Re: Singularity: Just Say No!

Anders Sandberg (
20 Jan 1999 13:10:38 +0100

[A strange error in emacs has sent Anders to an alternate universe where he participates in the entropians list]

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <> writes:

> 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.)

The trouble is, photons diffuse rather than radiate through most of the sun, and the diffusion time is so large (hundreds of thousands of years) that you won't get an explosion. Just a heating of the outer layers that will blow away, until you reach an equilibrium with a small non-fusioning ball of gas a few million years later or so. However, all the mirrors would occlude the sun and freeze the earth.

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

You would likely need the above mirrors for that, the energy involved is Dysonesque.

> 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.

Not sure if that would sterilize the planet.

> Old fashioned nuclear war.

Most likely not able to even wipe out humanity, unless you start throwing cobalt bombs around.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y