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The World Remains Five Minutes From Midnight

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the hands-that-threaten-doom dept.

Earth 301

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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Doomsday clock (4, Insightful)

AG the other (1169501) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Doomsday clock (3, Informative)

p0p0 (1841106) | about 2 years ago | (#42587319)

It's not really a prescription. It's more symbolic, since it is decided by a group of persons on when and where to move the hands of the clock.
Whether there is physically a clock, or if it is all symbolism I'm not entirely sure.

In the end (ha!) the clock has lost most of it's shock value and is mostly ignored.

Re:Doomsday clock (3, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42587449)

The clock is a lie

Re:Doomsday clock (-1, Troll)

Cryacin (657549) | about 2 years ago | (#42587599)

Why address long term goals? Like the tea party and their cronies always say. Long term thinking? In the long term we're all dead anyway.

Re:Doomsday clock (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#42587817)

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 (2, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#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 (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#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 (0)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#42588299)

Wasn't it some Republican who said "Keep your government hands off my medicare!"?

Re:Doomsday clock (3, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | about 2 years ago | (#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 (2, Informative)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#42588133)

Piling on debt without end is what the Tea Party is all about.

What's your next guess?

The Tea Party has consistently argued for spending cuts. If you imagine that the debt can be addressed by increasing taxes, then you have no conception of the scale of the problem.

-jcr

Re:Doomsday clock (2)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#42588197)

If you imagine that the debt can be addressed by increasing taxes, then you have no conception of the scale of the problem.

Read what I wrote. The debt problem cannot be addressed without increasing taxes. Obviously spending cuts are necessary too, they may in fact end up doing most of the job, but they cannot stand alone. The Tea Party has effectively prevented reaching a solution, and therefore they are for piling on debt without end.

Re:Doomsday clock (1, Interesting)

grantspassalan (2531078) | about 2 years ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42588151)

Not a lie. Their clock is just 3 minutes slow [youtube.com]

Re:Doomsday clock (5, Informative)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#42587913)

It's a symbol that has been used for 66 years by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago to draw attention to the Global Thermonuclear War edition of the fiscal cliff. It started out at 7 minutes to midnight before the Cold War started and the hand was moved whenever they wanted to draw attention to moves by governments that the directors of the bulletin deemed good or bad with respect to the threat of a nuclear apocalypse. The furthest it has ever been from midnight was 17 minutes after the U.S. and U.S.S.R. signed START.

In 2007, with the Cold War long over and no nukes traded between India and Pakistan, people had become desensitized to minute changes (such as "we're moving the hand one minute closer to midnight because you haven't signed any new treaties promising to disarm additional weapons... So you'd better start signing treaties or we're going to scare people with our big symbolic clock") it was repurposed to also draw attention to climate issues that could also bring about apocalyptic scenarios.

Unfortunately, most people don't know that, and the clock has little meaning for the general public. Like the March of Dimes (which was founded to eradicate polio -- mission accomplished, and good luck getting a straight answer from them on where your money goes now...) it became a self-important PR Zombie in search of a purpose for its once-massive mobilization abilities. Climate change is important, but this is the 21st century. They need to find a more informative way to inform people, because no one knows what the hell a minute means in terms of the climate cliff. Tell them to use more sunblock and less freon... Something concrete. Not a meaningless abstract clock symbol.

Re:Doomsday clock (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42588349)

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

Re:Doomsday clock (2, Insightful)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Doomsday clock (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587721)

You were modded insightful? How about a +3 fucking obvious platitude mod?

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

grantspassalan (2531078) | about 2 years ago | (#42588271)

Centuries ago, the apostle Peter warned in 2 Peter 3:3, that especially in the last days there would be scoffers espousing uniformitarian so-called scientific theories that preclude discontinuities in nature and human history. The world will not end in the sense that it will cease to exist anytime soon, but when death comes to a nation or an individual, it ends right then. Death is the common denominator in this world for ending things. When you die, the world ends for you.

Re:Doomsday clock (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42587361)

These scientists are also evangelical Christians

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

grantspassalan (2531078) | about 2 years ago | (#42588277)

How do you know that and if true, so what.

Re:Doomsday clock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587375)

Humanity is not so old (aprox. 200,000 years old), and over the last millennia has been raising it's power over nature at an astonishing rate, thanks to technology and science. We have at least much more power to change our environment than 1000 years before.

