back to article Doomsday Clock moves to 150 seconds before midnight. Thanks, Trump

The Doomsday Clock, maintained for the past 70 years by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, has been moved to two and a half minutes from midnight following the election of Donald Trump. The clock was originally set at seven minutes to midnight in 1947, but this was cut to two minutes in 1953 after the US and USSR tested …

  1. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    since when did 'global [warm|cool|change]ing' get added?

    "Hoax of the century" is now a cause for DOOM! So says the doomsday clock. DOOM! DOOM! DOOOOOM!

    They were wrong about Ronald Reagan, too. "The bombs start falling in 5 minutes."

    With all of that DOOM, maybe George Soros will sell short on the stock market and lose another $billion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: since when did 'global [warm|cool|change]ing' get added?

      One of the nice things that has happened over the past few years is that monumental incompetence, mismanagement, widespread innumeracy, and plain old stupidity has put the moronic denialists into 2nd place, behind the well-intentioned dough-headed ecomentals, in terms of who is doing the most harm and least good for the planet.

      The environMentals should hire a manager or something. Somebody that might grasp that the goal is to cost-effectively address the issues, not burn all the money on Earth on a few ineffective projects.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: since when did 'global [warm|cool|change]ing' get added?

        Many downvotes are apparently in favour of wasting money and resources on ineffective projects. Such attitudes are a greater menace than the denialists. Seriously. Not kidding

        To clarify, this AC is very green and seeks MORE EFFECTIVE and MORE EFFICIENT progress. Which would be a very good thing.

        Dumb ecoMentals are the new menace. They'll spend all the money of Earth to get the job 30% done. Then what?

        Hire me. I could run the global Green program vastly more efficiently and more effectively.

        We humans need to demand better management of the whole transition.

        Being stupid about it is no longer an option.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Bollocks ...Re: since when did 'global [warm|cool|change]ing' get added?

      The liberal idiots are in charge of the clock and they don't understand game theory.

      They should have set the clock backwards due to Trump.

      I know, it sounds contrarian, but all one has to do is to look at Obama's foreign policy and see what happens when you don't enforce a red line and someone calls your bluff. People die.

      With Trump, is he bluffing and are you willing to call his bluff? I think not. Hence the deterrence holds.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Bollocks ...since when did 'global [warm|cool|change]ing' get added?

        With Trump, is he bluffing and are you willing to call his bluff? I think not. Hence the deterrence holds.

        In a way, Trump reminds of Nixon. Is he nuts? Is he drunk? Bluffing? Or deadly serious? No one knew. Kissinger was more "rational" but the Nixon administration for many of us was viewed as being an unknown on how far he'd go if pushed. Trump has already set the stage for this with his pre-inauguration briefings and the press being abuzz about "Well why can't I use the nukes?" statements.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bollocks ...since when did 'global [warm|cool|change]ing' get added?

        "nd see what happens when you don't enforce a red line and someone calls your bluff. People die."

        Err did you forget what happened when Sadam called Bush's bluff.

        10's of thousands died.

        Let's gloss over that shall we?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Bollocks ...since when did 'global [warm|cool|change]ing' get added?

          But Iraq didn't have nukes. Russia and China DO. Plus China's philosophy is more amenable to preferring everyone losing to the enemy winning, meaning MAD is not necessarily a deterrent to them.

        2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          @Lost all faith... Re: Bollocks ...since when did 'global [warm|cool|change]ing' get added?

          Which Bush?

          You may not be old enough to remember Desert Storm. That was my generation's war.

          (Seems so weird in saying that.)

          That was the only time Saddam proactively went in to another country under a Bush. But there was the Iran / Iraq war, but that was well before your time. (Maybe you were in nappies? )

          And if you meant to say about Bush Jr., Bush didn't bluff. Saddam did and Bush called his bluff which ironically was meant to keep the Iranians at bay.

          So please junior, learn your history. GWB shouldn't have gone in to Iraq, but hindsight is always 20/20. He gave the bad intel to Congress and they voted upon it.

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: @Lost all faith... Bollocks ...since when did 'global [warm|cool|change]ing' get added?

            Bush senior (ex-CIA boss) walked Iraq into the first war by providing a diplomat who told Saddam that the US would not invade if Iraq got into a confrontation with Kuwait. The Iraqis were pissed off because Kuwait was drilling into Iraqi oil reserves using American technology to drill horizontally into the Iraqi oil fields.

            At that time Iraq was a relatively socially moderate Arabic state without the harsh religious laws that infest the region now. American screwed that up, just as they did in 1953 in Iran - that time with British help. It's time all western governments stopped playing Game of Thrones with the Middle East.

            1. peter_dtm
              Mushroom

              Re: @Version 1.0

              quote

              At that time Iraq was a relatively socially moderate Arabic state

              /quote

              lets remember here what a social moderate Arabic state seems to mean

              Genocide (Marsh Arabs amongst others)

              Chemical Warfare (Iran/Iraq wars)

              Bathism (currently being practised by Asad in Syria in all its 'civilised' glory)

              Secret Police

              State sponsored murder and torture

              If you think that's moderate what what on earth would you find immoderate ?

            2. Lou 2
              Facepalm

              Re: @Lost all faith... Bollocks ...since when did 'global [warm|cool|change]ing' get added?

