Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward







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Doomsday Clock is now 100 seconds from midnight

Live Science reports:

Humanity’s headlong dash toward our own destruction is marked in minutes and seconds in the ticking of the hypothetical Doomsday Clock. How close we are to destroying ourselves registers in the nearness of the clock’s hands to midnight — the hour of absolute extinction.

In 2019, the clock’s “timekeepers” with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) fixed the hands at 2 minutes to midnight; that time, set in 2018, is the closest the clock’s hands have come to doomsday since 1953, when the U.S. and the Soviet Union detonated the first hydrogen bombs.

And now the fictional clock ticks forward; its hands rest at 100 seconds to midnight, BAS President and CEO Rachel Bronson announced today (Jan. 23) in Washington, D.C. This new time indicates that humanity has entered “into a realm of a two-minute warning,” in which every precious second will count if we want to forestall global catastrophe, Bronson said.

“Danger is high, and the margin for error is low,” she said.

When the Doomsday Clock was introduced in 1947, the primary threat to humanity was nuclear weapons. That threat still exists today, but it has company: catastrophic climate change and disruptive technologies are also considered by BAS in their assessment of whether humanity is safer or more at risk than we were the year before.

In 2019, nuclear and climate conditions continued to deteriorate, and decisions by global leaders not only failed to reduce the damage — they made dangerous situations worse. [Continue reading…]

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