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"Doomsday Clock" Moves Away From Midnight

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the of-course-now-some-horrible-despot-will-come-to-power dept.

Science 287

Arvisp writes to tell us that the symbolic "Doomsday Clock," designed to represent how close civilization is to catastrophic destruction, has been moved away from midnight. "First set at seven minutes to midnight, the clock has been moved only 18 times since its creation in 1947. The group, which includes more than a dozen Nobel laureates, last moved the hands of the clock in 2007, from seven to five minutes before midnight to reflect the threat of a 'second nuclear age' and the challenges presented by global warming. Today, at a press conference in New York, the Bulletin announced that despite the looming threats of nuclear weapons and climate change, it would move the hands of the clock from five to six minutes before midnight."

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Iron Maiden (4, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783238)

Kill for gain or shoot to maim, but we don't need a reason,
The Golden Goose [wikipedia.org] is on the loose and never out of season,
Blackened pride still burns inside this shell of bloody treason, [wikipedia.org]
Here's my gun for a barrel of fun for the love of living death.

The killer's breed [wikipedia.org] or the demon's seed,
The glamour, the fortune, [wikipedia.org] the pain.
Go to war again, blood is freedom's stain,
But don't you pray for my soul anymore.

6 minutes to midnight, the hands that threaten doom,
6 minutes to midnight, to kill the unborn in the womb.

The blind men shout let the creatures out, we'll show the unbelievers, [wikipedia.org]
The napalm screams of human flames, of a prime time Belsan [wikipedia.org] feast...YEAH!
As the reasons for the carnage cut their meat and lick the gravy,
We oil the jaws of the war machine and feed it with our babies. [patdollard.com]

The body bags and little rags of children torn in two,
And the jellied brains of those who remain to put the finger right on you,
As the madmen play on words and make us all dance to their song, [wikipedia.org]
To the tune of starving millions, [socialistappeal.org] to make a better kind of gun.

Re:Iron Maiden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783404)

Dude, you have waaaayyyy too much free time on your hands.

You need to get a girlfriend.

Re:Iron Maiden (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783548)

I'll skip the rest of it, but... we don't dance to Israel's song. Other way around.

Re:Iron Maiden (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783886)

2!

Minutes!

To Miiiiiiiidnight!

First thought... (5, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783242)

Holy pretentious old coots, batman!

Re:First thought... (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783348)

Also add:

Illogical. The threat from nuclear annihilation is higher now than it was in 2007, thanks to Iran's and Pakistan's recent experiments with missile launches and nuclear bombs. They could nuke the European Union or the Russian Federation.

It should have been moved close to midnight but I suspect these guys, like the Nobel Foundation, are in love with the new president. They think the world is all rainbows and poppies now, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Re:First thought... (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783470)

Nah. Total human annihalation at this point is unlikely.

However, Pakistan or Iran could find themselves nuked off the map.

Any fight involving these two would likely be very lopsided or localized.

It would suck but probably not be doomsday.

Re:First thought... (2, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783740)

World War I started over less. Basically the crown heir to the Austrian-Hungarian empire was assassinated in Serbia and then it escalated.

Pakistan has pretty close relations with China. If China ever got involved into a large nuclear conflict, with say India, Russia and the US could not stand by idly.

Re:First thought... (5, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783910)

Yeah, but the problem was secret mutual defense and attack treaties that built up over time into a domino sculpture. If people could see their dominoes stacking up next to the line of other dominoes, they might very well have averted that conflict.

We know about the treaty problem, and none of the nuclear-capable superpowers are showing any particular inclination to empty their reserves.

The clock was pretty stupid when it came out, being invented by editorializing nuclear scientists and not anyone in a profession that offers particular insights into the politics that results in weapons actually being deployed. It's even dumber now, and it's even a poor metaphor for what they're trying to express: in clock form, there isn't any analogy that maps to backwards movement that makes any sense.

Re:First thought... (5, Insightful)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783770)

However, Pakistan or Iran could find themselves nuked off the map.

