Saturday, January 28, 2017

#OyVeyDonaldTrump Hysteria Moves "Doomsday Clock" Closer to Midnight and Armageddon

Image via Shutterstock, minutes to midnight.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Doomsday Clock, a graphic that appeared on the first cover of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as it transitioned from a six-page, black-andwhite newsletter to a full-fledged magazine. For its first cover, the editors sought an image that represented a seriousness of purpose and an urgent call for action. The Clock, and the countdown to midnight that it implied, fit the bill perfectly. The Doomsday Clock, as it came to be called, has served as a globally recognized arbiter of the planet’s health and safety ever since. Each year, the setting of the Doomsday Clock galvanizes a global debate about whether the planet is safer or more dangerous today than it was last year, and at key moments in recent history......... click on the hyperlink to read the full statement  

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock thirty seconds closer to midnight, the time of apocalypse, based only on the rise of one man, President Donald Trump. If accurate, this means western civilization is closer to annihilation than during most of the Cold War, and even than at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

"This year's Clock deliberations felt more urgent than usual," Rachel Bronson, the executive director and publisher of the Bulletin, said in a statement. She pointed to various reasons: "trusted sources of information came under attack, fake news was on the rise, and words were used by a President-elect of the United States in cavalier and often reckless ways to address the twin threats of nuclear weapons and climate change."

"Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person. But when that person is the new president [sic] of the United States, his words matter," wrote Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University and chairman of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin, and David Titley, a member of its science panel, in a New York Times op-ed.

Krauss and Titley argued that Trump "has promised to impede progress on both" of "humanity's most pressing threats: nuclear weapons and climate change."

Trump has indeed asked why he can't use nuclear weapons, and that is indeed worrisome, but the threat of climate change is extremely overrated by this report. For context, Manhattan Project scientists, concerned about the first atomic weapons, founded the nonprofit Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1945. The clock first emerged two years later.

According to the group, the clock "conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making." The website now explains that there are three factors instead of the original one. While the original group was focused on nuclear weapons, later scientists added climate change and cyber technology to the list.

Throughout the Cold War, the threat of nuclear armageddon — or "mutually assured destruction" — never seemed too far off. In 1947, it was 7 minutes to midnight. Two years later, the clock moved 4 minutes — placing it 3 minutes to midnight, after news that the Soviet Union had tested its first nuclear device.

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