Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Fun: "Doomsday Clock" predicts greatest likelihood of nuclear armageddon since height of the cold war.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone with the emotional intelligence needed to recognize the traits of a narcissistic sociopath in our new president. For those who don't already know, the so-called Doomsday Clock was a project started in 1947 by a group of Atomic scientists to measure the threat of imminent nuclear annihilation. More recently, the Doomsday Clock has been used to reflect the likely imminence of global destruction from more wide-ranging threats including climate change. Yesterday the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists set the clock for two and one half minutes before midnight which indicates we're the closest we've been to nuclear annihilation since 1953 when the U.S. and Soviet Union each conducted competing tests of hydrogen bombs (the subsequent cold war crisis actually moved the clock further away from "midnight" after both countries installed a "hotline" and negotiated arms reductions).

The Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Rachel Bronson, had this statement about her group's decision to move the clock the closest its been to "midnight" in more than 60 years:

Ms. Bronson, in a post-announcement interview, explained why the board had included the 30-second mark in the measurement. She said that it was an attention-catching signal that was meant to acknowledge “what a dangerous moment we’re in, and how important it is for people to take note.”


“We’re so concerned about the rhetoric, and the lack of respect for expertise, that we moved it 30 seconds,” she said. “Rather than create panic, we’re hoping that this drives action.”


In an op-ed for The New York Times, Dr. Titley and Dr. Krauss elaborated on their concerns, citing the increasing threats of nuclear weapons and climate change, as well as President Trump’s pledges to impede what they see as progress on both fronts, as reasons for moving the clock closer to midnight.


“Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person,” they wrote. “But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter.”

You can read the full, 2017 report from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists here and the New York Times coverage of the story here.


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