Which would then move the doomsday clock FURTHER from midnight.

Re:First thought... (1)

LitelySalted (1348425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783888)

I would say that is very hopeful thinking. The biggest threat does not actually come from the explosion itself (okay, yes, the explosion is also bad), but from the nuclear fallout that occurs after.

Nuclear fallout can affect HUGE areas of the world. When a nuclear device is detonated, radioactive particles get launched into the atmosphere that can travel across the globe.

Nuclear Fallout [wikipedia.org]

I also see comments below about the bombs dropped on Japan - people need to keep in mind that was 65 years ago AND the bomb types were nuclear FISSION, not nuclear fusion. There's a distinct difference. I'm not exactly sure what types of bombs Pakistan and India have, but it's probably bad either way.

Re:First thought... (1, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783472)

Iran and Pakistan probably only have fission bombs. Not fun to be hit by, but not that much of a problem for the rest of the world, annihilation-wise.

Re:First thought... (4, Informative)

Btarlinian (922732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783498)

Pakistan has had nukes for quite a while now and we still don't actually know if Iran has them.

Re:First thought... (2, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783502)

Maybe the threat of nuclear annihilation is higher for Iran or Paksistan but certainly not for us.

Re:First thought... (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783692)

The threat doesn't come from a government, even ones like North Korea, Pakistan, or Iran. The real threat is from a previously unknown group not associated with any government that somehow got it's hands on a couple of nukes. Nothing for them to lose by setting them off anywhere in the world. That was the real concern with Saddam, and is still a concern when any unstable government has them. It will probably happen eventually.

MY. ASS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783830)

That was the real concern with Saddam...

HAHAHAHAHAHA, no.

Nobody with half a mind was afraid of Saddam either getting his hands on or developing a set of nukes. Absolutely no one.

Re:MY. ASS. (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783942)

Absolutely no one.

Lies. Bedwetting neocons sure as hell did.

Re:First thought... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783900)

Nukes have a short shelf life. The big threat - nukes sold by failed former soviet states - has passed. Yes, we need to make sure that no government thinks it's clever to sell nukes to non-government entities (brigands is a good word here, lacks the near-meaninglessness of "terrorists"), but if some group of brigands just happened upon a nuke they face a high logistic hurdle to use it at any distance in time or in space from where they got it.

Even at the height of the cold war, the threat was "merely" to civilization, not the human species. Today the doomsday clock is a bit of a joke - the only serious "dooomsday" threats right now are the unpredictable ones, like a large meteor strike or nearby GRB or hypernova.

Re:First thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783570)

The "Doomsday" Clock, if it's name didn't give it away, is about the world destroying itself. If Iran and Pakistan* were to launch nuclear missiles, they'd almost definitely only get off one shot. They're both small enough countries that any retaliations (and it would almost certainly be the entire world retaliating) would stop them launching another. Yes, it would be a horrendous catastrophe, but no Doomsday scenario. On the other hand, since they clearly believe climate change IS a doomsday-level event, then they probably DO welcome the election of a more liberal US president.

PS. The people who say we're ~99.6% on the way to total world annihilation think the world is "rainbows and poppies"?

*NB: Pakistan have definitely had nuclear weapons for at least 12 years, and they haven't used them yet, even though their most likely target is bitter rival and neighbour India, not the EU or RF (whom they don't hate enough to waste a nuke on). Not that you've just shown us all how ignorant and biased you are, or anything..

