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Earth Science

The Doomsday Clock Is Reset: Closest To Midnight Since The 1950s (npr.org) 745

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has taken the unprecedented step of moving the Doomsday Clock ahead 30 seconds, taking the world to two-and-a-half-minute to midnight. The scientists said Thursday that several factors weighed heavily in their decision, particularly climate change denial by people in power -- they cited U.S. President Donald Trump -- and talk about more nuclear weapons. From a report on NPR: The setting is the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1953, when scientists moved it to two minutes from midnight after seeing both the U.S. and the Soviet Union test hydrogen bombs. It remained at that mark until 1960. "Make no mistake, this has been a difficult year," Rachel Bronson, executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said as the new setting was announced Thursday.
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The Doomsday Clock Is Reset: Closest To Midnight Since The 1950s

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  • Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:23PM (#53742663)

    This is a meaningless metric. There is no such thing as doomsday. The World is not a clock. You are OK. Breathe out.

    • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:28PM (#53742713)

      This is a meaningless metric. There is no such thing as doomsday. The World is not a clock. You are OK. Breathe out.

      Although the analogy with a clock may not be entirely accurate since it isn't always moving forwards, the concept of a metric to determine the risk of nuclear mass destruction isn't. (although it can never be very accurate without knowing what's going on inside the governing bodies behind closed doors).

      • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:35PM (#53742791)

        No, the doomsday clock is very much meaningless. Basically it does nothing except signifies how unhappy the people who run it are with the current political climate.

        • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TWX ( 665546 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:43PM (#53742877)
          Given that the political climate probably has a lot of bearing on the potential for the use of nuclear weapons, how is this wrong?

          Also, given that chickenhawks tend to push militancy without personal experience in the cost of war, it's not exactly a surprise that when chickenhawks are in power there's concern that war would be more likely, and that war itself would tend to increase the likeihood that nuclear weapons would be used.
          • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:53PM (#53743001)

            Because if you read my post I didn't say it was a representation of the current political climate but what a select few people thought about it. It's purely opinion based with little to no fact involved. It's been moved forward because they don't like Trump. That's fundamentally the reason. That's it. No fact. Just opinion. They've tried to support their opinion, but though they worded it as fact, they used nothing but speculation. They didn't base it on change to policy, just based on what they believe his policy will change to. And no, the whole USDA thing isn't a policy change. It's SOP for all administrations. Have the departments not make policy statements until they get a handle on everything going on.

            • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

              by lgw ( 121541 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:26PM (#53743345) Journal

              It's been moved forward because they don't like Trump. That's fundamentally the reason. That's it. No fact. Just opinion.

              Seriously. Hillary was openly hostile with Russia, and while I doubt it would have reached the point of increased risk of nuclear war, Russia still has real nukes, so you never know. Trump on the other hand is, if anything, too friendly with Russia.

              And, sorry, but I just can't see climate change as some world-ending event. Maybe because I grew up Fearing The Bomb, but temperatures going up a few degrees and water levels rising a bit just doesn't provoke the same emotional reaction as global thermonuclear war.

              • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

                by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:58PM (#53743611) Homepage

                Totally agree with you. Those of us that grew up under the constant pressure of instant annihilation from nuclear attack just don't get worked up over climate change that much.

                But anyway this is what I don't under stand. So many liberals that I know are losing their shit that Trump is openly talking to Russia. Russia has many nukes and a delivery system that will work and will reach us. Why would you not want to have a open dialog with Russia? Seems insane to not have it.

                When we didn't have a open dialog with Russia in the 1960's we almost exterminated ourselves. We WANT to have a dialog with our "enemy." I would much better have a war of words than a war of nukes.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by PoopJuggler ( 688445 )

                just doesn't provoke the same emotional reaction as global thermonuclear war.

                That doesn't make it any less real. The people on the Titanic didn't see icebergs as some boat-ending event. Until it happened.

                • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by lgw ( 121541 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @02:41PM (#53743941) Journal

                  There's no scenario in which climate change is going to reduce the overall ability of the planet to support life, including human life. We know what a warm Earth looks like, and it's far more dense with life than the current Quaternary Ice Age.

                  • Re: Meaningless (Score:4, Insightful)

                    by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @03:24PM (#53744297) Homepage

                    Our current civilisation is based around growing food in the current climate. If that changes dramatically before we can find new food sources the consequences will be devastating. Some humans will no doubt survive but how well will our civilization cope with such a shock.

                    • Re: Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

                      by lgw ( 121541 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:51PM (#53744991) Journal

                      It won't change so very fast that current farmland becomes unusable in 1 season. Viable areas for farmland will simply move (mostly move towards the poles) gradually over the years. If we were still primitive, that could be disastrous, but we're not. Clearing farmland, fertilizer, and so on just aren't that hard. And shipping food is a very well solved problem.

                  • by arth1 ( 260657 )

                    There's no scenario in which climate change is going to reduce the overall ability of the planet to support life, including human life. We know what a warm Earth looks like, and it's far more dense with life than the current Quaternary Ice Age.

                    We also know what Venus looks like.

                    • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Informative)

                      by lgw ( 121541 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @05:05PM (#53745077) Journal

                      Do you honestly believe that's a risk? On the assumption you aren't trolling, let me explain.

                      The Earth has a geological-scale carbon cycle. All the carbon in the air and ocean is something like a hundred-thousandth of the carbon in the rock cycle. Venus's atmosphere is not simply carbon similar to what's in our air, oceans, fossil fuel reserves, etc, but the result of all that carbon in the crust being released. There aren't any surface features on Venus more than a few 100 million years old. It's thought that the entire crust melted, recently (geologically speaking), and that this may happen regularly, as Venus doesn't have plate tectonics to allow internal heat to escape via convection.

                      So, 1, Venus's atmosphere is a result of the crust melting, and, 2, the atmosphere is the least of your worries if the crust melts!

                      Historical CO2 concentrations on Earth have been 10x what they are today. It certainly wasn't an ice age, but life prospered. In general, plants like CO2, to the point where, in the last warm era, megaflora supported the grazing habits of 40-ton herbivores.

                  • There's no scenario in which climate change is going to reduce the overall ability of the planet to support life, including human life.

                    Well, sure, but how much? We are in the beginnings of a major extinction event (this is something most, if not all scientists appear to agree on), and sure, on geological timescales, new species will evolve quickly - a few million years or so. People have always imagined that we could essentially let the whole ecosystem die around us without any major consequences for us - unfortunately it isn't true. Life depends strongly on other life, and if the ecosystem collapses, it will affect all parts, including hu

              • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Mab_Mass ( 903149 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @03:47PM (#53744481) Homepage Journal

                temperatures going up a few degrees and water levels rising a bit

                Sure, if you frame the issue that way, how bad could it be?

                Here's another way of thinking about it. Picture in your mind the difficulties involved in the number of refugees currently fleeing into Europe from wars in the Middle East. Now, picture the population of Bangladesh being displaced by rising seas.

              • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:21PM (#53744765) Homepage

                "Hillary was openly hostile with Russia, and while I doubt it would have reached the point of increased risk of nuclear war, Russia still has real nukes, so you never know. Trump on the other hand is, if anything, too friendly with Russia."

                Consider very recent history. George W. Bush ran his whole campaign in 2000 on a "compassionate conservative" platform, including that we needed to put America first, not being involved in foreign adventures, stop telling other countries what to do, etc. But he was a dimwitted cowboy wannabe who had no capacity for a real commitment or follow-through to that. He surrounded himself with belligerent neocons like Cheney and Rumsfeld and gave them incredible power. He spent the summer of 2001 saber-rattling at China which turned out not to be the actual brewing threat. Then we did suffer an actual attack on 9/11 and bam, within 24 hours he's freaked out and flipped to the exact opposite; global alliances, regime change, and a philosophy of first-strike invasions if needed around the globe. Before his term was done he'd started two separate intercontinental wars -- one having entirely nothing to do with the attack on us -- which have proved to be the longest in American history, and still not done after almost two decades now.

