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Two and half minutes to midnight


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Well, this is a few days old, but the article is very interesting. This is the time that the Doomsday clock is set actually. The reasons? This is a paragraph of the article appearing in new scientist

TWO and a half minutes to midnight. That was the time the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set their Doomsday Clock to just a few months ago – later than it has ever been except between 1953 and 1960, the height of the cold war H-bomb race. Among BoAS’s concerns were bellicose sentiments from Donald Trump and North Korea’s efforts to make its own nuclear weapons.

the original article was here:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23431223-300-talk-of-a-localised-nuclear-conflict-is-ignorant-and-dangerous

 

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I'm not sure which criteria they use to advance or set back that clock's hands, but if it's due to the tension in Korea, I don't think the situation is so critical as to provoke a war between the US and China. No one is interested in such a war.

 

North Korea is a small and poor country, no rival for the US. Most of their many weapons are obsolete and their missile tests fail miserably once and again. In the last weeks, three of four missile launching have failed. For many decades North Korean dictators have bluffed at will because they were backed by China. But now the Beloved Leader seems to have lost contact with reality and is behaving so absurdly that even China has withdrawn its support. If the situation becomes tense enough, I guess China will get rid of him rather than risking an armed conflict with its American business partner, a war in which both parties have much to lose and nothing to gain. And besides so close to home.

 

One of the tourist highlights in the DMZ between the two Koreas is the so called "Third Tunnel of Aggression". The father of the Beloved Leader, Beloved Leader himself, had the brilliant idea to dig a tunnel under the border so that their troops could assault South Korea by surprise. For months the Communist soldiers dug the tunnel using manual tools. Finally the South Korean authorities detected it when it reached some 1500 feet long. It only took them a few weeks to dig the remaining 4000 feet with a modern drilling machine, intercept the tunnel and fill it with water. I mean, soldiers digging with a pick and a shovel? Sounds like some episode of the Road Runner! Is that the big threat to the Western world?

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Perhaps it's the "perception" of the threat?  If you live far away, it is harder to imagine the impact such political jousting on nuclear war has on those living closer to the danger area.  What you say is logical, Carlos (and quite comforting to hear).  However, leaders act on how their populations react to such fear-mongering news.  That is sort of why the solver-of-all-the-world's-ills, Mr Trump, got himself involved in the first place.  Why leave it to diplomacy, when he can show the world he can fix it once and for all? His action (sending the war ship to Nth Pacific) is what sparked the flurry of news stories in the first place.

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I don't know friends, in Seoul, a city with 10 million S. Koreans, when I watch some of their news stories in S. Korea, the politicians are out in full force, to be elected.  They don't seem to care that a "war" could break out at their DMZ area at any moment.      They've been living like this since 1953.   Everybody in S. Korea, is living day by day, I don't read about fear of being wiped out by N.Korea, or China (which S. Korea) has a big investment with, making movies, kpop groups, recordings, K dramas, the list goes on and on.   To them its just a bunch empty words that go no where.    Every so often, N. Korea has to spew out its poison to see who's paying attention to their spit.      I feel sorry for those people held captive by these dictators.   One observer who was there last year in N. Korea, spoke with young soldiers who were smiling at the camera (the authorities didn't catch that short interview) usually some who visit and take pictures have people in uniform follow them.     The soldiers were honest, they told the visitors from Russia, that they are in the army so they won't starve to death.   Better serve in the army and live.  So some pretend that they love their god little kim, and for others if they don't its do or die for them.     Not all are under his spell.  Some see that situation, and try to leave, some make it, some don't.  Some even wind up dead. 

Edited by Allabord4Jah
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The Doomsday Clock is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a human-caused global catastrophe. Maintained since 1947 by the members of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board,[1] the Clock represents an analogy for the threat of global nuclear war. Since 2007, it has also reflected climate change[2] and new developments in the life sciences and technology that could inflict irrevocable harm to humanity.[3]

 

The Clock represents the hypothetical global catastrophe as "midnight" and The Bulletin's opinion on how close the world is to a global catastrophe as a number of "minutes" to midnight. Its original setting in 1947 was seven minutes to midnight. It has been set backward and forward 22 times since then, the smallest ever number of minutes to midnight being two (in 1953) and the largest seventeen (in 1991). As of January 2017, the Clock is set at two and a half minutes to midnight, due to a "rise of 'strident nationalism' worldwide, United States President Donald Trump's comments over North Korea, Russia, nuclear weapons, and the disbelief in the scientific consensus over climate change by the Trump Administration."[4][5] This setting is the Clock's second closest approach to midnight since its introduction.