Re:Doomsday clock (4, Informative)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about 2 years ago | (#42587389)

The Doomsday clock isn't predicting the end of the world, it's symbolic and reflects an assessment of the state of potentially many topics that pose a serious risk to our civilization. The closer the clock is to midnight, the worse condition we're considered to be in, all things considered. The clock moves forwards and back depending on the problems of the world, what we're doing about them, what we've committed to do about them, etc. etc.

If the clock were at midnight the world would not necessarily end, but we'd be in very bad shape (maybe imminent nuclear war, loss of energy supply, etc.)

Re:Doomsday clock (2, Funny)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42587463)

Thank you captain obvious.

Its not like any of us would have stumbled on that symbolism in 66 years since they started making their predictions.
We are all so dense you know.....

Re:Doomsday clock (2)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about 2 years ago | (#42587519)

Maybe you should look at the post I was replying to, which certainly did conflate the doomsday clock with predictions of the end of the world.

Re:Doomsday clock (0)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42587567)

It is in fact a prediction, whether you agree or not.

Fear mongering has always been their principal aim.

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42587739)

It is in fact a prediction, whether you agree or not.

Fear mongering has always been their principal aim.

It is not in fact a prediction - it's supposed to represent the state of the world. Unless they said "And when the big hand reaches 12, the world will end", I don't see how it could be called a prediction.

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42587769)

So the word "Doomsday" some how slipped right on past you?

Re:Doomsday clock (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587899)

Ok people, let's all take a deep breath, and just agree that their clock metaphor, be it symbolic or predictive, is goddamned retarded.

We've been within, what, 15 minutes of "super ultra awful zomg the sky is falling we're all doomed just shit yourself now", for the better part of a century. That's the longest FUD-whine in history.

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42587573)

Thank you captain obvious.

Its not like any of us would have stumbled on that symbolism in 66 years since they started making their predictions.
We are all so dense you know.....

Go back to the post he's replying to and it seems that maybe it's not so obvious to everyone.

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.

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42587717)

The post he was replying to had it right.

The dooms day clock is in fact a prediction of doom, done with symbolism, and not very meaningful symbolism at that.
At least the Mayans set a date certain.

With the clock, those using it for their annual fear mongering, claim "oh its just symbolism", to weasel out of anything they can be held to, actual time frames, level of seriousness, or anything other than annual hand wringing.

Does the clock symbolize all of mans time here on earth, or only from the Pleistocene forward? Or maybe its the time scale of an average life? Or is it merely their opinion as to how messed up everything in THEIR lifetime, which, for most of these geezers them is rapidly approaching?

That this clock hasn't moved much at all since the 60s when both the US and the USSR were actively flying large numbers of nuclear weapons around in bombers just in case, up to now where they are wringing their hands about cyber technologies and global warming is clear indication that they will never stop their annual predication doom and gloom, and will adopt any cause that gives them even a once per year 15 minutes of relevance.

That they maintain plausible deniability by hiding behind scary symbolism only speaks to the bankruptcy of their worldview.

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42587493)

But who prioritizes the issues? One person worries about nuclear weapons. Another imagines global warming. Yet another cries over a dead tree [youtube.com] .

Personally, I have grave concerns over our inability to bring a flying car to market.

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587731)

Personally, I have grave concerns over our inability to bring a flying car to market.

But we do have video phones (sort of), so do we get another 15 seconds for those?

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#42587977)

The Doomsday clock isn't predicting the end of the world, it's symbolic and reflects a highly politicized, opinionated, and subjective view of the state of potentially many topics that pose a serious risk to our civilization.

There, fixed that for you.
 
Seriously, the state of clock is set by a small number of people and the setting based on their personal opinions. It's not formal, it's not scientific, it's nothing but an editorial piece.

Re:Doomsday clock (5, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

AG the other (1169501) | about 2 years ago | (#42588059)

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.

Re:Doomsday clock Climatechange climatechange yadd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42588131)

1) the climate is probably changing
2) some, POSSIBLY even much of it is anthropogenic
3) So ... D_mn ... What?!

Climates change; it is likely that we change climates. Deal with it! The climate has been quite variable over a time frame of less than 1000 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_ice_age [wikipedia.org] We will be better served by developing the ability and flexability to deal with change -from what ever source- than to pretend that change will not happen.

If you disagree with this viewpoint, tell me why (remember this is not climate change denial, it is climate change acceptance). If you agree with this viewpoint, speak up!
 

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

mug funky (910186) | about 2 years ago | (#42587679)

there's a bit of an anthropic principle to what you're saying. if one of those predictions had been right, we would be unable to post here.