                That is the proven historical result of a fundamentally dumb, belligerent, yahoo, volatile commander-in-chief. It's easy to predict; this is the standard reaction of a chaotic, short-attention-span bully. Sometime in a quiet space ask yourself this: Is Trump truly more or less volatile than George W. Bush?

              • People are bad at estimating true risk, particularly when it compares something dramatic (like an airplane crash) and something more mundane (like a car crash). This can cause people to change behavior toward the thing that is actually more risky (e.g., driving on a long trip instead of flying - driving is much more dangerous mile per mile).

                Global thermonuclear war is certainly a dramatic, and important, threat to our survival as a species. But, the chance of it occurring is small compared to the risk fro
            • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Informative)

              by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh.gmail@com> on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:44PM (#53743499) Journal

              It's a fact that Donald Trump has said some scary stupid shit about nuclear weapons. [thinkprogress.org] It's not just speculation to reason that the President of the US might act in accordance with his stated positions.

              • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Interesting)

                by allcoolnameswheretak ( 1102727 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @03:13PM (#53744201)

                Also, the symbolic atomic clock is not just about nuclear annihilation. It also considers other threats to humanity as a whole, such as climate change. And the current US president and a great chunk of his cabinet are climate change deniers with the stated goal of pulling out of the internationally mediated Paris climate agrement.

                • Yeah. Because when I think of the bulletin of atomic sciences I think climate science

                  I would be more receptive to climate change affecting the clock if the bulletin was pushing atomic energy research and development as a clean energy replacement to coal but it seems like they don't or it falls on deaf ears because the media is too busy using this change to call Trump Hitler than to report about their purposed energy policies

            • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Informative)

              by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:51PM (#53743561) Journal

              The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists did not change the position of the clock just from speculation, or because they "don't like Trump." They did so based on their observations of world events, including those surrounding Donald Trump. TFA quotes the Board:

              Over the course of 2016, the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity's most pressing existential threats, nuclear weapons and climate change ... This already-threatening world situation was the backdrop for a rise in strident nationalism worldwide in 2016, including in a U.S. presidential campaign during which the eventual victor, Donald Trump, made disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and expressed disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.

              • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

                by CylanR77 ( 532552 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @03:12PM (#53744189)

                It's all just opinion, you just agree with them so you don't see it.

                the global security landscape darkened

                darkened is opinionated, non-factual language.

                the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity's most pressing existential threats

                Also opinion - what threats specifically? How did they fail to effectively "grip" the threats? Why are they humanity's most pressing threats?

                This already-threatening world situation

                How was it threatening? To whom?

                a rise in strident nationalism

                Implicating that nationalism is a negative political motivation, with no basis in fact whatsoever.

                Donald Trump, made disturbing comments

                More colored and decidedly non-factual language. No rationale as to how his actually rather insightful comments merit both being described in negative terms and how they advance "the world" towards war, nuclear or otherwise.

            • Not meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

              by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:51PM (#53744987) Homepage Journal

              It's been moved forward because they don't like Trump. That's fundamentally the reason.

              No, it's been moved forward because the man who is now president of the United States of America, a very heavily armed nuclear power, that has stated it is "at war" with terrorism, where terrorism is sourced from a fairly distinct group of countries, has said:

              We have nuclear arsenals which are in very terrible shape

              And in response to this remark by interviewer Matthews...

              They`re hearing a guy running for president of the United States talking of maybe using nuclear weapons. Nobody wants to hear that about an American president.

              Trump said:

              Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?

              That's a "holy shit, the man is outright insane" remark. Period. That's not why we make them. We make them because of MAD; which is to say as a deterrent against others using them. Russa, China, even stupid little North Korea shoots them off, then we guarantee we will shoot ours off in response. IOW, whoever uses them gets to meet their own particular sky-daddy. Or hellspawn, as the case may be.

