Category Archives: Science

Did the Astronauts Take Their Helmets Off On The Moon?

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Claim:

The moon landing was a hoax.  Here’s photographic proof showing the astronauts with their helmets off on the moon.

Astronauts without helmets

“So, these guys on the Moon took a moment to take their helmets off for this picture …”

FALSE!

This is a training excercise on earth, obviously.  Specifically, it’s…

Apollo 16 astronauts Lunar Module Pilot Charles M. Duke, Commander John W. Young, and Command Module Pilot Thomas K. Mattingly II during a training excercise in February 1972

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Here’s a link showing that very image:

Here’s How the Apollo Team Trained for Their Historic Space Missions

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Debunking Flat Earth Claim of “Same Stars in Winter & Summer”

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Claim:

If the earth revolves around the sun, why do we see the same stars at night all year long?  (Presented with the following image)

Screenshot_20170425-182250

FALSE!

imageObviously, anyone that knows anything about astronomy, or even casually looks up at the night sky through the seasons knows this is just batshit crazy.  Here’s a simple video of a star map showing the changing positions of the stars at the exact same time of night, over months.  Anyone can independently verify this by going out at night at the same time, every night, and making note of certain stars near the horizon.  Night after night, at the same time, they’re in a different position.

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How to Easily Stump Any Flat Earther

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If you’ve ever visited a NASA post on Google+, you’ll find that they draw the flat earthers out of their parents’ basements to post barely legible (on a good day) claims that everything NASA does is fake, that outer space doesn’t exist, that the world is flat, the sun is only a few thousand miles away, as well as the moon, satellites don’t exist, gravity doesn’t exist (no, really, they actually claim that), and a whole slew of grandiose, more expensive than God to pull off conspiracy theories.

If you’ve ever engaged with them, you’ll find some of them are incapable of intelligible thought or writing and are clearly psychologically damaged, but the ones that can write in mostly complete sentences will argue with you.  We’ll, they won’t really argue the point to support their claim.  They’ll just insult you, your intelligence, your upbringing, pretend like they’re amazed you actually believe the world is round, as if everyone else believes it’s flat, will have emotional tirades against you, tell you you’re indoctrinated, and blast you with pointless pictures and question, but they will almost never directly answer your questions.  They’ll try to overload you with ridiculous claims… so many, that it will be impossible for you to respond to them all.

I’ve found a way to shut some of them up.  I ask them one simple question:

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To All Flat Earthers
Why, when I point my satellite dish to where a geostationary satellite is supposed to be, I get a signal, and when I point it away, I lose the signal?  Keep in mind, this is pointed to a clear, unobstructed sky, with no mountains or towers in the way.

Already debunked answers:

  1. Towers.  The dish isn’t pointed at any.  It it were, all nearby dishes would have to point to it instead of the sky.  Dishes south of it would point north.  But all dishes in the northern hemisphere point southward.
  2. Balloons.  Balloons can’t stay stationary.  They move with the wind.  Also, same positional problem with towers.  Dishes would be pointed all over the place.  They’re not.
  3. Planes.  Same with balloons.  They can’t stay stationary.  Also, the pointing problem.

Offer an explanation that explains why dishes work like that if satellites don’t exist.

___

Inundate them with this question.  Some will actually go away.  The others will instead make themselves look even more ridiculous.

But WHY engage with them?

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Good question!  There’s little to no chance these flat earthers are even going to accept facts and reason.  But, they are actively recruiting new imbeciles to their cause.  By flushing out these kooks on public forums and exposing their idiocy, the few that might fall into their wacko way of thinking will be steered away, and that’s a win for everyone.  Plus, it’s highly entertaining to see how these people try to explain the logical contradictions of their flat world view.

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Does NASA fake Photos of Earth?

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Claim:

The earth is flat.  Everything NASA does is fake.  It’s a great big, decades long, world-wide conspiracy.  This photo proves it!  See all the copied and pasted clouds?

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FALSE!

This image isn’t even presented by NASA as real.  It’s from the iPhone’s wallpaper art collection.  All it proves is that the guy that made it is very talented.

