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The World Remains Five Minutes From Midnight 301

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hands-that-threaten-doom dept.
Lasrick writes "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announces whether their Doomsday Clock has been moved with this open letter to President Obama, outlining progress on a number of fronts, but also detailing what still needs to be done to avoid various threats to humanity." From the article: "2012 was a year in which the problems of the world pressed forward, but too many of its citizens stood back. In the U.S. elections the focus was "the economy, stupid," with barely a word about the severe long-term trends that threaten the population's well-being to a far greater extent: climate change, the continuing menace of nuclear oblivion, and the vulnerabilities of the world's energy sources."
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The World Remains Five Minutes From Midnight

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  • Doomsday clock (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AG the other (1169501) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:17PM (#42587275)

    I've been seeing reports of this so called clock for a long time and I can't help pointing out that so far, for thousands of years, every single prediction of the end of the world and humanity has been wrong.

  • Climate change? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:19PM (#42587285) Journal
    If AGW is the worst thing facing humanity, then we're currently in a REALLY good situation.

    What's the biggest danger to humanity? Probably nuclear winter, still.
  • by gl4ss (559668) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:24PM (#42587317) Homepage Journal

    it makes the clock bullshit. it will never be even 23 pm. and now it's totally useless as indicator for following how the nuke situation is going.

    the number is just pulled out of the ass, status quo remaining the same has pushed it closer to midnight several times. but moving it to half past eleven or whatever wouldn't be right because "they don't want to give the wrong message that you shouldn't be afraid".

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:2, Insightful)

    by k6mfw (1182893) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:25PM (#42587329)

    every single prediction of the end of the world and humanity has been wrong.

    Let us hope such predictions continue to be wrong. All it takes is just ONE to be right and then no more predictions are necessary.

  • by icebike (68054) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:35PM (#42587415)

    This "doomsday clock" hasn't ticked in years. The Atomic Scientists bulletin has used it for every Cause célèbre since the day it was invented. No amount of change will ever move those hands again, because there will always be another issue to adopt, another bandwagon to jump on, another social issue to champion.

    Once the threat of nuclear war subsided from the fever pitch of the 60's, they, like most anti-everything protest movements, had to find other horses to ride, preferably one that couldn't reject them. So climate change it is. And cyber technologies!!

    And if we don't heed them, we are reminded (annually it turns out) that We are DOOMED, Doomed I tell you! [barrypopik.com].

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:52PM (#42587561)

    I've been seeing reports of this so called clock for a long time and I can't help pointing out that so far, for thousands of years, every single prediction of the end of the world and humanity has been wrong.

    Well, of course every prediction of the end of the world and humanity has been wrong - you wouldn't be able to make that observation otherwise.

  • Not even close (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:54PM (#42587577)

    "The economy, stupid" was James Carville's coining for Bill Clinton's campaign of two decades ago. Obviously this last election was nothing about the economy, else the president who presided over it wouldn't have gotten re-elected. These chaps may be geniuses of atomic science but they make asses of themselves with the totally ignorant comment about current American politics.

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:14PM (#42587721)
    You were modded insightful? How about a +3 fucking obvious platitude mod?
  • by perceptual.cyclotron (2561509) on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:25PM (#42587785)
    ... but my impression was always that the time on this particular doomsday clock was not meant to represent 'time to doom', nor even 'likelihood of doom', but rather something to the effect of 'margin of error for doom'. i.e., "given the present circumstance, how big of a mistake do we need to make to seriously fuck shit up?" This isn't prophesying, nor is it inconsistent that it hasn't much changed over the years. It is simply a reaffirmation that the potential for great harm remains, and very little effort would be required to tip that scale... According to these guys, 5 minutes worth – but how about we don't dwell too much on the metaphor?
  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@NoSPaM.mac.com> on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:29PM (#42587817) Journal

    Why address long term goals? Like the tea party and their cronies always say. Long term thinking?

    Obviously you have no idea at all what the Tea Party is all about. Piling on debt without end is not long-term thinking.