Re:Doomsday clock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587727)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle

Re:Doomsday clock (1)

stymy (1223496) | about 2 years ago | (#42588237)

It's only recently that humans have had the means to destroy the world. Previously, we could only do that to small, isolated places, like Easter Island.

Re:Doomsday clock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42588285)

I can't help but point out that "this so called clock" as you put it has nothing to do with predicting the end of the world the way you think it does. I can help and relish pointing out that you are the very type of person that will cause the end to become a reality. Find some reason to be here other than shedding skin and polluting your local Ecosystem.

Terrorism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587279)

The worst trend is how we're going backwards as a nation under the guise of good for us because "Terrorism". America used to have balls.

Re:Terrorism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587609)

That clock was well published during the Reagan Administration. The people who "read the Doomsday clock" would not have minded living under the boot heels of the Soviet Union. They posit that when freedom advances, the clock ticks closer, and when freedom retreats, the clock backs off.

==//==

Re:Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42588219)

what fascist nonsense!

Doctor Manhattan (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587283)

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

Climate change? (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42587285)

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.

Re:Climate change? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587351)

Not all climate change is global warming, there are other larger problems to humanity than global warming, like the convergence of peak coal, oil, phosphate. Read the report from the director of national intelligence from december, dwindling food production over a ten year span.

Re:Climate change? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587713)

director of national intelligence from december, dwindling food production over a ten year span.

Maybe the US will have to defy the statists [huffingtonpost.com] and stop burning our food.

Re:Climate change? (3, Interesting)

PerMolestiasEruditio (1118269) | about 2 years ago | (#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:Climate change? (2)

terec (2797475) | about 2 years ago | (#42588143)

There are plenty of viruses in the wild with high mortality rates and every combination of incubation period and contagiousness you can imagine; none of them have wiped us out yet. It seems to take a bit more to create a global pandemic, and nobody knows how to do it.

Sooner or later, there will be a serious pandemic, something that will wipe out a significant percentage of humanity. There are genetic traces of such past disasters, and we see them in animals occasionally. But it won't be cooked up deliberately, and it won't be the end of humanity or even civilization, because we have effective countermeasures.

Re:Climate change? (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about 2 years ago | (#42588195)

That's an interesting point of view. What metric did you use to define the relative likelihood + impacts of a nuclear winter versus anthropogenic global warming?

Deaf ears (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587287)

Really, do they expect Nobel Peace Prize recipient and King of All Drones Barack Obama to give a crap about their input? He's got a legacy to build!

they switched the meaning. (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#42587317)

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:they switched the meaning. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587469)

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

Re:they switched the meaning. (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 2 years ago | (#42587973)

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

Nope. They are correct because they are in possession of the facts and you, clearly, are not. Hence, you imply a conspiracy theory since it is so much easier than checking the facts (the information is actually out there in the public domain if one bothers to look). I'll do you a favor and give you a link to the number of terrorist attacks since 9/11: The wikipedia list, which is a subset of the real list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents [wikipedia.org]
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ [thereligionofpeace.com] lists 20237 deadly terror attacks since 9/11 (and climbing, it is updated daily from events around the world)
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/index.html#Attacks [thereligionofpeace.com] Here is a detailed list of the attacks

With that data you should be shocked. What is even more shocking is that it is not "politically correct" to point out the *facts*. We haven't lost Free Speech yet in a legal sense, but we certainly have lost it in a social sense where to speak the truth now marks you as some kind of radical, instead of a rational.

The tragedy is that most of the terrorist attacks are Muslims on other Muslims (of a different sect; there is currently a multi-national Sunni vs Shia war going on as to which flavor will dominate Islam, yet most people are unaware of it); there is also a lot of Muslim on Christians in the Middle East and Africa (Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Mali etc); there is Muslim on Hindu stuff (the recent shelling of Indian positions and the capture and beheading of an Indian soldier); and then attacks on the US and the West (mostly foiled because the jihadis spend too much time studying the Qur'an and hadiths and not on science or tactics; so police often foil them - but it is not for a lack of trying).

So, if you think the terrorism alerts are just for the military-industrial complex to shake money out of you then you should remove your tinfoil hat. The world is *full* of terrorist acts (almost all of them jihadis against other Muslims, Christians, and unbelievers; as the Qur'an commands them to do) - it is just that you haven't being paying attention.

Re:they switched the meaning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587505)

It's the comedy clock - it's always time for a laugh!