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Here’s a full story on how the artist created the image and why clouds are replicated.

The guy who created the iPhone’s Earth image explains why he needed to fake it

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Why can I see buildings far beyond the horizon If the Earth is Round?

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Claim:

The earth is flat.  The fact that I can see buildings far beyond the horizon where they should be BELOW it is proof.

FALSE:

While it’s true that in some atmospheric conditions, light will bend near the ground and curve down and around the horizon to reveal buildings and landmarks much further than you’d be able to see had there been no unusual weather conditions or no atmosphere at all, it is NOT true that the world is flat, nor is this evidence for a flat earth.

imageA frequent example presented by flat earthers is a photo of the Chicago city skyline from Michigan, 60 miles away.  On most days, the entire Chicago skyline is below the horizon.  But when the air near the surface of the water is cooler than the air above, then light bends in a way to produce a “superior mirage”, allowing you to see images of objects below the horizon.  This is a temporary effect.

Mirage of the Chicago Skyline from Grand Mere State Park

It’s important to note that even in this image, frequently passed around by flat earthers, that only the top of the skyline is visible.  It appears as though the city is mostly under water.  That’s because, even though we’re seeing further than we normally can, the curvature of the earth is still present, even in this image, obstructing the lower parts of the city.  Additionally, notice the distortions of the stretched out appearance of the top of the Sears Tower.

Here’s a story about the photo on a Chicago ABC news affiliate website:

Mirage of Chicago skyline seen from Michigan shoreline

Click on the thumbnail below to see an animated GIF showing how even this photo proves the world is round.

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Is Antarctica a No-Fly Zone?

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Claim:

“No one is allowed to fly to, over, or near Antarctica and boats are not allowed near there per the Antarctic Treaty.”

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FALSE!

MANY flights have flown over Antarctica and ships can go anytime they want.  Antarctica is the coldest place on earth with virtually zero human population on it.  There’s just no good reason to fly there unless you’re doing scientific research or extreme outdooring.  The waters are obviously dangerous due to all the ice and many ships have been lost.  Runways are ice covered year round and there’s virtually no infrastructure there to handle plane maintenance.  Straight lines for flights between the tips of South America, South Africa, and Australia barely cross the edge of Antarctica and there are reasons to avoid flying over it, due to the extreme weather.

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But, that doesn’t mean no one goes and it doesn’t mean you can’t either.  Croydon travel is one of several companies that offer tours to and near Antarctica.

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The Antarctic Treaty

Here’s the preamble to the Antarctic Treaty.  In fact, in this PDF, linked from the official preamble, it provides guidelines on how to help protect the wildlife there should you choose to fly there.

In fact, this ad:

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Is a travel guide for going there, should you choose to go.

The Antarctic Treaty

The 12 nations listed in the preamble (below) signed the Antarctic Treaty on 1 December 1959 at Washington, D.C. The Treaty entered into force on 23 June 1961; the 12 signatories became the original 12 consultative nations.

As of April 2010, 17 additional nations (Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, and Uruguay) have achieved consultative status by acceding to the Treaty and by conducting substantial scientific research in Antarctica. Russia carries forward the signatory privileges and responsibilities established by the former Soviet Union.

Another 21 nations have acceded to the Antarctic Treaty: Austria, Belarus, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Malaysia, Monaco, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Switzerland, Turkey, and Venezuela. These nations agree to abide by the treaty and may attend consultative meetings as observers.

The 50 Antarctic Treaty nations represent about two-thirds of the world’s human population.

Consultative meetings have been held approximately every other year since the treaty entered into force, but since 1993 they have been held more frequently. Each meeting has generated recommendations regarding operation of the treaty that, when ratified by the participating governments, become binding on the parties to the treaty.

Additional meetings within the Antarctic Treaty system have produced agreements on conservation of seals, conservation of living resources, and comprehensive environmental protection. For detailed information about the Treaty System, please visit the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat web site at http://www.ats.aq/.

What follows is the complete text of the Antarctic Treaty. The headings for each article were added by the National Science Foundation and are unofficial.

