I got into a fairly interesting discussion the other day, and thought I’d share it with my fellow Dopers and keep it going for a while.
Imagine, if you will…at some time in the next 10 years, Earth is hit by a meteor. It’s fairly substantial, but not like the Dinosaur Killer. More like the one that created the crater near Winslow, Arizona. However, this rock carries a virus that propagates throughout humanity, causing massive flu-like symptoms that are fatal to X% of humanity. Think Stephen King’s Captain Trips on steroids. Those who do not die get massively sick, but recover within 3 days or so.
What is the highest value of X that would not cause extinction of the human species?
Is enough of our infrastructure running on autopilot that we would continue to have electricity, etc.? If so, for how long until the systems fail? Could the survivors learn to fix things quickly enough to keep it going for a while longer? How long until “civilization” collapses?