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Doomsday Clock To Advance

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the fire-next-time dept.

Politics 283

Dik Zak writes "Many news sites are reporting that the magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists intends to move the hands of the Doomsday Clock on Wednesday 17 January. The clock was started at seven minutes to midnight during the Cold War and has been moved forward or back at intervals, depending on the state of the world and the prospects for nuclear war. Midnight represents destruction by nuclear war. It is not revealed in which direction the hands of the clock will be moved, but it should be safe to assume that they will move closer to midnight: the magazine cites 'worsening nuclear [and] climate threats.' The clock stood at two minutes to midnight when both the United States and the Soviet Union tested nuclear weapons in 1953. The farthest away from midnight it ever got was 17 minutes, in 1991 when both superpowers signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. It currently stands at seven minutes to midnight."

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283 comments

Midnight? (4, Funny)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596138)

So, is that Eastern Standard Time?

Re:Midnight? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596284)

It is located in Chicago, so that would be Central Standard Time.

CST? Uhoh... (4, Funny)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596404)

That means those of us on Eastern Standard Time have already experienced Doomsday. (Psst, Central folk, his name is..., nah, let them experience it, too.)

Re:Midnight? (1)

Baloo Ursidae (29355) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596990)

Oh, good, that gives us in Oregon 3 hours (2-hours mountain time) to get out of the way of the apocolypse.

Re:Midnight? (3, Funny)

lag10 (667114) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597340)

In Soviet Russia, doomsday clock advances you! (Sorry, but I just had to say that.)

What? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596150)

An anti-MS article and no one's posted yet?

Arbitrary? (5, Insightful)

Rhesusmonkey (1028378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596152)

Is there some equation by which this is determined or is this another abstact measure of FUD that we could just as easily set to "Red" as 7 till midnight?

Re:Arbitrary? (2, Informative)

Andrew Aguecheek (767620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596260)

It looks to me as if what is significant is not what the time is (unless of course it is midnight), but instead how much the hand moves by. When a significant leap is made towards nuclear disarmament, it moves back significantly, vice versa when a situation appears to be escalating.

Re:Arbitrary? (5, Funny)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596362)

I doubt there is an equation involved. But I think one look at today's front page of slashdot justifies moving the hands a little closer to midnight:

  • A schoolteacher could get 40 years because her antivirus software subscription ran out.
  • A schoolboard rules that global warming is a "mere" scientific theory.
  • The US continues to use some idiot system of measurement based on some dead dude's foot.
  • The next Star Trek film is about Kirk and Spock -- The Early Years.
  • Shatner was allowed to break the news.

If these aren't a sure sign of the apocalypse (especially the last item), I don't know what is.

GMD

Re:Arbitrary? (1)

pakar (813627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596796)

Noticed an error there...
  - Shatner was allowed to break the news, and did it singing.

=)

Re:Arbitrary? (4, Informative)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596938)

A schoolboard rules that global warming is a "mere" scientific theory.

Actually, I live in the Seattle area:

What they ruled on was that it was a scientific theory with more than one side to the story and that "An Inconvenient Truth" was not a dispassionate, non-partisan, objective look at the science involved. They were also concerned that none of the producers and Al Gore were scientists, and that showing it in a class without context would be a disservice to students.

It was widely misreported, probably helped by the fact that the most vocal opponent to the film being shown is a nut-job zealot parent, and the fact that Seattle PeePee, uh, P-I ran an editorial as news and the fact that local right-wing radio really went ape-shit. But, that doesn't mean we have to get the reporting wrong here. Wait, this is /., I'm sorry, go about your business.

Re:Arbitrary? (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596988)

Uh, the Doomsday clock applies specifically to "doomsday" due to nuclear weapons. They are (or, at least, were at the time) a slightly more serious threat than a Star Trek movie.

Re:Arbitrary? (4, Funny)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597096)

They are (or, at least, were at the time) a slightly more serious threat than a Star Trek movie.

Come on... Star Trek, the early years? I'd rather be nuked.

News For Nerds??!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596182)

Is this just a slow news day? Why is this on slashdot? What happened to tech news?

Re:News For Nerds??!! (0, Offtopic)

Rhesusmonkey (1028378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596238)

Kinda seems like /.'s becoming a slow motion Threat Down lately doesn't it? A bit of mindless fear mongering here, a touch of wry comedy there, end result: same either way.

