Friday, January 24, 2020

The Doomsday Clock is at 100 seconds to midnight, least remaining time ever — so far

I interrupt my continuing coverage of the impeachment story arc of "The Worst Wing" for the latest on the Doomsday Clock, which The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved yesterday to 100 seconds to midnight, the least remaining time ever, so far.

The news has made the biggest splash among mainstream sources in Australia, where they are seeing the catastrophic effects of climate change first hand as wildfires are a major environmental threat.  I begin with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC Australia), which uploaded Doomsday Clock moves closest to midnight in its 73-year history this morning in the U.S.

Australia's ongoing bushfire crisis is driving up global carbon dioxide levels according to a UK climate report.

Carbon dioxide is a key measuring stick in scientific projections of global warming.

And the outlook doesn't look good, with a panel of world scientists and leaders saying we're closer than ever to doomsday.

Randolph Nogel reports.
The Australian wildfires are projected to contribute one-fifth of the increase in carbon dioxide this year?  Wow!  That's an example of a positive feedback loop and those usually lead to catastrophes.

ABC Australia's clip served well as a reaction to this year's announcement. uploaded Doomsday Clock: Apocalypse fears over nuclear weapons and climate change yesterday, summarizing the history of the Doomsday Clock and placing the recent movement of the hands of the clock in context.

The Doomsday Clock is now 100 seconds to midnight with scientists blaming nuclear weapons and climate change for the jump forward.
As I mentioned above, the Australians seem to jumping on this news because of the climate change dimension; I've never seen them this interested in the Doomsday Clock before.  After all, Australia is the setting of "On the Beach" and "Mad Max," both of which share the premise of Australia surviving a nuclear exchange among superpowers, although the survival is only a few years in the first and the "Mad Max" franchise has changed the nature of the apocalypse in its post-apocalyptic setting from nuclear war to, guess what, climate change.  The Australians have known for a while which is the greater immediate threat to them.

The more-or-less mainstream news outlet that devoted the most time on YouTube to the announcement was Newsy, which also played up the climate angle in Climate effects on the Doomsday Clock.

For more than a decade, scientists have considered the threats from climate change when they set the symbolic Doomsday Clock.
At least this video mentioned signs for hope, including Greta Thunberg, Time Magazine's 2019 Person of the Year, who started and is the symbolic leader of the Youth Climate Strike.  That's in marked contrast to Steven Mnuchin, whose dismissive comments about Thunberg were quoted by ABC Australia in the first video I shared.

Of course, nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war are still central concerns of the people who set the hands of the Doomsday Clock.  One of them speaks about that threat in Wait Just a Minute: Rachel Bronson on the Doomsday Clock from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The Doomsday Clock is now 100 seconds to midnight, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced this morning. In this episode, Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin, takes a minute to explain how the Doomsday Clock works, examine if nuclear weapons make the world safer, and recommend her favorite movie involving nuclear warfare.
I agree with Bronson about "Dr. Strangelove," but now I'll have to check out "Command and Control," which I don't recall ever hearing about until she mentioned it.

One presidential candidate picked up on the message, Tulsi Gabbard, who uploaded Doomsday Clock: It's time to wake up! to her YouTube channel this morning.

It's time to wake up! As president and commander-in-chief, my foremost responsibility will be to protect the lives, safety and freedom of the American people -- and that means preventing a nuclear holocaust. My personal commitment to you is that on the first day of my presidency, I will contact the leaders of China and Russia to set up a summit to end the new cold war and nuclear arms race, which will inevitably result in a nuclear holocaust.
Wow, Tulsi said a bunch of things I agree with, not least that talking about them makes one sound like a crackpot.  Heh.  Still, it means that she's a fellow Crazy Eddie.  That doesn't mean I'll vote for her. I would rather vote for Andrew Yang, another Crazy Eddie.  Even he is a ways down my list.


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    1. Just because your spam has the word clock in it doesn't make it on topic. Deleted.