Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Follow-Up on the Doomsday Clock

In case you missed it, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the clock today from 7 minutes to midnight to 5. Five is where the clock started in 1947. The closest it has ever been is 2 minutes to midnight in 1953.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Didn't get it the first Doomsday clock was posted.

So the clock has been set back 2 minutes. At 7 minutes to midnight it became 5 minutes to midnight. Oops no, that's setting the clock ahead. So we gain two minutes. How's that supposed to bring change to the atomic threat? Or to doomsday. Just to get there faster?

I really majorly don't get it, right?

W.T.

Larry Keiler said...

The Doomsday Clock was established in 1947 by a group of atomic scientists based in Chicago. The clock is meant to symbolize or monitor how close the earth is to nuclear destruction. (It seems now they've expanded this somewhat to include environmental destruction.)In 1947 they set the clock at 5 minutes to midnight.

So the clock represents the state of nuclear armaments throughout the world. It was set at 2 minutes to midnight at the height of the Cold War. After the Cold War it was moved back. Whenever these scientists feel that there has been a significant change in the international arena, they move the clock (forwards or backwards). This time they moved it ahead. It means they think we're moving closer to destroying ourselves if we're not careful.

The Doomsday clock isn't the only thing they do. They study all things related to nuclear weapons, produce a magazine, a website, analysis, reports on where the nukes are, how many, what state they're in, reports on arms limitation treaties, all that kind of stuff. They're the nuclear watchdogs, and when they bark, it's a warning for us somewhat negligent owners of the planet.

They're not just a bunch of leftist wingnuts. Legit nuclear scientists, physicists. If they can get Stephen Hawking to be their spokesperson, they've definitely got juice.

Dove Tale Writers said...

So it is not regular time they are changing? Which was my first impression.

It is a symbolic, or representative clock. Midnight stands for total environmental destruction, the end, on account of nuclear disaster and climate change?

I wondered about all those top notch scientists involved, 'specially Stephen Hawkins.

The clock is ticking. The scientists are sending a warning that way. But how many people can be alerted that way? If it weren't for you, I still wouldn't know about the doomsday clock. How many people are there like me, unaware of those signs. Is it in the curriculem? Do kids learn about it in school?

And how do news media deal with that? A lot of false representation in the news. A lot of hype and scaremongering, not to forget sentimentality, and half truths...

W.T.

Larry Keiler said...

I've known about the Doomsday Clock since I was a teenager. I don't remember how I heard about it. Probably from the news some time when they changed it...I doubt that it is in the school curriculum. But I'm sure the news media follow it. I did hear a report on the Mothercorp news on the 17th, the day they changed it. It was a straightforward factual announcement of the change, what the clock represents, and a short audio clip of Stephen Hawking.

I don't know about why the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and their Doomsday Clock got started. It would be easy enough to find out. But my guess is that it was started by those same scientists that worked on the Manhattan Project, the original atomic bombs. Many of them were opposed, like Einstein, to the use of those bombs (even tho they helped create them). After Hiroshima, they had a much better idea of the monster they had created.

Anonymous said...

I admit that I do not watch enough news,(I only can get CKCO. I dislike their representation.)I am not very patient reading newspapers.

I had more clue about the Manhattan Project. At least heard about that and had a notion.

I guess what I was wondering about is the fact that such things don't seem to hit the general news, too much.

Where do you find the Mothercorp news?

I guess my notion is that there are things that should be part of the general awareness. Plain news. Without the distractions I mentioned before, so they can effectively help point to another direction to be taken.

I guess me not working intensively on sorting out all that stuff, always occupied other ways, is no help.

wild thing

X said...

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that many of us recognize - I grew up with it. I think the scientists are hoping to inspire the same effect that it had 30-40 years ago - it was a BIG symbol and watched/waited for as the New Year drew around. I hope a new generation learns to look toward it as a general indicator. I remember feeling great relief when the clock moved back..... and great trepidation when it went forward. Perhaps the most important thing was it reminded us how fragile the earth is and life. We need to protect it. The symbol also helped us to think in global terms. We're all in this together.

Larry Keiler said...

Larry sez: Mothercorp is his Yoni School code word for CBC.

Anonymous said...

Ah, maybe never getting the CBC on my radio, bad place for reception, and that's a repeat from where I lived before in the london area, may have to do with my ignorance about the subject. 40 years? My goodness.

Now that didn't stop my awareness of how fragile the earth is. Just didn't know about that clock.

I was walking with Simon in the soft, fluffy snow. Big flakes coming down, swirly fashion. I was thinking about the subject we are on here. And I thought, maybe doomsday is not a good term to inspire environmental awareness. Doomsday has no hope in it. It sounds like tetering on the edge of the abyss. Maybe we are. But is that fear factor maybe causing apathy among youth rather than resolve? I remember that during the cold war, many young people were so discouraged, they didn't want to try anymore. What's the use, we are doomed anyway.

I am often sceptical about co-op living. But I learned that all over a good thing is going on. The involvement of youth. They are now invited to sit on the board, and help plan. They are now invited to be part of decision making. They are offered courses to learn about strategies and so, within the co-ops. In a world daily bombarded with images of poverty, war, hunger and violence, effords are now made to involve kids in such a way that they can be enthusiastic and feel that they can help make a difference. It's a new approach that will be more developed in 2007. The feedback of youth allready involved is happy and positive.

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