|Eight Gigantic Things That Want to Kill
I've come to the
conclusion that, as a society, we don't worry about things enough.
Because of this insane assumption that is backed up with absolutely nothing,
I've decided to provide you with a list of things that you didn't know want
to kill you and are so huge that there's not a goddamn thing you can do
#8: The Earth’s Crust Wants to Swat You Like a
There you are, enjoying the wonderful sensation of not being dead. Birds
sing, the leaves in trees rustle on a cool spring breeze and you just think
to yourself, “Man, do I enjoy being alive and not being dead! I hope this
trend of maintaining my current state of being alive continues!”
Suddenly, a cacophonous kaboom shatters your illusion that life is at all
safe or, for that matter, permanent. You desperately look around to try and
ascertain where the onomatopoeia of doom originated and suddenly, find
yourself wondering what could be blocking out the sun. Standing in the
unending shadow of your upcoming departure from the mortal plane, you look
up just in time to see Roland Emmerich’s wet dream come true as gigantic
pieces of the Earth’s crust, with trees, mountains, and what’s left of city
blocks still clinging to them, fall out of the sky and crush you and
everyone you love so epically that you actually arrive at the Heaven’s gates
dead on arrival.
What the hell just happened?
We’ve all heard of the Supervolcano, right? It’s a massive underground
ticking time bomb of destruction that could explode and destroy civilization
as we know it. Yellowstone National Park is one of them – note, I didn’t say
that the supervolcano was IN the park, I said that the entire goddamn park
IS a supervolcano -- a regular volcano’s big brother ready to dish out
punishment on everyone who made fun of his little brother’s booger eating
It seems that the supervolcano is an apex predator at the top of the volcano
food chain. After all, there couldn’t be anything worse than a Supervolcano,
Say hello to the Verneshot. Next, you should give it your lunch money and an
hour with your mom.
Named after that famous science fiction staple, the two sons of Doctor
Emmett L. Brown, the Verneshot is the ultimate killer volcano. It’s a
supervolcano if someone gave it a bottle of Everclear, a blindfold, a
chainsaw, and instructed it to swing where it hears hysterical crying and
In a nutshell, this thing is not your friend.
All over the Earth there are these regions called Cratons which is a fancy
way of saying that nothing ever happens there. They are the El Paso of the
tectonic plates where the crust is thick and there are no earthquakes, no
eruptions, no nothing. Billions of years pass on a Craton and it doesn’t
rumble once. A craton is simple, stable, and quiet like that weird kid who
never says anything in gym class.
However, just like the weird kid who never says anything in gym class, there
is something under the surface ready to explode and kill everyone who was
ever mean to it.
I hate to pull out the whole “think of this as a cork” analogy, so I won’t
even though that’s the most predictable of analogies. Fine… think of a
craton as a cork. Underneath that cork, in the churning frothy molten mantle
of the Earth, pressure and gas build up for millions and millions of years,
but due to the craton’s stubborn stability, that pressure has nowhere to go.
Now we have geologic constipation and, sooner or later, something’s got to
So, one day without a shudder of a warning, the craton suddenly and most
fuckingly blows and Earth is witness to a Verneshot. If the Vernseshot was
just a simple volcano, civilization would probably ooo and ahh for a few
days and then go back to watching The Biggest Looser, but as we mentioned
earlier, the Verneshot is not a typical volcano. This is the eruption to end
all eruptions and pretty much all life on the planet.
You remember that craton we told you about? Hundreds to thousands of square
miles of stable, quite, and unsuspecting earth? The Verneshot launches it
into the sky where it actually leaves the goddamn atmosphere before coming
back down in a fiery rain of hell and pain like a hundred Mondays at once.
Just in case you aren’t fully aware of what a shitty day this would be,
allow us to expressly state the sequence of events that would happen if a
Vernseshot were to happen.