              Hint of the day - If you do not know anything about a subject either google the whatchamakalit out of it or just stay silent. At the time " Iraq was a relatively socially moderate Arabic state" is just not true - UAE, Jordan, Lebanon was moderate Arabic states at the time, Sigh.

  2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    They've neglected Leap Seconds...

    Just saying.

    1. Mark Simon

      Re: They've neglected Leap Seconds...

      Could it be that the Dump also denies Leap Seconds … ?

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: They've neglected Leap Seconds...

        That Orange Idiot is the type of American who would "deny" the value of Pi and reassign it as 3 cos its easier.

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: They've neglected Leap Seconds...

        I prefer the defcon system , as seen in the movie Wargames , and probably in real life.

        1 to 5 - easy

        2 minutes to midnight? it works as an Iron Maiden song but as a scale to illustrate doom its a little unweildy.

        Ironic , seeing as those well meaning scientists probalby chose it as a simple illustration that everyman could easily understand.

        Unless I'm grasping it wrong - are we actually fucked? because thats what the clock is telling me. The furthest from doom its ever been is 17 minutes in the 90s - out of 24 HOURS??

        I'm gonna assume its a 24 hour clock , seeing as they are specifying midnight rather than 12

        there are 86400 seconds in a day , we are 150 from doom.

        That means we are 99.82638889 % fucked

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: They've neglected Leap Seconds...

          Unless I'm grasping it wrong - are we actually fucked? because thats what the clock is telling me. The furthest from doom its ever been is 17 minutes in the 90s - out of 24 HOURS??

          I'm gonna assume its a 24 hour clock , seeing as they are specifying midnight rather than 12

          there are 86400 seconds in a day , we are 150 from doom.

          That means we are 99.82638889 % fucked

          Yeah, that number seems a little low. I feel at least 99.9% fucked.

          The purpose of the clock is to point out how close we are to annihilating human civilisation. In about 15 years last century we went from the worst thing a fucknut could do is kill all the people that he can get close to, which is not an existential threat, to being able to kill everyone in the world by simply by pushing a few keys. It took creating the clock to point out to a lot of people precisely how close we now are.

          If you think of it another way, the clock is counting down how long is left for human civilisation. If you assume we've been going roughly 12,000 years, it's anticipating we've got around another 20-24 years at this rate.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
            Boffin

            @Tom ... Re: They've neglected Leap Seconds...

            "Yeah, that number seems a little low. I feel at least 99.9% fucked."

            Well then I'd ask the Prostitute for a prorated rate or your money back. :-P

            The problem with the clock is that those who set the clock can't tell time.

            Obama giving Iran the green light for their nuke program... that moved us ahead.

            Then there's the Norks and their submarine and ballistic missile tests. All with China keeping mum.

            Junior over there is more scary than Trump.

            And then to top it all off, the lack of vetoing the UN sanctions against Israel... another negative blow.

  3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  4. YARR
    FAIL

    Move along, no science here

    Just globalist propaganda for paranoid unthinking sheeple.

    Comments about expanding the nuclear arsenal are just that - comments. In reality WW3 has been averted by Trump seeking improved relations with Russia and a joint plan to defeat ISIS, as opposed to Hillary's no fly zone over Syria which would certainly have brought the US and Russia to a military stand-off.

    Climate change has been mixed in to maintain ambiguity and deniability to avoid committing to any measurable facts (i.e.Science).

    1. Andrew Jones 2

      Re: Move along, no science here

      Really - so you honestly don't see a future where Russia is reported to have said something (real or imaginary) about Trump, Trump jumps on Twitter and has a ranty meltdown as he likes to do, pisses off Russia and they decide to retaliate? No?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Move along, no science here

        pisses off Russia and they decide to retaliate

        Putin is not Trump. You have to hit him for him to retaliate. In fact, not even him - hit Russia or interfere into its internal affairs by any means. This, by the way, includes sponsoring "freedom fighters", trigger happy nationalist lunatics and other similar characters in neighboring countries. I can see his point on that one too. It is difficult to explain to your population why you are supposed to stand and take it on the chin while commuter trolleybuses are being blown up or taken hostage in broad daylight and why his government is not entitled to do anything about it while USA, UK and Saudi somehow consider themselves entitled to do whatever they effing please on the subject (*).

        Just pissing him off may be taken personal and you may personally glow in the dark after that, but he is not Erdogan or Trump. There will be no aircraft carriers and submarines with nukes onboard moved just because Trump said something stupid.

        As far as Hillary and the no-fly zone, I have heard the same from quite a few Russians so there is a grain of truth there. If there wasn't they would not have deployed the biggest AAA deployment in post-WW2 history to the Syria shores for the election. Just in case.

        (*) Just quoting the UK ex-ambassador to Moscow here on the subject of entitlement. We are entitled, he is not.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Move along, no science here

          "Putin is not Trump. You have to hit him for him to retaliate. "

          Tell that to the Ukraine.

          1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: Move along, no science here

            Tell that to the Ukraine.

            You have been watching the Beeb and Faux too much.

            The story is significantly more complex that you think. The previous governments up to the current one regardless of their shapes, colors, etc did a deal with Russia:

            1. Russia keeps the Black Sea Fleet base at Novorossyisk and pays for it. That is a major difference compared to USA keeping Gitmo or UK keeping Acrotiri and using a three finger payment to the hosting country.

