It's later than you think
January 23, 2020 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Today, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock past the two-minutes-to-midnight mark for the first time in its 73-year history. It is now 100 seconds to midnight. Previously on the Blue: 2016: A few seconds closer to Midnight? 2015: Do you know the time? 2007: I swear it was 7 just a couple of minutes ago...
posted by non canadian guy (37 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
THIS IS FINE.
posted by Fizz at 3:42 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


This is the best ever use of previouslies.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:45 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


It's the only way to be sure.
posted by Chuffy at 4:15 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Nobody ever wants to be in the preamble to their post apocalypse fantasies, why the hell do I have to do it?
posted by The Power Nap at 4:25 PM on January 23 [7 favorites]


In other news: Iron Maiden's set-list shorter.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:31 PM on January 23 [16 favorites]


Slate had a slatey article on this just today. (Not to endorse, but to cross-reference)
posted by sjswitzer at 5:18 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty scared.
posted by ipsative at 6:11 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Lately, I rise each morning and wake up my laptop with a mild sense of dread. Not joking.
posted by SoberHighland at 6:18 PM on January 23 [14 favorites]


I remember in the 80s when 2 minutes to midnight felt like incomprehensible madness; now that seems like a warm, hazy memory.

To the rest of the non-human planet, I'm sorry we did this.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 6:28 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


Robotic spacecraft with lasers✔️
Ocean soup✔️
Winters feel different✔️
Dissociative device charging✔️
Planet-wide entropy.✔️
The rich in Orbit™️
posted by clavdivs at 6:45 PM on January 23 [10 favorites]


♬ Enjoy Yourself ♪
posted by plantbot at 6:49 PM on January 23 [7 favorites]


//In other news: Iron Maiden's set-list shorter.//

I was thinking it's time for them to revisit that subject matter in a new song.
posted by COD at 6:55 PM on January 23


I'm Terry and I'm going to enjoy myself first...
posted by pompomtom at 6:57 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Help me out here plantbot, because I instinctually got the reference, but now I'm wracking my brain trying to place it exactly. Why is that song specifically a Nuke Song for me, right up there with the 'duck and cover' jingle and Vera Lynn's We'll Meet Again, Pete Seeger's Guantanamera, etc.?
posted by bartleby at 7:23 PM on January 23


🎶 some time in the next 10,000 years, a comet's gonna wipe out all trace of Man / I'm banking on it coming before my end-of-year exams 🎶
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:50 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Don’t worry. With the seconds thing it’s turning into Zeno’s Doomsday Clock.
posted by freecellwizard at 7:56 PM on January 23 [20 favorites]


bartleby

"Enjoy Yourself", from The Specials' second album, which also has 'Man At C&A' which is very much about nukes.
posted by pompomtom at 8:00 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


(And it's almost certainly Jerry, not Terry, but typiininginsdnfig....)
posted by pompomtom at 8:00 PM on January 23


There's been an ongoing argument at my house as to whether they would move the clock closer to midnight. I was right but wrong because I assumed they would stick to 30-second increments and told my partner it'd be 90 seconds, not 100.

We watched it live this morning and it was hard to explain to our three year old, but I felt vindicated for being so pessimistic.

Aside from all the nuclear threat and climate emergency doom, framing it as information warfare really resonated with me. I hope that terminology gains traction.

I love angry Jerry Brown, but I really liked Ban Ki-moon's call for multilateralism. That's the only way anything can improve. I watched the stream of the forum at Georgetown this afternoon and thought the exchange between Mary Robinson (reminding people to work for hope) and Brown (citing Camus' saying hope was the most dangerous thing let out of Pandora's box and that we need faith) at the end was reassuring that we have to keep working towards change.
posted by kendrak at 8:07 PM on January 23


Take one down, pass it around,
Ninety-nine seconds of time on the clock!
posted by Revvy at 9:32 PM on January 23 [10 favorites]


SoberHighland: “Lately, I rise each morning and wake up my laptop with a mild sense of dread. Not joking.”
Similar to the feeling I used to get whenever they activated the Emergency Broadcast System, every time the Internet goes out I wonder, "Is this it?"
posted by ob1quixote at 10:13 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Is this reality? Yeah, no shit. Where have you been?