Hyperbole? (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596186)

So you have 12 hours to work with, and you start off at 17 minutes to midnight? Seems like a case of hyperbole to me - in that scale, the world is ALWAYS about to blow up in a nuclear war, so it quickly loses its impact.

It's like holding the stupid "threat level" at yellow or orange for a long amount of time, eventually people accept it and begin to ignore it.

Re:Hyperbole? (1, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596266)

That's kinda the point, when we have enough nukes floating around to blow up the planet several times over.

Hyperbole? Define "blow up the planet" (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596780)

Even if every single nuclear device was detonated within a short period, I seriously doubt the planet would be blown up.

Not too pleasant for a while, compared to how things are now, but far from "blown up".

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Re:Hyperbole? Define "blow up the planet" (3, Insightful)

Dilaudid (574715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597186)

Yes. Always the same shit from the environmentalists - "humans going to blow up the planet". Greenpeace actually said, in one of their 90s pamphlets "humans about to destroy all life on earth"... Idiots. We may be able to take care of small flightless birds, we may be pretty good at wiping out most of the fish stocks, but humans could never destroy life on earth.

It's kind of instructive to think what we would have to do - start with the hard to reach - we need to kill all the life around the "smokers" at the bottom of the ocean, at the same time as carpet bombing the earth with nukes - but you've really got to cook every square mile of the entire planet. That means raising the temperature above boiling point (there's life at temperatures everywhere up to there) for long enough to kill every spore, bacterium. The important thing to bear in mind is that to kill life you have to kill every single bacterium, because one bacterium can mutate. In short it's not going to happen, it's probably technically infeasible, and no one wants to do it (not even George Bush)

I like to think this sums up two things - one the horrible grandiosity of environmental pressure groups - starting with their assumption that humans are powerful enough to do something that is virtually impossible, then assuming that they are more important than the people that can do this, that they are only people who understand the big picture. The other is that they know fuck all about any actual science (i.e. physics, chemistry, microbiology), and they don't seem to care to learn more.

Real climate scientists I salute - they do something virtually impossible. Environmental politicians (for that is what Greenpeace, and this crowd are) are just republicans who found a different issue first. Look at Al Gore - when he's not trying to ban music with obscene lyrics (PMRC) he's saving the environment with glossy hollywood films. Bless.

Re:Hyperbole? Define "blow up the planet" (1)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597226)

I believe the common use of the term refers to the ability to end all life, everywhere (with the exception of cockroaches and certain bacteria).

Re:Hyperbole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596802)

And yet, it hasn't happened.

Re:Hyperbole? (1)

MindKata (957167) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596838)

Ahh but if they add a second hand that well solve everything. Then we can all sleep soundly knowing there are 420 seconds spare to play with. So we won't have to worry so much about all the extra nukes they can fit into so many spare seconds.

Re:Hyperbole? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596302)

And then they throw climate in too:

"the magazine cites 'worsening nuclear [and] climate threats.

(unless they are referring to climate changes that cause social tension, that then causes nuclear war)

Re:Hyperbole? (2, Funny)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596318)

You Slashdotters are all the same; the only way to win against you guys is by not playing!

Re:Hyperbole? (1)

SilentOneNCW (943611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596574)

Yeah, that movie was on recently.

Re:Hyperbole? (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596594)

Come now, everyone knows we can't win if you don't play.
It's like a lottery ticket, sure the odds are slim to none, but if you take a chance you might win.

Re:Hyperbole? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596818)

Someone beat you to First Post again, right?

Re:Hyperbole? (2, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596338)

It's a metaphore to illustrate the danger posed by nuclear weapons. It is not supposed to be a "threat level"-o-meter, but basically an indicator of what changes are worth, that we're never gotten further than 17 minutes on the scale of 12 hours of shades of nuclear weapon danger since the clock was built.

It's kind of like illustrating the age of the planet as 12 hours and the appearence of humanity and civilization as the last minute/second whatever...

Re:Hyperbole? (5, Insightful)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596400)

It's kind of like illustrating the age of the planet as 12 hours and the appearence of humanity and civilization as the last minute/second whatever...

Except without any basis in mathematical fact or measured reality.