            2. Russian speaking minority in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine gets the right to speak their own language, be educated in their own language with the last pre-conflict administration amending this to have it as a second official language. Basically - the Irish, Finnish, etc setup.

            3. Ukraine gets subsidized gas and some more candy

            THAT was all thrown out by the window with both USA and Eu actively investing into it all being thrown out. The first act of the new government and parliament was to revoke ALL minority rights granted to the Russian minority (which is actually a majority in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea). The second one was to tear down all economic agreement. The third one was to arm neonazi militias which have openly declared that a good Russian is a dead Russian in the past (and now too).

            It is the usual case - we support someone whose first action in power is to f*** all rights we proclaim as sacred and is slightly to the right of Attilla The Hun. Traditionally this was done in Lat Am. The sole difference today is that we have shifted the activity to the Middle East and around Russia and have mixed up some religious hate for good measure (Catholic vs Orhtodox in this case).

            1. Adam 52 Silver badge

              Re: Move along, no science here

              "The story is significantly more complex that you think."

              You missed (4). Ukraine gives up nuclear weapons and joins the NPT on the understanding that Russia will respect its borders and the rest of the world will defend them if necessary.

              Nobody's going to make that mistake again.

              1. peter_dtm
                Flame

                Re: Move along, no science here

                and not forgetting 6

                the EU fomented a minority faction to protest against the democratically (for some value of one man one vote approaching UK standards) elected government; because the democraticaly (by a majority) elected government did not want to play footsie with the EU and piss of the Russian bear. Well the EU succeeded in destabilising the country; driving out the democratically elected president in the process; and replacing him with an pro EU anti Russian clique. The rest is history and was predicted about 2 years before it all happened.

                Having woken the Russian bear; if the EU had attempted to uphold its guarantees regarding an independent Ukraine; well; then the clock would be at 10 PAST frigging midnight. Thank you our lords & masters in Brussels for cocking up big time you selfish unelected tits (can't be arsed to do a proper rant about those unspeakable things in Brussels). When the hell are we doing article 50 ?

          2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: Move along, no science here

            > Tell that to the Ukraine.

            Uh ... yeah? How is Chocolate King doing anyway?

          3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: Move along, no science here @Lord Elpuss

            Wasn't the hit to Russia called the "Orange Revolution", and the following overtures made by the EU to get Ukraine to look to the EU rather than Russia?

          4. Oh Homer
            Headmaster

            Re: "Tell that to the Ukraine"

            So you don't think that thousands of ethnic Russians being brutally slaughtered by neo-Nazi Ukrainians counts as a "hit"?

            If one fifth of the population of Mexico comprised ex-pat Americans (as is the case with ethnic Russians in Ukraine), and they were subjected to genocide at the hands of a far-right military coup, are you seriously trying to tell me that the US government would do nothing about it?

            America's hypocritical foreign policy is a sick joke.

            1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

              Re: "Tell that to the Ukraine"

              "So you don't think that thousands of ethnic Russians being brutally slaughtered by neo-Nazi Ukrainians counts as a "hit"?"

              Prove it, Putin.

              1. Oh Homer
                Headmaster

                Re: "Prove it, Putin"

                How about the Odessa Massacre, for starters?

                British, not Russian, BTW. I don't have to be Russian to know that the bullshit you've swallowed is just right-wing propaganda.

                1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                  Re: "Prove it, Putin"

                  Blimey. Putinbot scrapes new depths by (a) going back to 1941 to justify an invasion, and (b) linking to a dubious Youtube video to back it up.

                  How about this one -> https://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/otp/161114-otp-rep-PE_ENG.pdf.

                  Now back to the Kremlin basement with you.

                  1. Oh Homer
                    Mushroom

                    Re: "Prove it, Putin"

                    Is that the same ICC that did nothing about genocidal war criminals like Blair and Bush, who murdered millions of innocent civilian Iraqi men, women and children as the result of an invasion based on a brazen lie, but which was really just a pretext for an oil grab?

                    Frankly The Onion's credibility is higher.

                    The "dubious Youtube video" you remain wilfully ignorant about is merely a compilation and analysis of actual news footage. The fact that neo-Nazi "Maidan" Ukranians burnt alive (in 2014, not "1941") other Ukrainian nationals (who committed the heinous crime of walking while ethnic Russian) was never in contention, even by the mainstream media. The only point of contention was "who started it", which entirely glosses over the fact that an entire building full of people was just allowed to burn for two and a half hours without any police, fire service or ambulance intervention.

                    But then I keep forgetting that both the Brexiteers and Teabaggers have transformed the UK and the US into neo-Nazi cesspools, so it's hardly surprising to find neo-Nazi denialists and outright sympathisers crawling out of the woodwork like cockroaches.

        2. Brangdon

          Re: Putin is not Trump

          It won't be Russia vs America, because Trump likes Russia. He's making noises about reducing NATO, which would let Russia extend into Europe and eventually Britain or France might fight back with nukes, but that's a whole other scenario.

          It is China that Trump dislikes. He's already "pissed them off" by accepting a phone call from Taiwan, and they've already retaliated by grabbing a US research drone (from the sea). If that kind of thing escalates, there's no knowing where it will stop. China owns vast amounts of US debt, for example.

