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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category

Jun 27, 2020

Could Doomsday Bunkers Become the New Normal?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, existential risks

He stresses that these are not “luxury bunkers” for the top 1 percent, and only a small part of the calls are coming from Doomsday preppers or Cold War-era holdovers. Rather, about two-thirds of his business comes from consumers who pay approximately $25,000 for an underground livable dwelling. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Woodworth said he has been unable to keep up with the demand.


When we were told to stay inside our homes, a portion of the population quietly went below ground.

Jun 23, 2020

North Korea reportedly threatens ‘new round of the Korean War’ to end US

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military

North Korea’s embassy in Moscow has threatened to use its nation’s nuclear weapons against the United States in what they claim would be “a particularly sensational event,” a Russian state-owned news agency reports.

The reporting comes from the TASS news agency, a state-owned wire service known largely as a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin, which claims the embassy sent them the threat in the form of a statement over the weekend.

The agency quotes the embassy as stating, “This year, the U.S. military has been carrying out various kinds of military maneuvers in South Korea and its vicinity with the purpose of striking North Korea quickly.”

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Jun 23, 2020

We must become a multi-planet species

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, existential risks, genetics, space travel, sustainability

Former astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman: For the long-term survival of our species, we have to become a multi-planet being.


With our rising planet’s population competing for space and resources, some people are convinced we need to look beyond Earth to help ensure humanity’s survival. As Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind space tourism company SpaceX told Aeon’s Ross Andersen: “I think there is a strong argument for making life multi-planetary in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen.”

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Jun 16, 2020

Here’s what potential Mars colonists really need from Earth: A large gene pool

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, Elon Musk, existential risks, food, genetics

Sending a handful of people certainly could serve as a proof of concept analogous to America’s Spanish and Portuguese outposts in the early 1500’s, or the English and Dutch settlements in the early 1600’s. In these instances the populations measured in the dozens and would not have amounted to a lasting European presence had they not been followed by thousands of new settlers over the next few decades. But, given our more advanced technology, our level of medicine, the idea that humans could have equipment that will utilize the Martian environment to produce food, air, and other consumables, and the certainty that settlers will not be at war with the Martian equivalent of the Aztecs or Incas—couldn’t a Martian settlement survive long term with just a low number of colonists?

The answer is no—not if the goal is a permanent human presence. Not if the goal is to provide our species with some kind of extinction insurance against planetary disaster on Earth, such as a mega-volcanic eruption, nuclear war, or some other existential threat. Mars setters can use technology to get air and food from the Mars environment, but early European explorers in the New World had access to one natural resource that mid-21st century Mars colonists will not be able to manufacture: a human gene pool.

If we really want Martian colonies, we can’t send just a few Adams and Eves. We can’t set-up a Martian Jamestown of 100 people. Long-term survival will depend on the genetic diversity of a large gene pool, and this means the Elon Musk plan of sending thousands might be the only colonization plan that could work.

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Jun 13, 2020

Could Solar Storms Destroy Civilization? Solar Flares & Coronal Mass Ejections

Posted by in category: existential risks

The probability of a Carrington-like event is estimated to be 12% per decade – that’s about a 50/50 chance for at least one in the next 50 years. Investments and upgrades, cheap compared to those other natural disasters require, could protect the worlds electric grid against even the nastiest of storms.

Sources here https://sites.google.com/view/sourcessolarflares

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Jun 10, 2020

First global map of rockfalls on the moon

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, robotics/AI

A research team from ETH Zurich and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen counted over 136,000 rockfalls on the moon caused by asteroid impacts. Even billions of years old landscapes are still changing.

In October 2015, a spectacular rockfall occurred in the Swiss Alps: in the late morning hours, a large, snow-covered block with a volume of more than 1500 cubic meters suddenly detached from the summit of Mel de la Niva. It fell apart on its way downslope, but a number of continued their journey into the valley. One of the large boulders came to a halt at the foot of the summit next to a mountain hut, after traveling more than 1.4 kilometers and cutting through woods and meadows.

On the moon, time and again boulders and blocks of rock travel downslope, leaving behind impressive tracks, a phenomenon that has been observed since the first unmanned flights to the moon in the 1960s. During the Apollo missions, astronauts examined a few such tracks on site and returned displaced rock block samples to Earth. However, until a few years ago, it remained difficult to gain an overview of how widespread such rock movements are and where exactly they occur.

Jun 8, 2020

Asteroid the size of Empire State Building nears earth this weekend

Posted by in categories: astronomy, existential risks

The asteroid is estimated to be 1,100 ft. in diameter, while the Empire State Building stands at approximately 1,400 ft. tall.

Jun 7, 2020

Asteroid the size of the Empire State Building headed our way

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Imagine Yankee Stadium or Citi Field cruising by Earth in a giant foul-ball flyby. That’s what’s set to happen this weekend when an asteroid the size of the Empire State Building tumbles through space uncomfortably close – but not close enough to hurt.

Jun 4, 2020

Stadium-sized asteroid heading near Earth this week

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

But it may be taller than the Empire State Building, which is 1,454 feet tall. The asteroid is estimated to be between 820 feet and 1,870 feet in diameter.

The asteroid was first spotted nearly two decades ago and is called 2002 NN4.

Seek and Destroy: How NASA Protects Us from Thousands of Asteroids.

Jun 3, 2020

Kim Jong-un pulled out his nuclear card…what next?

Posted by in categories: existential risks, innovation

You can watch this video at https://koreanow.com

With North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pulling back out his nuclear card for the first time since 2018, a very natural and perhaps even urgent question is, what next? There are signs that the North is getting closer to unveiling its strategic weapon promised by Kim at the end of last year. But with the U.S. constrained and South Korea committed to global sanctions, there’s no sign of a dialogue breakthrough. We could be about to witness Pyongyang’s new way.

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