Hasty Ruminations

Speaking out, to remove all doubt. http://hastyruminations.blogspot.com

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Friday, January 19, 2007

The Doomsday Clock


The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists started their Doomsday Clock in 1947. It shows how close the world is to nuclear destruction. Sort of.

It started at 7 minutes to midnight in 1947. Now, amidst much fanfare, they just moved the minute hand to five minutes to midnight. During Russia’s development of their nuclear weapons in the 1950’s, it sat at two minutes to midnight. In 1991, it moved back to 17 minutes to midnight when the superpowers agreed on nuke reductions.

Two minutes = sixty years. Uh-huh.

These guys are not exactly tuned in. First of all, half of their audience does not know how to move the hands of a clock; they have always been digital. Why are they using a prop from Back to the Future?

Second, they are now including global warming, tsunamis, and petty dictators in their nuclear worry stew. If I am going to worry about the flesh melting off my bones, I need to focus on The Bomb.

Third is that klunky name. How do we address a letter to them: Dear Mr. Bulletin?!

Steven Hawking spoke at their last meeting, using his Speak-O-Machine. You know, the guy who got black holes all wrong. He said so.

These guys are too shrill, and too flamboyant. I think it would be good to move the Doomsday Clock to midnight, thus blowing up the members of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and allowing the rest of us some … rest.


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