How will Humanity die? it's not what we would expect.

Gordon_4

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My wife has made it abundantly clear that if civilisation collapses - global thermonuclear war, zombie apocalypse, etc. - then should she survive the initial collapse she can't be bothered and she's committing suicide.

Honestly, I sympathise, and I might voluntarily depart this mortal coil too. I like being alive, but only because I can do fun things. I'm not so attached to life that I have any interest in trying to eke out every last minute I can through a ton of hardships. When it's not really worth it any more, I'm out (preferably quickly and or painlessly). That said, I might give the post-apocalypse a go before calling it quits.
I would likely do same but that’s because I’d be a drain on any post-collapse society and have nothing to offer it in exchange for any food/shelter/security it can provide. Just do myself in and leave a note saying “Free fishing bait”.
 

Gergar12

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I also forgot to put a multi-shock to the system calamity, but if the US and or Chinese empires fall, I doubt everyone will die.

Basically a weather shock, recession to depression, climate change, political unrest, war, and a pandemic. And I am NOT talking about it right now with <5% unemployment, a somewhat passed covid-19 pandemic(Omicron BA2 thanks), mild droughts in California that haven't killed lots of people, MAGA, Ukraine. I am talking about the fall of the Roman empire with weather events that killed the Egyptian breadbasket with locusts and everything.
 

Kwak

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To be fair...cannibalism. Just sayin', if you're hungry and don't like people, at least raw, there are solutions.
To clarify, it's not that I don't like people (although humanity does generally undeniably suck), it's more that I haven't developed normal social skills and I feel like a massive fraud and get neurotic anxiety when I try, so solitude is easier.

And cannibalism takes a lot of ambition and motivation to survive which I'm generally too lethargic for.
I mean, what's the point, really, in the end?
Living just long enough to pass on my mediocre defective genes?
Eh, I'd rather expire just contemplating some nice scenery.
 

meiam

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Not an instant death for humanity but a bad enough solar storm could knock most of earth back so far we'd essentially be back to stone age, except all the easily accessible source of natural resource to tech up have now been tapped clean and we wouldn't have the technology required to extract the rest. We could end up stuck in the stone age forever and then one bad enough natural disaster could easily finish us off, which would be very likely to happen since we'd also have to deal with climate change without the technology to deal with it.

I dunno how bad full nuclear war would actually be, I guess the big danger is kicking up tons of dust and massively cooling the earth, but is that actually something that would happen? I feel like that's something we need to be asking ourselves seriously now since Putin is giving real "I'm taking you all down with me" vibe.
 

Agema

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And cannibalism takes a lot of ambition and motivation to survive which I'm generally too lethargic for.
I mean, what's the point, really, in the end?
Cannibalism is a deeply depressing prospect. I suspect I might stomach a "one-off" for survival, assuming the meat came from someone who didn't have to be immorally murdered or maimed (e.g. roadkill).
 

Kwak

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Cannibalism is a deeply depressing prospect. I suspect I might stomach a "one-off" for survival, assuming the meat came from someone who didn't have to be immorally murdered or maimed (e.g. roadkill).
Insects are easier protein anyway.
 

Agema

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Insects are easier protein anyway.
Firstly, I suspect in many post-apocalypses, insects are going to be very thin on the ground. Secondly, eating insects assumes a ready way of catching them in sufficient quantities to provide food. I am doubtful this is feasible in many places - I can't imagine running around with a net trying to catch bluebottles as energy efficient.
 

Thaluikhain

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Not an instant death for humanity but a bad enough solar storm could knock most of earth back so far we'd essentially be back to stone age, except all the easily accessible source of natural resource to tech up have now been tapped clean and we wouldn't have the technology required to extract the rest. We could end up stuck in the stone age forever and then one bad enough natural disaster could easily finish us off, which would be very likely to happen since we'd also have to deal with climate change without the technology to deal with it.

