How will the world end and will you be alive to see its demise?


  1. Is it wrong for me to think the end of the world will start in the Middle East?
    It will start with the destruction of Israel and end with all earth in flames.
    I think it could happen soon. I would hate to watch such a thing.

  2. Hi Samuel and welcome to the blog.
    Thank you for stepping up. I share your frightening view of the end of the world. There are many facts that point to the possibility of your scenario.
    When you are dealing with martyrs who find their true calling in their deaths, negotiation, fear of dying, reward and the earthly realm hold no advantage or meaning.
    When everlasting life comes in the form of total destruction you begin to wonder how anyone will ever survive the hatred in the Middle East.

  3. I strongly think the human race will end up exacting its own planetary demise. We foolishly continue to pump oil out of the earth’s core, dump millions of gallons of toxic waste into our oceans, and destroy millions of acres of forests every year. And for what? Money? Mother earth will not be able to withstand the damage we inflict too much longer.
    I believe we’ll see Mother Nature attempt to recover with an ice age or the earth may simply implode.
    I’ve been doing some off hour research into air temperatures, and I’ve found that blacktop and asphalt actually prohibits the air from cooling at the end of the day. The convection currents rising from the blacktop are 2-3 degrees warmer over my driveway than over the grass, a mere 1 foot from its edge. Now, put that into perspective with the millions of miles of roadway. Global warming through CFC’s? How about global warming through convective heat?
    It’s a smoke and mirrors show, really. Look to the sky! Our end will be an ice age caused by a meteor. Suckers! As they pump out more oil and continue dupming and cutting.
    We are by definition, a virus.

  4. When martyrs have weapons that kill everyone in an instant and poison the world forever you can see how a chain reaction begun in the Middle East will quickly fall like Jenga pegs all over the world. Relationships between countries won’t even be tested. There will not be time to see who is on which side. They push a button. We push a button. The curtain falls.

  5. That’s an interesting take, Cryptic!
    If you work of your asphalt analysis into something interesting, write it up for publication here as a post! It would be fascinating.
    I agree we take from the earth and rarely replenish anything.
    We may poison the entire earth as Samuel suggests and there where will we go? Into the heavens or onto the moon?

  6. Samuel —
    I agree human nature is impulsive and when you have bullies with their trigger-fingers jittering on a button to set off a sequence of unstoppable events you quickly have a recipe for masses of ash across the globe.
    The Cold War mentality of “self-assured mutual destruction” no longer lingers as a good deterrent because there are people who prefer their deaths over their lives and it is a religious conceit and not an economic one so there are few healing solutions to change the power of a dogma with ancient rituals and revelations.

  7. You can’t wage country against country wars any more. You need to go after the pockets of bad that cause trouble. We need our military to become quiet and surgical and stop with the big shows. Cut the troublemaker’s throats instead of bombing entire towns and then deny everything.

  8. That’s a radical way to deal with the world, Samuel. I agree that going after the troublemakers instead of an entire people is a better path to take than the one currently engaging the world.
    Diplomacy is a quickly dying Art.

  9. I think we will be the architects of our own demise – either we will “press the button” or we will poison the planet to the extent that it will no longer be able to support us/sustain us.
    I think the planet itself in some form or another will out last us.

  10. Adds a quick post script – I forgot to answer part of the question ……. If they get too trigger happy – I may still be around, but I hope the *greater good* prevails.

  11. Nicola!
    If we are “the architects of our own demise” why aren’t we also the personification of our own preservation?
    Is it human nature to only destroy what is than to create what should be?
    I agree a rock will outlive us all.

  12. I also think that some crazy fool with a nuke could end the world as we know it.
    If mass hysteria is to be believed, watch out on Aug. 22!
    Others are predicting sometime between now and 2010. I remember hearing something about the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 and that being the end of the world.
    I have a feeling that we’ll live a long time as humans and our generation won’t see the end of the world.
    There have always been predictions of the end of the world throughout history.

    “The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.”