Re:Hyperbole? (3, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596510)

Please note, that I used the word metaphore. In this, the clock is similar to a work of art, it has meaning. It calls attention to an important issue by using a metaphore and you're asking where is the mathematical fact or measured reality in it?

The problem it points to does have mathematical facts and is consistent with reality aka it exists. It is a mathematical facts that governments around the world have enough nukes that it can display all civilisation on earth and potentially wipe out the human race. It is a mathematical fact that more and more governments are capable of using nuclear weapons. It is part of reality that those who aquired nukes recently are not the sanest people around, like Kim Il - if we can believe the reports about the test they carried out which I'm not sure I do.

Flamebait my ass, motherfuckers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596598)

-nt-

Re:Hyperbole? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596868)

Please note, that I used the word metaphore.

Then please learn to spell it correctly.

Misunderstanding. (0, Redundant)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596720)

Human interactions, goals and thought patterns are not measured by equations or instruments. Yes, this makes it hard to say what's going to happen when feeble bags of mostly water are involved. Doesn't mean though that you can't or shouldn't try, or that some people aren't very, very good at it. If you're upset that the clock reads 7 minutes instead of 8 or 6, you're missing the point.

Re:Misunderstanding. (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596850)

Pfft.. you clearly didn't major in Psychohistory [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Hyperbole? (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597064)

The clock implies that for 53 years now we have been "minutes away from total world destruction". To me that's not metaphorical, it's plain exaggeration. Why 7 minutes? Why not 7 seconds? The entire system is without any scientific basis yet it is presented with precise and fluctuating figures as if it was based on real research.

It's this sort of crap that scares the idiot majority into supporting wars "in the name of peace" (as all wars always are) in the first place.

Re:Hyperbole? (2, Insightful)

Andrew Aguecheek (767620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596398)

In TFA it does specifically state that "It uses the analogy of the human race being at a time that is a "few minutes to midnight," They have, at best, sixty minutes to work with, butin common parlance you tend to say "past" instead of "to" before half past the hour and so it could probably be argued that half past eleven would mean "no chance whatsoever," though they would most likely use eleven o'clock because they could symbolically move the hour hand.

In Metric Please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596498)

I want to know what the doomsday clock is set to in Metric.

Re:In Metric Please? (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596730)

80 past 2 on April 47th, of course!

Re:Hyperbole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596558)

So you have 12 hours to work with, and you start off at 17 minutes to midnight?

It seems quite reasonable to me. You seem to be expecting them to start the measurement at yesterday, when they are starting the measurement much earlier. Compared with when humanity were figuring our fire and the wheel, the Doomsday Clock should be reflecting how close we are to disaster.

Re:Hyperbole? (1)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596972)


If people had known about a few of the instances where it was up to an individual whether we would have a nuclear holocaust the clock would have been sitting at 1 minute to midnight.

And if you want the truth, it wasn't hyperbole.

If you search Slashdots own archive you will find out that the passcodes required to trigger a launch were preset at default values which allowed them to be basically bypassed, and an instance where the Soviets were confused enough that someone could have signaled there were incoming missiles.

But you can go back to your world and sit there watching cartoons and pretending everybody loves everyone else and that we don't have the capability to destroy all life on earth.

Re:Hyperbole? (0, Flamebait)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597444)

But you can go back to your world and sit there watching cartoons and pretending everybody loves everyone else and that we don't have the capability to destroy all life on earth.

No thanks, Nancy Pelosi is already taking care of that.

I know this one (4, Funny)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596202)

Jack Bauer will disarm the russian ICBM 10^-23 second before it detonates, so we haven't got anything to worry about!

Re:I know this one (1)

chanrobi (944359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596524)

I'd really like to see him disable the 7800 warheads Russia is rumoured to have all at the same time. http://www.thebulletin.org/article_nn.php?art_ofn= ja04norris [thebulletin.org]

Re:I know this one (2, Funny)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596748)

Well, if he can't, I'm sure Chuck Norris has a few spare Roundhouse kicks around.

strike 12 already... (5, Funny)

10100111001 (931992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596224)

I'm sick of waiting for the return of my deity.

Re:strike 12 already... (5, Funny)

Matt Edd (884107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596268)

Hey! Some of us don't have a deity so keep it down.

Re:strike 12 already... (4, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596522)

I don't know ...

