Archives For apocalypse

end of the world

Well ladies and germs, it’s now Saturday, December 22nd and we’re all still here just as science told us we would be. This means three things. First, New Age devotees cannot follow the Mayan calendar since they would’ve known that this winter solstice was supposed to be a big New Year type event, not a bringer world-ending cataclysm. Second, it means that Weird Things and all of its readers have now successfully lived through their second projected apocalypse. And third, it means I’m now married. Yes, you read that right, there’s now a Mrs. Fish. Let’s just get married when the world ends she said, you’ll be married for like what, 15 hours? We can figure out what to do if the world is still there the next day when that happens, she said. That’s how they get you guys. They cozy up to you about the end of the world.

But in all seriousness, I’ll be taking some time off from posting on the semi-regular basis I just so happened to sink into and will return closer to the end of the year. And just in case you started wondering, we’re both skeptics but we sure had fun playing with the doomsday theme, watching enough Doomsday Preppers episodes to start wondering if we should prep to escape from the preppers should a real disaster strike, and jotting down a myriad of ideas for decor and subtle touches referring to the end of the world as we know it. And zombies. Hey, you can’t have a real apocalypse without some zombies nowadays, now can you? So I’ll catch you all towards the end of next week. Have fun and stay safe this holiday season. Should be easy without a doomsday looming over your heads, right?

[ illustration by Damien Malinvaud ]

our killer of a universe

March 5, 2009

From gamma ray bursts to supernova, to comets and asteroids and the slow but very certain death and decay of all things, the Universe is really out to kill you in all sorts of horrifying and imaginative ways. Think of the Universe as a Medieval Inquisitor with a few billion years of experience under his belt and a lot of ways of making you talk. Oh and just like the Inquisitors, it’s nothing personal. Just the way things are. It’s that killer aspect of the space and time which astronomer Phil Plait tackles in his book Death From The Skies.


Just like National Geographic’s popular special, Aftermath: Population Zero, it’s fascinating in a macabre way that appeals to those curious about their own mortality and who ponder just how this world will end. So humans, basically. Rather than just describe in vivid detail how Earth gets slammed with a giant space rock or devoured by black holes, or melted by the Sun, illustrating every step of the destruction like a slow motion shot from a sci-fi movie, Plait explains how an object in space or a cosmic force can be so horrifyingly destructive. And what makes every one of these scenarios so alluring is that they’re really plausible and really could happen.

While you’re reading about our planet’s demise, you’re getting a large and entertaining dose of science. The book effortlessly takes you from the basics of chemistry and physics all the way to quantum mechanics and beyond. Even if you’re pretty knowledgeable about astronomy, you’ll learn a whole lot of things you didn’t know before by the time you’re done. Well, unless you’re a PhD in astronomy already and this stuff was on your final exams. Even then, the scenarios that describe every step of the cosmic carnage might still be a very fun read as Plait turns academic papers into colorful visions of the apocalypse far more interesting than any ancient legend.

[ illustration from a matte painting by Vitaly S. Alexius ]