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Doomsday Clock Moved Two Minutes Forward, To 23:57 216

An anonymous reader writes As reported by CNN and Time, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved their famed Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight. Now at 23:57, this clock attempts to personify humanity's closeness to a global catastrophe (as caused by either climate change or nuclear war). According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, this change is due to a lack of action regarding climate issues, the continued existence of nuclear weapon stockpiles, and the increased animosity that now exists between the United States and Russia.
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Doomsday Clock Moved Two Minutes Forward, To 23:57

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  • IMO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @03:36AM (#48897133)

    its horseshit scare tactics that dont work anymore over nonsense bullshit that has no leg to stand on

    so who cares, move it to 1 am, doesnt mean a damn thing

    • Re:IMO (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @03:45AM (#48897157) Journal

      Nuke the doomsday clock!

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      We are already 20 minutes into the future [maxheadroom.com] of that clock.

    • Re:IMO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @08:54AM (#48897757)

      In the days when the Doomsday Clock was published by actual atomic scientists, it measured their perception of how imminent the Cold War danger was. The end of Communism cut the Doomsday Clockers adrift, much as Salk vaccine did to the March of Dimes.

      So are the SJWs who found this thing in the attic and dusted it off advancing the clock because of carbon, or because of Islam? Let me guess...

      • Salk was done in by too much vitamin c.

    • Re:IMO (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 25, 2015 @09:00AM (#48897777)

      its horseshit scare tactics that dont work anymore over nonsense bullshit that has no leg to stand on

      so who cares, move it to 1 am, doesnt mean a damn thing

      Uh, I could be spitballing here, but maybe, just maybe, the original designers of the clock felt that humanity should fucking care.

      Or perhaps it was created to point out that they should. It's not called the Bake-A-Cake clock.

      And don't get me started on horseshit scare tactics. Politics have caused more panic and damage with global warming than 10,000 clocks ever could.

      • They problem is they have advanced it so far that it has become meaningless. Like always having an orange national security threat level.
        • Theres also the problem that if you were to predict that there was a 99% chance that the world blows up today, MAYBE someone will believe you. Predict that for the next 20 years, and youre sort of nuts if you think anyone will take you seriously.

    • Re:IMO (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @10:28AM (#48898055)

      "so who cares, move it to 1 am, doesnt mean a damn thing"

      They'll do that in March anyway.

    • its horseshit scare tactics that dont work anymore over nonsense bullshit that has no leg to stand on

      so who cares, move it to 1 am, doesnt mean a damn thing

      I had no idea the doomsday clock was still a thing. The last I heard about it was way before the Berlin Wall fell. This is clearly a PR stunt to try to remain relevant in a world that no longer worries about Soviet ICBMs raining down.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @03:51AM (#48897163)

    You know, when something says that we are so close to destruction for over half a century... well you have to wonder why anyone would put any stock in it. It is a bit hard to reconcile with being on the edge of destruction, and yet everything continuing to not be destroyed.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 25, 2015 @04:01AM (#48897189)

      Apparently we're closer (23:57) to an apocalypse than in any time during 1960 - 1984. This includes the Cuban missile crisis.

      • The risk of nuclear war was very real during the Cold war. Today, those countries are trading partners and run in a far more responsive manner, Russia is a democracy.

        The idea of the Doomsday clock being closer than the cold war is silly.

        Take the clock, put it in the trash. Disband the committee. Perhaps the symbol helped awareness during the Cold war but this is just a joke now.
        • Re:^^Winner (Score:5, Insightful)

          by quenda ( 644621 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @05:39AM (#48897407)

          Russia is a democracy.

          Ha, good one Trollston! You had me there for a minute.

          • Hmm... well, when you ignore the definition of democracy and use the good ol' school metric of "grading by average"... They might even get away with a C-

            • by quenda ( 644621 )

              They might even get away with a C-

              For what? Voting in a dictator counts as a democracy, does it? The Russians dabbled in democracy, and then rejected it.
              In the context of an English-language forum, modern democracy means a multi-party parliamentary system with rule of law, as invented by the British. Without an effective opposition, the parliament becomes a rubber stamp for the executive, and politicians stop caring about votes. In some countries this can work better than a multi-party system, but it functions very differently from a dem

              • Yeah, democracy in the Western sense, where you only have two parties and they are both stooges to the corporations and have no real power. Democracy does not exist.
                • by quenda ( 644621 )

                  Yeah, democracy in the Western sense, where you only have two parties

                  No, thats just the US, and other countries with first-past the-post voting system.

                  they are both stooges to the corporations and have no real power.