    [preamble]

    The Governments of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, the French Republic, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Union of South Africa, The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America,

    Recognizing that it is in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord;

    Acknowledging the substantial contributions to scientific knowledge resulting from international cooperation in scientific investigation in Antarctica;

    Convinced that the establishment of a firm foundation for the continuation and development of such cooperation on the basis of freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica as applied during the International Geophysical Year accords with the interests of science and the progress of all mankind;

    Convinced also that a treaty ensuring the use of Antarctica for peaceful purposes only and the continuance of international harmony in Antarctica will further the purposes and principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations;

    Have agreed as follows:

    Article I

    [Antarctica for peaceful purposes only]

    1. Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only. There shall be prohibited, inter alia, any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases and fortifications, the carrying out of military maneuvers, as well as the testing of any type of weapons.

    2. The present Treaty shall not prevent the use of military personnel or equipment for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes.

    Article II

    [freedom of scientific investigation to continue]

    Freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica and cooperation toward that end, as applied during the International Geophysical Year, shall continue, subject to the provisions of the present Treaty.

    Article III

    [plans and results to be exchanged]

    1. In order to promote international cooperation in scientific investigation in Antarctica, as provided for in Article II of the present Treaty, the Contracting Parties agree that, to the greatest extent feasible and practicable:

    (a) information regarding plans for scientific programs in Antarctica shall be exchanged to permit maximum economy and efficiency of operations;

    (b) scientific personnel shall be exchanged in Antarctica between expeditions and stations;

    (c) scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available.

    2. In implementing this Article, every encouragement shall be given to the establishment of cooperative working relations with those Specialized Agencies of the United Nations and other international organizations having a scientific or technical interest in Antarctica.

    Article IV

    [territorial claims]

    1. Nothing contained in the present Treaty shall be interpreted as:

    (a) a renunciation by any Contracting Party of previously asserted rights of or claims to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica;

    (b) a renunciation or diminution by any Contracting Party of any basis of claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica which it may have whether as a result of its activities or those of its nationals in Antarctica, or otherwise;

    (c) prejudicing the position of any Contracting Party as regards its recognition or nonrecognition of any other State’s right of or claim or basis of claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica.

    2. No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica. No new claim, or enlargement of an existing claim, to territorial sovereignty shall be asserted while the present Treaty is in force.

    Article V

    [nuclear explosions prohibited]

    1. Any nuclear explosions in Antarctica and the disposal there of radioactive waste material shall be prohibited.

    2. In the event of the conclusion of international agreements concerning the use of nuclear energy, including nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive waste material, to which all of the Contracting Parties whose representatives are entitled to participate in the meetings provided for under Article IX are parties, the rules established under such agreements shall apply in Antarctica.

    Article VI

    [area covered by Treaty]

    The provisions of the present Treaty shall apply to the area south of 60o South latitude, including all ice shelves, but nothing in the present Treaty shall prejudice or in any way affect the rights, or the exercise of the rights, of any State under international law with regard to the high seas within that area.

    Article VII

    [free access for observation and inspection]

    1. In order to promote the objectives and ensure the observation of the provisions of the present Treaty, each Contracting Party whose representatives are entitled to participate in the meetings referred to in Article IX of the Treaty shall have the right to designate observers to carry out any inspection provided for by the present Article. Observers shall be nationals of the Contracting Parties which designate them. The names of the observers shall be communicated to every other Contracting Party having the right to designate observers, and like notice shall be given of the termination of their appointment.

    2. Each observer designated in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article shall have complete freedom of access at any time to any or all areas of Antarctica.

    3. All areas of Antarctica, including all stations, installations and equipment within those areas, and all ships and aircraft at points of discharging or embarking cargoes or personnel in Antarctica, shall be open at all times to inspection by any observers designated in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article.

    4. Aerial observation may be carried out at any time over any or all areas of Antarctica by any of the Contracting Parties having the right to designate observers.