    2. Richard 81

      Re: Move along, no science here

      I don't know about anyone else, but when someone says "sheeple" I find it hard to take them seriously.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Move along, no science here

        Richard 81, do you have a better descriptive word that describes sheeple? I'm all ears. Er, eyes in this place ...

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          This is the year...

          Just my luck - this is the year when I finally get my act together, write that novel, lose two stone, tone up, stop drinking, cycle everywhere, wear that frock and then, at two minutes to midnight Trump presses the button and leaves me and my Linux Desktop as nought but a white shadow on the tarmac outside Aldi.

          1. TeeCee Gold badge
            WTF?

            Re: This is the year...

            Why would you be carrying a desktop in the Aldi car park?

            Is this a deliberate ploy to puzzle future people seeing your shadow? If so, can I suggest jumping in the air and striking a "walk like an Egyptian" pose as the nuclear flash goes off to really give them cause for thought?

          2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

            Re: This is the year...

            > the year when I finally get my act together, write that novel, ...

            The Doomsday Clock certainly didn't stop Alan Moore writing "Watchmen". Contrariwise, he used it to good effect throughout the book.

        2. AceRimmer1980

          Re: Move along, no science here

          The voting public who got fleeced?

        3. LionelB

          Re: Move along, no science here

          " .. do you have a better descriptive word that describes sheeple?"

          Ok, not a single word, but how about "people who don't agree with me"?

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Move along, no science here

          I don't know. Let me chew the cud for a while and I'll get back to you.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Only if you assume WW III would be US vs Russia

      Relations between the US and Russia were getting a little worse, but they were nowhere near "early 60s" bad. Not even late 80s post-Glasnost bad. Helping stop ISIS doesn't prevent WW III either, because they simply aren't capable of fighting on that level.

      Only four countries are truly capable of starting WW III: the US, Russia, China, and maybe Israel. If Trump makes relations with Russia better relations with China worse, and emboldens Israel to do whatever the hell they want without worrying about US backlash, I think it makes us more likely to get into WW III. But I don't think "more likely" means "very likely at all".

      US and Chinese relations might suffer and go downhill, maybe with a few potshots over those stupid "islands" in the South China Sea they want to claim. Israel might start a regional war, which unfortunately will draw US troops into something that we should let Israel fight by themselves (on the logic that if you start a fight, you should finish it yourself, not expect your big brother to come over and clock the guy you sucker punched) Defend Israel if they are attacked without provocation, sure, but not if they start it.

      But the chance of an all out WW III nuclear war? Very very small, even with a thin skinned snowflake in chief who can't keep his mouth shut. I firmly believe that if he ordered a nuclear strike that made no sense and/or was a huge escalation over the way a battle was currently being fought, the generals and sub captains who carry out the orders would refuse to do so.

      1. JulieM Silver badge

        Re: Only if you assume WW III would be US vs Russia

        This, a hundred times this.

        Imagine you are the electrician tasked with wiring up the nuclear button on Donald Trump's desk. Nobody is ever going to be able to test it properly, so you simply leave one wire unconnected (or, if it is a push-to-break switch, screw both wires into the same terminal). If the other side fire first, you're dead anyway; but if the USA fires first, and the bombs don't go off, you are now officially the person who prevented nuclear annihilation -- and that's got to be something you can dine out on for a long time. Even if the probability is really minuscule compared to the already tiny probability of your deliberate error being found out, the payoff of being the hero(ine)? who saved the world is worth the risk of a short punishment detail.

        Now consider just how many other people there are, who are similarly in a position to sabotage the nukes, and with similar ideas about saving humanity (or even just never having to cook again) being worth a bollocking ..... Only one of whom has to fail to do their job properly, for the launch to go spectacularly Tango Uniform. And then multiply that by every country with nuclear capabilities. I almost feel sorry for anyone trying to launch the nuclear missiles. But only almost, because they did try to kill me, and everybody else.

        I just think there is too much interest in preventing a nuclear missile launch, among those actually on the front line and with the actual power of make-or-break, for it ever actually to happen.

  5. Slx

    I'm not sure I take that doomsday clock all that seriously anymore. It's nearly as bad as those alertness colour coded warnings that tell you how panicked you're supposed to be.

    If you paid too much attention to that bloody clock you'd die of stress long before doomsday!

    Nuclear weapons however seem to prove we may never make it to being anything more than a severe but self limiting itchy rash that the Earth had for a while.

    1. Richard 81

      The colour coded warnings can be largely ignored. Once we hit brown alert, then we should all pay attention.

  6. vir
    Coat

    Historical Inaccuracy?

    "The Domesday Clock, maintained for the past 70 years by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists..."

    I thought the Domesday Clock was brought over from Normandy in 1086 by William the Conqueror?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Historical Inaccuracy?

      Bill & his mates came over in 1066. The Domesday Book (etc.) was put into place in 1085, completed in 1086. The Domesday Clock only applies to The Nobility and Landed Gentry. It took ~900 years for the common people to come up with our own version, namely "the doomsday clock".

      Thankfully, that's all the History I can remember.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Historical Inaccuracy?

        "Thankfully, that's all the History I can remember."

        You got the important bit - 1066 and all that...

      2. 's water music Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Historical Inaccuracy?

        Thankfully, that's all the History I can remember.

        I'm pretty sure that you have remembered too much. Whilst it was once thought that there were four (4) memorable dates in the history of England, a research done at the Eton and Harrow match revealed that two of them were NOT memorable.*

        *as any fule kno.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Historical Inaccuracy?