 

In-person visits to see the Doomsday Clock are not possible. There is no physical Doomsday Clock at The Bulletin's office in the University of Chicago.[6]

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_Clock

 

The Time and Today
The lowest point for the Doomsday Clock was 1953, when the clock was set to 2 minutes until midnight after the U.S. and the Soviet Union began testing hydrogen bombs. In the years after, the clock’s time has fluctuated from 17 minutes in 1991 to 3 minutes in 2016.[15] In January 2017, the clock was set at 2 ½ minutes to midnight, meaning that the clock’s status today is the second closest to midnight since the clock’s start in 1947.  When discussing the changes, Krauss, one of the scientists from the Bulletin, warned that our political leaders must make decisions based on facts, and those facts "must be taken into account if the future of humanity is to be preserved."[16] There have been many signs throughout recent years that all point towards our inching closer to Doomsday. In an announcement from the Bulletin about the status of the clock, they went as far to call for action from “wise” public officials and “wise” citizens to make an attempt to steer human life away from catastrophe while we still can.[17] There may not be a noticeable difference in our day to day life now, but it won't be much longer until our way of life on Earth must change drastically to cope with the lack of action being taken to avoid global catastrophe.   

 

No actions taking place against all of these worsening factors act as a measure counting down doomsday for not only the US but humankind as a whole. It will take not only the actions of public officials but also the actions of citizens to try and begin reversing the damage done to the Earth. The Board that discusses the yearly changes is trying to convey a call to action to attempt to reverse the damage done.[18] 

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Thanks Shawnster for explaining what is the significance of the doomsday clock. Efectively not only the situacion in Corea is reponsible for the time that this clock was set, but other factors, that you are mentioning. Is interesting that the new york times, about a month ago, was speaking of the situation between India and Pakistan, and how India was considering a preventive nuclear strike; the article mentios that a limited nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan can result in a billion deaths due to the efect of the nuclear winter, and the efect in the crops, that can be devastating . A limited nuclear conflict with north corea  can have very bad consecuences.

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On 6/5/2017 at 0:58 PM, Shawnster said:

This setting is the Clock's second closest approach to midnight since its introduction.

Thanks for the explanation, Shawn. It seems to me the criteria are rather subjective, basically how critical those people feel the situation is. It seem something more journalistic than scientific. I find it hard to believe we are closer to a nuclear disaster now than during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

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44 minutes ago, carlos said:

Thanks for the explanation, Shawn. It seems to me the criteria are rather subjective, basically how critical those people feel the situation is. It seem something more journalistic than scientific. I find it hard to believe we are closer to a nuclear disaster now than during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

I agree, I remember the tension from that event. When Krushchev  blinked it was  a sigh of relief across the board.

 

From Wikipedia:

The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis (Spanish: Crisis de Octubre), the Caribbean Crisis (Russian: Карибский кризис, tr. Karibskij krizis), or the Missile Scare, was a 13-day (October 16–28, 1962) confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union concerning American ballistic missile deployment in Italy and Turkey with consequent Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. The confrontation is often considered the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.[1]

 

Those were the days of duck, cover and kiss your whatsis goodbye. Gertrude and I had just gotten married in 1959, I bought "On The Beach" to read on our honeymoon, WOW what a downer., and then the missle crisis.

I think things got a little better after the Cuban missle crisis because at least world powers were talking to each other.

"Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end....." But they did.

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3 hours ago, carlos said:

Thanks for the explanation, Shawn. It seems to me the criteria are rather subjective, basically how critical those people feel the situation is. It seem something more journalistic than scientific. I find it hard to believe we are closer to a nuclear disaster now than during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

 

It's definitely nothing that can be mathematically quantified.   

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9 hours ago, Shawnster said:

It's definitely nothing that can be mathematically quantified.   

Once again common sense ruins a good discussion. :lol:

 

It's true that world events cannot be mathematically quantified. But someone that call themselves the "Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board" at least should try to use some objective criteria. If they consider that we are closer now to disaster than during the Cold War something is not working. They should present themselves as journalists or philosophers. If their reason to be closer than ever to worldwide destruction is that Trump doesn't care for global warming, then they are doing politics.

