The Random Yak

Filed under: News Yaks — Random Yak @ 9:17 am on January 17, 2007

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (apparently a group as well as a newsletter) moved its Doomsday Clock forward today.

The clock originated as part of a bulletin established in 1945 by a group of scientists “concerned by the possibility of nuclear war.” Originally set at 11:53 (seven minutes to midnight), the clock has apparently moved 18 times since 1947 (though from what I can tell, we’ve never been more thanseventeen minutes from total disaster). The clock reached 11:58 following the U.S. test of a hydrogen bomb in 1953. As most of us are still around, the clock seems to havestopped (maybe they should replace it with one of those reliableatomic clocks…).

Nobody has ever been able to explain to me why we need a full clock if we’re constantly hovering around midnight,whether moving the hands to midnight would actually result in global thermonuclear war, and if anyone would bother to move the hands to midnight in the event we learned someone had launched a strike. (Then again, it’s these sorts of questions that get me strange looks at cocktail parties…)

But those concepts – and the associated questions – pale besidethe scientists’ announcement that henceforth the clock will not only measure nuclear threats. Because, you see, nuclear war is no longer the only global force threateningto extinguishmankind.

From now on, the clock also measures threats posed by climate change.

That’s right: the Doomsday Clock is measuring global warming.

Now, from my perspective this is a good sign. If we can’t appropriately measure the global threats to mankind without adding categories of potential harm, it means the existing one hasceased to be a viable enough threatto sustain our interest (or to provoke sufficient panic). In other words: we’ve come a long way sincethe days when nuclear holocaust represented a primary source of concern. And while I’m not necessarily sure that certain parties currently attempting to acquire nuclear weapons couldn’t re-elevate the threat to a level even higher than the days of the cold war, I’m pleased to see the scientists looking for another, equally serious threat to mankind.

And I’m amused to see what passes for equivalence in their little corner of the warming globe.

Trackposted to Rightwing Guy, Blue Star Chronicles, stikNstein… has no mercy, and basil’s blog, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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1 Comment

  1. Wednesday…

    basil’s blog: Headline News Goomba News Network: Photo of the Day Guns’n'butter: Student dismayed to find that supposed communist leader is actually a fascist IMAO: No, His Name Isn’t the Problem Red States USA: The Stripper Has No Clothes……

    Trackback by Conservative Cat — January 17, 2007 @ 11:28 pm

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