        Almost correct. The clock was created not long after the doomsday book, however, they had to wait until time immemorial before they were allowed to set it.

  7. el rekrab

    Oooh! The end is nigh! Based on opinions.

    A bit like John Ralston Saul's definition for "Dictionary": "Opinion presented as truth in alphabetical order."

  8. JLV Silver badge

    I call BS

    Much as I dislike Trump, I find it hard to reconcile this risk rating with the risk before the Soviet Union broke up. Not to mention the Cuban Missile Crisis itself.

    Really, this, now, is the worst it's ever been???

    China may or may not become a major ingredient in risking nuclear conflagration. And Trump's smoochies with has-been Russia is unlikely to make up for his possible inflammation of Chinese-US relationships. But that is most likely 10-15 years in the future at least.

    Climate change is a massive risk. But it's also quite slow moving and unlikely to result in a quick, large scale termination of most human life and civilization. Unlike what could have happened in the Cold War.

    North Korea could nuke someone, probably. And they're the most likely state actor who's stupid enough to do it. But a nuke on even a major Western city would not be the end of civilization, it would mostly result in a liquefied NK and a re-strengthened resolve to control nukes. Ditto a Pakistani strike somewhere.

    IMHO this level of risk-flagging seems a bit too political and likely to dilute the seriousness which nuclear risks warrant. Esp wrt the US, talking about climate change, which is an entirely different subject, is a sure way to get 50% of ostriches to close their ears. And they'll run out of clock space and need a "dial up to 11" pretty soon at this rate.

    daystogo:1455:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @JLV

      Have to agree with you. Also because of a, in my opinion, contradiction in the whole story. First we get the story about the US weapons arsenal, followed by the Russian arsenal. Obviously hinting at yet another cold war. So far, understandable. To some degree.

      Yet this is immediately followed by mention about China working on their nuclear arsenal, Pakistan (with the threat to Israel still in mind) and of course North Korea.

      As much as I hate to say this but keeping your arsenal "on-par" with the rest is one of the things which kept us safe during the last cold war. Within that reasoning I'd personal feel less safe it the US wouldn't acknowledge the facts and maintain their arsenal like this. Quite frankly I think the same goes for Russia. Personally I'd honestly sooner expect the US and Russia cooperating against the current threats (IS comes to mind) than starting a new arms run between themselves again.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: @JLV

        The cold war could be kept in balance because there were relatively few players and they were relatively sane.

        Throwing in non-NPT members like North Korea, Pakistan and Turkey messes with that balance. Five adults can balance on a cliff edge. Five adults and seven screaming, fighting children can't.

        Add in sub-launched missiles and the nutters start thinking that they might get deniability for long enough to get away with it.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: I call BS

      "daystogo:1455"

      Don't forget the midterm elections, when the Dems take control of House & Senate.

      "Emasculate Chump in 2018!" (Already seen on a bumper sticker.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I call BS

        "Don't forget the midterm elections, when the Dems take control of House & Senate."

        IIRC Dems have, broadly speaking, been going backwards for some time at all political levels in the USA and there is nothing (read noone) in the pipe that seems to suggest that this will change any time soon. But things change, so it is possible - but at the moment unlikely - at best wishful thinking from the deluded acolytes.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: I call BS

        Don't forget the midterm elections, when the Dems take control of House & Senate.

        The man who lost the popular vote is already on the case with the investigation into electoral fraud he announced a day or two ago, despite having nothing to back up his claim that there is electoral fraud.

        The eight years thing might be a problem but I'm sure somebody's working on that somewhere too.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: I call BS

          > The man who lost the popular vote

          That's not the way it works.

          Get over it.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: I call BS

            I was never under it. However the popular vote numbers and the lack of voter fraud evidence mean there's no reason for him to start a voter fraud investigation unless his eyes are on the 2018 prize.

          2. Richard 12 Silver badge

            @Destroy All Monsters

            Trump is the one claiming voter fraud.

            There's only one reason why he would say that, and it's very simple:

            His ego cannot stand the concept of merely winning. He has to win overwhelmingly and crush his opponent like a bug.

            Simply winning is not enough for him.

            And yet, if his claim of "millions of fraudulent votes" were true then the election would be null and void. The whole thing would have to be run again, because it is an order of magnitude above the margin by which he won the EC.

            His claim is however blatant bollocks, so that isn't necessary - and neither is wasting millions of USD investigating something that has no evidence.

            Recounts have already been done in several places where there was evidence of fraud. Some fraud was found - that gave Trump an unfair advantage. They were corrected.

            Trump still won, yet he does not accept the result?

      3. SundogUK

        Re: I call BS

        Not going to happen.

      4. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget the midterm elections

        The senate? I don't know jake, There are only 8 red shirts in play and 22 blue shirts. The only realistic chance is for the blue shirts to grab Arizona and Nevada while defending all the others even the marginal states like Montana. Let's be honest and say that states like Tennessee and California aren't up for grabs. Consider that of the senate seats up in 2018 there is only Nevada that voted blue shirt in the presidential election and has a red shirt senator but there are nine states that have a blue shirt senator and voted red in the presidential race. That said, taking two only gets a tie with Pence as the tie breaker.

