Re: Singularity: Just Say No!

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Tue, 19 Jan 1999 20:33:34 -0600

Eugene Leitl wrote:
> I really don't see any other way of sterilizing Earth by dumping
> enough rocks upon it to melt the upper crust (giving plenty of
> opportunity for particles to reach escape velocity, a la tectites),
> or introduce a singularity within its volume which grows faster
> than it evaporates.

Induce a solar nova.
(A series of mirrors around the Sun to reflect energy back in might do the trick - I think you only need to shunt one-quarter of the output back in for one second, but I can't remember where I heard the figure.)

Dump enough solar energy on the surface to melt the upper crust.

Stop Earth's rotation (which would release enough energy to melt the surface directly), or cancel its orbital momentum (and let it fall into the Sun). Not sure how to manage that.

Dump some antimatter in. A Mt. Everest's worth would cancel all the gravitational energy - the dust would never recoalesce.

Use nano to construct lots of laser-detonated fusion bombs on the ocean floor, maybe using up most of Earth's deuterium. The result might leave a planet but would pulverize the crust.

Let any gray goo loose and if enough of the crust gets caught up in chemical reactions it will be hot enough to melt lead.

There are all kinds of interesting things you can do if you can manipulate gravity, but you can't.

Wimpy alternatives:

Block enough solar energy that the planet freezes to Pluto temperatures. (Unfreeze at leisure.) Okay, so the core will stay hot for a while, big deal.

Dust the planet with something highly radioactive. Okay, so some bacteria might survive, big deal.

Old fashioned nuclear war.

--         Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.