Saturday, February 07, 2009

What I Plan to Read: Death From the Skies

Death From the Skies! By Philip Plait, Ph.D.

The universe is trying to kill you…

Or so says the author, astronomer Philip Plait. With wit and a style that even I, much more familiar with Jane Austen than astronomy can understand, Plait explains how we are all doomed (eventually) by cosmic events.

Although we should worry about meteors slamming into the earth (as one did to bring about the demise of the dinosaurs) I was heartened to learn that viruses and bacteria from space would not be a problem, science fiction movies notwithstanding. My favorite page of the book is a chart listing the various events, the possible damage done, odds of fatality, and whether each is preventable. Take heart that everything in the not-preventable category will take place many millennia from now.

So far I’ve been dipping into the book here and there, but I plan to read it through. It’s fun and interesting and I’m relieved to know that my lifetime odds of Death by Black Hole are about one in a trillion.

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