It’s Almost Midnight: Doomsday Creeps Yet Closer

Posted: January 26, 2020 in Culture, Debate, Environment, Industrial Collapse
Tags: , , , , ,

The Doomsday Clock moved again a few days ago, and not toward a safer margin or remove from disaster. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published a rather long statement, of which I’ll provide only the first paragraph:

Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.

The mention of a threat multiplier gets my attention, though calling it “cyber-enabled information warfare” might be hyperbole. The term propaganda is still applicable. Along similar lines, I’ve heard it argued that we’re already in the midst of WWIII — Planet Earth vs. humans — and losing. Still, from my perspective, it’s hard to disagree with either assessment, which I’ve been blogging about for more than a decade. My tiny, insignificant voice means nothing amid the countervailing noise, of course. And even for those folks who believe as I do, there’s little meaningful action for individuals to take. We’re mere drops in the ocean compared to industrial civilization surrounding us.

In a couple previous blog posts pointing to the Doomsday Clock, I included the image of the clock face from the Bulletin. Happened to notice this time that the reset clock has a registered trademark symbol behind it. Seems unreasonable to claim trademark protection for such a ubiquitous image.

Not much else to say about this latest update to the Doomsday Clock except to observe that dire, urgent warnings that we must TAKE ACTION NOW! to forestall worst-case scenarios from manifesting have always fallen on deaf ears. The Bulletin gives itself almost no room for any more updates. We’ve been inside 5 minutes to midnight since 2015. Now that we’re inside 2 minutes, the Clock may have to start counting portions of a second.

  1. Greg Knepp says:

    About the doomsday clock: Back in the 50s’ my family lived in Silver Spring Md. – a sorry-ass suburb of Washington. My dad was in MI at the Pentagon, so we had no idea of what he actually did. We did know, however, that the Red Scare was at a fever pitch, and I dutifully participated in the regularly scheduled nuclear bomb drills at Forrest Grove Elementary School. D.C. was ground zero where atomic warfare was concerned, so our drills consisted of cowering under our desks with our heads tucked as far between our knees as possible – I guess all the better to kiss our asses good by.

    The thing is, I never bought into it; even as a kid I thought the whole thing was a bit overblown, even theatrical. Nikita Khrushchev was a fat, comical elf, and Fidel Castro, a bold, dashing hero. I never found them threatening. I didn’t figure the Russians to be suicidal. And when TV news coverage featured street scenes of Moscow, I always wondered why the Russians pictured were all chunky and warmly dressed. Were these the ‘starving hordes’ my government railed about?

    Sometime thereafter I noticed some scuttlebutt about a Doomsday Clock. I guess it was the 60s’. There was a feeling, largely unspoked (Allan Ginsberg and a few others notwithstanding) that America was already in trouble. I didn’t take any of that seriously either; after all, the hip generation would soon grow up and take over. Then everything would be peachy!

    Now I’m not so sure.

    • Brutus says:

      I came along roughly a decade after you so was largely spared the atomic angst of the 50s. No doubt a lot of the anxiety resulted from Cold War drum beating. Still, a lot of analysis has been brought to bear on WMDs, including game theory, suggesting that it’s like riding a motorcycle: the question isn’t whether one will crash but when. Now that the Bulletin has included climate change in its risk assessment, updates to the clock and the supporting evidence make sense to me, though they fall on deaf ears among the powers that be. You may not agree with the level of threat/risk we now face, but I’ve been blogging about collapse and doom for more than a decade. I’m convinced a world of hurt is coming. It’s not a question of if but rather when and how. No one quite know the answer to those prospects.

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