Top 10 Times The World Nearly Ended

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When the Mayan calendar supposedly indicated that the apocalypse was headed for us in 2012, they weren’t that far off. As it turns out, a solar superstorm in the summer of 2012 narrowly missed blasting planet Earth. That’s just one of the many times humanity and all of Earth’s creatures have escaped extinction by the metaphorical skin of their teeth. These near apocalypses – whether due to mechanical failures, miscommunications, natural disasters, or brushes with cosmic and nuclear events – almost ruined everyone’s day at some point in the history of the Earth. Here are the 10 times the world almost ended.


spanish flu

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The 1918 influenza pandemic was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus. The 1918 influenza pandemic infected 500 million people and killed 3-5% of the entire globe’s population. One of history’s deadliest natural disasters killed 10-40% of those it infected and may have taken the lives of 25 million individuals over just 25 weeks. It topped the charts, killing more humans in one year than the Black Death in 100 years and killed more in 24 weeks than AIDS did in 24 years.



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Comet Hyakutake is a comet, discovered on 31 January 1996. The Great Comet of 1996 was great in size but the opposite of great in potential effect. It was the closest approach to Earth of any comet in the previous 200 years. Amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake saw it approaching us, leading astronomers to notice X-rays being emitted from a comet for the first time ever.


2012 solar storm

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The solar storm of 2012 was an unusually large and strong coronal mass ejection event that occurred on July 23 that year. In the summer of 2012, a massive cloud of hot plasma erupted from the sun and went through our planet’s orbit. Had it happened a single week earlier, Earth would have had GPS errors, radio blackouts, and fried satellites. In fact, resulting power blackouts would have been so bad that most of us would have had trouble flushing the toilet.



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The movie War Games is a lot like what actually happened in 1979. This happened when a low-level Air Force officer once started playing a training program that simulated a Soviets nuclear attack on the US which the Pentagon somehow managed to mistake for an actual bunch of missiles that were headed for the country. His computer happened to be hooked up to the mainframe in government control rooms, and the U.S. got ready to launch.



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On 27 October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a group of eleven United States Navy destroyers and the aircraft carrier USS Randolph located the diesel-powered, nuclear-armed Foxtrot-class submarine B-59 near Cuba. Despite being in international waters, the Americans started dropping signaling depth charges, explosives intended to force the submarine to come to the surface for identification. The exhausted Savitsky assumed that his submarine was doomed and that world war three had broken out. He ordered the B-59’s ten kiloton nuclear torpedo to be prepared for firing. Due to Arkhipov’s position as flotilla commander, B-59’s captain also was required to gain Arkhipov’s approval. An argument broke out, with only Arkhipov against the launch



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The Four Pests Campaign, was one of the first actions taken in the Great Leap Forward in China from 1958 to 1962. The four pests to be eliminated were rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows.Sparrows were notorious for eating grains and needed to be exterminated. The citizens did everything they could to end the menace: tearing down sparrow nests, shooting them down from the sky. The result was a near-extinction of sparrows in China. Things got out of control to an extent where the Chinese government started importing sparrows. During the time, it is estimated that some 30 million people lost their lives due to starvation. The numbers vary with some claiming that the death toll may have reached 45 or 78 million.



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The year was 1995 and the Cold War was over. But when Russia saw what looked exactly like a U.S. ballistic missile on its way, President Boris Yeltsin opened a briefcase with the nuclear codes for the first time. With ten minutes to figure out whether or not to nuke America, Yeltsin fortunately got word that it was a science experiment he hadn’t been warned about.



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The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora was one of the most powerful in recorded history. 1816 was known as “The Year Without a Summer” after an Indonesian volcano erupted in grand style. It was, in fact, the biggest volcanic eruption in history. 90,000 people died, and the volcanic winter was part of many resulting climate anomalies. The worst famine of the 19th century was a direct result of this volcano, as it killed livestock and crops all around the world.



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Smallpox virus is one of the world’s deadliest viruses that had killed more humans than any other virus in human history. In 20th century alone the virus killed about 200-500 million people worldwide. The virus was evident in history from 10,000 BC. Today, smallpox is a disease that has been completely eradicated. The highly contagious, acute and fatal smallpox is caused by orthopoxvirus which is distinguished by high fever, bumpy rashes, pus-filled blisters, vomiting and body aches. There is a chance of death by up to 30% in smallpox cases. The mortality rate due to smallpox is approximately 95% which is fatally high.


carrington event

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If the massive solar storm of 1859 happened today, civilization would be in chaos. The solar storm of 1859, also known as the Carrington Event was a powerful geomagnetic storm during solar cycle 10 in between year 1855 and 1867. After two fireballs erupted from sunspots, telegraph communications around the globe were destroyed. The sky was so bright that people thought the morning had begun, but really it was a solar flare with the energy of, 10 billion Atomic bombs.

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