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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Don't Panic": Doomsday Clock Advances

'Doomsday Clock' closes in on midnight

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists decided to move the minute hand of its "Doomsday Clock" forward two minutes, from seven minutes to midnight to five minutes to midnight.

In a press conference held simultaneously in London and New York City, renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking recalled the founding of the periodical by scientists who contributed to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer and Hans Bethe.

"As we stand on the brink of a second nuclear age," Hawking said, "scientists have a special responsibility once again to inform society of the peril humanity faces."

In making the decision to advance the minute hand, the magazine's board called the current situation, the "most perilous since Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Kennette Bennedict, executive director of the Bulletin said the doomsday clock, unveiled in 1945 and first changed in 1947 has come to symbolize trends in the world's vulnerability to catastrophe.

Current nuclear worries touched on by the speakers included the ambitions of North Korea and Iran, the nuclear rivalry between Pakistan and India, new initiatives to expand nuclear power plants around the world and the lack of progress toward realizing the goals of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The board also added climate change to their list of doomsday concerns, because "it could cause irremediable harm to the habitat humanity needs for survival."

via LA Monitor


El Gaffney said...

no shit! did you see that mushroom cloud on 24!?! seriously though, as The Guardian put it - "more than a gimmick, it's a reminder that the world is always only minutes away from disaster." so where's the "Don't Panic" title come from?

AKI SYSTEMS 2600 said...

i think Lachlan started this title thread of 'Don't Panic" rants detailing our heightened state of fear, tension and paranoia - specifically around the bird flu pandemic. I've been continuing the thought with features about "fear premium", bird flu pandemic as entertainment, ecological debt, "An Inconvenient Truth", Doomsday Clock, and some of the unique market opportunities presented by the pending amageddon (such as hurricane betting).

Check out this site I found today - a well-organized directory of extinction-level events and end-of-times theory.