              In response to interviewer Bolling, who said, in the context of using nuclear weapons:

              Europe, what about that?

              Trump responded:

              Europe is a big place. I’m not going to take cards off the table. We have nuclear capability.

              In both cases, after he said these things, he walked them back. However, he said them, and given the usual word salad he spews, they have to serve as a window into his attitudes. You can only pick out individual remarks in Trump's meanderings; he presents incoherent verbal streams when taken more than a sentence at a time (which is why Twitter kind of works for him... he has to limit his remarks to 140 characters. It provides the structure he is incapable of providing for himself.)

              Interviewer Dickerson:

              They talk about the presidency and who has the finger on the button. The United States has not used nuclear weapons since 1945. When should it?

              Trump responds:

              Well, it is an absolute last stance. And, you know, I use the word unpredictable. You want to be unpredictable.

              Let's just be perfectly clear about this: No sane person wants the USA to be "unpredictable" about its policy for use of nuclear weapons. This is a window into the fact that Trump is a fucking idiot. Not just any fucking idiot, but THE fucking idiot with his finger on the button. He's insane.

              This is the root of the problem. Trump's obviously not like previous presidents. So people are paying very, very close attention to what he says. And there are times when what he says is very, very worrisome. As above.

              So yes, there's a reason people are thinking we're closer to the use of nuclear weapons, and that reason isn't a dislike of Trump; it's just actually listening to what the man has said on the subject. A sane person would not make the remarks Trump has made. Simply would not. He is visibly, obviously, and frighteningly batshit. And he's the guy who can shoot them off. If it's North Korea he decides to make glow, or some little Arab country, we might not see an escalation; then again, we might. Perhaps if we fire, Israel will too; perhaps Russia will feel it needs to step in. Pakistan. India. Etc.

              It's also worth noting that Trump has spent the last two years making severe economic threats in China's direction. China is another nuclear power, and they are not like us in their thinking. It is not wise to severely piss off people you do not understand -- and it is patently obvious that Trump does not understand China at all. I mean, quite aside from the demonstrated fact that he doesn't understand why we have nuc

          • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Junta ( 36770 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:43PM (#53743497)

            Because it's not based in data, just subjective opinion. It's a subjective opinion that I happen to share, but I can't pretend for a moment that I can quantify real imminent risk to humanity as an objective measure.

            It's an appeal to authority that isn't very well baked.

          • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

            by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @03:01PM (#53744089)

            They moved it forward several minutes when Reagan got elected to. In reality, not only did he not start a nuclear war but he ultimately ushered in the age of Perestroika [wikipedia.org] and an end to the Cold War.

            The Doomsday Clock is nothing more than a liberal masturbation device. It's the liberal equivalent of a right-wing bible-thumper holding up a sign with "WE'RE DOOMED!" on it above some biblical quote about men laying with other men.

        • by tysonedwards ( 969693 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:48PM (#53742953)
          My father was a watch maker. He abandoned it when Einstein discovered time is relative. I would only agree that a symbolic clock is as nourishing to the intellect as photograph of oxygen to a drowning man.
        • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sinij ( 911942 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:49PM (#53743543)

          No, the doomsday clock is very much meaningless. Basically it does nothing except signifies how unhappy the people who run it are with the current political climate.

          I have to agree with the above after reading: "The setting is the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1953".

          Really? We are now in more danger of all-out nuclear war than during Cuban Missile Crisis?

          • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Informative)

            by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:56PM (#53743587) Journal

            The position of the clock was not changed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. From the Bulletin's FAQ page: [thebulletin.org]

            Were the hands moved during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962? No. They were not moved during the 10-day crisis because too little was known at the time about the circumstances of the standoff or what the outcome would be. In fact, after the crisis, US and Soviet leaders installed a direct telephone line for communication, and within months signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty outlawing underground nuclear weapons testing—the first treaty addressing the nuclear weapons threat. On the basis of these steps, the Bulletin set the clock back from seven minutes to midnight to 12 minutes to midnight in 1963.

            • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Informative)

              by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @03:11PM (#53744183)

              Really? We are now in more danger of all-out nuclear war than during Cuban Missile Crisis?

              The position of the clock was not changed during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

              He didn't say they did. He asked if we are really in more danger now than during the crisis when Russia was actually putting live nuclear missiles a very short distance off our shores.

              From the Bulletin's timeline page, we were 7 minutes away in 1960 (before the crisis), and 12 minutes away in 1963 (after). Today, we are supposedly 2.5 minutes away. The clock is set to indicate that we are in much more danger of an all-out nuclear war today than when Russia was putting nukes on an island run by a dictator in Russia's pocket that was just a couple of minutes (90 miles) from the US, and the US was conducting a naval blockade of that island.

              I remember the tension back then, the concern that it would turn into war. It was a major issue and a very very major danger that Cuba or Russia would continue and 1962 would end in hostilities.

              In addition, the clock was not changed in April of 1961 when the failed invasion of the Bay of Pigs happened, which was a major impetus for the later missile crisis.

              Having the clock one third of the distance today than during that time of active political hostility and military action is just pathetic, and is an irrational demonstration of a political hatred, not a scientific fact. The clock's position is not one of serious analysis of threat, it's based on "OMG DJT and we hates The Donald...". Just one factor that is being ignored in this "analysis" is that the proposed Secretary of State has worked with and knows the Russian leadership, so he understands them better than HRC ever could. But because he actually knows them he's a bad choice, as if we should select someone who has read books and briefing papers about the Russians but never spoken to them personally.

              It is propaganda promoting fear and hatred, and if it were a conservative organization doing it towards the previous President there would be a public outcry of "racism".

              The excuse from their FAQ page is nonsense. "We didn't know it was happening, so we didn't change the clock"? Head in the sand. And they ignored the Bay of Pigs which was more than a year prior to the missile crisis. They can't claim they didn't know that happened.

          • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

            We are now in more danger of all-out nuclear war than during Cuban Missile Crisis?

            Turkish Missile Crisis. The only reason Russia wanted missiles in Cuba was to counter the missiles the U.S. had placed in Turkey. That fact usually gets left out of the American storyline, though....

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          No, the doomsday clock is very much meaningless. Basically it does nothing except signifies how unhappy the people who run it are with the current political climate.

          Close, but not quite right. The Doomsday Clock represents the opinion of a commitee [thebulletin.org] of scholars drawn from scientific and international relations fields about risk of some kind of destabilizing event, such as the use of nuclear weapons. It does not reflect the state of happiness of the board with respect to politics in general, although perhaps inevitably the assessment of global risk and happiness with the political climate are somewhat correlated.

          It is true that the assessment of the board is somewhat su

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why don't they call it the FUD Ticker 2000?

    • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:33PM (#53742771) Homepage

      But it's a bigger score than most Presidents achieve. DJT will probably be bragging soon.

      • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @02:50PM (#53744009) Journal

        "You know, they said it couldn't be done. All the frauds at the failing New York Times, they all said 'Oh, 11:55, 11:56, closest you can get to doomsday.' What do these morons know? And then you saw it, you saw it right?! That guy saw it! (points to crowd, cheering) So then I said climate change is a Mexican hoax to send more rapists and I tweeted I was moving two carrier groups into the South China Sea and boom, bing, boom, just like that, 11:58! Happened so fast, it's so easy, it's so easy. (crowd cheering) And this is just the beginning, folks, just the beginning. We're getting that all the way up, to 11:59, to 12:00, to 1 AM who the hell cares! We're gonna make doomsday great again, believe me!"

    • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Informative)

      by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:34PM (#53742777) Journal

      It isn't meaningless metric. It is a great piece of elitist propaganda that indicates how they like things at that moment. Whenever someone is against the globalist agenda they advance the clock, and when Obama took over, they love it, and moved it back a bit. Even though Obama pissed off Russia and gave Iran a clear path to Nuclear weapons, none of that mattered.