    I think the key sign showing the end is near is all the people wanting to write books! 😉

  13. If we are “the architects of our own demise” why aren’t we also the personification of our own preservation?
    Is it human nature to only destroy what is than to create what should be?
    We could and still can choose preservation but basically we as humans are too greedy and too disrespectful of the earth and its resources.
    Humans have also become lazy – far too often people find that *taking from somone/something else* is easier than building and creating for ourselves.
    We could be investing in wave, solar and wind power. We could be looking for and researching alternatives to oil and coal. We could be dong so much more – but we choose not to – we chose to invest in other things.

  14. Chris!
    I agree there have been soothsayers across the history of time who cry for the end of the world.
    Has there ever been a time in the history of the world where so many places across the world have the power — nuclear bombs — to poison entire continents in a volley of explosions?
    Has there ever been a time in human history when a catastrophic weapon has not ultimately been used in battle?

  15. Nicola —
    Excellent points. Oil is an old resource and as you so rightly suggest, an outdated way to power the world.
    Our reliance on foreign oil — when the sun, wind and oceans belong to us all — does seem alarmingly shortsighted and protective of ancient familial money interests that do not promote the common welfare of everyone.
    The sooner we wean ourselves from oil the faster our lives will become better — but that swap from one addiction to a more plentiful resource will not happen in our lifetimes.

  16. Hi David,
    We live in scary times.
    Mutual Assured Destuction doesn’t work in these days when dying is the goal of some.
    In some ways, I trust North Korea more than I trust Iran. But, both have little to lose and think they have everything to gain through acquiring (and using?) nuclear weapons.
    The scariest things are the biological and chemical weapons that are easier to produce and deploy. Iran and North Korea won’t have enough nuclear weapons to ruin the world in the near future, but a mad scientist with a petri dish could!

  17. Why do you trust North Korea more than Iran, Chris?
    You’re right about biological weapons. They’re the next REALLY big weapon that has yet to be used to the fullest possible potential for destruction.

  18. I assume that North Korea is rational and thinks of doing things that are in its best interests. They might threaten, but in the end, I think they want what the rest of countries in the world want — money, power and status.
    North Korea knows that it risks being blown up if it attacks anyone.
    Iran’s leaders probably don’t mind dying for their cause because their rewards aren’t here on earth. In their twisted thinking, they gain from killing the infidels and gain if they are killed trying.
    That’s why Iran’s religious leaders are more dangerous.
    North Korea can be bought off or told by China to stand down, but Iran’s religious beliefs won’t let it be co-opted by secular rewards or threats.

  19. Chris!
    Your analysis is sobering. You’re right North Korea wants to belong to the world power. Iran refuses to play by any rules by their own self-interest. That is dangerous.
    Also, North Korea’s population is 23 million while Iran’s is around 70 million — if you mess with Iran you better have the power and the might to back up your big threats because they have millions of martyrs who will call you on it with their deaths and yours.
    Irag, in comparison has only 26 million people and Afghanistan has 29 million.
    In Today’s NYT’s Frank Rich was writing about the relationship between politics and terror warnings and he said in Iraq there are over 3,000 civilians dying there each day — more than were killed that one day on 9/11. That terrible disparity in the sacredness of lives isn’t playing well at home or in the Middle East.

  20. Here’s the current status of the Doomsday Clock, Dave:

    Chicago, February 27, 2002: Today, the Board of Directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the minute hand of the “Doomsday Clock,” the symbol of nuclear danger, from nine to seven minutes to midnight, the same setting at which the clock debuted 55 years ago. Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, this is the third time the hand has moved forward.

  21. Hi David,
    Here’s an interesting story:
    Britain Took Part in Mock Iran Invasion.

    The senior British officers took part in the Iranian war game just over a year after the invasion of Iraq. It was focused on the Caspian Sea, with an invasion date of 2015. Although the planners said the game was based on a fictitious Middle East country called Korona, the border corresponded exactly with Iran’s and the characteristics of the enemy were Iranian.
    A British medium-weight brigade operated as part of a US-led force.
    The MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, which helped run the war game, described it on its website as the “year’s main analytical event of the UK-US Future Land Operations Interoperability Study” aimed at ensuring that both armies work well together. The study “was extremely well received on both sides of the Atlantic”.

    Of course, any good military power practices invading any country that might pose a threat.
    We’ve had plans for invading Canada — just in case we had any problems with our 51st state, I mean, neighbor to the north.