First, millions of people would be killed in the eruption that would release
gas and molten rock into the air in a massive pyroclastic flow that would
instantly cook everyone in its path and mow down cities like Satan’s
leafblower. Everyone not killed in this horrific first few minutes, would
probably choke to death on the toxic gasses released into the atmosphere
like a full on Harry Knowles chili cheese burrito fart.
If you were fortunate to survive the first few seconds of this hell on
Earth, you would no doubt pray for salvation from above, but you would only
be answered by the pieces of the earth’s crust falling down and crushing
you, driving more dust into the atmosphere and blotting out the sun leading
to mass starvation when the food chain collapses and making the few
survivors left on the planet, starving and slowly freezing, utterly green
with envy of those who were mercilessly killed off.
Some scientists belive that Vernshots have happened before. The Deccan Traps
in Siberia, the location of an eruption 65 million years ago that lasted
30,000 years and whittled the human race down to a mere 2,000 individuals,
might have been a Vernshot as scientists have discovered strange natural
piping that could have been a craton blowing its top.
Again… this thing, if it was a Vernshot, came within the population of a
small town of wiping out the entire human species.
If one of the cratons located on any one of the Earth’s continents were to
experience a Vernshot, it’s unlikely that anyone who isn’t killed dead
immediately would know what was going on until they looked up and wondered
why Oklahoma City was falling on them.
Mercury Wants to Murder You
It sucks to be Mercury.
First of all, no one gives a shit about it and why should they? It’s gray,
it’s dull and overheated… it’s grandma in the car! Let’s face it, the people
of Earth care more about a chunk of ice on the edge of the solar system that
really isn’t a planet anymore than we do about Mercury. You don’t see people
rushing to computers to look at pictures of the Mercury surface from the
Messenger Probe like they did when Pathfinder took pictures of Mars, do you?
No, you don’t.
Because no one gives a shit about a hot barren piece of rock.
Perhaps, though, it’s about time we should start caring because there’s a
possibility that, like grandma, this overheated, gray, and boring chunk of
ennui might be paying us a visit and it’s really going to fuck up our lives.
How is it going to kill us?
You may think of the planets as ancient and eternal, perfectly happy just
spinning around the sun and being planets until the end of time or a Death
Star pays them a visit… you know, whichever comes first.
The problem is, this isn’t the case. As a matter of fact, computer
simulations have shown that, over a period of time, planetary orbits can
elongate like a drunken cowboy’s lasso and the planet with the biggest
chance of going AWOL is Mercury.
This simulation has shown that Mercury’s orbit could elongate and send the
planet into Venus’ path making an impact with our sister planet a real
possibility. However, Venus is not only Earth’s sister, she’s Earth’s evil
twin sister and, like the bitch she is, Venus could alter the orbit of
Mercury even further until that boring ball of rock smashes into us with a
force that would obliterate us in an explosion so big and kill us so
epically, that our ancient ancestors in the past would actually explode as a
The good news is, the probability of this orbital clusterfuck actually
happening are only one percent over the next few billion years and, if it
did happen, the probability of Mercury actually hitting the Earth are
incredibly small so, it’s likely that Mercury doesn’t want us dead right
Or, like any good murderer, is simply biding its time and waiting for the
The Oceans Want to Suffocate and Starve You
We tend to think of the oceans in two different ways – as a giver of life
and food and as humanity’s toilet. If that doesn’t highlight the glaring
illogical nature of the human animal, I’m not sure what would. Thankfully,
the ocean is a beast of contradictions too for not only was it the stew that
gave birth to the impressive thing we know as life, but it could be the
thing that takes it away slowly and horribly.
What I am talking about is an anoxic event. While it admittedly sounds like
something that an acne pad would do to your face, trust me, this is a pants-shittingly
How an anoxic event happens is open to speculation – some scientists say
it’s caused by massive underwater volcanoes, others say its due to
atmospheric changes due to global warming, and others think that the oceans
of the world are just gigantic assholes. Whatever causes the event, all
scientists agree on the event’s cumulative dick move… it destroys almost all
of the oxygen in the ocean.
