Thursday, December 3, 2015
HOW SAFE IS THE WORLD TODAY?
The Doomsday Clock is a warning guide adjusted by the board and advisors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (this is a published magazine, not a scientific organization--members have included Albert Einstein, Edward Teller, Robert Oppenheimer, Carl Sagan, Werner von Braun, Al Gore, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke) to show how far away Humanity is to possible global catastrophe, or, Doomsday. They use a 24-hour clock and originally set the time to 7 minutes to Midnight, as shown here by the original clock still kept at the University of Chicago. The low was reached in 1953 when both the U.S. and the Soviet Union exploded Hydrogen Bombs, and should have been lowered even further when in 1961 the Soviet Union exploded the Tsar Bomba, more than 3000 times the yield of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb.
Earlier this year the clock was again re-set to 3 minutes, meaning we are again as close to Doomsday as any point in our history. Frankly, I can't get too excited about the current danger, for the reasons they cited were lack of global political action to address global climate change, modernization of atomic weapons and the problem of nuclear wastes. That, compared to the willy-nilly testing of H-Bombs, the threat of First Strike and the imminence of a nuclear winter? No comparison. Al Gore must have personally cajoled the process. We are today as safe as we've been since the end of the Cold War almost a quarter century ago, when the clock in 1991 was adjusted upwards 7 minutes to 17 minutes to Midnight, the furthest away ever from Doomsday. You would think this moment in time would have been celebrated in the media, but I could not find even one Google visual showing this glorious event, so I had to take my own photo.
Note that terrorists are not even in the discussion towards bringing an end to our civilization. Is that a surprise? Hardly. A nuclear war would kill billions. Over the past decade, terrorists have been annually responsible for 20,000 deaths. It would take half a century to get up to a million killed. Notwithstanding, I'll tomorrow or on Saturday, focus on terrorism, and, in particular, suggest that ISIS has peaked and will over the next couple of years become as important as Al-Queda or the Taliban, still threats, but a few squads of Navy Seals and some drones can handle them. This is not to say, however, that all is well, for there are tens of millions in the Middle East severely impacted by those recent wars. Then there is now the growing issue of locally-born Muslim terrorists who get radicalized. This will persist for another generation or two.