Film/Video/New Media · Human-ities · Philosophy

Werner Herzog on death, danger and the end of the world

Steve Rose talks to Werner Herzog about a new documentary on capital punishment, Into the Abyss.

Some years ago, Werner Herzog was on an internal flight somewhere in Colorado and the plane’s landing gear wouldn’t come down. They would have to make an emergency landing. The runway was covered in foam and flanked by scores of fire engines. “We were ordered to crouch down with our faces on our knees and hold our legs,” says Herzog, “and I refused to do it.” The stewardess was very upset, the co-pilot came out from the cabin and ordered him to do as he was told. “I said, ‘If we perish I want to see what’s coming at me, and if we survive, I want to see it as well. I’m not posing a danger to anyone by not being in this shitty, undignified position.'” In the end, the plane landed normally. Herzog was banned from the airline for life but, he laughs, it went bust two years later anyway.Herzog tells this story to illustrate how he’ll face anything that’s thrown at him, as if that was ever in any doubt. Now approaching his 70th birthday, the German film-maker has assumed legendary status for facing things others wouldn’t. He’s lived a life packed with intrepid movie shoots, far-flung locations and general high-stakes film-making. He has a biography too dense to summarize. But his tale also confirms the suspicion that he’s helplessly drawn to danger and death. Or vice versa.

Continue interview by Steve Rose at the Guardian

A different interview:

Part 2, Part 3

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Human-ities · Science

If the sun suddenly went dark, how long would it take for Earth to become uninhabitable? And why would it become uninhabitable?


“For the sake of confusion, let’s assume that instead of just “going dark”, the Sun ceases fusion in its core at midnight tonight. This will allow for any radiation emitted to make its way out and be emitted over the next several thousand years (since energy from fusion takes a considerable amount of time to be released from the Sun).

So when does it go dark? When and how does Earth cool off? Would all life die off, and if not, who would live/die? What kills off humans, the cold? A lack of oxygen? Something else?”

Click HERE to read a series of responses posted at Quora.