They're beyond irrelevant (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587321)

There have been thousands of nuclear weapons throughout the world for 50+ years and the only country they've been used against has recovered to become one of the healthiest, wealthiest nations on the planet.

2+2=5 Clock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587331)

Does one exist?
To the wannabe despots, more feelies, less boot to face pls.

Re:2+2=5 Clock? (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about 2 years ago | (#42587559)

Tor the Calculate! You have changed!

This election... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587377)

was not so much about "the economy, stupid," it was more about "the stupid, stupid." Seriously, the power of a nation-wide conglomeration of stupid people to re-elect one of their own is mind-numbing. Now we can continue to focus on all the wrong things, like trying to ban guns based on their "scary looks" instead of fixing our mental health system. Hooray for stupid.

Desensitization (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42587397)

It's not a terribly good model. Since it came out it hasn't moved very much compared to the total time represented (24 hours, of which it seems to have always been in the last 15 minutes -- or about 1% of the available time). It's not unlike making a global warming map and then plotting it on a scale from -400F to +4000F... You get a straight line. You need to calibrate it to the min/max values you're actually seeing within that range, which would be more like -60F to +170F.

One wonders if this isn't a case of a bunch of scientists getting together and showing us a gimmick that show's were perpetually at the edge of an imaginary cliff, but has no real value visually or comparatively.

Re:Desensitization (2)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about 2 years ago | (#42587481)

It's not a terribly good model. Since it came out it hasn't moved very much compared to the total time represented (24 hours, of which it seems to have always been in the last 15 minutes -- or about 1% of the available time).

Look at the clock face as presented on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The range _is_ 15 minutes.

Also, perhaps the overall risk hasn't changed too much. There has been ongoing war, proliferation, food scarcity, fuel scarcity, pandemics, global warming, economic collapse in major nations, terrorism, drugs, etc.

but has no real value visually or comparatively.

Line more to the left, things are going better. Line upright, things are going bad. Or perhaps they hope that people will read the reasons they give instead of just looking at the graphic for 2 seconds, I don't know..

This is a stopped clock (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#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:This is a stopped clock (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#42587509)

Just because this clock is a fucked up doesn't mean we're not doomed.

"Hey is it hot in here or am I crazy?"
No, it's hot in here.
"Oh good, then I'm not crazy."
No, you may still be crazy.

Re:This is a stopped clock (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42587733)

Living without fear and ignoring existential threats are two different behavious. The first requires faith in your fellow man and personal courage, the second requires a lobotomy.

Re:This is a stopped clock (1)

terec (2797475) | about 2 years ago | (#42588193)

Homo sapiens hasn't faced an existential threat since we migrated out of Africa. You couldn't wipe out humanity if you tried with current technology.

The only existential threats to humanity are massive geological events or a huge asteroid hit. By the time our technology becomes a realistic threat, we'll already be all over the solar system.

Re:This is a stopped clock (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#42587929)

This "doomsday clock" hasn't ticked in years.

And Iron Maiden still haven't updated their song!

Re:This is a stopped clock (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 2 years ago | (#42588005)

Don't worry. If Iran complete the research programme that gives them the ability to construct nuclear weapons this year (which *all the facts* show they are working on) then the Doomsday Clock will move. Will you be happy then?

Missiles are still armed and on a hair trigger (1)

xtal (49134) | about 2 years ago | (#42588215)

Has everyone forgotten this?

It's _insane_, people go off about the environment, and everything else, but right now, there are between 3-5,000 nuclear weapons aimed at every major population center on earth.

People are crazy.

I know! I know! (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42587423)

Somebody forgot to wind the clock!

And how would the IHOFM help this? (0)

fascismforthepeople (2805977) | about 2 years ago | (#42587511)

We can count on the libertarians and paullowers here on slashdot to chime in to tell us how their way of doing things would somehow improve on this situation. Hence I will cut them off at the chase and pose the question - how would the Invisible Hand of the Free Market (IHOFM) make this better? People claim that completely uncontrolled and unrestrained capitalism will solve all the world's problems, so go ahead - tell us how. People like to rally for selling any extent of weaponry on the open market, so tell us how selling nukes in the open would be better.

Because to most of us, a completely unrestricted market selling nuclear weapons would only further serve to concentrate power in the hands of the few, to weild as they please. As the say, absolute power corrupts absolutely and here is the pitch to sell absolute power, which leads to further exploitation of those who cannot afford power.

