Scary Times with Cormac McCarthy: The Top Ten ways the Earth will kill us

Photo via "Stuck in Customs" Flickr stream

We’ve seen our share of brutal natural disasters of late. Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Drought. (And thanks to the Army Corp of Engineers, some not so natural ones, like Katrina.)

Suffice it to say, the Earth is always going to win. If it wants us dead, there isn’t a whole lot we’ll be able to do to stop it. (And we can only slow global warming.)

Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” is a bleak look at one end-of-the-world scenario but never provides much insight into what created the dank, ash-layered planet “Man” and “Boy” cough and roam through. However, McCarthy admits to spending quite a bit of time carousing with his biologist brother Dennis and other scientists and academicians at the Santa Fe Institute. And in this rare interview he gave to The Wall Street Journal in 2009, he ponders the potential power of Yellowstone’s enflamed landscape, making one think that maybe it was the unmentioned source of “The Road’s” doomsday scenario.

“A lot of people ask me. I don’t have an opinion. At the Santa Fe Institute I’m with scientists of all disciplines, and some of them in geology said it looked like a meteor to them. But it could be anything? Volcanic activity or it could be nuclear war. It is not really important. The whole thing now is, what do you do? The last time the caldera in Yellowstone blew, the entire North American continent was under about a foot of ash. People who’ve gone diving in Yellowstone Lake say that there is a bulge in the floor that is now about 100 feet high and the whole thing is just sort of pulsing. From different people you get different answers, but it could go in another three to four thousand years or it could go on Thursday. No one knows.”

Thanks to, we now have a rather frightening list of the ten most probable ways Mother Earth will have her way with us. Yellowstone is No. 5.

I prefer No. 10. Seems like the most simple way to go, doesn’t it?

Grizzly attack outside Yellowstone

Grizzly Man Timothy Treadwell

Hard to explain.

Bear attacks are rare. But, they don’t always seem so because when an incident like what happened yesterday a few miles outside of Yellowstone’s east gate finds the airwaves, it tends to become pretty big news for a couple of days. And, more often than not, there are extenuating circumstances. In this particular case, there is a very good chance the bear’s recent interaction with researchers had something to do with an erratic mindset. And maybe that’s a stretch, but truthfully, most experts don’t know exactly why some bears run when they see people, others false charge or others make contact. Remember, Tim Treadwell lived with them for years before he was surprised in his tent by a bear he had interacted with countless times.

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