Monday, February 23, 2009

Book Review: Death from the Skies!

Death from the Skies! by Dr. Philip Plait is a wholly unusual book. It's a book of hard science about the vast multitude of ways that the universe is trying to kill us all, and how it will eventually succeed, one way or another. But it's also a humorous book, written in a warm, approachable style that, quite frankly, we need more of from the scientific community.

Despite the subject matter, I found it to be uplifting. Sure, there's not much we can do to affect the Big Picture, but when you get a look at the grandeur and power of that picture, it's a heady feeling to be part of it. At least for me; your spirituality may vary.

The We're Doomed Connection
(sorry Kermit!)

Why do astronomers
Care about black holes
And Texas-sized pieces of rock?
Extinctions are common (in fact, ours is coming)
I doubt this will come as a shock.
Whether it's gamma-ray bursts or a nova
Some day our species will die.
How will it happen?
How can we avoid it?
You'll find out in "Death from the Skies!"

It's hard to think about
But someone must do it
We don't want to end like T. Rex.
Should we build laser guns, or nuclear missles,
Or something else much more complex?
Big rocks are looming but we're not assuming
That we'll be wiped out in their fire.
Phil Plait has told us how we can deflect them,
'Til we're killed by something more dire.

Read the book and laugh along,
There's still a few billion years left...

Done in by gamma waves,
Or hostile creatures from "out there"?
The chances are tiny, although not quite zero
But no need to try to prepare.
Universe heat death is still surely coming
In uncounted zillions of years.
Things that we do here one day will not matter,
Read Phil's book, laugh away the tears.

La, la la,
La, la la la
La Laa, la la
La Buy This Boooooooooooook

Read more by Phil Plait on the Bad Astronomy blog or by following him on Twitter. Tell him I sent you.

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