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Armageddon Science: The Science of Mass Destruction Hardcover – October 26, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Clegg (Before the Big Bang) explores how runaway science and other disasters might destroy humanity. He begins with the much discussed but highly speculative concerns over the operation of CERN's Large Hadron Collider. The collider is designed to recreate energies equal to those existing at the time of the big bang, which some theorists say might create a chain reaction that would dissolve the world and even the universe. Discounting the danger as hypothetical in the extreme, Clegg moves on to other possible doomsday scenarios. The short list includes nuclear bombs and nuclear power, climate change, biohazards, nanobots, the threat of transforming humans into enhanced Homo cyberneticus, and the more credible threat of a total "information breakdown." In each case he expertly describes the science and evaluates the seriousness of the threat. Clegg is an optimist and never a fearmonger. Even his discussion of climate change, a subject he admits is "depressing," ends with the options available to avoid catastrophe. Clegg ends with a call for better science education so that "the voting public" can "control science wisely." He also passionately argues that the value of science far outweighs the dangers of its misuse or of new technologies. (Nov.) (c)
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The threats of mass destruction are many. Nuclear holocaust, global warming, killer viruses, rogue nanobots, terrorists with poison gases, and meteors from outer space colliding with Earth are just a few of the dangers to human life discussed by physicist Brian Clegg in his overview of the morbid subject. From looking at the book’s publicity, one might expect Clegg to foretell looming human extinction, but he surprises readers with calm examinations of each threat and even offers welcomed reassurances that destruction is not imminent. But global warming is real, the information infrastructure may collapse, and natural resources are becoming scarce. Social, economic, and technical changes will be necessary to preserve civilization as we know it. Even then, the meteors may kill us. Easy to read and hard to set aside, Clegg’s new book is meant to be a balanced assessment of our chances to survive as species. --Rick Roche
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Top customer reviews
This is worth your time if you want a slap-dash guide to black holes, positrons, and the thermal nuclear war threat.