      It is what it is, propaganda, and as such it has meaning,

      • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:17PM (#53743249) Journal
        iran HAD a clear path to nuke weapons thanx to W/fucking neo-cons.
        What O and others did, was delay in hopes that down the road more intelligent ppl would take over on BOTH sides.
        With the death in Iran and our election, it is obvious that we went the opposite direction. Still, it will be another 10 years before we have to be concerned about Iran (though they WILL build it).
      • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @03:33PM (#53744353)

        nothing to do with elitists, propaganda, or the globalist agenda.

        Obama openly talked and campaigned on drawing back from conflicts that Bush had gotten us into, and resisting efforts of conservatives to advance into all out conflict against islam in all corners.
        Hence, moving it back.

        Meanwhile Trump has openly wondered why we don't use nukes more often, thinks nuclear war is winnable, called for increasing our stockpile, and advocated for Japan and Korea getting their own.
        And you're f'ing surprised they move the Doomsday Clock forward some?!?!

        also, as long as we're dispelling the BS propgranda...we should address the other s*** you're peddling:: no he didn't give Iran a path to nuclear weapon, and why is it conservatives all of a sudden want to buddy up with repeated human rights violator putin after years of calling Obama weak for trying not to tick him off?

    • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Informative)

      by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:35PM (#53742787)

      It's a published opinion of a group of scientists, it's their way of summing up to the world how they think we are doing in terms of not self-destructing our way of life.

      The meaning in 1953 was: within 2 minutes we could go from the status-quo to a post-nuclear-holocaust world with little or no chance of de-escalation along the way. I think the meaning is similar today, but with some caveats and nuances thrown in about global warming increasing political tensions among nuclear powers, etc.

      • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:52PM (#53742993) Journal

        Yeah, except that even Trump's detractors say that he has a better relationship with Russia than Obama ever did. If Trump is Putin's patsy, why would he push the big red button?

        I would think that narrative would cause this clock to back off a bit - either the narrative is complete horseshit, or this newest setting of the clock is total propoganda. Maybe both.

        • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Gilgaron ( 575091 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:17PM (#53743247)
          The risk of cozy relations with Russia leading to nuclear war is that if the US/NATO isn't being the 'leader of the free world' and protecting smaller nations, they will be more likely to arm themselves with nuclear weapons to protect themselves from Russia/whoever. Once you've armed every little country with nuclear arms, throw in some Global Warming related crop failures etc to crank tension, and you've got yourself a tinderbox.
        • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:45PM (#53743511)

          You may not be smart enough to realize this but China is a nuclear power with ICBM's just like Russia and threatening to attack China's artificial islands in the south china sea is not a way to prevent hostilities that could quickly escalate to a nuclear exchange.

    • by slazzy ( 864185 )
      Thanks but I'll be in my underground bunker with a few years of canned goods just the same...
  • "Science" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Empiric ( 675968 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:28PM (#53742711)

    Make some arbitrary metric from an infinite series of divisible time units, politicize it, and call it "science".

    And no, "advancing" the "clock" is hardly an unprecedented event.

    And people call eschatology a dubious methodology.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:30PM (#53742727)

    No "Science" behind the reasoning of what they set their doomsday clock at.
    This sounds like someone's way of expressing personal disdain for different political situations.

    Particularly climate change denial by people in power -- they cited U.S. President Donald Trump -- and talk about more nuclear weapons.

    Climate change in the short term is as inevitable as continued population growth.
    It's not too important whether people in power acknowledge it; It's going to happen.

    If you want to stop climate change, then make human populations stop growing and start declining
    in countries that consume the most energy per person, And build nuclear power capacity, LOTS of
    nuclear power capacity.

  • From TFA

    Created in 1947, the Doomsday Clock was conceived by scientists who had participated in the Manhattan Project. Initially seen as an indicator of the likelihood of disastrous nuclear conflict, it now also includes other threats, such as climate change, biological weapons and cyberthreats.

