Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Week 6 "Armageddon Science: The Science of Mass Destruction

The reading for this week, Armageddon Science: The Science of Mass Destruction, made me realize just how much movies portray Armageddon in a number of ways, most notably some type of alien invasion. In the Prezi presentation, 7 movies were mentioned where the plot dealt with the world coming to an end. I am sure there are many more that have been filmed and will be in the future.  I think people are so fascinated by it because it is something that most people fear (and it sells movie tickets).
The book presented many man-made and natural causes for the world coming to an end. Mad scientists, anti-matter weapons, and nuclear destruction are a few of the man-made options. Heat waves and climate are a few of the natural causes to Armageddon. The most interesting part of the reading to me was the idea of Ray Kurzeil, in which technology becomes “super intelligent” (Natural cause to Armageddon). There was a movie that I watched (I do not remember the name of the movie or when it was made, I believe I was in middle school) where a computer controlled the functions of the house. Near the middle of the movie the computer is upset that the family always leaves her and she locks them into the house. It was poorly made, but entertaining to me as a child. This is the vision that popped into my head after hearing Kurzeil’s idea. I think it is ridiculous and a little superstitious to believe that technology is going to become smarter than man and destroy him. I personally think that could never happen.
These topics are relevant to secondary social studies teachers because culture and people are what we discuss in our classrooms. I think Armageddon could be a natural discussion that arises during class when we talk about, say the fall of Rome, or some other major civilization. It may spawn ideas how our world is going to end. I think that using some of these key points would be a good discussion; however I would not feel comfortable going into a lot of detail.       


  1. Alecia, it's interesting and awesome that you bring up the Roman empire because I was thinking about that the whole time we were having our discussion. Rome's fall has been attributed to many things (immigration, an overstretched military, obsessions with cruel sports - sound familiar?) but the one thing that seems to be mutually agreed upon by most academics is a decline in civic participation by the upper echelons of Roman society. Simply put, Roman aristocrats (the educated classes) stopped giving a crap about the direction in which Roman society was headed and concerned themselves with frivolities (like gladiatorial combat.) So my question is, is technological innovation our new gladiatorial combat? I think back to Huxley's Brave New World, in which society was destroyed not by an Orwellian government, but from within - the creature comforts, all initially well-meaning creations of science, become the ambrosia that lulls citizens into a sense of false security, unaware of the dangers around them and ultimately consumed by them.

  2. Alecia you point out the number of movies mentioned in the prezi and that there are many more that weren't listed and many to come in the future. Like you I believe it is obviously a product of capitalism and the desire to sell tickets. People find the end of the world fascinating because it is unknown and scary because people are always curious about things they don't understand. The abstract idea of Armageddon allows people to envision their own doomsday scenarios. It can be seen in all of the different plot lines in doomsday media from movies, Tv, and literature.

  3. Alecia,

    I also think that you make a great point about the Roman Empire. I think often times that these people that predict the end of the world in these crazy sci-fi fashions aren’t really THAT crazy. Maybe this exaggerated end of the world is simply reminiscent of the fall of Rome or the mysterious disappearance of the Aztecs and is actually just the end of our powerful, dominant, and far reaching American civilization as we know it. I don’t believe in all these sci-fi style ways the world is going to end but I do believe that there’s and end to everything and, in a lot of ways, if we continue on our same path, something’s got to give.

  4. great comments about ancient civilizations!