I’m sure that a few of you intelligent enough to read this and say, “Oh,
shit!” would know what a gigantic clusterfuck of a thing that would be.
First of all, almost everything in the ocean would die at once. A few fish
that hang around the surface where the last of the oxygen would remain would
survive, but the entire oceanic food chain would collapse in the geologic
blink of an eye and when the ocean food chain disappears, it’s only a matter
of time before us dumb stupid land beasts start going hungry as well.
But let’s just say for a minute, that you’re sitting on a ranch in the
middle of Kansas thinking, “Fuck the oceans. I’m surrounded by cattle! I’ll
eat hamburgers as I watch these kelp-eating Prius-driving Democrats die in
the mass extinction that Rick Santorum was praying for!
Not so fast, my dear little ignorant red-stater.
All of those dead animals rotting in the bottom of the ocean? Some
quadrillions of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, corals, and possible Loch Ness
monsters? As they decay, they release new gasses into the dead waters, the
biggest and baddest and most toxic of which is hydrogen sulfide. Farted into
the atmosphere as a final “fuck you” from the oceans, this gas would not
only poison and kill plants and animals on the surface, but would also
destroy the goddamn ozone layer, microwaving everything that didn’t die in
This isn’t a fanciful theory, either. While they’re not sure how a global
anoxic event might happen, scientists pretty much agree that it has happened
more than once, the most recent being about 93 million years ago when much
of the life in the ocean died, sank to the bottom, and decayed into glorious
petroleum so sweet, you’d topple a regime to get your hands on it.
Could an anoxic event happen again? Of course it can… and of course it will.
When, however, is a matter of speculation that will surely keep you from
sleeping at night.
The Earth Burps, You Die
The possibility of the ocean’s dying fart is terrifying enough, but Earth
has some other deadly gasses stored inside its rumbling gullet and could
unleash them at any time. The result would be a very bad day indeed.
Trapped under the ice and tundra of the arctic are gasses called clathrates.
You’ll find them in the mud and in the oceans held under ice where they
are harmless, but silently waiting to unleash their murderous wraths. Clathrates, you see, contain methane which I’m sure all of you know is a
dangerous greenhouse gas and responsible for the planet getting hotter and
hotter every year. Here’s the scary part: clathrates contain 4,000 times the
amount of methane than the atmosphere does and, if they were to get out into
the open, would create a runaway atmospheric effect that would raise global
temperatures 11 degrees and cause all sorts of environmental catastrophes.
But don’t worry, though… those clathrates? They’re buried under ice and it’s
not like the ice at the poles are melting or anything, right?
This phenomenon, known quite hilariously as a “methane burp” is like a steam
roller of shit. The initial release of the clathrates would cause worldwide
temperatures to increase which would melt more ice causing more clathrates
to be released which would raise worldwide temperatures even more causing
more goddamn ice to melt causing more goddamn clathrates to get into the
atmosphere. Once the first “burp” happened, there would be no way to stop
the earth-boiling chain reaction.
Scientists, who seem to have nothing better to do than to scare the
ever-living fuck out of people, point to two instances in the past where the
methane burp pretty much shat in everyone’s soup.
The most recent was about 55 million years ago when methane burps cause a
mass extinction and fucked up the climate for about 100,000 years. However,
if you look a little further back, say 251 million years ago, one of these
methane burps nearly obliterated all life on earth.
It’s known as the Permian Extinction where 94 fucking percent of all life on
the planet went tits up. Things were so bad during this time that it took
about 50 million years before forests or coral reefs could grow again. In
some places, 100 million years went by before life took hold again.
All because of a burp. I guess the old adage, “better out than in” doesn’t
apply when you’re a goddamn planet.
#4. The North and South Poles Could
Smoosh Us at Any Minute
Ever swat a mosquito in midair? You know, you see it hovering in front of
you as it wonders what part of your body would look greatest with a red
whelp on it and, with the sound of a miniature thunderclap, you destroy that
fucker, only giving him the chance to scream the “Oh F--” part of his final
Now, imagine you are the mosquito, the north pole is God’s left hand and the
South Pole is your right. Now imagine not even having time to process how
fucked you are before you are squashed between them like an overripe tomato.
