What they are: Scientists are hustling to develop nanobots, which are tiny robots that can be ingested or injected into the human body. These micro-machines can move around on the molecular level and heal the body from the inside out. That’s what science wants you to think. But we know the truth: These buggers are destined to go all Skynet, and will, eventually, come crawling out of your eye sockets while you scream.
Chance of Survival: Once these bacteria-sized droids start to swarm like locusts, you’re pretty screwed.
2. Exciting New Way to Die: Flying Drones
What they are: Let’s say a government doesn’t like you. So, you leave your hut, or yurt, or brownstone and walk to your car and KABLOOIE! Suddenly, you’re a puddle of meat spackle. Pioneered during the second Iraq war, flying drones armed with missiles can tirelessly patrol hostile urban environments or reach hard to reach places like the tribal hinterlands of Pakistan, and if need be, light them up with American firepower. And this can happen half a world away. Finally, fatty gamers can make a difference.
Chance of Survival: Depends on which governments have them, and how they feel about you.
3. Exciting New Way to Die: Dirty Bombs
What they are: It’s like a nuclear bomb, only it will probably kill you in 20 years from radiation poisoning. We kid! A dirty bomb is possibly the simplest irradiated terror weapon, a ghetto bomb stuffed with radioactive material easily attained from your local dentist for instance. Since its destructive capabilities are considerably lower than an actual nuclear bomb, its ability to render cities uninhabitable makes it perfect for instilling panic.
Chance of Survival: Pretty good, unless that was your mailbox that went boom, and showered your block in easily-inhaled uranium sparkles.
4. Exciting New Way to Die: Socio-Economic Breakdown
What it is: Remember last year when our entire economic system teetered on the brink of oblivion? Good times. But don’t trust that it’s over, Pollyana. The world economy is as vulnerable to collapse as it’s ever been, and many economists are still squeezing out teardrops of fear pee over the possibility of a global depression. And if that were to happen, things are going to get decidedly “Road Warrior” up in here.
Chance of Survival: Those with homemade flamethrowers, chainsaws affixed to forearms, and double-barrel shotguns have the best chance of living through it.
5. Exciting New Way to Die: Robot Rampage
What it is: Did you know that the makers of that adorable robotic vacuum cleaner have a black ops department? They have a contract with the Defense Department to develop killbots. And they’re not even on the cutting edge of the autonomous, mechanized forces the US Army will be rolling out at a hot spot near you. Good thing the military has never read Frankenstein.
Chance of Survival: When your grandchildren ask you about the Great Robot Freakout Of 2020, just show them your stump.
6. Exciting New Way to Die: Pirates
Who they are: The Horn of Africa is a parched wasteland of borderline anarchy, human misery, and violent opportunism. And from this fertile dishevel comes a new generation of pirates for a new century. The pirates who use the failed state of Somalia as their home base aren’t the ruffled-shirt wearing fruits of the nineteenth century. They’re hardened, desperate hooligans armed to the teeth. Their very existence is proof that there are corners of the world that are hopelessly unraveling, symptoms of a seemingly irreversible social rot.
Chance of Survival: Depends on the size of your boat, and bigger is not better.
7. Exciting New Way to Die: Lasers
What they are: The US government has spent the past two decades trying to develop tactical directed energy weapons. And guess what! They’ve largely succeeded! Whether it’s for missile defense, or a covert gunship, Han Solo’s blaster is (finally) very real. These weapons are set to fricassee the enemy on a TBD battlefield very soon. The public will surely love images of terrorists twisted and charbroiled. USA!
Chance of Survival: If you’re the target of a directed energy weapon, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that you’re a heap of fried chicken skin.
8. Exciting New Way to Die: Global Warming
What it is: Now might be the time to buy beachfront property…in central Virginia. Global warming is very real, and if you don’t believe us, just ask renowned environmental scientist Doctor Vice President Al Gore. So unless you plan on spontaneously evolving and growing gills, listen up: the glaciers are melting, coastal areas will be flooded, and you’ll regret ignoring the warnings of that award-winning documentary The Day After Tomorrow.
Chance of Survival: If you’re Aquaman, pretty good. If not, work on your broad stroke.
9. Exciting New Way to Die: Super Death Plague
What it is: You ever read Stephen King’s The Stand? You know, where all of humanity is wiped out by a mutant, flu-like virus? In the book, the flu is called “Captain Jacks.” We might as well just call it “Swine Flu” or “H1N1 influenza” for those who keep kosher. Think this is last month's news? Pshaw. The World Health Organization just declared their first pandemic in 40 years.
Chance of Survival: If you lock yourself inside a hermetically sealed bunker with a couple gallons of Nyquil, a couple boxes of Tamiflu suppositories and a whole lot of shotgun shells, you should be okay.
10. Exciting New Way to Die: Right Wing Rage
What it is: Angry, impotent white men are fed up, and they’re just not going to take it anymore! Yah! Like the X-men for balding, pear-shaped Rush Limbaugh dittoheads, these ideological warriors are a band of brothers dedicated to seething with rage until they explode like Travis Bickle. Their inability to articulate nuanced arguments beyond “Obama is a Muslim” is the very fuel that drives their fury.
Chance of Survival: If you’re an America-loving patriot, very good. But if you’re Jewish, Gay, an ethnic minority, a liberal, a democrat, Pro-Life, a sushi-eater, a iPhone user, an MSNBC watcher or an Obama supporter, your chance of survival is not so good.