Lately I've been looking into the history of man kind and it seems like at any point in time people were certain that the end of the world was only a generation or two away.

I think it is about time everyone started to ignore anyone who claimed the world was about to end and listened to more rational voices.

Re:strike 12 already... (1)

lessthan (977374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596872)

The decision to move the minute hand is made by the Bulletin's Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates.

The problem is that they are the rational voices in this issue. Makes you feel like playing on a volcano's rim, doesn't it?

Re:strike 12 already... (1)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597188)

But it is slightly different when the world's effectively rigged up to blow at the touch of a button or two.

Even though the 'traditional' war threats are not present today it doesn't mean that part of our history is resolved and put away. Personally I'm not particularly worried about nuclear weapons, bigger threats I see in biowarfare and climate change.

No God required (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597454)

"...it seems like at any point in time people were certain that the end of the world was only a generation or two away."

Yes, there have always been doom-sayers who talk of the wrath of God and the day of judgement. However, for the last 50yrs or so we have had the potential to create our own apocolypse independently of any disgruntled God(s).

"I think it is about time everyone started to ignore anyone who claimed the world was about to end and listened to more rational voices."

What is "irrational" is having been taught to "duck and cover" when I was a kid in the 60's ( ie: a school desk is no match for an A bomb ). Your statement also implies Eienstien was irrational and should be ignored since he was amoungst the first to recognise we are no longer dependent on a vengefull God to wipe us all out. He was well aware that his science had assisted the less "rational" amoungst us to aquire the technology to create our own apocolypse, either deliberately or accidentally. Similarly "rational" but less famous people have spotted a few other problems since the 50's.

BTW: My money is on environmental apathy, but nukes might be used to speed things up a bit.

It's Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596228)

Every head of state since 1945 has at one time or another said that we need to get rid of these things and it still hasn't happened.

We need to revive the nuclear disarmament movement. Seriously.

Re:It's Time (1)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596350)

Quite the opposite, according to politicians - it seems. Just about anyone can have a nuclear program now, we'll only pick on the ones we don't want to have one. "If N. Korea can pull it off, so can you."

Re:It's Time (1)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596690)

Sorry, but I have to disagree. Empirical evidence would suggest that Mutually Assured Destruction is a highly effective means of preventing nuclear war.

If anything, everyone should have more nukes.

Re:It's Time (3, Insightful)

Atomic6 (1011895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596960)

You're forgetting about the people that either: believe their god will save them from destruction; or just plain don't care if they die. Terrorist and insane heads of states (Ahmadinejad?), for example.

Re:It's Time (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17597100)

How is Bush's doctorine of "preemptive" "defense" any different from a mad man?

Preemption is not a defense, it is an OFFENSE, pure and simple. They are the agressor.

Re:It's Time (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596706)

I agree with you that it would be ideal to get rid of nuclear armaments across the board. What do you think we (US, UN, everyone) should do about North Korea, Iran, India, Pakistan, and even Israel? Of course, we can guarantee that the US, China, and Russia won't get rid of theirs until everyone else does. Even then, they might decide that they are the only ones that should keep them...just in case.

Re:It's Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17597032)

And the US will build a few more ... just in case

global procastrination (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596296)

everybody knows this is sick, still nobody moves to end it.
by the time we realize that we should have executed all the procastrinating politicians, it will be too late.

Preemption (5, Funny)

ewg (158266) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596328)

Some superpower or another needs to preemptively attack and destroy this doomsday clock before it hurts someone.

Re:Preemption (4, Funny)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597162)

All right. I guess I can spare one and still be feared.

Iron Maiden! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596348)

Suddenly I realize where the song title comes from.

Re:Iron Maiden! (1)

filtur (724994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597108)

Suddenly I realize where the song title comes from.

haha that's the first thing I though of. We're not really in trouble till its 2 minutes to midnight.

DST? (3, Funny)

aztec rain god (827341) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596390)

Wouldn't this be a good reason to get rid of daylight savings time?

Not Climate Threats directly (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596394)

new pressure from climate change for expanded civilian nuclear power that could increase proliferation risks.

These guys are not claiming doomsday from climate change.

And despite the increase of proliferation and individual threats, the global doomsday we legitimately feared in the 80's is long gone.

