next trillion years). While I skipped over the latter (and won’t pretend to understand it), I was very interested in scenario #5 on nuclear war. The magazine gave it a Destruction Ranking of 6 (hundreds of millions dead) and Odds of 1-in-30 over the next 10 years. Continue reading

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