  22. Chris:
    From Seymour Hersh’s recent New Yorker article:

    In his speech, Bush also talked about “freedom for the Iranian people,” and he added, “Iran’s leaders have a clear choice.” There was an unspoken threat: the U.S. Strategic Command, supported by the Air Force, has been drawing up plans, at the President’s direction, for a major bombing campaign in Iran.
    Inside the Pentagon, senior commanders have increasingly challenged the President’s plans, according to active-duty and retired officers and officials. The generals and admirals have told the Administration that the bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran’s nuclear program. They have also warned that an attack could lead to serious economic, political, and military consequences for the United States.
    A crucial issue in the military’s dissent, the officers said, is the fact that American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine activities or hidden facilities; the war planners are not sure what to hit. “The target array in Iran is huge, but it’s amorphous,” a high-ranking general told me. “The question we face is, When does innocent infrastructure evolve into something nefarious?” The high-ranking general added that the military’s experience in Iraq, where intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was deeply flawed, has affected its approach to Iran. “We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was nothing there. This is son of Iraq,” he said.
    “There is a war about the war going on inside the building,” a Pentagon consultant said. “If we go, we have to find something.”

  23. Here’s another attack Iran story:

    America’s military commander in Iraq ordered British troops to prepare a full-scale ground offensive against Iranian forces that had crossed the border and grabbed disputed territory, a senior officer has disclosed.
    An attack would almost certainly have provoked open conflict with Iran. But the British chose instead to resolve the matter through diplomatic channels.
    “If we had attacked the Iranian positions, all hell would have broken loose,” a defence source said yesterday.
    “We would have had the Iranians to our front and the Iraqi insurgents picking us off at the rear.”
    The incident was disclosed by a senior British officer at a conference in London last week and is reported in today’s edition of Defence Analysis. The identity of the officer is not given.
    “Some Iranian border and observation posts were re-positioned over the border, broadly a kilometre into Iraq,” a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.
    The incident began last July when Revolutionary Guards pushed about a kilometre into Iraq to the north and east of Basra in an apparent attempt to reoccupy territory which they claimed belonged to Iran.
    Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez then ordered the British to prepare to send in several thousand troops to attack the Revolutionary Guard positions.


  24. From U.S. Policy Options for Iran: Executive Summary, inserted into the Congressional Record by Congressman Bob Filner:

    With respect to these threats from Iran , Washington circles largely divide between two alternatives–those who favor engagement with and those who support military strikes against the regime Few favor regime change as an end in itself.
    While the Bush administration does not yet explicitly call for changing the regime, it advocates working with the Iranian people as opposed to the unelected theocracy in Tehran, which is an implicit policy of regime change.
    By calling for change in Tehran based on the Iranian opposition instead of the U.S. military, the Iran Policy Committee (IPC) highlights a third alternative: Keep open diplomatic and military options, while providing a central role for the Iranian opposition to facilitate regime change.

  25. I agree the Middle East is a ticking timebomb and we’ve done nothing to help cool things down over there despite what we are told.
    Here’s what Frank Rich said today in the NYTimes:

    As the election campaign quickens, genuine nightmares may well usurp the last gasps of Rovian fear-based politics. It’s hard to ignore the tragic reality that American troops are caught in the cross-fire of a sectarian bloodbath escalating daily, that botched American policy has strengthened Iran and Hezbollah and undermined Israel, and that our Department of Homeland Security is as ill-equipped now to prevent explosives (liquid or otherwise) in cargo as it was on 9/11. For those who’ve presided over this debacle and must face the voters in November, this is far scarier stuff than a foiled terrorist cell, nasty bloggers and Ned Lamont combined.
    I think we’re in a tough spot far away from home without much of a diplomatic plan to get us out of the sandy tarpit.

  26. It is interesting to note, that there has not been a time in human history when some faction of humans did not think they were in the end times. Although, while at work, I don’t have time to substantiate that statement.

  27. August 22, 2006 status check at 23:26 Teheran local time.
    Any bloggers with any reports of the end of the world, please advise.
    Please be advised, only report “end of the world” events that you’ve personally observed.
    We will stand by for reports.

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