    5. Each Contracting Party shall, at the time when the present Treaty enters into force for it, inform the other Contracting Parties, and thereafter shall give them notice in advance, of

    (a) all expeditions to and within Antarctica, on the part of its ships of nationals, and all expeditions to Antarctica organized in or proceeding from its territory;

    (b) all stations in Antarctica occupied by its nationals; and

    (c) any military personnel or equipment intended to be introduced by it into Antarctica subject to the conditions prescribed in paragraph 2 of Article I of the present Treaty.

    Article VIII

    [personnel under jurisdiction of their own states]

    1. In order to facilitate the exercise of their functions under the present Treaty, and without prejudice to the respective positions of the Contracting Parties relating to jurisdiction over all other persons in Antarctica, observers designated under paragraph 1 of Article VII and scientific personnel exchanged under subparagraph 1(b) of Article III of the Treaty, and members of the staffs accompanying any such persons, shall be subject only to the jurisdiction of the Contracting Party of which they are nationals in respect to all acts or omissions occurring while they are in Antarctica for the purpose of exercising their functions.

    2. Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article, and pending the adoption of measures in pursuance of subparagraph 1(e) of Article IX, the Contracting Parties concerned in any case of dispute with regard to the exercise of jurisdiction in Antarctica shall immediately consult together with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable solution.

    Article IX

    [Treaty states to meet periodically]

    1. Representatives of the Contracting Parties named in the preamble to the present Treaty shall meet at the City of Canberra within two months after date of entry into force of the Treaty, and thereafter at suitable intervals and places, for the purpose of exchanging information, consulting together on matters of common interest pertaining to Antarctica, and formulating and considering, and recommending to their Governments, measures in furtherance of the principles and objectives of the Treaty including measures regarding:

    (a) use of Antarctica for peaceful purposes only;

    (b) facilitation of scientific research in Antarctica;

    (c) facilitation of international scientific cooperation in Antarctica;

    (d) facilitation of the exercise of the rights of inspection provided for in Article VII of the Treaty;

    (e) questions relating to the exercise of jurisdiction in Antarctica;

    (f) preservation and conservation of living resources in Antarctica.

    2. Each Contracting Party which has become a party to the present Treaty by accession under Article XIII shall be entitled to appoint representatives to participate in the meetings referred to in paragraph 1 of the present Article, during such time as the Contracting Party demonstrates its interest in Antarctica by conducting substantial scientific research activity there, such as the establishment of a scientific station or the dispatch of a scientific expedition.

    3. Reports from the observers referred to in Article VII of the present Treaty shall be transmitted to the representatives of the Contracting Parties participating in the meetings referred to in paragraph 1 of the present Article.

    4. The measures referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall become effective when approved by all the Contracting Parties whose representatives were entitled to participate in the meetings held to consider those measures.

    5. Any or all of the rights established in the present Treaty may be exercised as from the date of entry into force of the Treaty whether or not any measures facilitating the exercise of such rights have been proposed, considered or approved as provided in this Article.

    Article X

    [discourages activities contrary to Treaty]

    Each of the Contracting Parties undertakes to exert appropriate efforts, consistent with the Charter of the United Nations, to the end that no one engages in any activity in Antarctica contrary to the principles or purposes of the present Treaty.

    Article XI

    [settlement of disputes]

    1. If any dispute arises between two or more of the Contracting Parties concerning the interpretation or application of the present Treaty, those Contracting Parties shall consult among themselves with a view to having the dispute resolved by negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement or other peaceful means of their own choice.

    2. Any dispute of this character not so resolved shall, with the consent, in each case, of all parties to the dispute, be referred to the International Court of Justice for settlement; but failure to reach agreement on reference to the International Court shall not absolve parties to the dispute from the responsibility of continuing to seek to resolve it by any of the various peaceful means referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

    Article XII

    [review of Treaty possible after 30 years]

    1. (a) The present Treaty may be modified or amended at any time by unanimous agreement of the Contracting Parties whose representatives are entitled to participate in the meetings provided for under Article IX. Any such modification or amendment shall enter into force when the depositary Government has received notice from all such Contracting Parties that they have ratified it.

    (b) Such modification or amendment shall thereafter enter into force as to any other Contracting Party when notice of ratification by it has been received by the depositary Government. Any such Contracting Party from which no notice of ratification is received within a period of two years from the date of entry into force of the modification or amendment in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph 1(a) of this Article shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the present Treaty on the date of the expiration of such period.

