Note: the insect apocalypse

In today’s NYT Magazine (on-line on 11/27), “The Insect Apocalypse Is Here: What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?” by Brooke Jarvis: an alarming tale of scientists tracking huge declines in the insects in our environment: in raw amount of biomass, in numbers of species, in numbers of individuals in particular species.

(#1) The dramatic cover for the magazine

This is a note on the N + N compound insect apocalypse.

(#2) Insects (and some closely related arthropods) illustrating the article

The compound insect apocalypse has a Patient/Object interpretation: it’s ‘an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale’ (NOAD) affecting insects.

A couple of other X apocalypse compounds with the Patient/Object interpretation:

After the retail apocalypse, what next for the high street? (link) — referring to the devastation of retail shops

The climate apocalypse is now, and it’s happening to you (link) — referring to ongoing damage (becoming catastrophic) related to climate change

This interpretation contrasts with the Agent/Subject interpretation of zombie apocalypse, referring to an apocalypse at the hands of zombies:

A zombie apocalypse is a particular scenario within apocalyptic fiction. In a zombie apocalypse, a widespread rise of zombies hostile to human life engages in a general assault on civilization. (Wikipedia link)

A zombie apocalypse in progress in  a scene from the tv series The Walking Dead:


One more Agent/Subject X apocalypse example:

What if there was a robot apocalypse? How long would humanity last? (link) — referring to a catastrophic takeover by robots

Compare the discussion in my 9/2/18 posting “Molesting and abusing ambiguously” of N + N compounds like child abuse: Patient/Object ‘abuse of children’ vs. Agent/Subject ‘abuse by children’.

One Response to “Note: the insect apocalypse”

  1. [BLOG] Some Saturday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky considers the idea of the ongoing insect […]

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