 

On the other hand, the India-Pakistan conflict might have serious consequences. But it's hard to believe someone is so stupid as to throw a nuclear bomb on their neighbor nextdoor, since they will receive all the fallout anyway.

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Well, is evident that almost all american scientist are against Donald Trump, so scientist are very involved in politics affairs.

In an article of the new york times explains the point of view of the bulletin scientist:

There were crises that the clock was not quick enough to take into account. The Cuban Missile Crisis, for instance, in 1962, did not change the hands of the clock, which at the time stood at seven minutes to midnight.

An explanation on the Bulletin’s website accounts for this seeming lapse in timekeeping: “The Cuban Missile Crisis, for all its potential and ultimate destruction, only lasted a few weeks,” it says. “However, the lessons were quickly apparent when the United States and the Soviet Union installed the first hotline between the two capitals to improve communications, and, of course, negotiated the 1963 test ban treaty, ending all atmospheric nuclear testing.”

The end of the Cold War came as a relief to those who had lived in fear of nuclear annihilation for decades, and the minute hand slowly moved away from danger. In 1990, it was at 10 minutes to midnight. The next year, it was a full 17 minutes away, at the relatively undisturbing time of 11:43.“The illusion that tens of thousands of nuclear weapons are a guarantor of national security has been stripped away,” the Bulletin said at the time.

But over the next two decades the clock slowly ticked back. Conflict between India and Pakistan, both of whom staged nuclear weapons tests three weeks apart, had the clock at nine minutes to midnight in 1998. By 2007, fears about Iranian and North Korean nuclear capacity had pushed it to 11:55.

By 2015, the scientists were back in a state of unmitigated concern, with the clock at three minutes to midnight, the closest it had been since 1984.

“Unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity,” the bulletin said. “World leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe.”

“These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth,” it added.

 

the article is here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/science/doomsday-clock-countdown-2017.html?_r=0

And this is an article about how an soviet submarine almost cause an catastrofe in the last day of the cuban missile crisis

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2208342/Soviet-submariner-single-handedly-averted-WWIII-height-Cuban-Missile-Crisis.html

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, jgonzo230 said:

There were crises that the clock was not quick enough to take into account. The Cuban Missile Crisis, for instance, in 1962, did not change the hands of the clock, which at the time stood at seven minutes to midnight.

Thanks for the detailed explanation and the other articles.

 

It will be interesting to see which hour the clock points to when "Peace and Security" is declared. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back to the doomsday clock....  This article is very depressingly true, and sums up all the ills of this horrible system:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-19/the-great-divide-is-getting-wider/8540776

 

"Here's what we are facing right now. The world economy is stagnating. Recovery since the 2008 global financial crisis has been sluggish and unconvincing.

The gap between the wealthiest and poorest is widening and the poorest among us are growing in number. Entire industries are disappearing, jobs are gone and will not be coming back.

Of those jobs that still exist, those in the know say at least half will be replaced by robots. Not even neurosurgeons are safe.

Full-time work is vanishing, replaced with precarious part-time labour.

Retirement age is being pushed back and government pensions are shrinking.

Average wages have flatlined, yet corporate bosses pay themselves obscene amounts.

Our children will be poorer than us. They won't be able to live in our prohibitively expensive cities.

Social mobility is waning. A good education is no guarantee of a prosperous future.

If you're born rich you will stay rich and probably get richer, otherwise good luck.

Don't look to our politicians for answers. Politics globally is toxic. Democracy is in retreat and populism that exploits our worst instincts and feeds on fear is on the rise.

Should I go on?

Ok. The planet is getting hotter, the seas are rising and the president of the world's most powerful nation disavows climate science and has said in the past that climate change is a fake Chinese plot to steal American jobs.

The world is stockpiling nuclear weapons. North Korea is developing a missile system that could deliver a nuclear strike to Australia.

China is expanding its military and is locked in territorial disputes that has the region on a hair trigger. Generals in Washington and Beijing are war-gaming worst case scenarios.

I haven't even mentioned the Islamic State group and global terrorism.

 

It is for all of these reasons and more that some of the world's greatest minds, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, has moved the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight."

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