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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse X-Events for showing us what would happen
after an X-Event. How long could New York survive without food shipments?
In one week it would be total chaos, anarchy and murders by the millions.

The Collapse of Everything
By John Casti

X-Events (2013) - 336 pages
X-Events at Amazon.com

Today a hidden catastrophe looms: the total failure of advanced civilization. Scientists like John Casti fear our intricate, technology-dependent society has become a house of cards - overcomplex and increasingly vulnerable to sudden collapse. If certain extreme scenarios called "X-events" hit, the flow of communication, transportation, electricity, finance, food, water, and medicine will cease. We will reenter premodern world overnight.

A page-turning exploration of eleven scenarios that may trigger the collapse of the modern world:

  • A long-term, widespread failure of the internet
  • The breakdown of the global food-supply system
  • A continent-wide electromagnetic pulse destroys all electronics
  • The emergence of a new global geopolitical order
  • Destruction of the Earth through the creation of exotic particles
  • Destabilization of the nuclear landscape
  • Drying-up of the world oil supplies
  • A global pandemic
  • Failure of the electric power grid and clean water supply
  • Intelligent robots overthrow humanity
  • The collapse of world financial markets

An acclaimed theorist offers a provocative and chilling warning. Today's advanced societies have grown overly complex and highly vulnerable to extreme events that could topple civilization.

The modern industrialized world is a complex system on a scale never before witnessed in the history of humankind. Technologically dependent, globally interconnected, it offers seemingly limitless conveniences, choices, and opportunities. Yet this same modern civilization may be as unstable as a house of cards, fear complexity scientists like John Casti. All it would take to "downsize" our way of life - to send us crashing back to the nineteenth century - is a nudge from what Casti calls an "X-event," an unpredictable occurrence with extreme, even dire, consequences. When an X-event strikes - and scientists believe it will - finance, communication, defense, and travel will stop dead in their tracks. The flow of food, electricity, medicine, and clean water will be disrupted for months, if not years. What will you do?

A renowned systems theorist, Casti shows how our world has become impossibly complicated, relying on ever more advanced technology that is developing at an exponential rate. Yet it is a fact of mathematical life that higher and higher levels of complexity lead to systems that are increasingly fragile and susceptible to sudden, spectacular collapse. Fascinating and chilling, X-Eventsprovides a provocative tour of the catastrophic outlier scenarios that could quickly send us crashing back to the preindustrial age: global financial "black swans"; a worldwide crash of the Internet that would halt all communications; the end of oil; nuclear winter; "nanoplagues"; robot uprisings; electromagnetic pulses; pandemic viruses; and more. You won't ever look at the world the same way again.

American complexity scientist and systems theorist John Casti, Ph.D., is cofounder of The X-Center, a Vienna-based research institute focusing on human-caused extreme events and how to anticipate them. Previously, he was a senior research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, where he headed an initiative on Extreme Events in Human Society. He worked for many years at the Santa Fe Institute and the RAND Corporation, and has also served on the faculties of Princeton University, the University of Arizona, and New York University. A former editor of the journal Complexity, Casti has published nearly twenty volumes of academic and popular science and received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Southern California. He lives in Vienna, Austria.

12-11-15 The ultimate blackout
The ultimate blackout
A powerful electromagnetic pulse could knock out the power grid and the internet. How serious is the threat? What is an electromagnetic pulse? What are solar storms? Has such a storm ever hit Earth? Yes, several times. Much more alarming was a solar superstorm that barely missed Earth in July 2012. Satellites involved in crucial global communications (including GPS) would have been ruined, large electrical transformers would have been destroyed, and ATMs would have stopped functioning. The internet would have been disabled on a massive scale. Most people wouldn’t even have been able to flush toilets, which rely on electric pumps. Three years later, “we would still be picking up the pieces.” What about man-made EMPs? What protective measures are possible? The great solar storm of 1859.

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The Collapse of Everything
By John Casti

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse X-Events for showing us what would happen
after an X-Event. How long could New York survive without food shipments?
In one week it would be total chaos, anarchy and murders by the millions.