    The more stuff they throw in, the less this thing means.

  • by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:39PM (#53742835)
  • no respect (Score:5, Funny)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:45PM (#53742905)

    I have no respect for these guys; they simply use their scientific credentials to promote their own political prejudices. These people are so ignorant, they still believe in a Malthusian catastrophe.

    I think The Onion puts it pretty well:

    Doomsday Clock Pushed To One Minute To Midnight After Arby’s Threatens Launch Of 3-Cheese Jalapeño Beef ’N Bacon Melt

    http://www.theonion.com/articl... [theonion.com]

  • by totallyarb ( 889799 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:55PM (#53743027)

    This is a *Doomsday* clock, yes? As in, something that measures how close we potentially are to Doomsday - that is, an event that leads to the total extinction of the human race.

    Can anyone - anyone! - say with a straight face that we are closer to that scenario right now than we were, say, at the height of the Cold War? That was a period when two nuclear superpowers were genuinely considering launching thousands of nuclear warheads at each other; where one bad day might literally end the species.

    I don't disagree with the assessment that the world has become less stable recently. I think the prospect of some rogue dictator or terrorist group setting off a nuclear bomb is high and increasing. However, the retaliatory aspect is missing: If Russia had nuked New York, America would have levelled Russia in response. One nuke would have lead to thousands. But if, say, ISIS nukes New York... what target is there to hit back at? Any response would almost certainly be in the form of conventional weapons. There would be chaos and war, sure, but not outright extinction.

    The truth is, we are waaaaay further away from Doomsday than we were in the '60s.

    • by rhazz ( 2853871 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:48PM (#53743535)

      But if, say, ISIS nukes New York... what target is there to hit back at?

      With Trump in control, I would bet he'd nuke most of the middle east: "Muslims did it. Even the ones that didn't do it, well they did nothing to stop it, and that's just as bad." Today there is no immediate catastrophe looming over our heads, but if something happens, who doesn't think that having Trump in charge dramatically increases the likelihood of a drastic military response?

      Let's say next month, North Korea demonstrates huge leaps in nuclear launch capability. I think the likelihood of nuclear strike one way or the other is MUCH higher with Trump as president than any of the past several.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:04PM (#53743117) Journal
    God, it sickens me that I have to defend trump, but there is so much BS on this.
    It amazes me that so few on the far left pay attention to what is really happening. :
    1) Putin is invading numerous areas for controlling them. Putin shows that he has no issues with taking what is not his. That is OK.
    Putin threatens the west with nuclear war, and that is OK.
    Trump (and unknown) gets into office and then we have nuclear war issues that are as bad as 1953.

    2) China is not only emitting 3-5x the amount of CO2 that America does, but they continue to grow at a frightening rate (check OCO2, not chinese gov numbers).
    Trump gets in and says that he will help Coal. Yet, wind already costs less to run than coal does or can. And solar continues downward. IOW, coal really can not be expanded.
    Then Trump is talking about letting America export oil/nat gas. That will increase America's nat gas on the market, BUT, all it will do is lower the prices elsewhere. IOW, it will not increase the burning of it, or any more CO2.

    So, exactly why is this moved now, and why is this blamed on Trump?
    • So, exactly why is this moved now, and why is this blamed on Trump?

      Because the president of the United States has gone on record saying he doesn't believe global warming is real and supports nuclear proliferation? This is likely to have serious implications for efforts to fight these two global threats.

  • Sounds familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by computational super ( 740265 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:28PM (#53743359)
    So, this is basically like when they awarded a Nobel prize first to Al Gore and then to Obama (in his first year in office) just to make sure to remind everybody how much they hated George Bush (and Republicans in general)?
  • Midnight? (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @02:08PM (#53743685)

    I thought it was almost lunchtime.

    Damn!

  • by mandark1967 ( 630856 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @03:24PM (#53744293) Homepage Journal

    when daylight savings time ends.

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