Scientist Shares The Grimmest Ways To Die
After a few pints, conversation can be known to take some pretty dark turns before someone eventually pipes up with: 'Would you rather die from drowning or be shot by a firing squad?' Well, now when such questions arise, you can answer with a bit of science to back you up.
Paul Doherty, a senior scientist at San Francisco's Exploratorium, and writer Cody Cassidy took questions from the public during a Reddit Q&A session earlier this year, where they revealed some of the worst ways you could die - as a word of warning, some of them are pretty grim.
These included being consumed by a bone-eating snot flower - or an Osedax mucofloris as it's scientifically known - after sinking to the bottom of the Mariana trench, the deepest part of the ocean.
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"Fortunately you're mostly water, and water is incompressible," Doherty said. "So you would retain your basic human shape.
"The air pockets inside you, namely in your nasal cavity, throat and chest, would be a problem, though. Those would collapse inward, which would be fatal.
"Because you wouldn't have any air, you wouldn't float to the surface and you would likely stay at the bottom to be consumed by the bone-eating snot flowers, which usually eats whale bones but would probably make an exception in this case."
Falling through to the centre of the Earth? Yep, that would be one of the worst ways to die according to Doherty.
"The pressure and density of the air starts out doubling every 15,000 feet of depth (3 miles)," he said, "so after 10 doublings at 15,000 feet and 30 miles, the air is as dense as water and you sink no further."
When it comes to death by neutron star - the collapsed core of a large star - you'll probably be killed by radiation.
But neutron stars are also strong magnets, and Doherty says that at those levels of magnetism human atoms would be "distorted into thin cigars and all the bonds between atoms that make up the molecules in your body are broken so you become a plasma-shaped human cloud that is tidally stretched and pulled into the star where you impact the surface and generate lethal gamma radiation."
What about being in an elevator that falls to the bottom of the floor? Apparently if you're standing up, your organs 'may keep falling even though your body has stopped'.
Doherty instead suggests laying flat on your back, as this spreads out the G forces evenly though your body.
"Crossing your fingers is also a good idea," he added.
Doherty also says that, while there are no magnets on Earth that could kill you, it's only because we're yet to create one strong enough.
And although one scientist who put his face in a highly radioactive particle accelerator (as you do) didn't die, he died suffer horrific injuries and nearly died from poisoning - suggesting that if you stuck any body part into the stronger Large Hadron Collider, things could get fatal.
So let's all stay away from particle accelerators, neutron stars and giant magnets, shall we?
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