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on 6 May 2013
The book is uneven. I loved it at the beginning, was annoyed and a little bored in the middle only to turn fascinated at the end. It is quite well written, accessible piece of popular science, I admit. But there are some serious drawbacks:

1) Repetitiveness: reading about the effect of gamma-ray burst once is really enough. The second time is slightly annoying, the third and the fourth simply spoil the pleasure.

2) Pointless information, given only with the purpose to impress: what is the point of telling me that as many as 300 billion muons per square inch can hit the Earth "from a nearby gamma-ray burst"? What does that "nearby" mean? How on earth does this information contribute to my knowledge?

Luckily, the last few chapters were such a feast for imagination that the book won my heart overall and I can recommend it with my conscience at ease.
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on 27 April 2009
I am not sure how many of you know (not personally) Philip Plait. Philip is an astronomer, more specific he is the Bad Astronomer. He is one of my favourite bloggers. I even follow his tweets. He knows a lot about astronomy; his website is a vast source of information, written in a plain, high intellectually and funny way. Seriously, even if you and astronomy don't get along very well, Phil can make you love it.

That's exactly he is doing with his new book "Death From the Skies: These Are the Ways the World Will End". You maybe think that the title is intriguing. It is, but the book is much more intriguing, full of strange astronomical things and events that will spell the doom of Earth.

Asteroids, black holes, solar activity, the Sun becoming a red giant, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts, Alien Attack, Galactic collisions. Well that's it.... the end of world.

There is a huge amount of science in this book. Everything you need to know, to be prepared for the end of the planet and probably the end of cosmos. Which, by the way, is not going to affect you, unless you are planning to be around the next .....1000000 years. Then, you may discover how the dinosaurs felt when the asteroid hit the Earth.

Did I say that the book is also funny? Well, it is. It is a great joy to read. Every chapter stars with a small story. Some of them are excellent science fiction stories of their own. I really loved the Attack of the Aliens; I think it could make a fantastic disaster movie.

Even if you know nothing about astronomy, you will find this book very readable and interesting. Phil, explains everything very well and clearly, and he uses the correct analogies to describe scientific concepts that some may find difficult to understand. Nevertheless, as Phil writes, "Be prepared to stretch your mind a bit".

Talking about stretching, I particularly liked the description of the spaghettification process, when you are falling into a black hole. Maybe it is not the best way to be killed, but as Phil says "the journey there is half the fun".

Actually, the chapter about black holes is my favourite. All these details about the how black holes could destroy Earth, are so .... ouaouou!!! You will be dead by then, of course, unless we manage to build that powerful rocket to produce a thrust for us to escape the gravity of the black hole. Fascinating?

If you haven't yet read this book, do it. It is beautiful, enjoyable and very informative. You are not going to avoid the doom, but that is something you don't need to worry about.

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on 22 August 2014
Brilliant! This book is absolutely fascinating. I've been back and reread the chapter that describes what happens to a star when it goes Nova on numerous occasions. This book is interesting, thought provoking, humorous and well worth the time spend reading it. I read it at home, but this would make an excellent book to read on the plane or on a beach somewhere. Awesome! Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 18 April 2009
Phil Plait is the "Bad Astronomer" who runs the internet site of that name. A skeptic by nature, his first book, called unsurprisingly, "Bad Astronomy" attacks all those myths about the subject and thoroughly debunks them.
This book describes all the ways the earth could be destroyed, by the sun, by asteroids and so on. Probably best not to read it if you are of a nervous disposition!Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing Hoax (Bad Science)
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on 31 January 2010
I was looking for a book that had ways the world could end for ages! When i came across this i had to give it a go, and i wasn't dissapointed.

This book is amazing, Written by the Bad Astronomer himself, it has all the ways the world could end, and little stories at the beginning.

One word though: Don't read this and fall asleep, the dreams aren't good (For me at least)
My faverite chapters have to be the Gamma Rays and Black holes. Gamma Rays are the scariest as we would have no warning of when they come..

Definetely worth it!
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on 24 May 2013
I'm a regular reader of Phil Plaits blog, Bad Astronomy, so I expected a lot from this book. I wasn't disappointed; it's a gripping and entertaining read describing the real, scientific likelihood of different ways the earth - or human civilisation - might be destroyed. Fading away in the heat death of the universe is my current favourite, as it is unlikely to happen for quite a while....
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on 14 April 2013
This was an excellent and informative read. The disturbing aspect is that there are so few resources available to give mankind an early enough warning of such events coming to this planet.

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on 24 November 2012
Well presented, easily accessible and thought provoking. A good way of having the ammunition to scare others down the pub.
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on 1 February 2015
Full of funny death and destruction. A hilarious look at what our future in the cosmos may hold, with lots of genuine science thrown in for good measure. A must read for anyone who lives on planet Earth.
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on 26 March 2013
This is a great book. Phil Plait tells you how the world will end. Spoiler Alert. The World will end. (Just not for awhile yet).
Full of great science and written in a fun albeit macabre way. You can tell Plait really loves his subject.

Get it, you won't be disappointed.
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