    -jcr

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:2, Insightful)

    by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:55PM (#42587999)

    Obviously you have no idea at all what the Tea Party is all about. Piling on debt without end is not long-term thinking.

    Piling on debt without end is what the Tea Party is all about. The Tea Party movement has made many Republicans promise to never raise taxes. There are no realistic options to balance the US budget or repay the debt without raising taxes at all for anyone.

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @10:17PM (#42588107)

    Obviously you have no idea at all what the Tea Party is all about. Piling on debt without end is not long-term thinking.

    Piling on debt without end is what the Tea Party is all about. The Tea Party movement has made many Republicans promise to never raise taxes. There are no realistic options to balance the US budget or repay the debt without raising taxes at all for anyone.

    Bullshit. Entitlement reform would require little or no tax increases to reduce our debt. Typical bleeding heart crap.

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cryacin (657549) on Monday January 14, 2013 @10:17PM (#42588109)
    The trouble with the tea party is that they suffer from the tragedy of commons. Their myopic view is that people of higher income should in fact be paying less tax. Just ask Mitt Romney.

    And certainly crazy spending on things like war also suffers from the broken window fallacy. Also, just paying a living wage to the poor without educating them falls into the same bucket.

    Again, elections mean that the fruits of one's decisions must mature within less than 4 years. Any longer, and you're probably just aiding the enemy. Or does the tea party now think that the democrats are not their enemy?

    In the long term, you're up for re-election anyway.
  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Monday January 14, 2013 @10:43PM (#42588229)

    Bullshit. Entitlement reform would require little or no tax increases to reduce our debt. Typical bleeding heart crap.

    Show me a proposal without tax increases that would not cut deeply into the things that Republicans cannot afford to cut, like Medicare/Medicaid for retirees or defense. It has to be something you can get the average rural white American on board with.

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday January 14, 2013 @10:48PM (#42588247)

    Except according to wikipedia this adjustment was not because "we're worse off", it was adjusted because nothing had changed and apparently a statement needed to be made:

    Lack of global political action to address..... [wikipedia.org]
    So if it wasnt already clear that this is a stupid arbitrary soapbox, here you go.

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @11:12PM (#42588349)

    Hey dipstick polio isnt eradicated yet so kudos to you for being a dumbass

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toddestan (632714) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:14AM (#42588661)

    The Tea Party says they want spending cuts, but when pressed for details they either have nothing or only offer sound bites that sound good but account for only a tiny amount of the total spending.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:02AM (#42588817)

    The fact that it has always been "right next to doom" is all the evidence you need of that. There have been massive changes in the world, particularly regarding the likelihood of total nuclear war, and it budged hardly at all. It has been "the boy who cried wolf" for a long time now.

    It may have started with good intentions about really showing people how close we were to nuclear war, but it has long since just been a random scream about doom with no basis in reality.

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:12AM (#42588847) Journal
    I don't think that's accurate, the tea-party motto is "taxed too much," not "pay no taxes."

    In general, these are people who are unhappy with how their taxes are being spent. They didn't like the bank bailout, they didn't like the stimulus that followed, and they didn't like what was looking like a giant expansion of the government into healthcare.

    And honestly, I can't say I disagree. Personally, I think we need to stop spending so much on the military, and a lot of people were upset about the banks, that was kind of the idea behind OWS, too.
  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @02:25AM (#42589067)

    The idea behind OWS is that the rich are raping this country, and that the wealth disparity has grown so great, that so much of our nations wealth is locked up in the hands of so few that it is now impossible for the country to ever be prosperous again.

    If taxes are lowered for the rich, and a rich man save a millions dollars for the year, what happens? That million dollars goes into an off shore account, or buys a bunch of gold or something. No real benefit to our economy. Now take that million dollars and give it to 300 poor people or so equally, and you have hundreds of things being bought, cars bought, computers bought, couches, beds. That money benefits the economy and makes the whole country more prosperous. And the majority of it goes back to the rich men anyway, but along the way creates jobs, and lets poor people sleep on beds that are not 20 years old, pays for a laptop for a kid going to college. Guess what, if we took 80% of the wealth from the richest people in the country, our economy would be fixed over night, and those rich people would still have more money than they could ever hope to spend.