                  Talking about the US again? Though that is only a relatively recent development.

                  • So tell us, when did the US have a system that effectively allows more than 2 parties to exist? Aside of the few transition periods where parties died out and new ones emerged, there has never been a 3+ party system.

                    The last time a candidate in a presidental election won a state was 1968. The last time a non DemRep came in second was Roosevelt in 1916, though one may dispute whether that "counts" considering that he WAS prez before. But we might as well count it since there has not been a single other occas

                    • by quenda ( 644621 )

                      I don't know a lot about the US. But of course it has always been ruled by the elite - the founding fathers were from the 1%, and the "revolution" was just a change of management that did nothing to benefit the common man. But while fearful of mob rule, they felt a greater duty to the commoners than today's politicians seem to. (or at least the white commoners)

                      The recent development I think is the power of the corporations, rather than just wealthy individuals. The corporations seem to have less

        • The idea of the Doomsday clock being closer than the cold war is silly.

          Considering that the doomsday didn't eventuate during the cold war then it is not necessarily wrong to say that it was closer then than now. The main difference between the danger being face now and then was that back then you didn't have a huge segment of the population disbelieving the experts who said that the world was in danger. Nobody was so stupid enough to say that just because people died before the atom bomb was invented that it means that bomb couldn't be responsible for killing anyone now (to ad

      • Well, I've been listening to the BBC's history of the first world war, particularly how it started in the first place. What was just some useless (and lucky!) Serbian terrorist turned into a European catastrophe remarkably quickly through a chain of events based on one country not liking another country and manoeuvring the situation to give them an excuse for local 'peach keeping' annexation.

        At the same time I was listening to how Russia was entering the Ukraine "to keep the peace", even though they were no

        • one country not liking another country and manoeuvring the situation to give them an excuse for local 'peach keeping' annexation.

          Peach keeping?? If that was all they wanted, we could have shipped them Georgia's (the State, not the country) entire supply rather than have to deal with a world war....

    • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @08:15AM (#48897653)

      You know, when something says that we are so close to destruction for over half a century... well you have to wonder why anyone would put any stock in it. It is a bit hard to reconcile with being on the edge of destruction, and yet everything continuing to not be destroyed.

      Did you know the most dangerous drivers are not those who have just gotten their license, but those who have had a bit of experience? The reason is that new drivers are all too aware that they're one bad decision away from being gruesomely killed, while those who have driven for a while let their guard down because "nothing's happened so far, so nothing ever will".

      This is true for dangerous acitvities in general. Someone who's handling boiling acid for the first time will make damn sure to think what they're doing. Someone who's done it a hundred times is busy thinking what they'll be having for lunch. And then acid gets somewhere it shouldn't, and suddenly things get very exciting again.

      We haven't been destroyed because we've been very lucky. During Cuban missile crisis American ships actually dropped depth charges on a nuke-carrying Russian submarine. The captain and the political officer were all for launching it in retaliation, but the idea was vetoed by Vasili Arkhipov [wikipedia.org]. And it's not the only time humanity's fate has hung on the decisions of a single person.

      And of course this is all ignoring the possibilities of, say, biological warfare advancing technology is bringing to within reach of even non-state actors. You may not have noticed, but some of these actors are nowhere near as rational nor benevolent as the Soviet Russia of old.

      Finally, the dawning of the Information Age is challenging whole new facets of human capacity for evil. Hypocrisy is quickly becoming impossible as privacy continues to erode. At the same time, anonymity serves to strip away pretensions of civility and expose the grinning skull beneath all too many faces. With Industrial Age, the choice was "cease warring or die"; with Information Age it's "stop being hypocrites or have your souls crushed". Given that it took two world wars to get humanity to the point where we had any chance to survive harnessing the power of the atom, I shudder to think what it'll take to prepare us for omnipresent computation.

      We're running a gauntlet, a purgatory forcing us to choose between our shadow or increasing amounts of pain. Every aspect of our existence is being confronted by its shortcomings like never before, for there are no more second chances. Humanity will either demonstrate it has mastered its dark side before it will master nature and reach the stars, or it will send itself to oblivion so more worthy beings might inherit them instead. It's not two minutes to midnight, it's Judgement Day.

      • Did you know the most dangerous drivers are not those who have just gotten their license, but those who have had a bit of experience?

        Have you ever insured a car? It's a while back, but I'm pretty sure my premiums went down in the first few years, not up.