    2. (a) If after the expiration of thirty years from the date of entry into force of the present Treaty, any of the Contracting Parties whose representatives are entitled to participate in the meetings provided for under Article IX so requests by a communication addressed to the depositary Government, a Conference of all the Contracting Parties shall be held as soon as practicable to review the operation of the Treaty.

    (b) Any modification or amendment to the present Treaty which is approved at such a Conference by a majority of the Contracting Parties there represented, including a majority of those whose representatives are entitled to participate in the meetings provided for under Article IX, shall be communicated by the depositary Government to all the Contracting Parties immediately after the termination of the Conference and shall enter into force in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of the present Article.

    (c) If any such modification or amendment has not entered into force in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph 1(a) of this Article within a period of two years after the date of its communication to all the Contracting Parties, any Contracting Party may at any time after the expiration of that period give notice to the depositary Government of its withdrawal from the present Treaty; and such withdrawal shall take effect two years after the receipt of the notice by the depositary Government.

    Article XIII

    [ratification and accession]

    1. The present Treaty shall be subject to ratification by the signatory States. It shall be open for accession by any State which is a Member of the United Nations, or by any other State which may be invited to accede to the Treaty with the consent of all the Contracting Parties whose representatives are entitled to participate in the meetings provided for under Article IX of the Treaty.

    2. Ratification of or accession to the present Treaty shall be effected by each State in accordance with its constitutional processes.

    3. Instruments of ratification and instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Government of the United States of America, hereby designated as the depositary Government.

    4. The depositary Government shall inform all signatory and acceding States of the date of each deposit of an instrument of ratification or accession, and the date of entry into force of the Treaty and of any modification or amendment thereto.

    5. Upon the deposit of instruments of ratification by all the signatory States, the present Treaty shall enter into force for those States and for States which have deposited instruments of accession. Thereafter the Treaty shall enter into force for any acceding State upon the deposit of its instrument of accession.

    6. The present Treaty shall be registered by the depositary Government pursuant to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

    Article XIV

    [United States is repository]

    The present Treaty, done in the English, French, Russian, and Spanish languages, each version being equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the Government of the United States of America, which shall transmit duly certified copies thereof to the Governments of the signatory and acceding States.

    In witness whereof, the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, duly authorized, have signed the present Treaty.

    Done at Washington the first day of December, one thousand nine hundred and fifty-nine.

    For Argentina:

    Adolfo Seilingo
    F. Bello

    For Australia:

    Howard Beale
    For Belgium:
    Obert de Thieusies

    For Chile:

    Marcial Mora M.
    L. Gajardo V.
    Julio Escudero

    For the French Republic:

    Pierre Charpentier

    For Japan:

    Koichiro Asakai
    T. Shimoda

    For New Zealand:

    G.D.L. White

    For Norway:

    Paul Koht

    For the Union of South Africa:

    Wentzel C. du Plessis

    For the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics:

    V. Kuznetsov

    For the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

    Harold Caccia

    For the United States of America:

    Herman Phleger
    Paul C. Daniels

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You may live to see the Extinction of the Human Race

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This is a “fun” article I’ve been wanting to write for a while now.  Don’t worry, nothing below is going to happen anytime soon.  Or will it?

A Great Filter event is an event, either self-made or natural, that wipes out an intelligent species.  The idea is one presented as an explanation for the Fermi Paradox.  The Fermi Paradox says that per the odds that we’ve calculated, our galaxy should be teaming with technologically advanced life forms, yet we’ve found absolutely none, regardless of how intensely we’ve been looking.  One possible explanation for the lack of our finding any is that technologically advanced species that happen to survive all natural causes for extinction, inevitably self-destruct due to losing control of their own technological progress.  Ever since humans have invented the nuclear bomb, the idea that we may destroy ourselves has been a real concern.  And with that technology falling into more and more irresponsible hands like North Korea, Iran, and eventually terrorists organizations, the likelihood of a nuclear war keeps increasing.  Also, as more technology becomes accessible to more people, individuals are gaining greater and greater destructive power.  As humanity learns more and more about how biology works and how the laws of physics work, humanity is more and more capable of making both intentional and unintentional, massive planetary changes.