        What it comes down to is how do the folks in those reversible states feel Trump does over the next two years. If their economic fortunes improve they'll likely give Trump the credit for coming through on his promises. If there is another recession, blue team cleans house but given most of the tossup states in play are already wearing blue it likely won't be enough.

    3. MR J

      Re: I call BS

      I cant see North Korea ever nuking anyone.

      As long as they can make a mushroom out in the ocean that's large enough for their own people to see then that's enough. They are totally closed off and as long as they can tell their own people that there is a war that's being won - then everything is okay. There need not be an actual war.

      Before the USSR was broken then the same type of system was in place. I think the highest risk from USSR was probably the years directly after the collapse. But that's just me. I cant see Russia going to war directly against the USA BUT.... War is great for business, great for making money, great for growing an economy. Someone will not be on the winning side of that - Can you imagine of the oddballs out there now what two world leaders would seek to go to war with other parts of the world just to grow their own economy. The USA (Trump) is taking steps to stop Muslims entering the USA, to economically destabilize China, Canada, and Mexico, they are looking to step away from any "Environmentally Friendly" policies. Putin "hello Crimea" has taken similar steps of his own. Now that the US is going to shun Canada and Mexico you have to wonder if Russia and China might step in to have them pulled into the BRICS. So now, The Pals Russia and USA are going to be at odds... Mexico moving towards the BRICS would be just like NATO moving into Crimea.

      People should bear in mind that this "clock" as such is not like a normal "clock"... It can move in both directions - AND - just because it moves close to something doesn't mean it will move directly to midnight. I think that the "Risk" are there and are higher than ever. Tensions are high across much of the world, and this time it is not just the small deprived areas, it is the top parts of the world (North America, Europe). So yea, If the population sit back then I could see some bad mojo happening.

  9. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    Headmaster

    question

    if, as they say.

    "Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way." ®

    .. what is going to happen to those "wise citizens".

    My understanding is that, if we are at the brink, and someone steps forward, then its past the brink and they are leading the way -presumably at 9.8 metres per second per second- to a place you would fill the requirements of being considerably less wise to follow.

    1. P. Lee
      Facepalm

      Re: question

      >"Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way."

      If I read that correctly, it means: The (unelected) civil service should seek to negate the president. If they fail to do so, "wise citizens" should overturn the elected government and lead the way because the masses clearly cannot be trusted with government. Did they really just recommend assassination?

      These people are clearly anti-Trump, but overturning (or frustrating) the elected governments through non-democratic means is not liberal. It sounds more, well, Bolshevik.

      There are red states and then there are red states.

      1. peter_dtm

        @ P.Lee

        that's the way the EU does business (see for instance the Ukraine; reaction to any Referendum that goes against them; Brexit)

  10. cd

    Time to get a posting to McMurdo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      McMurdo?

      With all of its communication relays, that place is sure to get hit if the cr@p hits the fan. Not too sure I would want to be down there.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: McMurdo?

        There is not enough comms in all of Antarctica to warrant firing a single .22 round in their general direction.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: McMurdo?

          So what about the Ancient Ones and their Shoggoths? They will run wild.

          1. Chemical Bob

            Re: Shoggoths running wild

            Isn't it obvious by now that Trump is a shoggoth?

    2. jake Silver badge

      Beware of what you wish for.

      McMurdo Station is run by The United States Antarctic Program. Trump's xenophobic anti-science advisors will probably get it closed down, lest the Emperor Penguins start running guns and drugs into the US ...

  11. dan1980

    Just . . . whatever.

    I think I take the line of George Carlin who explained the basis of his (then) new direction in comedy like so:

    G: I found a very liberating position for myself as an artist and that was: I sorta gave up on the human race and gave up on the American dream and culture and nation and decided that I didn’t care about the outcome and that gave me a lot of freedom from a kind of distant platform to be sort of amused . . . to kind of watch the whole thing with a combination of wonder and pity and try to put that into words.

    Q: Not caring about the outcome – what do you mean by that?

    G: Not having an emotional stake in whether this experiment with human beings works – I really don’t care. . . . There’s a little bit of a sick part in this too: I root for the big comet, I root for the big asteroid to come and make things right.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      George Carlin apart from being cynical was a very rational man..

      He was hard hitting and simply put to the fore-front societies weaknesses. He has probably told more than the any first world "gaggle" of politicians could even even begin to hope for....

  12. Putters

    Sirius Cybernetics Corporation?

    Are they at it again ?

    From "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe" (as far as I am aware the only Hitchhiker's related short story he wrote. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Zaphod_Plays_It_Safe

    "Er, Designer People."

    "What?"

    "The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation were awarded a huge research grant to design and produce synthetic personalities to order. The results were uniformly disastrous. All the "people" and "personalities" turned out to be amalgams of characteristics which simply could not co-exist in naturally occurring life forms. Most of them were just poor pathetic misfits, but some were deeply, deeply dangerous. Dangerous because they didn't ring alarm bells in other people. They could walk

    through situations the way that ghosts walk through walls, because no one spotted the danger.

    "The most dangerous of all were three identical ones - they were put in this hold, to be blasted, with this ship, right out of this universe.

    They are not evil, in fact they are rather simple and charming. But they are the most dangerous creatures that ever lived because there is nothing they will not do if allowed, and nothing they will not be allowed to do..."

