Two people have come up with the worst ways to die, and just in time for Blue Monday!
Senior scientist at San Francisco’s Exploratorium museum Paul Doherty and writer Cody Cassidy spent the last two years concocting a list of the most dire ways to meet your maker.
In a Reddit AMA, the lads took on questions from the online public, quashing and making worse people’s worst fears in equal measure.
The first of which was…
SINKING IN THE MARIANA TRENCH
The boys write:
If you sank to the bottom of the Mariana trench you would drown before you reached a crushing depth. If you’re interested in a more interesting demise, you should swim out of James Cameron’s submersible at the bottom. Fortunately you’re mostly water, and water is incompressible. So you would retain your basic human shape. The air pockets inside you, namely in your nasal cavity, throat and chest, would be a problem. Those would collapse inward, which would fatal.
Because you wouldn’t have any air, you wouldn’t float to the surface and you would likely stay at the bottom to be consumed by the Bone-eating snot flower, which usually eats whale bones but would probably make an exception in this case.
GETTING UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH A NEUTRON STAR
Pretty implausible, yes. But let’s suppose humans could do this. What would happen? Well, what the hell do you think?
The lads explained:
A neutron star has a couple of times the mass of the sun compressed into a sphere the size of a city.
You’ll probably be killed by the radiation produced as matter falls into the neutron star on the way in, and certainly at a close distance of 1 mile. But let’s assume the neutron star is unnaturally quiet. You’ll be in free fall. and as usual it’s not the fall that kills you. However in this case that might not be true, gravity is stronger at close distances and weaker further away. This means if your head is pointed toward the neutron star it will be tugged toward the star much more strongly than your feet and this tidal force will rip you apart.
BEING IN A FALLING LIFT
Everyone thinks about this. If you don’t, I can’t take you seriously as a human being.
Is there any way of surviving a lift plummeting several floors to the ground? Sort of, and no it doesn’t involve jumping in the air one second before it crashes.
The pair revealed:
Laying flat on your back is the best way to spread out the G forces evenly through your body. If you’re standing up, your organs may keep falling even though your body has stopped.
You should also hope that your elevator fits snugly in its shaft, so the pillow of air below the car slows the fall and the broken elevator cable below can provide some cushioning. Crossing your fingers is also a good idea.
JUMPING INTO THE EARTH
As with the neutron star entry, this is also near-enough never going present itself to you. But, let’s say there’s a hole in the Earth and – judging if you have any sense of adventure – you dive in gung-ho and say ‘yippeeeee!’ Well let’s just say the yucks wouldn’t last too long.
The lads explained:
Jumping into a hole in the earth is a classic physics homework problem. The answer is that it takes 45 minutes to get to the other side.
However that simple answer misses most of the fun.
From a point in north america the surface of the earth is moving to the east at a few hundred miles per hour. The center of the earth is not. So if you fall into an evacuated hole you have to slow down by 800 miles per hour by rubbing along the wall. Not good! To get around this problem dig the hole from pole to pole.
The next problem is that it gets hot as you go down, the center of the earth is hotter than the surface of the sun, so you’d cook. You are going to need a refrigerated impossibly well insulated suit.
All a bit grim, really, isn’t it? Not to worry, Paul and Cody also gave an example of what would be their favourite way to die, and although it involves dying, it’s about your surroundings.
Adventure/fatal tourism would be a fantastic way to go. Death by visiting the dinosaur era would be particularly interesting, but also likely lethal. Your best bet would be to live in the trees. Most of the particularly nasty predators in the dinosaur era were focused on the ground, although Pteradactyls show up around 100 million years ago, and those would be a problem.
Mars would also be a fantastic place to visit, but alas you would only have around 15 seconds to enjoy it before the lack of oxygen caused you to pass out. (And you couldn’t hold your breath, because the lack of pressure would squeeze all the air in your lungs out of you.)
Fatal tourism, eh. I’d choose the Black Plague. Really get my moneys worth, you know what I mean? Go all out covered in buboes and vomit. The full AMA is over here. Happy Blue Monday!