Re:First thought... (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783582)

They think the world is all rainbows and poppies now, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Was that intentional, as in a really funny joke that apparently only I got? Or a Freudian slip that was just funny? :)

Re:First thought... (2, Insightful)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783684)

What the heck are you talking about? The US let loose 2 nukes on Japan, and the world didn't end. Any nuclear conflicts involving Israel or Iran or Pakistan or India and possibly China, would be local. It will be great destruction, but only for the involved nations. It no where approaches the predicted MAD scenario of the Cold War. Why the heck would Pakistan want to bomb the Hague when their sworn enemy lies next door? With their limited store of nukes, they won't so foolishly launch it on a quixotic mission to bomb Europe. I do agree however, that they are mistaken to move the clock backwards, not that it matters. The greatest threat to the survival of humanity is arguably the USA, not Iran, or China. When other countries, even Iran are inching towards more freedom, the people of USA is steadily falling into religious and political extremism. Militarism has taken hold and is seen as the solution to all problems. Paranoia and fear of foreigners have taken hold. Should the USA produce someone with Sarah Palin's looks but Cheney's evil brain, the end of world as we know it will soon follow.

Re:First thought... (5, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784064)

I know it's real popular to feel such a level of disgust for the United States that you kind of lose sight of reality, but how exactly is Iran inching towards freedom?

Since the election, which many *Iranians* feel was rigged by Ahmadinejad and/or those in his camp, the government has steadily ratcheted up the level of oppression in Iran, including increased censorship, Internet filtering, limits on cell phone communication, etc. The Iranian government has admitted to torturing and killing its own citizens who were detained protesting the election; internally there have been allegations of rape used as an instrument of torture.

It's also apparent you have lost your "hope". Presumably "the people of USA" have actually made a stride TOWARDS more freedom -- voting the first African American President into office in a decade, in a landslide election that was widely acknowledged to be a repudiation of Bush/Cheney and their policies.

China continues to jail its political opponents, even those seeking redress for issues which the government was responsible such as development and land use issues, and practices widespread censorship of the internet in addition to organized hacking campaigns against human rights advocates. Google has complained about it and is threatening to leave China over the issue.

Re:First thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783710)

Illogical! USA or the European Union could be in danger by nuclear annihilation. the rest are having good time! I agree with the global warming. The doomsday clock should be 6 o clock!

Re:First thought... (5, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783714)

Even if some rogue nation (or non-rogue nation) hit a city with a nuclear missile you're not talking about the end of civilization. The blast radius would be a couple of miles, so you could take out a sizeable chunk of a downtown area. The damage would probably be significantly less than the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which certainly didn't annihilate civilization.

It should have been moved close to midnight but I suspect these guys, like the Nobel Foundation, are in love with the new president. They think the world is all rainbows and poppies now, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Or they accurately realize that GWB's leaving office and Obama entering it caused a noticeable easing of tension in world politics. This isn't so much because of the job Obama's done, but rather because of the destructive nature of GWB's administration.

Re:First thought... (1)

timster (32400) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783988)

A couple unreliable fission nukes from Iran or Pakistan doesn't threaten "nuclear annihilation". That threat is in the large arsenals held by major powers. Reducing the size of those arsenals reduces the threat.

Re:First thought... (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783524)

And why is this significant? This information should be under the topic of "Idle"!

Second Thought (4, Informative)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783556)

I have been a paying member of the group for a few years now and I am distressed that they are constantly re-defining what doomsday is. Now it includes global warming, overpopulation, unstable governments, the building of any sort of nuclear power system, etc...

It really diminishes from the message when they add in all of these other things. There have always been threats to our existence and there always will be.

Asteroid impacts, genetically engineered plants or the eventual supernovae that will happen when Eta Carinae self-destructs are all threats as well.

Re:Second Thought (4, Funny)

vic.tz (1000138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783826)

You can't really take the Doomsday Clock seriously. Just look at its history: 7, 3, 2, 7, 12, 7, 10, 12, 9, 7, 4, 3, 6, 10, 17, 14, 9, 7, 5, and now 6.

Clearly, it was programmed by Microsoft.