There are multiple ways we could bring about our own destruction and the number of ways and the ease of which to do it are increasing daily.

How will the human race go extinct?  Oh, let me count the ways!  This is a tiny list of all the ways!  First, I’ll provide the list, then below the list, we’ll go into a little more detail of some of them.  So, strap on your tinfoil hats, let’s go for a ride.

  1. Self inflicted:
    1. Global Thermal Nuclear War
    2. Bioengineered disease
    3. Artificial Intelligence run amok
      1. Machines advancement, ignoring impact to us
      2. Machines intentionally eliminating us (Terminators)
      3. Machines hacking us
    4. Gray Goo
    5. Climate Disasters
        1. Heat
        2. Cold
        3. Oxygen
        4. Nuclear Radiation
        5. Nuclear winter
        6. Starvation
    6. As-yet discovered quantum physics planetary annihilation
    7. As-yet discovered quantum physics universe destroying annihilation
    8. Artificial black hole
    9. Intentional asteroid impact
    10. Invited planetary alien invasion
  2. Natural
    1. Asteroid or comet impact
    2. Rogue planetary impact
    3. Planetary orbital change
    4. Sun flares
    5. Loss of magnetic field
    6. Disease
    7. Other life form atmospheric change
    8. Rogue black hole
    9. Rogue star
    10. Nearby supernova

Global Thermal Nuclear War

This one speaks for itself.  Throughout the second half of the 20th century all the way up to today, the threat of a global nuclear war has been real and if humanity explodes their entire nuclear arsenal,  about 1/2 of humanity will die within hours.  Over the next few weeks, hundreds of millions more will die from radiation sickness due to exposure to the initial blasts.  Nuclear fallout will rain down for hundreds of miles around each blast point, covering much of the earth in deadly, radioactive ash, killing all that come into contact with it anywhere from days to years later.  Radioactive clouds will permeate through all of earth’s atmosphere, irradiating everyone that breaths the air, including animals.  Those that didn’t die in the immediate blasts will die slow, painful deaths from cancer.

There will be pockets of people surviving from a few areas that were lucky enough to not receive major doses of any of the radioactive fallout.  And I use the term “lucky” loosely here.

Those “survivors” will have to endure a nuclear winter, blocking out the sun around 4 years, meaning no chance of growing any crops, current crops will die.  Livestock will die from starvation.  Most of the few survivors will die from starvation.  What few remain will have survived on stockpiles of rations, small rodents, insects, and cannibalism.  If any of them survive the long, 4 year nuclear winter, if they haven’t saved any seeds, they will have nothing to grow.  The odds of them not having received lethal doses of radiation during that time is small.

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Bioengineered disease

Humanity is gaining knowledge of genetics at an alarming rate.  They can already intentionally extract specific genes from specific species for specific purposes into other species.  Here’s an example of extracting cockroach genes and injecting them into the DNA of bacteria to intentionally produce cockroach milk, that’s 4 times more nutritious than other forms of milk:

http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-07-21

Here’s a DARPA project that creates pharmaceuticals via gene manipulation:

http://news.mit.edu/2016/portable-device-produces-biopharmaceuticals-on-demand-0729

Meanwhile smart building bricks have been created with microbial fuel cells embedded to produce electricity, clean water, and create detergents:

http://info.uwe.ac.uk/news/uwenews/news.aspx?id=3428

In India, they’re re-engineering the pea’s DNA:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-19/an-upgraded-3-000-year-old-pea-could-ease-india-s-inflation-problem

Recent research has shown how to modify genes of existing individuals (most gene modification techniques to now have been on changing genes for new individuals).  China is starting human trials already:

http://perfscience.com/content/2144438-china-start-world-s-first-human-crispr-trial-next-month

Here’s a gene manipulation that scientists are debating the ethics of releasing into the wild, because, Once it’s released, there’s no going back!