    The bank bailouts are just a symptom of a system that the wealthy have spent decades molding so that no matter what happens they win, and everyone else looses. They are playing a childish greedy zero sum game with the lives of millions of Americans, for no particularly good reason. They were able to do this because of ignorant republicans and now truly stupid tea party garbage. They should suffer and so should their enablers equally suffer for this monstrous sin.

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neyla (2455118) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:04AM (#42589147)

    True, but there's 1440 minutes in a day, so five minutes to midnight is 99.35% which is a insanely high score.

    Basically, by using a clock they claim to be using a 0-1440 scale and that the present value is 1435, but in actual reality, they're only using the last ten minutes of that scale, so the actual scale is 0-10 with a current value of 5.

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by servies (301423) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:11AM (#42589329) Homepage

    As a Dutch person I can only say: yawn...
    If you really think that just a modest spending restraint is the solution to the US debt, then you're an idiot...
    The only solution to the US debt is a tax raise and a significant spending restraint.
    If you don't get it by now: You're in it till over your heads... It's a miracle you can still breathe...
    As a Dutch I really don't get it: more than 50% of the US population is against a tax raise for the 'filthy' rich which only constitutes a maximum of 3% of your population... Why do those (more than) 50% care for those 3%, they certainly don't care for you?....
    If those 3% can raise their wealth by driving that 50% into poverty they certainly will do so... The other way around will never happen...
    Btw, my taxrate is about 40%, those 'filthy' rich in the US don't even pay half of that with all the shortcuts they can make...

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @08:18AM (#42590117)

    I know the Tea Party movement does not want the government to spend money. However, they are not acting on that. They are not asking Republicans to promise to cut expenditures or even to not add new ones. Instead they are demanding that Republicans promise to never increase taxes.

    Tea Party is all about leaving the bill to the future generation.

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:46AM (#42591691)

    I've seen several perfectly rational intelligent friends of mine vote Conservative up here in Canada. When I tried to explain to them they they are in essance voting against their best interests, as they all work for Unions when clearly the Conservatives were anti-union, all I got was denial. They explained to me that there was nothing anti-union about them, it was all just made up by other political parties, etc...

    In any case, people can be idiots. There are any number of reasons why people vote like idiots. Some don't know the issues. Others are just ignorent and don't care, or ambilivent. This is compounded by political parties that intentionally lie, mislead, change positions, say whatever it takes to get the vote, etc... Even someone paying attention can have a hard time, though if you pay attention long enough you see what is generally going on (BS). Many people identify with a particular idology, and even if it is fairy tales, will hold onto that like grim death regardless of reality (Ann Rynd, etc...), but you could easily go for the far left as well. This is my belief, and even if it is totally contrary to my personal interest I will vote that way. Also there is perception believe it or not. Up here in Canada for example, it is a pretty sad truth that you just have to drive around a bit to see how different economic groups vote generally. Downtown poor, NDP (left), Suberbia rich, Conservative (right), smattering all over is liberal (centre-left). So do you want to be assoicated with the poor and downtroden, or the successful rich? I have no doubt some simply vote a certain way simply for status. "Well I voted conservative!" (i.e. I am wealthy, or I am going to be soon, etc...). In many cases, I would also say it is pretty sad, but Old people make up a very big demographic. I would say a large percetage of them vote the same way every election, as they made their mind up about a "party" 30 years ago. Never mind what they stand for now, what the current issues are, or how the party may have changed significantly, it doesn't really matter.

    Anyway I am sure there are other reasons why people make idiotic decisions regarding voting, but it isn't limited to the US, though I would say their system magnifies the situation. I think it is partially the fault of the political parties. However more fault is with the people not holding them accountable when they basically lie through their teeth for votes, and then get all disenchanted with the process as a result, decide to not pay much attention or take it lightly when really it should be treated as a big decision. Education and civics classes for youth might help eventually.

"The only way for a reporter to look at a politician is down." -- H.L. Mencken

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