Re:Second Thought (5, Insightful)

dlchambers (1128139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783934)

Diversification is the classic response to obsolescence.
Now that the Cold War is over and there's (currently, thankfully) very little chance that the US & Russia will nuke each other, the clock is an anachronism. It *should* be moved to about 7PM, but that's boring, so they add trendy threats in order to keep the clock at a more attention-getting number.
I'm too young to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis (I was 2), but it's always seemed a bit preposterous to me that the clock is set to the last 1/2 of 1% of the day. Have we ever REALLY been 99.5% the way to destruction? Are we REALLY that close today?
Maybe the clock's time should reflect it's own relevance... I'd buy it that the Doomsday Clock is 99.5 obsolete!

Don't forget... (1)

Vegan Pagan (251984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783564)

Who watches the Watchmen?

Re:Don't forget... (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783852)

I don't think anyone can account for a rich, mad genius wreaking psychic warfare in the name of world peace and unification.

Re:Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783966)

I watched Watchmen, was a pretty good movie.

Pretty much (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783724)

Were this any sort of real measure, it would have been moved back a big measure a long time ago. I mean I'll grant them that when the US and USSR were in the middle of their "who's got the biggest dick" contest, things were getting perilously close to a nuclear war. Also, due to the amount of weapons on both sides, it really would have been a doomsday scenario. However now? Not so much. While the nations still have arms, they aren't on the verge of using them. Things have cooled off and there is very little worry of an all out nuclear war.

Just a bunch of useless posturing. They want to keep pretending like they matter.

Re:First thought... (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783792)

Quantifying the unquantifiable for 53 years. I wonder if they use the Drake equation?

Here he comes to save the day! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783262)

Means that Barry O is on the way!

Hey parents... (5, Insightful)

tool462 (677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783294)

If you ever need to explain to your kids what masturbation is without getting too graphic, you can point them to this story.

Re:Hey parents... (2, Funny)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783566)

That was exactly my point but you ... ah hem... beat me to it. Seriously, a textbook case of mental masturbation if there ever was one.

Re:Hey parents... (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783586)

Heh. Instead of *tick tock*, this clock goes *fap fap*.

Meaningless speculation (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783300)

Fear-mongering BS.

Somehow, Six Minutes To Midnight (2, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783302)

Just doesn't have the same sound [wikimedia.org] .

Re:Somehow, Six Minutes To Midnight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783500)

+1, brilliant.

Re:Somehow, Six Minutes To Midnight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783666)

Funny, the first thing I thought of was *three* minutes to midnight [lyricsfreak.com] .

Re:Somehow, Six Minutes To Midnight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783822)

I'm glad i'm not the only one who was thinking this....haha!!

Look for Doc and Marty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783314)

This is it! This is the answer. It says here... that a bolt of lightning is going to strike the clock tower at precisely 11:54pm, next Saturday night! If... If we could somehow... *harness* this lightning... *channel* it... into the flux capacitor... it just might work. Next Saturday night, we're sending you back to the future!

"Panties" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783330)

White with a streak of yellow reek
A shitty pink
A most unladylike stink
From a fragant lubricated leak.

If they include climate change (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783336)

Shouldn't the clock always be at midnight since the climate is always changing and always has changed.

Re:If they include climate change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783788)

It's not a climate change clock or a nuclear weapons clock, it's a doomsday clock. That is, a clock denoting the time until an event that is catastrophic to all of human civilization.

Hence the clock not striking midnight despite two atomic bombs being used as weapons and many more being tested over the years.

Still Quite Meaningless. (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783360)

One would assume that a group, consisting of > 12 Nobel laureates, would abandon the Doomsday Clock for something less obscure and meaningless.

I'd like to know how the origional designers chose to measure probability in terms of 'minutes to midnight'. It makes my head hurt.

Populism (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783518)

That's all it is. It's just a way for a small group of smart folks to summarize their opinion and communicate with the plebes. I suppose in the information age it is kind of a throw back to a time when this sort of communication was more meaningful, but who cares. I think the real thing to do right now is ask them why they don't think such and such events (like the economy) merit moving the minute hand in the other direction.

Re:Still Quite Meaningless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783520)

According to my wristwatch our civilization will end at 09:34:27:572 +00 @ 06.11.3076, on earth (extra terrestrial colonies not included). So yeah, their measurement seems a bit arbitrary.

