A Choice of Catastrophes

( 1 )

Overview

Scientist, author, and Earth-dweller, explores the many potential natural and man-made catastrophes that could change life as we know it, or erase us from the face of the Earth. Natural properties and laws might change at any time, rendering life on this planet--or anywhere in the universe--impossible. But the disasters that are most imminent are in our power to control--technology, nuclear warfare, pollution... Natural forces far more powerful than man might destroy us. Or they may have nothing to do with ...
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Overview

Scientist, author, and Earth-dweller, explores the many potential natural and man-made catastrophes that could change life as we know it, or erase us from the face of the Earth. Natural properties and laws might change at any time, rendering life on this planet--or anywhere in the universe--impossible. But the disasters that are most imminent are in our power to control--technology, nuclear warfare, pollution... Natural forces far more powerful than man might destroy us. Or they may have nothing to do with bringing about the end.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449900482
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/12/1981
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 988,449
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Isaac Asimov
The godfather of science fiction, Isaac Asimov is the genreā€™s undisputed master and one of the most prolific authors of all time. From his famous Foundation trilogy to his later stories, Asimov took fiction to new, strange, and often wondrous places.

Biography

To list Isaac Asimov's honors, as to list his books, would be excessive. Let it simply be noted that Isaac Asimov was the most famous, most honored, most widely read, and most beloved science fiction author of all time. In his five decades as an author, he wrote more than four hundred books, won every award his readers and colleagues could contrive to give him, and provided pleasure and insight to millions. He died in 1992, still at work.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      January 20, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      Petrovichi, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      April 6, 1992
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Columbia University, B.S. in chemistry, 1939; M.A. in chemistry, 1941; Ph.D. in biochemistry, 1948

Table of Contents

Introduction 13
Part I Catastrophes of the First Class
1 The Day of Judgment 17
The Twilight of the Gods
Messianic Expectation
Millennarianism
2 The Increase of Entropy 25
The Conservation Laws
Energy Flow
The Second Law of Thermodynamics
Movement at Random
3 The Closing of the Universe 46
The Galaxies
The Expanding Universe
The Contracting Universe
4 The Collapse of Stars 60
Gravitation
Black Holes
Quasars
Within Our Galaxy
Part II Catastrophes of the Second Class
5 Collisions with the Sun 83
Birth by Close Encounter
Orbiting the Galactic Nucleus
Mini-Black Holes
Antimatter and Free-Planets
6 The Death of the Sun 102
The Energy Source
Red Giants
White Dwarfs
Supernovas
Sunspots
Neutrinos
Part III Catastrophes of the Third Class
7 The Bombardment of the Earth 133
Extraterrestrial Objects
Comets
Asteroids
Meteorites
8 The Slowing of the Earth 150
Tides
The Longer Day
The Receding Moon
The Approaching Moon
9 The Drift of the Crust 163
Internal Heat
Catastrophism
The Moving Continents
Volcanoes
Earthquakes
The Tectonic Future
10 The Change of Weather 191
The Seasons
Triggering the Glaciers
Orbital Variations
The Arctic Ocean
The Effect of Glaciation
11 The Removal of Magnetism 213
Cosmic Rays
DNA and Mutations
The Genetic Load
Earth's Magnetic Field
Part IV Catastrophes of the Fourth Class
12 The Competition of Life 237
Large Animals
Small Animals
Infectious Disease
Microorganisms
New Disease
13 The Conflict of Intelligence 262
Nonhuman Intelligence
War
Barbarians
Gunpowder to Nuclear Bombs
Part V Catastrophes of the Fifth Class
14 The Depletion of Resources 289
Renewable Items
Metals
Pollution
Energy: Old
Energy: New
Energy: Copious
15 The Dangers of Victory 330
Population
Education
Technology
Computers
Afterword 361
Index 363
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2007

    Like Death and Taxes

    The ultimate demise of individual humans, civilization as we know it, mankind, the earth, the solar system, our galaxy, and all of the cosmos is as inevitable as death and taxes. It is impossible to have an infinite system composed entirely of finite objects and relationships. You cannot destroy matter, but you can spread it around so that it has no funcion. Asimov is brilliant, his usual dryly humorous self in this work of scientific philosophy. Imagine how much more darkly he would have viewed this topic, had he foreseen the depths we would sink to with the Republican Ascendancy.

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