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    " move the clock less than a full minute..Donald Trump.. US president only a matter of days,"

    IOW it's not the Executive Orders and number of provable lies that have been told.

    It's the rate at which they keep rising.

  14. wolfetone Silver badge

    Never trust a clock that can go backwards as well as forwards.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      You must get paranoid every autumn.

    2. jake Silver badge

      @wolfetone

      Seems to me that Einstein said that all of 'em can ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @wolfetone

        No, GR says your clock (or any clock) only goes one way. Unless you are massless at which point it stops.

        In QM, backward running clocks are replaced with forward running ones while changing the matter sign. It's that simple.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      "Never trust a clock that can go backwards as well as forwards."

      And yet internet time protocol can do exactly that.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Can we 'readers' agree to campaign for El Reg not to Politik... pls...

      No, as it brings the clickbait to fruition.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Can we 'readers' agree to campaign for El Reg not to Politik... pls...

      Hell no! It's too much fun winding up the wingnuts. Leftwingnuts, rightwingnuts, centerwingnuts ... IMO all wingnuts are fair game :-)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "... since the heady days of 1953..."

    And that's where the "doomsday clock" belongs - that or in dodgy sci-fi movies like The Watchmen.

    It has about as much relevancy as saying it will rain because the cows are lying down.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Instead of marvelshit, you can watch cheap made-for-TV flicks that are still as good today as back during The Gipper's Reign: The Day After (except for the part where EMP stops early 80s cars ... yah no)

      1. Putters

        Why wouldn't it stop quite a few of them - most didn't have an ECU back then, but quite a lot had electronic ignition. My 1979 Chrysler Sunbeam had electronic ignition as standard - and that was certainly not a cutting edge vehicle in any respect. [Yes - I've owned a lot of crap cars, in addition to the above I can lay claim to a Fiat 127, a Morris Ital (1.3 Estate to make matters worse) and a Vauxhall Viva HC]

        And the vast majority would have stopped pretty soon after with all the diodes in the alternator fried - though, I concede, not immediately. Only stuff with a dynamo and contact box controlled charging would have been unaffected. [Another aside, have seen the results on a Mini alternator of connecting the battery up backwards (the leads will reach on an estate / van) - several of the diodes hadn't just blown, they'd blown to dust leaving just the little metal legs.]

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          An EMP is not magic and won't just go ahead and fry stuff. It must be fragile stuff (i.e. transistors) connected to an antenna to get the energy into the circuit.

          The US mistakenly drenched Hawaii into an EMP, do we have stats from there?

          1. Putters

            What did they do to do that ? US nuclear testing at Johnston Atoll was the closest I could find, and that was about 1500km WSW of Hawaii.

            1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

              Starfish Prime

              1500 km from Hawaii and several hundred kilometres into space so line of sight. Did widespread but minor damage though that was in 1962. Might be a bit more serious if it were to happen today.

              1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

                Re: Starfish Prime

                There was a whole series of tests. Interesting documentary: Nukes in Space: The Rainbow Bombs

          2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "An EMP is not magic and won't just go ahead and fry stuff. I"

            IIRC "Starfish" in 1962 caused the Hawaii power grid to fail.

            EMP pulses have faster rise times than lightning. That means they are high power, broadband (in the sense of wide bandwidth, not the PR term for ADSL) signals.

            They can fry a lot of stuff, and with the ongoing creeping of badly designed IoS and embedded systems more of the worlds societies become more vulnerable, although I'd guess the US leads the pack.

  17. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Cobblers.

    The problem here is that it's all fatuous bollocks of the highest order anyway.

    When the thing's 15 minutes or so away from DOOM, they move it in minutes if someone vaguely important says something rude. If you look back at when it's been moved and why, you can immediately see that it should have been well past midnight many times, or never got closer than about ten to, if there were any consistency to it.

    Clickbait, 1950s style.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cobblers.

      Better get the act together in any case: World War 3, by mistake

  18. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    So it's a politicial statement

    Since all that is being listed is basically on the the legacy of President Peace Prize.

    In particular that trillion-dollar nuclear upgrade (to be fair, mainly pushed by Clintonia while Obama was lukewarm). Because, uk ... Crimea. Yeah. And also that Pivot to China. That too.

    Also, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists being for nuclear plants is new. Whenever you go there it's negativity.

  19. Moosh
    Thumb Down

    This is literally a meme clock and quite honestly there is no reason for it to move forward. I mean my god, prior to Trump winning the elections there was a genuine and palpable fear of direct military conflict with Russia, and now that possibility has basically vanished.

    This is a load of guff. They have a political narrative that must be maintained; that trump is an aggressive expansionist. Despite actually being an isolationist.

    I have my own clock. It's 1 minute to midnight and it moves forward every time someone spergs out about Trump for no reason.

    When it hits midnight nothing happens but its handy for me to make a big scene about.

    1. JLV Silver badge

      >direct military conflict with Russia, and now that possibility has basically vanished.

      Sorry, I'll call bs on that too. Neither Putin, nor even an aggressively anti-Putin US President would go all out with in a Russia-USA war. The stakes just aren't there. Russia is angling for respect and Putin needs to have external enemies for political reasons. But Russia is not in a credible position to take over the world unlike USSR 1950-89. So neither party has anything to win or defend by Armageddon. All the Hillary-bashing in the world won't change that.