Re:Still Quite Meaningless. (1)

OfficeSupplySamurai (1130593) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783678)

Absolutely. The whole doomsday clock just seems like FUD.

Re:Still Quite Meaningless. (1)

motorhead (82353) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783720)

Uh, what's less obscure and meaningless than the Doomsday Clock? Oh, right.

4 minutes (1)

us7892 (655683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783368)

I think 4 minutes is more like it. Seems like it should be a little closer to midnight.

Re:4 minutes (1)

Existential Wombat (1701124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783558)

I think 4 minutes is more like it. Seems like it should be a little closer to midnight.

I think it should be set at 12:43. That way it shows the correct time. Oh wait, 12:44.

Six Damn Minutes? (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783372)

SIX MINUTES? God, are you telling me that I have 3hours36 minutes GMT to live? And you forgot to tell me you insensitive clod!

Six Minutes! (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783400)

Six minutes. Six minutes. Six minutes, Doug E. Fresh you're on!

I'm not worried (5, Funny)

papa_lizard (1690036) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783402)

If humans first emerged 200,000 years ago, then six minutes left would indicate we have well over 800 years to go. We should be able to get off-planet by then. If humans emerged 50,000 years ago, then we have about 100 years, but I'll be dead by then anyway. Either way, I'm not worried.

Re:I'm not worried (2, Insightful)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783592)

Who cares what state we leave the world in for future generations. Amirite?

Re:I'm not worried (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783606)

This attitude of "I'm not worried about it, I'll be dead by the time it gets bad anyway" is one of the most destructive things that impacts humanity.

Especially disgusting if held by people also holding dear "intellectual and moral demise of youth will doom the civilization", which do happen way too often for my taste.

Re:I'm not worried (1)

motorhead (82353) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783842)

I'm not worried about it, I'll be dead by the time it gets bad anyway.

Re:I'm not worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783876)

Sorry to hurt your feeling but I really don't care! If you have any hope of a bright future for humankind just surf MySpace for a while and you just see that with those pathetic losers reproducing on the rate the reproduce we are already doomed.

The value of an education. (2, Interesting)

Joucifer (1718678) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783420)

So does having a degree makes the laureates make them more or less credible then the crazy bum on the corner?

Re:The value of an education. (2, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783504)

Uhm...what?

Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't think I've seen a more mangled sentence composed in English in a long time.

Well done, sir. Well done, indeed.

Re:The value of an education. (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783568)

I've seen worse, despite the errors you still know what he means.

Re:The value of an education. (1)

Joucifer (1718678) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783782)

My text box is 10 pixels wide again today. Forgot what I was saying so I started 1/2 way over.

Re:The value of an education. (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783540)

So does having a degree makes the laureates make them more or less credible then the crazy bum on the corner?

Wangari Maathai is a Nobel laureate and she's nuttier than a fruitcake.

Re:The value of an education. (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783878)

So does having a degree makes the laureates make them more or less credible then the crazy bum on the corner?

I don't think I've ever seen a bum on a street corner yelling "The end is less near than it was six months ago"

They called him mad... (1)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783434)

Once again Professor Farnsworth's work has been overlooked by the scientific community.

Re:They called him mad... (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783482)

Not really. These scientists are obviously using the fabled what-if machine.

Re:They called him mad... (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783804)

Are they using a fing-longer to control it??

Really? (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783450)

From the article: [quote]Citing collaborative efforts by world leaders to reduce nuclear arsenals, secure nuclear bomb-making materials and pledge to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the group said the world was facing a "hopeful" state of affairs. The Bulletin also said that the election of President Barack Obama, along with his efforts to initiate arms reduction talks with Russia and negotiations with Iran to close its nuclear enrichment program, affected its decision. [/quote] Why does this sound more like it is about short-term political points rather than deep points about the fate of humanity?