In other words, while the sales pitch claims freedom, the rest of us see such tactics as bringing fascism for the people.

Re:And how would the IHOFM help this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587653)

Why post from one of your sockpuppet accounts, damn_registrars?

Re:And how would the IHOFM help this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42588097)

and now we see dumb_registrars trying to convince us that she knows how to write. the argument sucks, like most of what she writes, but it uses full sentences and proper grammar - which almost none of what she writes does. she couldn't write this if she had all week.

Re:And how would the IHOFM help this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587849)

a completely unrestricted market selling nuclear weapons would only further serve to concentrate power in the hands of the few, to weild as they please.

Perhaps you can explain how anyone trying to earn a profit could do so by pissing away billions of dollars on acquiring nuclear weapons?

Nukes are government-created problem, not a market-created problem, you supercilious jackass.

Not even close (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

UNITS!!!! (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 years ago | (#42587611)

What is the point of a nuclear holocaust clock if it's *not* 5 minutes to midnight? If they ever set it to the true likelihood of nuclear war, and it was back at like 6, no one would care. Speaking of which, this is not a well defined metric for probabilities. What does being 5 minutes to midnight actually mean? Does it mean we are 99% likely to have a nuclear war? Over what period of time? In the next year? In the next century? In the next millennium? I would be pretty scared of a clock that was way back at 715 minutes to midnight if it meant there was a 1% chance of a nuclear war in the next year, so what the hell could this clock possibly mean?

The problem is that the people who come up with this crap, despite claiming to be experts, don't understand units. A doomsday clock should only be in minutes if the thing is happening in x minutes for sure. If it is a probability, then the units need to be in something like %*years. Also using minutes as a unit for something that hasn't happened in 60 years makes you look like you are full of shit. I become pretty disinterested in something once I smell hyperbole. This might be a really dangerous thing if nuclear war is actually likely. All you "experts" need to take a course in how to use units properly and read "the boy who cried wolf", so we can get something even resembling an accurate measure of the danger.

Re:UNITS!!!! (2)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 years ago | (#42587677)

I guess I would expect something like nuclear doomsday to follow an exponential distribution. So that would mean the units is time, but it is the time which before which there is a 50% chance of the event happening. So 5 minutes would mean there is a 50% chance of it happening before 5 minutes and a 50% chance of it happening after 5 minutes at every point in time. The odds that nuclear doomsday was actually 5 minutes is almost 0 given how many "5 minutes" have passed in 60 years. If you set the mean to 60 years, then that means that the fact that we avoided a nuclear doomsday for this long means we were as lucky as someone who guesses a coin flip correctly (a bit more believable).

Publicity device (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587655)

This clock is just a way to get attention. Practically no one would know about the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists if not for this silly clock.

In related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42587675)

Another bunch of stupid people said another bunch of stupid things.

Bah! (2)

kaatochacha (651922) | about 2 years ago | (#42587685)

This clock has always bothered me, since I have no idea of the scale. Does it run from 12:01 AM to Midnight, or do they only use 11 PM to Midnight? Maybe they only ever move this thing between five minutes to midnight and one minute to midnight. I have no way of understanding the meaning of it, it's random. They might as well say "doomsday clock set to five sevenths.

Two questions (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#42587687)

The two questions are:

One: if those tiny shelled organisms that eat algae are unable to form proper shells due to the CO2 turning seawater into carbonic acid and this process is irremediably progressed then why isn't the clock at 12:00 just before it tolls? I've even read that the algae will turn the oceans into a hypoxic wasteland once these creatures that eat them are removed from the foodchain.

Two: if the heat problem is recognised by everyone then why are we waiting like crabs in a pot and arguing over why it's getting hot rather than seeding the upper atmosphere with ultrafine particles that will cool things down for decades? Surely there is money to made from that?

I'm just curious and not grandstanding any particular point. I think we're already doomed no matter what we do so if anyone can give reason to change that opinion I'd be grateful.

Re:Two questions (3, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#42588075)

We do not know for sure that ocean life is doomed because of increasing CO2 levels. It is a plausible theory and past extinction events certainly provide reason to worry, but it is not a scientific certainty. Also note that the ocean is not yet close to turning acid, it is going from quite alkaline to somewhat less alkaline.

As to the geoengineering question, I would think it rather obvious why we are not doing it. It is not necessary yet, and playing with the climate is risky. It would be nicer to stop playing with the climate (stop net CO2 emissions) instead of adding even more uncertainty.