I know what you’re thinking and I am disgusted.
I know that you are also thinking, “Hey,
there’s no way that the Earth’s goddamn poles could do such a thing!”
You’re partially right… they can’t. Not without a little cosmic help.
Enter the theoretical object known as a cosmic string. It’s one dimensional,
extremely dense, and is just cruising stupidly through the universe (Insert
Pam Anderson, Justin Beiber, Nichole Ritchie, or Taylor Lautner joke here).
As simply as probably as inaccurately as I can put it, they are the ripples
in spacetime caused by the Big Bang.
We don’t know where they are, where they
are heading, or if they will ever come by our corner of space, but one thing
is for certain, if it ever does, we will never know it. Not because we
wouldn’t notice the thing, but because we would be dead before we knew what
was happening. Everything and everyone. Dead. Just like that. Not even
enough time to scream out a final profanity which, as a lover of profanity,
I find fucking depressing.
Cosmic strings, if
they do exist, exist in one dimension and, when I say they are dense, I’m
not kidding. They have no width, but a string one kilometer long would weigh
as much as the earth. Dense and heavy as fuck even though, by our
three-dimensional standards, they hardly exist.
So, let’s just say that one of these dense, one-dimensional fuckers are
flying through space at the speed of light and our pretty blue and green
planet just happens to be in its way and the string passes through the
Keep in mind, I’m using the word “pass through” and not “crash into” because
this string thingy would actually pass through the entire planet, passing
through its atoms, and come out on the other side and just keep on going as
through it just passed through an earth-shaped hunk of air. Good for the
Earth, right? No earth-shattering ka-boom?
Ah, but you’re forgetting about the string being a dense fucker. In one
kilometer, it’s got the mass of the Earth, right? That means that 12,756
times the mass of the entire planet just passed through the Earth. That’s
83,998,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 fucking tons. That much mass passing
through the planet would cause a gravitational pull so strong that the south
pole of the planet would crash into the north pole in less than a second
reducing the planet to an hourglass-shaped cloud of dust topped off with a
question mark obviously wondering what the fuck just happened.
The good news is that scientists think that
there is only one cosmic string for every Hubble sphere of the universe. In
other words, there is one cosmic string in the entire observable universe we
can see with the Hubble Space Telescope so the odds of getting smooshed
between the pole is very remote.
On the other hand, it might happen as soon
as you finish this sentence.
Or this one.
Or this one.
Maybe this one.
Maybe I should stop tempting fate.
#3. Space Ninjas Will Make You Feel
Fat… Then Dead
If you ever wake up one
morning and discover that you suddenly weigh twice
as much as you did when you went to bed, don’t blame that piece of cake you
gobbled down like the pig you are. Rather, it would probably be a good time
to make piece with whatever God you believe in because your existence is
about to literally be flushed down the drain by a miniature black hole.
believe that these little bastards are flying around the cosmos like boogers
shot from the nostrils of God herself. The good news is that they are only
about the size of ping pong balls. The bad news is, they weigh just as much
as the Earth.
So, one of these black hole God boogers happens to get caught in Earth’s
gravitational field and crashes into the surface… where it just keeps
crashing and crashing until it settles in the very core of the planet. Now,
our planet weighs twice as much meaning that everything on the surface
suddenly is exposed to twice as much gravity. Birds can’t fly, fat people
become immovable blobs, and the game of golf becomes so damn exhausting!
On the other hand, pooping becomes much more efficient!
If you saw the reboot of Star Trek, you know what comes next. The
miniature black hole sits perfectly happy in the core of the planet gobbling
up Earth from the inside out. It’s not known how long a process like this
would take – a few minutes or a few months, but our first inkling that
doomsday was a’coming would be when the oceans would drain out through the
Challenger Deep. After that, it would only be a matter of time before Earth
would be sucked down the cosmic drain leaving nothing but a slightly fatter
miniature black hole orbiting the sun in its place, its hands behind its
back, whistling innocently.