Re:Really? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783480)

Also, why can't I apparently learn how to use preview or at least learn what the html tags are so I don't look like an idiot?

Re:Really? (2, Interesting)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783594)

It's the human condition. We all look like idiots sometime. Kind of like this doom clock thing, it's just one of those times a bunch of smart people get together and do something stupid.

Re:Really? (3, Funny)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783638)

You mean like a session of congress?

Re:Really? (1)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783806)

I wish I had mod points right now.

Re:Really? (3, Funny)

voidphoenix (710468) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783838)

He said _smart_ people...

Re:Really? (1)

fedos (150319) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783864)

Gaffs like his fall right in line with my "everyone's stupid" theory, which has proven to be superior to my coworker's "everyone's stupid but me" theory.

Re:Really? (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783560)

It's a tiny step in the direction of nuclear disarmament, which is a deep point about the fate of humanity.

Nukes? Nukes, my ass... (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783626)

Why would nuclear weapon reduction have any bearing on doomsday scenarios? Sure, a full nuclear exchange would have drastic global impact, but if something is going to end life on earth, it will be either a) A massive impact from a meteor, or b) a massive gamma ray burst from some nearby star unexpectedly going full nova. And, I somehow doubt that either of these events are being actively prepared for.

So why again were they moving the hands on their non-quantifiable imaginary model clock again?

Re:Really? (1)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783738)

Because it is run by a bunch of pretentious people who think they're more important than they really are.

Re:Really? (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783840)

Because attention-whore scientists have always been about the short-term political points, and not about their (stated) long term altruistic goals.

It was true in the 40's. It was true in the 80s. It's true today.

Re:Really? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783974)

It always was about a political agenda. These guys have decided that nuclear weapons are evil and we should get rid of them, and the clock is a political device for drawing attention to their agenda.

Personally, I think the idea of negotiating a reduction of nuclear weapons is silly, when both sides retain enough weapons to destroy the other side completely. Furthermore, no sane nation would get rid of their nuclear shield while another potentially hostile nation is around.

I advocate peace, and suggest everyone visit P5Y [p5y.org] , but reaching peace by trying to reduce the types of weapons you have will not achieve that goal. Any serious peace effort must allow for self-defense, because we don't trust each other enough yet. Nuclear disarmament will happen naturally in the future once peace happens, as citizens of countries would rather spend their taxes on things like healthcare instead of war machines.

In 1947 the clock was at 7 minutes until doom.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783452)

In the span of roughly two decades we've gone from the most minutes until midnight (17 in 1991) to being 7 minutes from total annihilation (which is where the clock started at in 1947). So we're back at the default setting of the clock which is 7 minutes until midnight. Does that seem right? That we are in the same situation now, regarding our proximity to doomsday, than we were in 1947?

Think about that, the clock started at 7 minutes to midnight in 1947, a time when a global nuclear threat was far less realistic (as only one nuclear superpower existed). Now six decades and a few years later we have multiple countries, competing and even rival nations, that have nuclear weapons, and we have terrorists and militants who would love nothing more than acquiring a nuclear weapon, not to hold as a deterrent mind you...but to actually use.

Factor in that we have pandemics like AIDS and are always being warned of something like the Spanish flu coming back (swine flu hysteria). We have massive environmental catastrophes occurring, fish populations decreasing rapidly, and a growing water shortage.

For the threat of nuclear weapons alone the clock seems awfully inconsistent.

Re:In 1947 the clock was at 7 minutes until doom.. (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783634)

That's the problem with metaphors. They tend to be pretty inconsistent. Anyway, I agree that, as far as the metaphor goes, it should not be moved back. Even if they're basing it entirely on temperament rather than substantive conditions—for fucks sake, the US is out-of-hand rejecting North Korean offers to negotiate for a full peace treaty—I find it highly questionable to claim that the temperament in the world today is any better than it was in recent years. In fact, it seems to be growing worse.

