Right now, you're probably feeling pretty good. After all, life in the developed world is comfortable—probably more comfortable than it's been for the average human being throughout all of recorded history.
But don't get too smug. There's still plenty of horrific ways it could all fall apart. In this article, you'll learn about a few of our favorites.
Skeptics suggest that the Mayan calendar simply rolls to a new 5,126-year era after 2012, and doesn't actually predict a life-ending apocalypse. But given that the long-dead Mayans were wrong about virtually everything else, why should we trust them on this?
Not quite as frightening as a Vampire Takeover or Living-Dead Takeover, a robot rebellion is still a disquieting thought. We are already outnumbered by our technological gadgets, and even Bill Gates fears the day his Japanese robot slave turns him over by the ankles and asks (in a suitably robotic voice) "Who's your daddy now?"
We don't know how the universe started, so we can't be sure it won't just end, maybe today, and maybe with nothing more exciting than a puff of anti-matter and a slight fizzing noise.
Dismissed by some, Al Gore's prophecy of doom may still come true. If it does, we may have to contend with vicious storms, widespread food shortages, and surly air conditioning repairmen.
Some time in the future, a lethal virus could strike. Predictions differ about the source of the disease, but candidates include monkeys in the African jungle, bioterrorists, birds and pigs with the flu, warriors from the future, an alien race, hospitals that use too many antibiotics, vampires, the CIA, and unwashed brussel sprouts. Whatever the source, it's clearly bad news.