#2. Gigantic Dust Clouds Will
Freeze Your Shit Solid
Dust. It’s fucking everywhere.
That was not only the title of Martha Stewart’s aborted 1999 home and
healthy living guide, but it’s also a fact of life. It’s on everything, on
everyone, and even inside you. Not only that, but dust is out there in the
vast reaches of space. It’s what those pretty comets and nebulas are made
out of. Hell, dust is the fundamental building block of everything in
can also freeze everything in your existence.
Dust doesn’t just drift stupidly through
space, it likes to form posses and groups and soon, a meaningless speck of
space dust is a small cloud of space dust and soon, that small cloud of
space dust is a gigantic cloud of space dust. You remember that pretty
picture the Hubble took of the “Pillars of Creation?” Dust. A big cloud of
dust. How big? You see that pillar on the far left? It’s four goddamn light
years long. That means that light – the fastest thing in the universe –
would take four years to cross it. It would literally stretch from the sun
to Proxima Centauri which is our closest neighbor (and that’s just that one
Now, imagine if the solar system were to bumble into one of these clouds.
At first, the result would be pretty. Strong auroras, shooting stars, and a
brilliantly sci-fi night time view of reds, yellows, and blues. Of course,
those of us enjoying this sight would also notice something a little more
ominous – it would be colder. Much colder.
Ever wonder why pictures of our galaxy show a bright nougat center, but from
our vantage point on Earth, we never see it? The answer is dust… there’s a
big fucking dust cloud blocking our way. This dust (now in our own system)
not only blocks precious light, but heat from the sun as well and, within a
few months, maybe weeks, we would have a Snowball Earth. Literally,
everything on Earth would be frozen – land, seas, and everything that called
them home save for a
few simple organisms. It would be so cold that even clouds would disappear
as there would be no gaseous moisture in the air to sustain them.
This isn’t just some crackpot theory on
global cooling or anything, there is
actual physical evidence that a Snowball Earth happened at least once more
than 650 million years ago. There’s strong evidence of glaciers near the
equator and tropics, drop stones (rocks dropped into the ocean by glaciers)
where they shouldn’t be, and even geological glacial footprints in places
glaciers should not exist.
Snowball Earth is the exact reversal of Global Warming, only now, the
freezing of Earth is something that can’t be stopped. Once the polar ice
starts to grow, the ice reflects more heat back into space making the planet
even colder until the Earth is a still ball of ice which nothing can live
So what happened? Why aren’t we still a Snowball?
We can thank volcanoes for that for
although the Earth froze, volcanoes continued to spew out greenhouse gases
into the atmosphere until the ice melted and evolution had to basically
start over again
It happened before, it could happen again. After all, in the words of the
great Martha Stewart, “Dust… it’s fucking everywhere.”
#1. The Universe Could Explode at
Oh yes, dear friends, even the very universe you live in wants to kill you
Imagine that the
vacuum in space is an Electrolux. It’s cheap, not that great, but it does
what it’s supposed to do most of the time. The Electrolux, as everyone
knows, is the shittiest vacuum cleaner on the market and, lurking out there
and waiting to be discovered either through natural or artificial means
(fucking particle colliders), is a Kirby Sentra. As soon as this Kirby
Sentra appears, the entire universe suddenly says, “Hey, why am I using this
Electrolux piece of shit!?” and suddenly switches to Kirby. In an explosion
that travels at the speed of light, the false vacuum we have known and
enjoyed since forever is violently replaced with a true vacuum that pretty
much destroys everything everywhere.
If that’s scary, there’s also the possibility that all of existence could
fail and by fail, I mean fall apart. Literally, every atom would fly apart
with no warning and no reason. The odds of this suddenly happen are so
remote, that you can say that there’s an equal chance that the Earth could
grow three heads and start singing showtunes, but the fact that the
possibility exists at all, should be enough to keep you awake at night.