I think proliferation in the Middle East will bring some long needed maturity to those ridiculous tribal governments or be self-limiting. Bad for some cities, but not global conflict. India-Pakistan nukes may have even calmed that situation. Mutual destruction pacts might actually work.

Re:Not Climate Threats directly (2, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596768)

Mutually Assured Destruction works if both people in control of the Big Red Button are semi-sane, understand the consequences of pushing that button and are interested in self-preservation, or at least the preservation of a good chunk of their people.

However, I can say without a doubt that there are plenty of people who do not have any of these characteristics, including Americans. MAD is far too unstable a concept to be institutionalized. I'd much rather have no nukes than be the only one to have them. It simply won't stay in the latter state for very long.

Re:Not Climate Threats directly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596900)

If everyone from your 95 year old grandma to your 6 year old son (and his dog too!) carry loaded m4s whenever they go out, will the murder count decrease?

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you. MAD can potentially work...until one individual decides to take the risk.

Re:Not Climate Threats directly (1)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597058)

I think proliferation in the Middle East will bring some long needed maturity to those ridiculous tribal governments or be self-limiting. Bad for some cities, but not global conflict. India-Pakistan nukes may have even calmed that situation. Mutual destruction pacts might actually work.

The assumption is that a huge amount of power (i.e. the power to destroy the world) will make people behave in a more rational manner. First of all, that's a pretty big risk to take. The super powers that have nuclear capabilities now are known quantities. If a country from the middle east obtains nuclear weapons, they are an unknown quantity. Also, there are many cases where huge amounts of power do not make people behave in a rational manner. Take a look at Pol Pot in Vietnam. He had full control over the lives of many of the citizens of Vietnam and yet he killed millions of them. Or, look at Hitler. He has a lot of power and chose to use it to 'purify' the world. This is similar to the middle eastern philosophy of Islam. They want an Islamic world full of Islamic governments. They are willing to kill those that don't join them. I think it's a pretty big risk to allow new governments to obtain nuclear weapons...In particular, governments that have Islamic laws in place.

Re:Not Climate Threats directly (2, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597274)

Take a look at Pol Pot in Vietnam. He had full control over the lives of many of the citizens of Vietnam and yet he killed millions of them.

I think the Cambodians would be very surprised to learn that Pol Pot killed a bunch of Vietnamese too.

Seriously, if you're going to use historical analogies to bolster your arguments, you should at least try to get the elementary facts right.

Related to troop increase in Iraq? (3, Informative)

Sargeant Slaughter (678631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596408)

I was listening to an interesting radio show out here in San Diego yesterday (The Dangerous Dick and Scibba show) and they were talking about the 20K troop increase as a way to get ready to go into Iran (a nuclear power). People were guessing that Bush/Cheney/and company want to try and neutralize the Iranian threat before leaving office. Me thinks this might be related...

Re:Related to troop increase in Iraq? (2, Interesting)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596530)

Dangerous Dick indeed, as he has very little brain...20K troops isn't enought to do anything, it's really just more to stablize the Baghdad area and maybe do some border patrol. Plus it is mostly reservists and National Guard which are NOT the top troops to use in any "invasion". There is just as much crap coming in from Syria as Iraq but no one ever mentions "invading" them. Anything that is being done now by the US in Iran is likely a black operation run by the CIA and you'll never hear about until 20 yrs later. Iran is NOT a nuclear power..they DO NOT have "The Bomb". If Israel has anything to say about it they never will.

Re:Related to troop increase in Iraq? (2, Interesting)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597086)

Iran is not a nuclear power. It does not even have nuclear power stations. The threat to the world derives from US politicians presenting such countries as a menace in order to be able to launch aggressive wars.

Be prepared! Read and print... (3, Informative)

paj1234 (234750) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596500)

Now is a good time to read and print...

The good news about nuclear destruction
http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=516 48 [wnd.com]

What to do if a nuclear disaster is imminent!
http://www.ki4u.com/guide.htm [ki4u.com]

Re:Be prepared! Read and print... (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597026)

It bears mentioning that potassium iodide tablets provide protection only against iodine isotopes, which I believe are far more likely to show up in a dirty bomb (one made from medical materials, especially) than in the fallout of a nuclear explosion (and I don't think that iodine would be the main concern in that fallout).

