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Power Science

The Doomsday Clock Is Moved Closer To Midnight 313

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-up-for-gained-time dept.
Harperdog writes "The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock from 6 minutes to midnight to 5 minutes to midnight. The Board deliberated on the decision and came to the conclusion based on a variety of events: failure on climate policy, Fukushima, nuclear proliferation, etc. This article is a good explanation of the policy decision. Lawrence Krauss said, 'As we see it, the major challenge at the heart of humanity's survival in the 21st century is how to meet energy needs for economic growth in developing and industrial countries without further damaging the climate, exposing people to loss of health and community, and without risking further spread of nuclear weapons, and in fact setting the stage for global reductions.'"
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The Doomsday Clock Is Moved Closer To Midnight

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  • Re:Eventually (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chuq (8564) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @06:29PM (#38656970) Homepage Journal

    You are aware that sometimes the clock moves AWAY from midnight?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Doomsday_Clock_graph.svg [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Zeno (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:18PM (#38657606)

    Do you really think that scientists only have a political agenda and no advancements have been done by them? Because that would be hilarious!

    You realize that science is the definition of learning about the truth of this world, and that most of the advancements known to man have been done by science (and so by entrepreneours, industrial engineers, theoretical physicists, and many others), right? A scientists is somebody who does science.

    If a few of them *do* have a political agenda and don't do "real science", or do non-science on the side, then please don't assume that science is about that, and that all scientists do that. Science has given us a lot of knowledge about this world, and I think it is INSULTING to say that "scientists only have a political agenda".
    Well, *maybe* the scientists referenced in this summary do (or maybe not, I don't know), but please do not generalize.

  • Re:Eventually (Score:5, Informative)

    by djmurdoch (306849) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:53PM (#38657982)

    Re Fukushima: If you read the statement you'd see that they find the problem arising from Fukushima is that it caused a reduction in the amount of nuclear power being used, leading to increased reliance on burning fossil fuels.

    They'd like safer reactor designs, so more people use nuclear power.

    So what's that about integrity? You complain about them, without reading what they wrote?

  • Re:Zeno (Score:5, Informative)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:45PM (#38658470)
    You need to stop getting your 'science' from B movies. The reason that the Oxygen Catastrophe of the Siderian was able to change the atmosphere and the biosphere was that the cyanobacteria (over thousands of years) kept producing the gas as a product of their metabolism continuously and unopposed. The methane in ice/tundra is ultimately a mostly static value. Even if all of it were released instantly a) it wouldn't account for more than a fraction of a percent of the total atmosphere b) it would be subject to reabsorbtion by all the active environmental forces c) it would not increase further at any higher rate than is already established for lifeforms and geothermal activity that produce methane and d) there is no chance that it would catalyze some kind of methane-based/metabolizing/adapted lifeform because there would not be enough of it. (Among many other reasons.)

    Holy shit people, The Day After Tomorrow is not a documentary, and shame on all the deluded twits modding you up.
  • Re:Zeno (Score:4, Informative)

    by SETIGuy (33768) * on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @10:16PM (#38659272) Homepage

    Depends how we go. Triggering an ice age could leave some descendants of the great apes around, but as a family the great apes have been a pretty dismal failure with only 7 species in 4 genera. I'd be pretty surprised if any survive. Triggering excessive heating might even be worse for large animals. Nuclear exchange followed by nuclear winter would probably get rid of large species. I would guess your best bet is a small burrowing omnivore. Temperatures underground might be moderated with the possibility of better access to fresh water. Once the climate stabilizes for a while we've got half a billion years of viability left in the planet, so something we would consider intelligent might evolve.

    Of course if we trigger a runaway greenhouse, the point is moot. If there are bacteria in mantle rocks or deep crust, they might survive for a while. Once the water is baked out of the mantle and plate tectonics stops, that's all she wrote.

    People who like humans might consider either one to be sad.

  • Re:Zeno (Score:4, Informative)

    by rainer_d (115765) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @04:35AM (#38661178) Homepage
    Consensus is that DPRK/Iran may (!) have enough material to build a single nuclear bomb (if at all) in the near future.
    AFAIK, neither nation has ICBMs - as such, the device would have to be used as in a conventional bombing attack: delivered and brought to explosion on-site.

    It would be very effective in killing as many people as possible in one swoop - but ultimately lead to an even more brutal strike-back.

    In a way, this is some sort of MAD.
    KJU and MA know this - they have to appear just crazy enough to let us think they could do it - but without actually painting themselves into a corner in such a way that they have no other option.
    It's much more complicated and much more dangerous than the game US and USSR used to play. It's a bit like the Cuban Missile crisis - but performed twice a year...

    But moving the Doomsday clock one minute is OK IMO. That DPRK/Iran theater is just a distraction from the economic problems we have.

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth

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