I dunno how bad full nuclear war would actually be, I guess the big danger is kicking up tons of dust and massively cooling the earth, but is that actually something that would happen? I feel like that's something we need to be asking ourselves seriously now since Putin is giving real "I'm taking you all down with me" vibe.
Eh, people say that the nuclear winter thing was based on severely flawed models, possibility deliberately as "just" wiping out millions of people wasn't scary enough to get people to care.

On a not totally unrelated note, I'm led to believe that the big scary nuclear parts of nuclear war aren't what will get most people, it's the small boring things like no running water or functioning healthcare or other infrastructure people need to worry about. Really basic self-preservation skills would save a lot of people, but people assume that the scary nuclear stuff will get them right away and so don't bother leaning them.
 

Baffle

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Firstly, I suspect in many post-apocalypses, insects are going to be very thin on the ground. Secondly, eating insects assumes a ready way of catching them in sufficient quantities to provide food. I am doubtful this is feasible in many places - I can't imagine running around with a net trying to catch bluebottles as energy efficient.
Grow a huge field of crops. When the locusts descend, eat the locusts. I have 'problem solver' written on my CV.
 
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XsjadoBlayde

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I suspect there's another issue with doomsday scenarios. Humans might survive them in the short term, but would they survive them in the long-term?

In many of these scenarios, some of the population survives. But civilisation is screwed: we're effectively back to the medieval era (or worse) with a heavily compromised environment. Bits of tech can be maintained for a while, but without spare parts, manufacturing capability etc. it gradually degrades and should the environmental stress continue, we're in trouble.There's massive systemic loss of knowledge - medicine, engineering, farming, etc. Sure, there might be books, but books don't teach a lot of know-how and there might be a serious shortage of people capable of learning complex material. No vaccines, no antibiotics? Is the population going to be knocked into small, isolated communities vulnerable to inbreeding?

This is often the pattern with many extinctions. Species don't suddenly go down in a blazing fireball: they take a big hit, and then gradually wither away over subsequent generations.
Those expecting a swift end to humanity are indeed the unrealistically hopeful ones. Hence my black hole creation device will serve as the final merciful bullet left in the gun. We could even have a vote on it like Brexit!
 

Agema

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Those expecting a swift end to humanity are indeed the unrealistically hopeful ones. Hence my black hole creation device will serve as the final merciful bullet left in the gun. We could even have a vote on it like Brexit!
Just mass produce a load of fentanyl for everyone to OD on and go out on a high.
 

meiam

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Essentially.

In simplest term, the only way to avert catastrophic climate change is to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere back to level closer than was seen before industrialization (we don't necessarily need to go back that low but its a good reference point). To do this weed need to capture CO2, which, no matter how we do it, will take massive amount of energy (roughly equivalent to the energy that was obtain by releasing all that CO2 in the first place). So this means we need to stop producing energy in a way that release carbon, replace that by non fossil fuel source and then greatly increase the amount of energy we produce to fuel the CO2 capture effort. All of these steps are incredibly difficult but would be made much easier if people moved away from activity that require high energy or release large amount of CO2. It reduce the amount of CO2 produce while we still use fossil fuel and it means we don't need as much energy dedicated to non CO2 capture effort once we stop using CO2 releasing energy source.

But here's the thing, people absolutely despise feeling like their life are getting worse, especially when its too avert something that they think won't affect them. So lets say a new government came in and restricted energy/CO2 intensive activity. That government would see such high level of social unrest that they would almost certainly be overthrown and replaced by a government that promise to do the exact opposite. You can see this play out in many ways. Macron (France) tried to put a very very mild tax on fuel and people started paralyzing the country and at the latest election he barely got reelected (running against goddamn Nazi) and he lost his parliament majority. Poor country often have subsidized fuel, which encourage consumption, this is a terrible idea for many reasons, one of which is environmental. But almost every time a government will try to stop or even just reduce those subsidy, their face with massive protest and have to abandon or even increase subsidy.