Just what we need here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596504)

More pseudo-science.

Flawed model (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596520)

Clocks don't run backwards. That's the whole point, fundamental to everything time means to us - it marches forward, until one day death takes us.

Re:Flawed model (1)

bmgoau (801508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596766)

It's Symbolic man. Try not to read into it to much.

Re:Flawed model (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597342)

But I can't sleep!!!

Re:Flawed model (1)

flokati (926091) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597268)

Clocks don't run backwards.
I think that's a good point. The model should be something that measures the degree of something... like a thermometer. 100 C is destruction by nuclear war. What's the Doomsday temperature today? Maybe 99.7 C. Of course, this method would have a baseline, maybe 0 C. Would 0 C mean no threat? I guess it was 0 C up until nuclear bombs were invented. How would that be represented using time? Yesterday? The big bang? I've got to stop typing.

One Bomb is Not "Doomsday" (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596540)

A nuke or two going off in the US would be terrible. But let's be glad we don't face annihilation today like we did during the cold war. Think about it, at the time there was a real risk of humanity being set back a thousand years, or according to some theories even disappearing. Terrorism is nothing next to that. They have nothing like the numbers of weapons or delivery systems to do what we or the Russians could do. India and Pakistan doesn't have them, and N. Korea doesn't have them. People just aren't comfortable without a certain amount of upset, and they enlarge or shrink whatever troubles they face to fill that void.

Re:One Bomb is Not "Doomsday" (1, Interesting)

marx (113442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596666)

The reason the clock is moved forward now is most likely the USA, not "the Russians". In today's world, America is the Soviet Union.

Re:One Bomb is Not "Doomsday" (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596758)

People just aren't comfortable without a certain amount of upset, and they enlarge or shrink whatever troubles they face to fill that void.
Also called progress...

Re:One Bomb is Not "Doomsday" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17596894)


Strangelove: I would not rule out the chance to preserve a nucleus of human specimens. It would be quite easy...heh, heh...(He rolls his wheelchair forward into the light.) at the bottom of ah...some of our deeper mineshafts. Radioactivity would never penetrate a mine some thousands of feet deep, and in a matter of weeks, sufficient improvements in drilling space could easily be provided.

President: How long would you have to stay down there?

Strangelove: ...I would think that uh, possibly uh...one hundred years...It would not be difficult Mein Fuehrer! Nuclear reactors could, heh...I'm sorry, Mr. President. Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plant life. Animals could be bred and slaughtered. A quick survey would have to be made of all the available mine sites in the country, but I would guess that dwelling space for several hundred thousands of our people could easily be provided.

President: Well, I, I would hate to have to decide...who stays up and...who goes down.

Strangelove: Well, that would not be necessary, Mr. President. It could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross-section of necessary skills. Of course, it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition.

Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. Ha, ha. But ah, with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present Gross National Product within say, twenty years. ... (later) ...

General Buck Turgidson: (judiciously) You mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Wouldn't that necessitate abandoning the so-called monogamous form of sexual relation ship?

Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to perform prodigious service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics, which will have to be of a highly stimulating order.

Re:One Bomb is Not "Doomsday" (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596944)

A nuke or two going off in the US would be terrible. But let's be glad we don't face annihilation today like we did during the cold war.

Unless they were US nukes, I fully expect Dubya to launch retaliatory strikes against the Axis of Evil, or whomever he believes was responsible. Just because the Cold War is "over" doesn't mean that those with their fingers on the button will be any more rational than before.

Re:One Bomb is Not "Doomsday" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17597076)

A nuke or two going off in the US would be terrible. But let's be glad we don't face annihilation today like we did during the cold war.

In the last few weeks Russia extorted Europe by threatening to cut off energy supplies. There is quite a bit of unease that the primary gas supplier to Europe is being run like a crime syndicate.

Russia and Iran are very close allies. They would not tolerate an American offensive in that country.

China also has nukes, lots of them in fact. Our relationship with them is friendly but strained but there are numerous ways it could go south quickly.

And meanwhile all three countries still have hundreds of missles pointed at each other's cities. Missles and guidance/detection systems that are generally 80's tech, and may or may not be properly maintained and updated. Remember the times we've some closest to nuclear annihilation has not been a military standoff, but by computer error.

