Followup commentary of DEATH

By Phil Plait | October 4, 2009 8:02 am

At Dragon*Con, I did a dramatic reading from my book, Death from the Skies! which was a lot of fun. I read from Chapter 1, about asteroid and comet impacts, and BABloggee Brandon Alexander recorded it.

After the actual reading I talked about impacts as well as other disasters I cover in the book — including my favorite, gamma-ray bursts. It was a lot of fun, and Brandon posted the video from it as well:

I know, I have a lot of fun wiping out the Earth. But it is fun to think about, as long as you remember the odds of any of these things happening are pretty low. Still. Yikes.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: DeathfromtheSkies!
MORE ABOUT: Dragon*Con

Comments (20)

  1. Ibeechu

    Very entertaining, like always. I showed this to a friend and he said that you would be the best college professor in the world. Ever thought about that?

    Also, I’m assuming this talk wasn’t only ten minutes, right? Know where the rest is?

  2. No Death from the Skies t-shirt? Dude, you need to learn more about self-promotion!

  3. Fizzle

    You wrote a book?!

    Sorry IVAN, I’ve always wanted to get this in first.

  4. DrFlimmer

    Phil, I MUST see a talk of you in my (or more likely your (’cause you’re older than me)) life-time. This is so brilliant!

  5. Navneeth

    To tell you the truth, I wasn’t overly interested in knowing in what ways the Earth could be destroyed (by natural means) [the what-are-the-chances-of-that-happening! attitude], but you’ll be happy to know that this little video has piqued my interest in the book very much. :)

  6. Awesome clip, and quite funny :) I just posted about World Space Week this morning, and came to see if you’re scheduled to be at any of the events?

  7. Donnie B.

    I really liked the way you illustrated the beam effect of a gamma ray burst. “If it’s aimed at you, then you’ll be… well, you might catch on fire, but you won’t be vaporized.”

  8. Dawn

    Boy would I love to go to a lecture by you, Phil. Great talk. Now I have to go back and re-read Death…

  9. Kevin F.

    It’s so nice to have read the book now and read these posts OF DEATH! I avoided the posts about the book until after I had read the book – I didn’t want to get spoiled about things like Jupiter killing Shoemaker Levy 9. ūüėÄ

  10. Beelzebud

    I prefer something a bit more inspirational, in the line of Cosmos. It seems like everywhere you turn are doomsayers. Even on science shows on TeeVee, you can’t go 5 mins without a doomsday scenario. I know this is what sells, but I can’t help but yearn for something a bit more awe inspiring, than the destruction of everything we know.

  11. Zyggy

    Before reading “Death…” I was fairly familiar with most of the concepts presented, however the last couple of chapters shed new some light on what will (probably) happen in the VERY distant future.

    The whole book was enjoyable (I love Phil’s semi-comic, matter-of-fact, non-scientific explanations), but I got more “new” info out of the last couple of chapters than had been made available to me before. Too bad no one will be around for the “Big Rip”. It could be fascinating to watch.

  12. Would imagine Ivan3man is sucking up, eh I mean talking to Phil today.

  13. Elise

    In this video you say that a supernova can be dangerous to us if its any closer than 1,000 or 8,000 light years, one of those estimates. Anyways there is another video on here that you say a supernova has to be about 50 light years away in order to harm us and that there are not any nearby stars at the moment that could harm us. Which one is it? I am a huge fan I am just really confused between the two videos here.

  14. Colatf

    Fantastic talk; as previous commenters have noted, you would make a fantastic lecturer. I have to get this book!

  15. Autumn

    Elise, he says a gamma ray burst would be dangerous in the 8000 light-year range, not a supernova. The supernova would have to be closer than 100 ly, and to do “significant damage,” would need to be “a handful” of light-years away.

  16. Beelzebud,

    If you had read the book, you’d see that this book is really a COUNTER to all those doomsday scenarios. While he describes xactly how one would appear to us on earth, the majority of each chapter describes the possibilities of such an event (i.e. slim to none within our lifetimes) and why those “History(LOL)” channel shows are such BS (in a much nicer way than I do when I yell at my TeeVee for those show even being on air).

  17. Gary Ansorge

    10. Beelzebud

    I expect this is what we get when a species is an apex predator, crybabies who have no problem showing they’re injured or scarred spitless(we’re so far removed from REAL danger we have to manufacture something to provoke those old time emotions).

    I note that dogs and cats, though they are carnivores, will keep their pain (from injury or illness) hidden because to display feelings of pain in the wild lets other predators know you’re vulnerable. We have no problem with that so I guess we’ve been apex predators for a very long time(biologically speaking).

    Gary 7

  18. Bill

    You wrote a book?

    (Ok, there. I’ve said it once and gotten it out of my system. Am I finally a ‘real’ BABlogee?)


  19. The 2012 Armageddon brigade have based their belief that the end of days will come in 2012 because the Mayan calendar ends on that date. They never considered the possibility that the only reason the Mayan calendar ends at 2012 is because they simply ran out of ink!

  20. Vidar

    @ Ronan:
    The Mayan calander is carved into a rock, so they ran out of space on that rock, that’s all.
    Pretty much all of the paper books that the Mayans made were destroyed during the Spanish invasion of America since they weren’t Christian enough for the catholic spanish conquistadores.

    @Phil Plait:
    Nice talk. You should do more of them.


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