    • you have to wonder why anyone would put any stock in it.

      Especially given that they now track global warming. Nuclear war is a doomsday scenario but global warming is most certainly not. It may cause economic hardship and the displacement of populations as sea levels rise plus the need to alter crops etc. but it is not going to wipe humanity off the face of the earth. Since the clock is supposedly set by scientists if they can be so wrong about something scientific then I have little faith they can predict the likelihood of nuclear war either given that this dep

      • It certainly won't knock 'humanity off the face of the earth' but it could well cause significant population and natural resource competition.

        Guess what two of the most common reasons for human warfare are?

  • Fear (Score:2, Funny)

    by Koby77 ( 992785 )
    Be afraid. Very afraid.
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @04:57AM (#48897333)

    maybe when it was just the US vs USSR this might have been almost workable but at this point you really need a different clock for every nuclear power.

    And short of that, this stupid clock is meaningless.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Why? There's a hundred ways I could die in the next year, but there's no problem aggregating it so I don't see why the clock can't represent total risk. Besides, it's probably going to cascade anyway. If Russia pulls the trigger in Eastern Europe then NATO will get involved, China probably don't want NATO forces on their borders and at least somewhat back Russia and might decide the time is right to take back Taiwan and those Japanese islands and it all goes down hill from there. IS has openly stated their

      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        And that's just where it sparks, if you could guess that the rise of Hitler would lead to the attack on Pearl Harbor your crystal ball is good.

        The two weren't correlated so your crystal ball would be broken.

      • You can't distill complex information down to a single variable. If you could, then you could see everything important in front of you with ONE pixel.

        You can't do that. Accept that it is complicated and deal with the complexity. Do not pretend you have magical powers that allow you to boil down very very complex datasets into a single variable.

        That is a big issue with the whole AGW debate. One temperature for the whole planet is unreasonable. You need to break the data out and show the regional surface data

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @06:00AM (#48897433) Journal

    It's always set to 4:20.

  • Balderdash (Score:5, Funny)

    by jabberw0k ( 62554 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @06:29AM (#48897467) Homepage Journal
    That man in the White House has won the Nobel Peace Prize.
    • Re:Balderdash (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Isaac-1 ( 233099 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @06:46AM (#48897493)

      Make that was given, regardless of if you are an Obama supporter or not, you must admit many of the resasons he was given the prize so early in his presidency were not based on actions, but based on campaign promises that never came to passs.

    • by SirKron ( 112214 )
      ... and was at war through his entire administration.
  • Wait a second... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cheviot ( 248921 ) on Sunday January 25, 2015 @06:41AM (#48897485)

    When did they add climate change to the Doomsday Clock and what makes the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists experts on how much closer global warming puts us to global catastrophe?

    • what makes the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists experts on how much closer global warming puts us to global catastrophe?

      They have a consensus.

      • by Cheviot ( 248921 )

        Understand, I don't disagree that global warming is a serious global threat. I just wonder why atomic scientists are judging it's relative danger.

        • They're allowed to have an opinion, too, and they are scientists, after all, which means we might actually want at least to consider what they have to say. We're free to disagree with them, but we really should have some good reasons for that.

          Those who aspire to become nuclear physics do not study a "nuclear scientific method"; they learn how to apply the scientific method to the field of nuclear physics. Folks who want to become climate scientists do not study a "climate-scientific method"; they learn how

          • by Cheviot ( 248921 )

            Don't get me wrong, I value their opinion. But if suddenly I found out that odds of an earthquake were added to the National Weather Service's hurricane warning system I'd be asking the same question.

            The clock has always been about the odds of nuclear annihilation. Saying it's now also about global warming makes no sense.

    • by grumling ( 94709 )

      Sadly, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is against using fission for producing electricity, which, along with large-scale hydro, is the only way to actually reduce greenhouse gas without impacting quality of life.

  • Well, that's what I want to talk to you all about; endings. Now, endings normally happen at the end. But as we all know, endings are just beginnings.
    You know, once these things really get started, it's jolly hard to stop them again. However, as we have all come this far, I think, under the circumstances the best solution is that we all just keep going. Let's keep this going in sight, never an ending. Let's remember that this world wants fresh beginnings.
    I feel here, in this

  • Wasn't that a scene in this movie where the self destruct timer continued to count down to :01? In spite of the correct code being entered. Because all self destruct timers seen in movies are disabled with only moments to spare for dramatic effect.

  • to miiiiiiid-niiiiiight!

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