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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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  • Doctor Manhattan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:19PM (#42587283)

    "...I would only argue that a doomsday clock is as nourishing to the intellect as a picture of oxygen to a drowning man."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:39PM (#42587469)

    Its like the terrorist colour thing. They want you worried or they don't have a point.

  • Re:Climate change? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PerMolestiasEruditio (1118269) on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:08PM (#42587671)

    The biggest and fastest growing threat to humanity is disease and religion (including anti-human greens). Think 12 monkeys or "The White Plague" (frank herbert).

    in 2011 a researcher invented a flu strain with human mortality of probably about 50%. A small number of motivated nut jobs, perhaps even a single person with a couple of million dollars could probably replicate this with far less visibility than for example nuclear weapons programs. There are a large number of highly educated people in the world who would like to wipe or cut down the human population by a large degree.

    Even a worst case global nuclear war is unlikely to kill so many. There is nowhere on the planet more than 2 days travel away. Nowhere to hide, and no means of preventing such a thing coming to pass if released in a mobile 1st world population centre with millions of motivated individuals desperate to escape an epidemic.

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

    by grantspassalan (2531078) on Monday January 14, 2013 @10:38PM (#42588211)

    If the government had to abide by the same constraints of income and expenditures as the average American worker, there would be no national debt. When such a worker goes to his boss and ask for a raise, the boss usually laughs and then says no. Therefore, in order to balance the household budget expenditures must be cut. Since the government does not go to prison when printing money, it is under no constraint to reduce expenditures. It is the crushing debt that will bring on the demise of the United States and many other countries. In ancient Israel, God told them that all debts must be canceled on a regular basis, every 49 years. This seems to be a natural economic cycle, much like cycles in nature such as the solar cycle for example. Since modern economies do not cancel debts, there will be a catastrophic economic collapse worldwide. Out of the ashes of the world economies and the turmoil in the Middle East and its oil resources, the New World order, a world government will arise. This was predicted by the prophet Daniel in the Bible thousands of years ago. It appears that this likely will happen well within the lifetime of most people on this planet right now. Global warming, whether human caused or not, will be a significant contributor to the establishment of a dictatorial one world government.

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

    by epyT-R (613989) on Monday January 14, 2013 @11:13PM (#42588355)

    The tea party's position is the complete opposite of the one you label them with. I like how you assume the level of expenditure we have now is some kind of foregone reality that must exist. You don't manage budgets solely by caving to demands for more money and then raising taxes/borrowing to pay for them. Sometimes you have to reduce expenditures. Of course, what's needed for that are the balls to say 'No,' among other things, but we have nothing but pantywaisted 'team players' in washington these days. You reek with bias.

    Who've been the ones demanding the tax payer fund all sorts of mostly useless bullshit over the last 50 years? The democrats have the ideological mandates for the centralization and control of power, and the neo-con republicans push for exemptions for big money, leaving us with the bill. That leaves the tea party and/or the libertarians fighting for individual control over our money and our civil rights. They are NOT about the government spending money.. Where do you get your information?

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

    by silentcoder (1241496) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @06:19AM (#42589737) Homepage

    >I guess the point is that they have all been wrong but people keep making them. They never seem to learn about predictions not working.

    A major factor ignored by this thinking is this: the vast majority of "doomsday predictions" are NOT in fact pessimistic claims of "The end is nigh" (especially today). And this lumps genuine scientific concerns in with "Mayan prophecy" idiots - as if they have anything in common.
    In fact the vast majority of doomsday prophecies both today and right back to ancient times (compare all the ones in ancient writings like the Old Testament) are self-unfullfilling prophecies. The very PURPOSE of making the prophecy is to prevent itself from coming true: they are not saying "we are all going to die" - they are saying: "repent or face the consequences" - with the sincere hope that people will, in fact, repent.

    Take an easy example - in the mid-90's when we became aware of Y2K problem computer scientists predicted massive chaos if it wasn't fixed. They were not saying "the world is going to end" - they WERE saying "fix the problem OR the world is going to be in trouble".
    So we fixed the problem - millions of techs around the world who worked very, very hard fixing computers to solve that problem before it happened - and we almost entirely averted the crisis. What was left was one nuclear plant that shut down and a few minor inconveniences (like a centenarian born in 1903 who was told she couldn't vote in the 2004 elections because the system thought she was only 1 year old).

    Many people subsequently claimed that the whole thing was overblown. It wasn't. The problem and it's potential impact was very, very real - it didn't happen because we invested time, money and ingenuity enough to solve it IN TIME.

    So this spouting-line completely ignores all the doomsday prophecies that MAY or WOULD have come true except that people DID "repent".

    The closest the doomsday clock ever got to midnight was 2-minutes two midnight during the Cuban Missile Crisis (this is what inspired the Iron Maiden song: 2 minutes to midnight). It was an accurate prediction of the level of threat of nuclear war at the time. The world has never been at so high a risk of a nuclear war since, and so the clock has never been there again.

    Now whether the doomsday clock is a good or bad way to represent the IDEA of the risk to the population can be debated, but to imagine that "because the world has never ended, it obviously never will" is er... fucking stupid.

  • Re:Doomsday clock (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:52AM (#42590555)

    I hope you are young enough to watch our country turn into a modern and civilized society.

    Sir, I would like some of what you are smoking.

    I am now over 50, and the primary reason why my wife and I have never had kids is because there is little to no hope of there ever being a sound world into which to bring them.

"Life, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it." -- Marvin the paranoid android

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