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/543721/with-this-genetic-engineering-technology-theres-no-turning-back/

Killer bees were artifacts of a scientific experiment in South America breeding African bees with European honey bees.  One night, a first time technician failed to go over all items on his checklist and didn’t close the beehives.  Some of the killer bees escaped into the wild.  Now, decades later, they’ve invaded almost as far north as Sacramento California.  There’s no known way of stopping them.

http://www.livescience.com/52153-africanized-bees-spreading-north.html

Any of those technologies above could be used intentionally or unintentionally to wipe out the entire human race.

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Machines Advance, ignoring impact to us

We may well create self-replicating machines, combined with full, general purpose artificial intelligence without proper controls.  These machines may simply reproduce, consuming resources needed for their reproduction, having enough smarts to mine for what they need, and just roll right over us humans, possibly even using our bodies as one of many raw materials available to their use.

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Machines intentionally eliminating us (Terminators)

This one doesn’t need much of an explanation as we’re all familiar with it.  A.I. advances, forms its own consciousness, uses the weapons we gave it to kill our enemies, and it turns on us for its own survival, perceiving us as a threat.  With the advanced A.I. we gave it, it improves on our weapons for more killing power and replicates drones and other killing machines, hunting us all down, one by one.

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Terminator Anthology (The Terminator / Terminator 2: Judgment Day / Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines / Terminator Salvation) [Blu-ray]

The movies have it very very wrong though.  A.I. could produce machines of any size, from as large as mountains to as small as single cells.  They could swarm the entire planet, finding every possible hiding place and eliminate us all, easily, quickly, efficiently.  We would have no chance at all.

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Machines hacking us

Another terminator scenario is that A.I. will become smart enough to decode the workings of the human brain and can easily rewire it or reprogram it to make us do its bidding or even integrating with us, against our will… well, until it reprograms our will to fully allow it.

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4 Film Favorites: The Matrix Collection (The Matrix / The Matrix Reloaded / The Matrix Revolutions / The Animatrix)

What remains of us will not be what we are now.  What we were is essentially extinct.  We are now nothing more than bio material consumed for the machine’s needs.

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Gray Goo

This is a particularly terrifying great filter scenario.  Mostly because there are MANY paths to this outcome.  Essentially, this is humans making self-replicating nanobots with no controls to stop reproducing.  They spread out from their point of origin, carried by the wind, in the fur of rodents, on insects, and birds, at the microscopic scale, copying themselves, using whatever material they come into contact with… desks in the laboratories, flooring, dry wall, pipes, wires, insulation, asphalt, grass, dirt, rocks, trees, skin, flesh, eyes, brains… whatever it comes into contact with.  Eventually, the entire planet is converted into nanobots, consisting of what appears to be a gray goo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z45Tpp9DBq4

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Heat or Cold Climate Disaster

This is the global warming scenario you never, ever, EVER stop hearing about.  Though this one takes enormous timeframes to happen, we’re much more likely to die from our quicker technological progresses.

If we somehow survive all our other, quicker means of self destruction, this one takes so long to happen, there’s almost no doubt we’d develop technology to reverse it before it wiped us out.  But, supposing we survive long enough, continue to heat up the earth, and somehow never manage to advance technology to just slightly higher than what we have now to reverse it, and continue to pump enormous amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, then, eventually, it’d be too hot for us.  In all honesty, this is probably one of the most unlikely endings because it requires us to pass through and avoid almost all the other self made great filters.

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Oxygen Climate Disaster

Given our ability to bioengineer, it’s possible we may produce a rapidly replicating microscopic species that consumes oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere, suffocating us all.  Considering the amount of time this would require, even with a fast replicating microscopic life form, odds are in our favor that we’d be able to create a predator against this and/or eventually move off planet before enough oxygen was consumed to kill us.  But, assuming all attempts fail…

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Quantum Planetary Annihilation

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(Image: The Planet Vulcan being crushed by a manufactured, artificial black hold, from the motion picture “Star Trek” 2009)

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Star Trek Movie 2009 3D BlueRay

In this scenario, scientists discover some kind of quantum effect that can form a black hole that crushes the entire planet, leaving absolutely nothing behind, except our satellites orbiting the new black hole.  Alternatively, they could discover some quantum effect that explodes, out of control, exploding the planet.  Another possibility is a variation on the gray goo, where the subatomic particles called “stranglets” are created in a supercollider.  Srangelets have the property of converting any other subatomic particle they collide into into more stranglets.  This sets off an unstoppable chain reaction, converting the entire planet into a gray goo.  Atoms of different types can no longer form.  There is only one type of matter in the entire earth and the entire earth is a smooth ball of strangelet goo.