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists should have just preemptively awarded Trump the doomsday clock like the Nobel committee awarded Obama the Peace prize.
posted by netowl at 11:11 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


People have now been born, lived their entire lives, and died of old age, all during these alleged last few minutes of the world.
posted by Segundus at 12:18 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


We watched it live this morning and it was hard to explain to our three year old


"Mommy and Daddy are going to die and you are too and you will never get to grow up or eat ice cream or play outside again" what's so hard about that?
posted by thelonius at 3:24 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


"Mommy and Daddy are going to die and you are too and you will never get to grow up or eat ice cream or play outside again" what's so hard about that?

Just show them the beginning of Terminator 2.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:51 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Maybe they should update it to a progress bar.

Also, this may be splitting hairs to some, but I think this has less to do with nukes and more to do with climate emergency
posted by Query at 4:30 AM on January 24 [7 favorites]


I think the climate emergency is in some ways a bigger factor than the nukes, but the underlying issue is the increasing instability around the world which exacerbates the problems and makes any solution much harder to achieve.
posted by kendrak at 5:50 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]



People have now been born, lived their entire lives, and died of old age, all during these alleged last few minutes of the world.


do you understand that they are not literally saying there are two minutes left or is this some kind of super dry snark that i am missing
posted by lazaruslong at 5:52 AM on January 24 [9 favorites]


As I understand it, climate emergency will make the earth far less habitable but not destroy it outright. But "far less habitable" means a lot of people die and those institutions that remain continue with far fewer resources and struggle over them more frequently and more bloodily. And then the nuclear war starts.
posted by jackbishop at 6:06 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


As I understand it, climate emergency will make the earth far less habitable but not destroy it outright.

Love your optimism.
posted by pompomtom at 8:28 AM on January 24


When the climate starts to really slip, believe me, the nukes will become a pressing issue.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:46 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


reminding people to work for hope

From an interview I read not long ago:

What gives you hope for the future?

"I am not a big fan of the word hope, I am a big fan of the word determination. Being determined is a moral position, when you depend on the word hope you are lazy." - Ece Temelkuran
posted by Chuffy at 10:07 AM on January 24


If you read the article, they explain the Doomsday Clock metaphor and why they moved it to 100 seconds. It's not a very long article.
posted by biogeo at 10:07 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I am personally far less concerned with nuclear war than I am of nuclear power plants. Climate change is going to result in much more dangerous situations regarding plants, especially on the coasts, than the threat of us bombing each other into oblivion. I know, that's just, like, my opinion man.
posted by Chuffy at 10:13 AM on January 24


Love your optimism.

Well, I mean some pretty terrible things by "far less habitable" and only in the most technical sense would distinguish it from "uninhabitable". Humans have lived short-to-medium term in space stations. Biological life, even multicellular life, persists unprotected in unimaginably harsh environments. Pretty much nothing we do short of nuclear war could completely scrub the world of life, and if humans were minded to do so, it would be quite possible to build a self-contained environment that could maintain a small population of humans indefinitely even as the world outside deteriorated (basically, take any non-terraforming-intensive idea people have had for colonizing Mars or the Moon or whatever, and subtract out the really, really difficult parts like not having any oxygen in the atmosphere).

But we're not going to go from a world of over 7,000,000,000 people to a few privileged group of 1,000 or so in hermetically sealed bubbles without those 7 billion fighting over the ever-shrinking islands of viable habitation. We're much more likely to destroy each other in the process of deciding who gets to survive than fail to survive due to inability.
posted by jackbishop at 11:17 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Look just a little nuclear winter to offset the global greenhouse effect and the oil companies can keep selling product to the underground mega-cities. Given that no enclosed environment can be self-sustaining given the physics of entropy it will be the only way. I mean solar just isn't reliable under a curtain of particulates blocking the sky. So two minutes until all those mineral rights become hot real estate.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 8:12 PM on January 24


A phrase from the report that I shall definitely remember, concerning climate emergency and cyber disinformation: this is the "new abnormal".
posted by MinPin at 2:25 PM on January 26


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