Monday, January 16, 2012

Doomsday Clock goes forward

The "Doomsday Clock" has become a universally recognised indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences. Last week, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) moved the symbolic minute hand from six to just five minutes before midnight. This was to reflect their analysis of the world’s lack of progress on battling climate change and WMD proliferation.

The clock was created in 1947 and set to 11:53PM by the directors of the BAS at the University of Chicago and originally seen as a symbol of the threat of nuclear war. Over the years, the clock has been moved to 11.58PM in 1953, when the US and Russia both tested thermonuclear devices but in 1991 after the end of the Cold War it went back as far as 11:43PM. The decision  to set the current position was made following a symposium in the US where scientists reviewed the implications of recent events including Japan’s Fukushima accident and trends for the future of humanity with input from other experts on nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change and biosecurity.

The BAS formally announced it's decision to move the hand back to 11:55PM, because while it previously appeared that world leaders might address the truly global threats that we face, "In many cases, that trend has not continued or been reversed. The challenges to rid the world of nuclear weapons, harness nuclear power, and meet the nearly inexorable climate disruptions from global warming are complex and interconnected. In the face of such complex problems, it is difficult to see where the capacity lies to address these challenges. Political processes seem wholly inadequate; the potential for nuclear weapons use in regional conflicts in the Middle East, Northeast Asia, and South Asia are alarming; safer nuclear reactor designs need to be developed and built, and more stringent oversight, training, and attention are needed to prevent future disasters; the pace of technological solutions to address climate change may not be adequate to meet the hardships that large-scale disruption of the climate portends.”

Contributions from scientists and analysts working with the United Nations Extra Terrestrial Invasion Defence Agency however are not counted by the symposium due to the classified nature of their work. UNETIDA is however reported to have its own Doomsday Clock style chronometer on the wall of the Planetary Defence Command Centre. "Yep we sure do," confirmed Colonel "Whopper" Creedon, Acting Director of Intelligence for UNETIDA. "But considering the power of our enemies and what we know that you don't, ours is measured in mere seconds," he said chillingly.

Source: Yahoo via Eamonn


vaughan said...

Ah the Doomsday Clock! Can't get a religous nutjob to shout "Repent!" Get A scientist instead , we all know what responsible people they are. I gave up on the Doomsday clock nonsense in 1985...why 1985. Well for two years there had been a scientifically worked out calculation when humanity would wipe itself out inevitably through Nuclear War and of course the press reported on this...Guess what ...we are all still here...scientists should stick to science instead of speculating wildly in piss poor Science Fiction with the nonsense that is the clock.

Former Grunt said...

While it holds little by true scientific data I think that as a simbolic measure of "worry" it's fine. Eveyone breathed a sigh of relief after the cold war [except a certain Marine Major who openly cried] knowing that the America and Russia were less likely to blow us up. I don't think N.Korea is a threat but if you consider the types of nutjobs in Iran creating nukes and engaging Isreal, that this would be a cause for alarm.

vaughan said...

But what drives me mad is the way the clock is held up as some ridiculous , supposedly accurate foreteller of doom when all it ever was meant to be was a cheap publicity stunt to warn the world of the danger of nuclear they've started to include Global warming....for griefs sake why don't they calculate asteroid collisons as well or the Uniteda Laser guided continent cracker the Colonels spent so much money on if they want to be completely ......ooops I don't think I should have typed that last bit.

*Ironically the word verification is splat