I bet that deliberate geoengineering with measurable effects will happen, perhaps even within 10 years. Once it becomes clear that CO2 emissions are not stopping quickly enough, it will be necessary and people will demand it.

Several incoming asteroids (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#42587689)

Maybe not literal ones [ted.com] , but are heading toward us, and are as unstoppable as the rock ones, putting politics dynamics into the equation.

I don't mind (1)

terec (2797475) | about 2 years ago | (#42587735)

I'm a night owl.

Bert / Ernie (1)

BadPirate (1572721) | about 2 years ago | (#42587751)

In other news, threat condition is still Bert / Ernie.

Well... (1)

Todamont (1034534) | about 2 years ago | (#42587783)

At least time has stopped, then.

I'm certainly no doomsday clock aficionado... (3, Insightful)

perceptual.cyclotron (2561509) | about 2 years ago | (#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?

retire this moronic artefact of cold war already (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 2 years ago | (#42587793)

Your clock is ticking, but the end is not from commies, it's from the army of Allah.

Re:retire this moronic artefact of cold war alread (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 2 years ago | (#42588027)

it's from the army of Allah.

Well, the Shia Army of Allah (as in Iran) are working on nuclear weapons capability. It doesn't matter whether it was the Soviet Empire or the Islamic Caliphate (Empire) that kills you, you will still be dead. The clock is neither moronic nor obsolete. It is intended to raise public consciousness about the risk of Weapons of Mass Destruction to the entire human race. In that sense it succeeded and still has a point to make. Particularly as the Shia believe the 12th Imam, "The Mahdi" will not come to earth until the time of Armageddon - which much of the Shia theocracy think they just might be able to arrange. Still think the clock serves no purpose to raise awareness with the general public?

as Charles Manson once said (1)

zakeria (1031430) | about 2 years ago | (#42587865)

it's all coming down brother!

They need to rename this (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 2 years ago | (#42588091)

to the "The Bulletin of the STUPID LIBERAL Atomic Scientists, because that's pretty much what it is.

I'm still patiently waiting. (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about 2 years ago | (#42588099)

for 12:01 a.m

Pretty Silly (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#42588101)

These scientists have become almost foolish. They continue to speak about Russian and American nukes, but ignore the fact that China now has more nuke launchers than they have warheads. So, why would China keep more launchers going then warheads? Because they did not. Each of those launchers have at least one nuke warhead, if not more.
That is why it would be stupid for the west to cut back on nukes.

And when it comes to CO2 emissions, they scream about USA. Yet, CO2 is not linked to per capita, but to GDP. As such, any solution MUST be linked to GDP. And not GDP(PPP). The reason is that PPP removes a nation playing games with their money (china comes to mind). So, by using their real $ GDP, then we should focus on emission / GDP. Yet, they are not.

Sad. really. Long ago, the BAS was actually a decent group. Now? Meh. They are ran by special interests sub groups who are not really interested in the core ideas. IOW, do not trust their clock or their solutions.

Re:Pretty Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42588177)

That is why it would be stupid for the west to cut back on nukes.

You are really depressingly stupid. How many times over should the US be able to wipe out all the people on the planet? Do you have some kind of brain-dead notion that it's possible to win a nuclear war?

"from the hands-that-threaten-doom dept." (1)

Onuma (947856) | about 2 years ago | (#42588137)

Nice Iron Maiden reference, UL!

Re:"from the hands-that-threaten-doom dept." (1)

jonnythan (79727) | about 2 years ago | (#42588185)

Glad I'm not the only one who saw that.

Up the Irons!

Bad news is good news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42588153)

Bottom line is bad news sells and gets attention. This group or whatever they are do absolutely nothing to get attention or funding. They do nothing that is insightful, intelligent or even useful. They just every so often popup to say the doomsday clock is getting closer and sit back while they get attention and probablly some funding thrown at them and then they dissapear for awhile and come back to do it allover again. For gods sake they call it "The doomsday clock!" which is meant to inspire fear and feelings of negativity which are two things that get them their attention from everyone.

Its like that paper in phoenix arizona years ago, they tried to run a paper that printed only positive and good uplifting news. They went bankrupt in less than 9 months because no one, and I mean no one bought it.

Economy tied to Global Warming. (1)

oic0 (1864384) | about 2 years ago | (#42588345)

Neglect your economy and everything else suffers. Basically humanity's progress forward slows and our long term we do more damage to the planet by being forced to rely on dirty technologies for longer. They are the ones who are short sighted.
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