The modern industrialized world is a complex system on a scale never before witnessed in the history of humankind. Technologically dependent, globally interconnected, it offers seemingly limitless conveniences, choices, and opportunities. Yet this same modern civilization may be as unstable as a house… More »
The modern industrialized world is a complex system on a scale never before witnessed in the history of humankind. Technologically dependent, globally interconnected, it offers seemingly limitless conveniences, choices, and opportunities. Yet this same modern civilization may be as unstable as a house of cards, fear complexity scientists like John Casti. All it would take to "downsize" our way of life is a nudge from what Casti calls an "X-event," an unpredictable occurrence with extreme, even dire, consequences. When an X-event strikes--and scientists believe one will--finance, communication, defense, and travel will stop dead in their tracks. The flow of food, electricity, medicine, and clean water will be disrupted for months, if not years. This book provides a tour of the catastrophic outlier scenarios that could quickly send us crashing back to the preindustrial age.--From publisher description.« Less
Pt. 1: Why normal isn't so "normal" anymore -- Pt. 1: Getting down to cases. Digital darkness : a long-term, widespread failure of the Internet ; When do we eat? : breakdown of the global food-supply system ; The day the electronics died : a continent-wide electromagnetic pulse destroys all electronics ; A new world disorder : the collapse of globalization ; Death by physics : destruction of the earth through the creation of exotic particles ; Blown away : destabilization of the nuclear landscape ; Running on empty : drying up of world oil supplies ; I'm sick of it : a global pandemic ; Dark and dry : failure of the electric power grid and clean water supply ; Technology run amok : intelligent robots overthrow humanity ; The great unwinding : global deflation and the collapse of world financial markets -- Pt. III: X-events redux.
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