The situation certainly is not the same as it was during the height of the cold war but we're far from being out of the woods. A full-scale nuclear exchange is still very possible.

Do the submitters even RTFA??? (4, Insightful)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596554)

From the summary...

It is not revealed in which direction the hands of the clock will be moved...

From TFA...

The minute hand of the Doomsday Clock will be moved closer to midnight on January 17 (emphasis added).

Re:Do the submitters even RTFA??? (1)

AtOMiCNebula (660055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596784)

Nevermind that, look at the title of the article!

Doomsday Clock Will Move Closer to Midnight

Re:Do the submitters even RTFA??? (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596864)

Hrm. RTFT, would that one be?

Slow Down Cowboy!

Slashdot requires you to wait longer between hitting 'reply' and submitting a comment.

It's been 13 seconds since you hit 'reply'.

Chances are, you're typing with both hands. Please insert one thumb up your ass and try again.

Good news, bad news (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596692)

The good news is they aren't advancing it to 12:00, the bad news is they are advancing it to 12:15.

Pffff (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596702)

Mechanical political blog? How quaint.

Just my opinion (0, Flamebait)

Lance_Denmark (985878) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596744)

That clock is seriously fucking gay. It takes it's orders from scientists for heavens sake. Not like my wrist watch which makes his own mind up about how close we are to nuclear armageddon.

If they keep it up (1)

chillmost (648301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596764)

I can stop showing up for work soon.

Chillmost, why aren't at your desk?

Sorry boss, world's ending.

What!? How?! (0, Flamebait)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596844)

Wait, Nancy Pelosi is speaker of the House of the U.S. Congress.

Democrats are in control.

Rosie O'Donnell is getting major support in the media for her war against Donald Trump.

Steve Jobs got an illegal dump of stock options and the media and geeks have given him a free walk because other corporate scum said he didn't know. If Steve Jobs was running Enron and the same thing happened, what would geeks have said?

Microsoft MVP's, techies, and users of Vista are saying it sucks.

Bezo's is finally flying the Delta Clipper.

How can it possibly be getting closer to Doomsday?

Does this mean Duke Nukem Forever is closer to release?

Does this mean George Lucas is getting ready to release his Double Secret Special Editions?

Is Battlestar Galactica getting ready to be canceled?

Is William Shatner releasing his covers of Green Day?

Are the Seahawks actually going to take us all the way, and not leave us on the front porch on prom night with just half a copped feel?

Wow, closer to doomsday. You got to love George Bush and the Republican Do-Gooders. Maybe their whole drive is to hasten the Second Coming and start of the "Kingdom of Heaven"? (Can I choose a different Universe?)

Go ahead, classify this post.

Re:What!? How?! (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597028)

:) Someone didn't read the whole post before he knee-jerked himself into a moderation. Or, was I successful in offending everyone?

The post is decidedly anti-

  • Shatner
  • Politician
  • Rosie
  • Corporate Scum (no matter if they are popular or not)
  • George Lucas
  • /. Knee-jerk, premature ejac...moderators

2! MINUTES! TO MID-NIGHT! (1)

samwh (921444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596942)

To kill... the unborn in the woooooomb!

In other news... (1)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17596974)

Scientists with long-standing political agenda to make political statement with clock metaphor. Big whoop.

A bit of hyper-ventilation I must say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17597122)

If North Korea drops a few nukes, it's not doom. It's a few hundred thousand people dead at most. Probably a lot less than that. Yes a tragedy but ho-hum when compared with all the plain old conventional killing that occurs every year, mainly governments killing their own citizens with small arms or starvation.

Yes a full-scale nuke war between the USSR and the USA would have involved probably over ten thousand warheads and would have ended the modern age, but the threats now are not doom. It's important to keep things in perspective, even nuclear bombs.

Title is wrong (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597178)

Advance implies that it will get closer to midnight. The summary itself says that they don't know which way it will move yet.

Dumb (2, Funny)

VanHalensing (926781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597290)

This is by far one of the dumbest ideas in the history of mankind. It'll just cause panic for no reason!

When you least expect it - expect it! (1)

chromozone (847904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597346)

This is one of those things where when it shows danger nothing will happen and if something bad happens it will be when clock suggests saftey. This is the nature of time, pride and destiny. The best and worst things happen when you dont expect them.
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