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3 Minutes To Midnight

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3 Minutes To Midnight

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that represents the likelihood of a human-made global catastrophe, in the opinion of the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.[1] Maintained since 1947, the clock is a metaphor for threats to humanity from unchecked scientific and technological advances. A hypothetical global catastrophe is represented by midnight on the clock, with the Bulletin's opinion on how close the world is to one represented by a certain number of minutes or seconds to midnight, assessed in January of each year. The main factors influencing the clock are nuclear risk and climate change.[2] The Bulletin's Science and Security Board monitors new developments in the life sciences and technology that could inflict irrevocable harm to humanity.[3]

The clock's original setting in 1947 was seven minutes to midnight. It has since been set backward eight times and forward 17 times for a total of 25. The farthest time from midnight was 17 minutes in 1991, and the nearest is 90 seconds, set on January 24, 2023.

The clock was moved to two and a half minutes in 2017, then forward to two minutes to midnight in January 2018, and left unchanged in 2019.[4] In January 2020, it was moved forward to 100 seconds (1 minute, 40 seconds) before midnight.[5] The clock's setting was left unchanged in 2021 and 2022. In January 2023, it was moved forward to 90 seconds (1 minute, 30 seconds) before midnight.[6] Since 2010, the clock has been moved forward four minutes and thirty seconds, and has changed by five minutes and thirty seconds since 1947.

The 5th Doomsday Clock Symposium[10] was held on November 14, 2013, in Washington, D.C.; it was a day-long event that was open to the public and featured panelists discussing various issues on the topic "Communicating Catastrophe". There was also an evening event at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in conjunction with the Hirshhorn's current exhibit, "Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950".[13] The panel discussions, held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, were streamed live from the Bulletin's website and can still be viewed there.[14] Reflecting international events dangerous to humankind, the Clock has been adjusted 25 times since its inception in 1947, when it was set to "seven minutes to midnight".[15]

"Midnight" has a deeper meaning besides the constant threat of war. There are various elements taken into consideration when the scientists from The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists decide what Midnight and "global catastrophe" really mean in a particular year. They might include "politics, energy, weapons, diplomacy, and climate science";[16] potential sources of threat include nuclear threats, climate change, bioterrorism, and artificial intelligence.[17] Members of the board judge Midnight by discussing how close they think humanity is to the end of civilization. In 1947, at the beginning of the Cold War, the Clock was started at seven minutes to midnight.[11]

Before January 2020, the two tied-for-lowest points for the Doomsday Clock were in 1953 (when the Clock was set to two minutes until midnight, after the U.S. and the Soviet Union began testing hydrogen bombs) and in 2018, following the failure of world leaders to address tensions relating to nuclear weapons and climate change issues. In other years, the Clock's time has fluctuated from 17 minutes in 1991 to 2 minutes 30 seconds in 2017.[11][18] Discussing the change to .mw-parser-output .sfrac.tion,.mw-parser-output .sfrac .tiondisplay:inline-block;vertical-align:-0.5em;font-size:85%; .sfrac .num,.mw-parser-output .sfrac .dendisplay:block;line-height:1em;margin:0 .sfrac .denborder-top:1px .sr-onlyborder:0;clip:rect(0,0,0,0);height:1px;margin:-1px;overflow:hidden;padding:0;position:absolute;width:1px2+1/2 minutes in 2017, the first use of a fraction in the Clock's history, Lawrence Krauss, one of the scientists from the Bulletin, warned that political leaders must make decisions based on facts, and those facts "must be taken into account if the future of humanity is to be preserved."[16] In an announcement from the Bulletin about the status of the Clock, they went as far to call for action from "wise" public officials and "wise" citizens to make an attempt to steer human life away from catastrophe while humans still can.[11]

On January 24, 2018, scientists moved the clock to two minutes to midnight, based on threats greatest in the nuclear realm. The scientists said, of recent moves by North Korea under Kim Jong-un and the administration of Donald Trump in the U.S.: "Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions by both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation".[18]

On January 23, 2020, the Clock was moved to 100 seconds (1 minute, 40 seconds) before midnight. The Bulletin's executive chairman, Jerry Brown, said "the dangerous rivalry and hostility among the superpowers increases the likelihood of nuclear blunder... Climate change just compounds the crisis".[5] The "100 seconds to midnight" setting remained unchanged in 2021 and 2022.

On January 24, 2023, the Clock was moved to 90 seconds (1 minute, 30 seconds) before midnight, meaning that the Clock's current setting is the closest it has ever been to midnight since its inception in 1947. This adjustment was largely attributed to the risk of nuclear escalation that arose from the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Other reasons that were cited included climate change, biological threats such as COVID-19, and risks associated with disinformation and disruptive technologies.[6]

Cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker harshly criticized the Doomsday Clock as a political stunt, pointing to the words of its founder that its purpose was "to preserve civilization by scaring men into rationality." He stated that it is inconsistent and not based on any objective indicators of security, using as an example its being farther from midnight in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis than in the "far calmer 2007". He argued it was another example of humanity's tendency toward historical pessimism, and compared it to other predictions of self-destruction that went unfulfilled.[23]

"Three minutes [to midnight] is too close. Far too close," the organization said in a statement. "We, the members of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, want to be clear about our decision not to move the hands of the Doomsday Clock in 2016: That decision is not good news, but an expression of dismay that world leaders continue to fail to focus their efforts and the world's attention on reducing the extreme danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change."

When the clock started running, it was set at seven minutes to midnight. The closest the Doomdsay Clock got to midnight was in 1953, when the U.S. and the Soviet Union both tested hydrogen bombs. That year, the clock was set at two minutes to midnight.

Over the years, the clock has been moved forward and backward to reflect changes and improvements in the world's ability to prevent nuclear proliferation and work to mitigate climate change. For example, in 1960, the clock was moved back to seven minutes to midnight, thanks in large part to new cooperation between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

Purpose: To explore how people with end stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and their family members describe living in the face of impending death.Methods: A narrative inquiry was undertaken using a social constructionist perspective. Data were collected in 2017-18 in two in-depth interviews, lasting 90 to 120 minutes approximately 3-4 months apart, with a telephone follow-up 2-3 months later. Thematic analysis was conducted including analysis within and across participants.Results: Sixteen people with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and seven family members participated. For both people with the disease and family members, six key themes/storylines emerged including missing life, being vigilant, hope and realism, avoiding death talk, the scary dying process, and need to prepare.Conclusion: This study highlighted six key storylines about death and dying with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for people with the illness and their family members. The participants with the illness and their family members held similar perceptions about end of life. More supports are needed for people with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and their family members in living with their illness while ensuring that they experience a "good death."

In the aftermath of World War II and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists established the Doomsday Clock, meant to symbolize the time we have left until global nuclear annihilation strikes at midnight [1]. As of 2018, we have reached two minutes until midnight, the closest we have ever gotten since 1953 when the United States detonated its first hydrogen bomb [1].

As we move closer to midnight on the Doomsday Clock, the leaders of the 10 nuclear nations, which include at least six group of 20 (G20) nations where NTDs are surprisingly widespread [6], must recognize that funding and scientific activities currently focused on nuclear weapons could be redirected towards health expenditures. In so doing, the 10 nations would help to advance Sustainable Development Goals. As in 2010, I once again argue that neglected diseases are wise investments, both in the areas of implementation science and R&D. 153554b96e


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