UNIX timestamp in reverse (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783474)

If they really wanted to help us, give us a universal timestamp in reverse so we can sit and watch the end coming in real time. Keeping a clock stationary for several years really doesn't excite the masses.

Science? (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783522)

Why is this listed under science? They’re just a bunch of fear-mongering wackos with an agenda.

Re:Science? (1, Flamebait)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783584)

Because Slashdot doesn't have a 'Frigtarded' section. The real question is how this ever got onto the main page.

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783546)

Arvisp writes to tell us that the symbolic "Doomsday Clock," designed to represent how close civilization is to catastrophic destruction, has been moved away from midnight.

Sweet! Well, I think they've deserved their Nobel Peace Prize award, what do you think, guys? Hmm, yep. See you at the ceremony.

Dimwits (2, Insightful)

DakotaSmith (937647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783574)

Nobel laureates or not, these people are dimwits.

For over sixty years these guys have been messing with this clock, and for sixty years they've been wrong every time. Why do they think anyone cares what they have to say now?

Re:Dimwits (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783688)

...and for sixty years they've been wrong every time.

Cut them some slack, Jack. They've been right twice a day for the past six decades. That's a damn good track record if you ask me.

Re:Dimwits (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784000)

Actually, this particular clock specifies a particular time before midnight. So they have only been right once a day for the past six decades.

In other words, a stopped clock was right twice as often (assuming, of course, that it was a standard analog clock without an AM/PM indicator).

6 Minute Abs? (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783628)

No! No, no, not 6! I said 7. Nobody's comin' up with 6. Who works out in 6 minutes? You won't even get your heart goin, not even a mouse on a wheel.

As Dr. Manhattan said, (4, Interesting)

btcoal (1693074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783648)

"I would only agree that a symbolic clock is as nourishing to the intellect as a photograph of oxygen to a drowning man. "

Re:As Dr. Manhattan said, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783816)

As a counterpoint, graffiti on the walls of the Church in "28 Days Later":

"The end is EXTREMELY FUCKING NIGH"

watchmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783680)

What?! Are you telling me that the Watchmen isn't coming true? And I spent all that time getting a rutherford-style hydrogen atom tattooed on my forehead and dyeing my skin blue. Next thing you'll be telling me that I can't go out fighting crimes wearing a mask or making love to women while working on a fusion reactor at the same time... I do get some looks walking down the street so maybe the prejudice part is right though.

A broken clock is cuckoo (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783704)

The inevitability of bird brains. Perhaps our future will routinely involve recalibration, or will chime like musical chairs. If not a nuke, perhaps a comet, or just a sudden stall, like a snooze alarm. 5 more minutes....just a few moments more.

Climate change, now, huh? (2, Funny)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783764)

Climate change was included in the list. Do giant squids need to be added on now, too?

Or do giant squids make the clock go back?

If I could move the minute hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783894)

I would place it closer to midnight. With the obvious onset of climate change in many parts of the world, the devastating rift between cultures, to companies like Monsanto genetically modifying food and patenting it, we humans are closer to extinction than ever before. Western societies, especially the USA, have completely lost touch with reality. We live in a fantasy world created for us by rich--therefore powerful--corporations. Just look around. Companies like Goldman Sachs just got away with swindling billions and billions of dollars from US taxpayers and the masses don't even have a clue what happened. All they want is their cellphone to work and genetically modified microwaveable "food" product stuffed in their mouths. Almost the entire human race should get the Darwin award next year, we've certainly earned it. For god's sake, the very fact that linux still hasn't "made it to the desktop" should be alarming in itself. The next 50 years are going to make the cold war look like a fucking paddy cake contest.

Because...? (4, Insightful)

LatencyKills (1213908) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783948)

Because Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is somehow less at risk now that 2007? Because Iran is somehow farther away from nuclear enrichment than in 2007? Because Russia and China have both become friendlier with the West since 2007? Hmmm.

actually, it's nine minutes until 4:20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783982)

You use your barometer; I'll use mine.
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