Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The high pitched whine of doom

I've heard of the "Doomsday Clock", but I thought it was some sort of allegory -- not an actual clock. Anyway, it's 5 to midnight -- and we're all pretty close to being fucked. The full story from Reuters is below.

In the meantime, Naomi Campbell was sentenced to five days of community service by a New York city criminal court after she pleaded guilty to hitting her maid with a cell phone over a pair of missing jeans.

In relative personal news, I changed my cellphone ringtone to a painfully high pitched noise to annoy teenagers, but have only succeeded in causing a minor ringing in my own ears (teenagers=2, minardi=0).

Finally, Koda the polar bear cub from the Pittsburgh Zoo is ready to go back in front of visitors today after having a root canal. (the photo above is of Cub Koda -- who is unrelated)

[+/-] Click here to expand

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The scientists who mind the Doomsday Clock on Wednesday moved it two minutes closer to midnight -- symbolizing the annihilation of civilization -- adding the perils of global warming for the first time to acute nuclear threats.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 to warn the world of the dangers of nuclear weapons, advanced the clock to five minutes until midnight. It was the first adjustment of the clock since 2002.

"We stand at the brink of a second nuclear age," the group said in a statement.

They pointed to North Korea's first test of a nuclear weapon last year, Iran's nuclear ambitions, U.S. flirtation with "bunker buster" nuclear bombs, the continued presence of 26,000 nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia and inadequate security for nuclear materials.

But the scientists also said the destruction of human habitats wreaked by climate change brought on by human activities is a growing danger to humankind.

"Global warming poses a dire threat to human civilization that is second only to nuclear weapons," they said.

The announcement was made in news conferences held in London and Washington.

"We foresee great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change," famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge, a member of the bulletin's board of sponsors, told reporters in London.

In 2002, the bulletin's scientists moved the clock two minutes forward in 2002, to seven minutes until midnight following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The bulletin was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had worked on developing the first nuclear bomb, and it is now overseen by some of the world's most prominent scientists.

The bulletin created the clock in 1947, two years after the United States ushered in the nuclear age by dropping atomic bombs on two Japanese cities at the end of World War Two, to symbolize the urgent nuclear dangers confronting the world.

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