Slate’s Armageddon Matrix

In a classic case of “I wished I’d thought of that”, the eZine “Slate” has created “Choose Your Own Apocalypse”, a cross between Jeopardy and Armageddon. With a matrix of 144 (that’s 12 x 12 for you non-geeks), Josh Levin has put together a list of “How America will End” to parallel Alexander Demandt’s similar search which ended up with 210 reason why Rome fell.

The vertical axis is Man’s Fault vs. Nature’s Fault, while the horizontal is Everybody Lives, Everybody Dies. Pick your five, and come back Friday to see what others have chosen. Though it only concerns the fall of one country (ours!), it is a fitting addition to the Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World.

The Matrix (pin intended) is here. The desciption of all 144 is here.

When I put my selected five in the window, it gives me the following result:

You are a humanitarian internationalist. You’re convinced mankind will terminate Americabut at least we won’t off ourselves in the process. You’ll know you’re right when: Everyone on Earth pledges allegiance to a world government; the feds default on the national debt.

For my five (and the description from Slate):

– Grey Goo (of course, as in Dusk Before the Dawn):

60. Gray Goo: The nanotechnology nightmare scenario: Out-of-control self-replicating robots keep making more of themselves until they consume all of the matter on Earth. “Gray goo would surely be a depressing ending to our human adventure on Earth,” Bill Joy wrote in Wired, “far worse than mere fire or ice, and one that could stem from a simple laboratory accident. Oops.”

– Texas Succession (thought Perry won’t have the stones to do it, Kay Bailey might)

70. Texas Secession: Gov. Rick Perry or a like-minded successor makes good on his sensationalist rhetoric and turns the Lone Star State into its own nation.

– Megadrought (we’re already there in Texas)

104. Megadrought: According to Mark Lynas’ Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, if the world gets one degree warmer, the Great Plains are at risk of turning into an expanse of sand dunes. Bad news for American agriculture (and everyone who lives in Nebraska).

– Nationalized Industries (we’re already there)

142. Nationalized Industries: The government bails out the airlines, telecommunications firms, department stores, and chain restaurants. State-run businesses aren’t nimble enough to complete globally, and the economy sinks.

– Space Race (one race where we cannot afford to be overtaken)

100. Space Race: China or Russia or Singapore leads colonization and technological development in outer space. We get left behind on an increasingly crummy planet.

Go ahead, build your own version of Armageddon!

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