9 Ways the World Might End (or not)

As the twenty-first century enters its tween years, we are faced with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of scenarios for how the world might end--and Hollywood, cable television, and the nightly news work together to ensure that the apocalypse is rarely far from our minds.

Yet as we argue in our new book The Last Myth: What the Rise of Apocalyptic Thinking Tells Us About America (Prometheus Books, $18), these daydreams of doomsday are coming between us and our ability to confront real global challenges, and understanding how apocalyptic thinking has become intertwined with real problems has never been more urgent.

To that end, we put together this slideshow of some of the more common apocalyptic scenarios encountered in the media and online, and rated them on both their probability and impact.