Scientists Discuss The Most Gruesome Ways That You Can Die
After spending two years researching the most interesting (and the most gruesome) ways that a human can die, scientists Paul Doherty and Cody Cassidy are exactly the kind of people that we’d want at a dinner party…
They recently took to Reddit to present their findings, and answer people’s questions. It’s morbid, but we’d by lying if we said it wasn’t fascinating.
Here’s what they discussed:
Apparently, you’d drown way before you got to the bottom of the Mariana trench. If, however, you swam “out of James Cameron’s submersible at the bottom”, then you’d have a much more interesting death:
“Fortunately you’re mostly water, and water is incompressible. 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. 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 flower, which usually eats whale bones but would probably make an exception in this case.”
The scientists – when asked about the strangest thing that their research had thrown up – revealed that it’s impossible to die from insomnia:.
They were asked about fatal familial insomnia (FFI – which you can read more about here), and explained that with that disease, the insomnia is a symptom, and isn’t actually the cause of death.
Then there was this question:
We’ve all wondered how we’d save ourselves in an elevator plummeting to the ground, and apparently jumping at the last minute isn’t the way to go:
“Laying flat on your back is the best way to spread out the G forces evenly through your body. If you’re standing up, your organs may keep falling even though your body has stopped.
You should also hope that your elevator fits snugly in its shaft, so the pillow of air below the car slows the fall and the broken elevator cable below can provide some cushioning. Crossing your fingers is also a good idea.”
We think that “death by your organs ripping through your skin” might be the most gruesome yet…
Here’s your answer:
“Jumping into a hole in the earth is a classic physics homework problem. The answer is that it takes 45 minutes to get to the other side.
However that simple answer misses most of the fun.
From a point in north america the surface of the earth is moving to the east at a few hundred miles per hour. The center of the earth is not. So if you fall into an evacuated hole you have to slow down by 800 miles per hour by rubbing along the wall. Not good! To get around this problem dig the hole from pole to pole.
The next problem is that it gets hot as you go down, the center of the earth is hotter than the surface of the sun, so you’d cook. You are going to need a refrigerated impossibly well insulated suit.
And indeed you’ll need to remove the air in the tube. The pressure and density of the air starts out doubling every 15,000 feet of depth (3 miles) so after 10 doublings at 150,000 feet and 30 miles the air is as dense as water and you sink no further.”
Basically, it would be like travelling through an incredibly hot cheese grater at “a few hundred miles per hour”. Ouch.
We also like this question:
There are apparently two ways a neutron star could kill you. Firstly, it could just rip you in half: “if your head is pointed toward the neutron star, it will be tugged toward the star much more strongly than your feet, and this tidal force will rip you apart”.
Or there’s this:
“There is another way to die, however – some neutron stars are a hundred billion times stronger magnets than the strongest magnets on Earth.
At those levels of magnetism, your atoms are distorted into thin cigars, and all the bonds between atoms that make up the molecules in your body are broken, so you become a human-shaped plasma cloud that is tidally stretched and pulled into the star, where you impact the surface and generate lethal gamma radiation.”
They also revealed that while there technically isn’t a sound loud enough to kill a person, “a shock wave from a bomb blast or meteorite strike can produce a pressure wave which will blow out the alveoli in your lungs”. We’re pretty sure that that would hurt….
Paul and Cody have a book, in which they’ve outlined all the most gruesome ways that you can die (including what would happen if you got swallowed by a whale, which we have to admit we’re intrigued about).
You can check it out here.
Let us know what you think in the comments!
Images via iStock