Feeds

DOOMSDAY still just MINUTES AWAY: As it has been since 1947

Fear climate change AND spread of civil nuclear power, say scientists

High performance access to file storage

Top boffins have refused to shift the quivering minute hand of technological Armageddon from its position at five minutes to midnight on the Doomsday Clock.

The iconic indicator of impending doom, which was created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in the wake of the WWII Manhattan Project, measures humanity's proximity to self-inflicted disaster using the clock, with midnight indicating apocalypse.

Last year, the Bulletin's Science and Security Board and its Board of Sponsors, which is thronged with Nobel laureates, moved the harbinger an extra minute closer to midnight and this year's group of luminaries has refused to let up.

The Bulletin said that although the world was making continuing strides towards nuclear peace - such as the interim agreement between the United Nations Security Council, Germany and Iran on a joint plan of action to solve international concern about the latter country's nuclear programme and ongoing reductions in weapon stock - humanity is still perilously close to catastrophe.

Overall, however, in 2013 the international community dealt with the continuing, potentially civilisation-ending threat of nuclear weapons in a business-as-usual manner, meaning that outsized nuclear arsenals remain in the United States and Russia, and the nuclear arsenals of some countries — notably India, Pakistan, and China — "appear to be growing," the group said.

"The interim Iranian deal notwithstanding, the international community has not come to grips with an unfortunate reality: The spread of civilian nuclear power around the world — which continues apace, despite the disaster at Fukushima — also spreads the potential for new nuclear weapons states."

On top of nuclear concerns, the Bulletin also cited worries about "climate inaction" and the emergence of new technological threats like cyber weapons and killer robots, also known as autonomous drones. The group called on the UN and the Security Council to work on a laundry list of issues, including nuclear weapons and power, climate change and emerging technologies.

"In the face of the continuing perils posed by nuclear weapons and greenhouse gases, as well as the potential threats from a variety of emerging technologies, particularly in the biological and cyber realms, we call on you and other leaders in the international community to create new and just ways to manage powerful and dangerous technologies, so as to enhance prosperity and peace," the Bulletin said. ®

Bootnote

The Doomsday Clock said 7 minutes to midnight when it was first introduced in 1947. The calmest reading it has ever given was 17 minutes to midnight, in 1991 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. - Ed

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.