Universe Destroying Phase Change

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Empty space is not quite so empty.  It’s made of a quantum foam, bubbling all sorts of new particles in and out of existence.  Space itself has quantum properties.  At the heart of quantum physics is randomness, not certitude.  When a radioactive material has a particle decay, it happens randomly.  All quantum events happen randomly.  Empty space is quantum in its core existence.  The big bang may have been a spontaneous phase change of a prior universe and that change spread out at the speed of light, consuming the old universe, ushering in a new universe with different laws of physics.  There’s nothing stopping that from happening again.  It could happen, spontaneously, anywhere in the universe, at any time, spreading at the speed of light, erasing the old universe and replacing it with something else with different laws of physics.  The odds are very low, but not zero, and given enough space and enough time, it’s inevitable that it will happen.  The only question is when.

However, since it’s a physical possibility, science may one day understand it enough to reproduce it, completing a complete and utter destruction of absolutely, positively everything.

This might be another answer to the Fermi paradox.  Not only is it likely that technological species eventually wipe themselves out, but it may also be likely that they accidentally destroy the entire universe.  If that’s true, then that would mean we’re the first technological species, judging by the fact the universe hasn’t been destroyed  yet.

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Intentional asteroid impact

Humans have had space travel capability for 59 years.  We’ve gone from 2 superpowers’ governments being the only ones to conquer space to about 20 countries’ governments involved and just in the last 10 years, 6 or more companies have risen to be independent space faring organizations.

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Armageddon [Blu-ray]

Asteroids have lots of valuable minerals, so those will definitely be mined ASAP.  As these become very profitable, the number of companies traveling to, claiming, and mining asteroids will increase exponentially.  At some point, a mentally ill or religious fanatic could find their way to one and use his rockets to change the orbit of an asteroid to direct it to earth.  An asteroid of about 6 miles in diameter, impacting the surface of the earth would be more than enough to wipe out a continent on impact, send tidal waves miles high to wash across the planet, cause a shockwave through the entire planet, and raining fire down on the entire planet, igniting our atmosphere, killing us all.

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Invited Planetary Invasion

You really need to watch the Neil deGrasse Tyson video (linked just above) and read the BBC article on renowned astrophysicist, Steven Hawking’s dire warning of initiating contact with technologically advanced life from another planet.

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War of the Worlds Blue Ray

Odds are, that if we ever cross paths with another intelligent species, that they will be millions or even billions of years ahead of us, technologically and that their intelligence will be so powerful compared to ours that we will be simply incapable of comprehending it nor communicating with it.  They will perceive us in the same way we perceive ants.  Our technology will be absolutely nothing compared to theirs.  There is absolutely, positively zero hope of us defending ourselves from such a species if it decides to do anything at all to us.  All the movies of alien invasion have it drastically wrong.  There will be no fight.  One simple decision from a super advanced alien race and we’re toast.  Done.  Period…

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I’ll update this later with natural extinction level disasters.  All this talk of doom and gloom has made me hungry, so I’m calling it quits for the night.  Forget the doom and gloom… I’m just glad it’s not Monday!

Oh, and uh… Have a nice day! Smile

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What is a “Great Filter”?

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A great filter is an event that prevents a species from evolving any further by wiping it out.  It’s usually referenced in the context of finding intelligent, alien life somewhere else in the universe.  A lot can be said about this topic, but to make this short, it is simply an event that wipes out a species.  When dealing with technologically advanced species, like humans, a great filter event could be self-made, like nuclear war or it could be natural, like an asteroid impact.

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