So we need to do all that without expecting the public to lift a finger or sacrifice anything. But, every projection says that it will take a really long time to achieve just replacing our current energy production with one that doesn't produce CO2 (which won't stop plenty of other source of CO2, like livestock). This means things will get much much worse, possibly so bad that societies will start collapsing (Imagine if most of Africa became unlivable, people would try to move en masse to Europe which would overwhelm while they would also be dealing from serious problem due to climate change). If society collapse, we wont be able to reduce the CO2, which means things will stay bad even if CO2 emission disappear (what matters is the amount of CO2 already in atmosphere).

So the job isn't going to get easier (it'll actually get harder with population growth and poor country become richer) and we're running out of time. Which means our only hope is that we can figure out some new technologies that will allow us to greatly increase the rate at which we decarbonize. The obvious one would be much better green energy (say if someone figured out how to make windmill/solar panel 100 times better or cheaper) or some new way of producing energy (nuclear fusion or at least much better fission reactor). Alternatively some miraculous way to suck much more CO2 out of the atmosphere than the amount of CO2 emitted to power it (ie the factory would suck up 100 ton of CO2 and require energy that even using fossil fuel would only produce 1 ton of CO2). None of these are likely to happen. So we get to our last resort and that's massive geoengineering project to mitigate the effect of increase CO2 and buy us time to get the job done even without prodigious increase in technology. The classic example is to disperse sulfur in the upper to reflect sunlight, we know that work because volcano do it and we can track this (we can trace back some of the coldest year in history to mega volcano eruption).

So yeah, we need innovation, innovation that we don't know are possible, that are critically underfunded and downright unpopular (the green tend to be against geoengineering because at this point they're part of the problem). Ie, we're fucked, enjoy the good time while it last, don't have kids.
 
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immortalfrieza

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Alternatively some miraculous way to suck much more CO2 out of the atmosphere than the amount of CO2 emitted to power it (ie the factory would suck up 100 ton of CO2 and require energy that even using fossil fuel would only produce 1 ton of CO2).
What would be nice is if we could find a way to power the CO2 extractors with the CO2 they extract, or at least the air that flows through it, the sunlight, something. Get that small enough and efficient enough and just place those extractors on the roof of every house. Maybe capture the C02 as it's leaving the smokestacks of factories and car engines and such while we're at it.

I don't know the logistics of that or if it's even feasible, but the only method of stopping climate change that's going to work is one that requires little to no actual work on the part of most people.
 

Baffle

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Just make it clear that climate change means no more of the Great British Boozer. Its the solution to every other problem in this country.
 

Eacaraxe

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If humanity is to survive the death of the sun, it will either be by having moved to a different star system, or by creating artificial, sustainable habitats.
Some points about this.

The ecological death of the Earth will happen far, far sooner than the point the Sun hits the red giant stage. Realistically, there's about a billion years between now and the time the Sun's luminosity increases to the point Earth goes the way of Venus. The worse news is, there won't be any planets in the Sun's habitable zone -- Mars never will be habitable again, even in the habitable zone as it grows outward -- for a few billion years, until the Sun expands to the point Titan enters it.

Silver lining there, is Titan is quite similar to a frozen, primordial, Earth. So, chances are at the point the Sun approaches and enters the red giant stage, it'll more likely than not be quite habitable. Next best bets after that are Ganymede and Europa, being they're also proven to contain ample water.

Artificial, orbital, habitats are really the only way to go.

No, actually
I'd add to that, the BBC TV drama "Supervolcano" actually does have a damned good representation how Yellowstone would erupt, if it did. Which is to say, much scarier than the sensationalized special effects bullshit-o-rama of films like, say, 2012. Specifically, it wouldn't be a single bomb-like "kaboom" we're used to seeing out of stratovolcanoes, but a series of rapid-fire VEI 6-7 events ramping up as the magma chamber destabilizes and vents, hitting a peak, then slowing down as the new caldera settles.

...kind of like Threads, as compared to the nonsense you see in US movies. Closest I've seen to the unflinching and visceral representation in Threads, was The Day After and On the Beach.
 
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