When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 23 December 2012

The much-hyped End of the World didn’t happen on December 21.

As I wrote in my blog that morning, Ass-trologers (my new name for those claiming to read our destiny in the stars) and other dabblers in pseudo-science and non-science have a lot of explaining to do.

Perhaps the greatest damage these false prophets of doom – and their uncritical multipliers in the media — did was to distract us from the real hazards that we are confronted with.

The long list includes better known threats like nuclear weapons and accelerated climate change as well as the more slowly building up ones like water scarcities, antibiotic resistance and demographic changes.

There are also some hazards that are not frequent, but have the potential to inflict planetary scale damage when they do occur. The…

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