      Contrast that with China. Relative power transition points (remember the German High Seas fleet 1914) have a way to upset stability. The up and coming think they can take over. The dwindling party think they should take action now, before it's too late. Wars are started when folks calculate they can win. Russia can't but China will eventually get to the point where they'll surpass the US. 20 yrs? 30 yrs?

      Appeasement with China isn't the way. A peaceful transition, where each party agrees to peaceful coexistence is our best way forward. With diplomatic reminders to China that they have much to lose if they ramp up confrontation. Building regional consensus. China's is not a messianic political ideology like the Soviets', it might work. Tricky though.

      That's our biggest challenge over the next 20 yrs.

      And guess which US President is going to be in charge for a while? A man with an even temperament, well known for getting along with China, a man keen on international alliances, with clear and stable principles, trusted by other liberal democracies and newly industrializing nations. Popular at home, so China can't game his support. Ready to collaborate on matters of mutual interest like global warming. Internationalist.

      But, yeah, go on believing that chumming w Putin matters more.

  20. kafantaris2

    Made of the same cloth.

    Appeasement did not work with Hitler and appeasement will not work with Trump. Both man are made of the same cloth. The sooner we accept this the sooner we can deal with the situation at hand.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Made of the same cloth.

      Hillary Clinton, please go!

  21. Redstone

    I think people are misunderstanding the risk that is being refered to by the clock:

    "Climate change, and the American government's attitude to it, is also cited in the report. While last year's Paris agreement on emissions controls proved hopeful, the fact that one of the world's largest polluters now disputes the effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is giving the scientists serious cause for concern."

    Their cause for concern is the massive risk to the billions of dollars of taxpayer funding for their gravy train...

    1. LionelB

      Their cause for concern is the massive risk to the billions of dollars of taxpayer funding for their gravy train...

      As compared to the cause for concern of the fossil fuel industry, being the massive risk to the billions trillions of dollars of revenue that they stand to lose out on through a shift to cleaner technologies.

      1. Redstone

        You mean the cleaner technologies that taxpayers are going to have to subsidise to the tune of trillions of dollars because they don't work very well and are therefore not commercially viable?

        1. LionelB

          You mean the cleaner technologies that taxpayers are going to have to subsidise to the tune of trillions of dollars because they don't work very well and are therefore not commercially viable?

          Yes, those. And yes, the taxpayer is most likely going to have to subsidise* those technologies - or better, subsidise research into making those technologies more productive, efficient and ultimately commercially viable. And the sooner the better - because the sooner we develop and deploy cleaner energy sources, the less damage to the environment, health, etc. will be caused by burning fossil fuels - damage which will be hugely costly, in both human and economic terms, to redress.

          The idea that we can carry on burning petrochemicals at an ever-accelerating rate with no blowback in terms of human, economic and environmental cost is incredibly naive, if not downright nihilistic - a massive f*ck-you to our own future.

          *subsidise = pay for; you know, like we pay for every darn thing we need, whether through taxes or directly out of our pockets.

          1. Redstone

            I agree that we ought to be researching better alternatives to fossil fuels. The key word in that sentence is 'better'.

            I'm not convinced the 'alternatives' we are forced to subsidise now are the answer. If all the money thrown away on subsidy/wind farms were directed at sensible research on, say, stable fusion reactors, we might be getting somewhere. But the green scream queens won't wear that kind of research because, horror of horrors, it's a nuclear technology.

            Historically, the boom times for human development have been when we have harnessed new cheap forms of energy to increase productivity (e.g. steam engines). We desperately need a step change for cheap energy and the productivity leading to wealth generation that creates, but the current (expensive) 'renewables' are a step backwards.

            Also, when it comes to the environment, have you seen how destructive neodymium is to extract? But for most greens, as long as the environmental destruction is happening somewhere other than their own back yard (i.e. China) they don't care. As long as their feelings of moral superiority are preserved.

            1. LionelB

              I agree that we ought to be researching better alternatives to fossil fuels. The key word in that sentence is 'better'.

              If you mean "better than existing non-fossil fuel alternative technologies", I agree. That may mean refining/building on existing technologies, or finding truly radical alternatives - although we can't afford to sit around waiting for the latter to fall into our laps - major technological innovations are rare (science tends to proceed incrementally).

              I'm not convinced the 'alternatives' we are forced to subsidise now are the answer. If all the money thrown away on subsidy/wind farms were directed at sensible research on, say, stable fusion reactors, we might be getting somewhere.

              The jury may be out on the long-term viability of wind/tidal/solar energy technologies. But we don't have the luxury of waiting around for the long term. Personally, I am not anti-nuclear energy - although the problems (especially long-term ones!) associated with current nuclear technologies are clear. Nor is nuclear "cheap" by any stretch of the imagination, particularly taking into account decommissioning and amortised costs of safe, non-polluting waste disposal. A viable stable fusion technology would be lovely - but after many decades of intense research and huge amounts of funding (subsidised by... the taxpayer) we seem to have little to show for it. It's a hard problem and we cannot rely on it being cracked in the short-to-medium term.

              But the green scream queens won't wear that kind of research because, horror of horrors, it's a nuclear technology.

              Wouldn't worry too much about that, they have zero traction now that the agenda is dominated by alt-right, alternative-truther, conspiracy theory howling nutters (personally, I'll take the scream queens any day).

              We desperately need a step change for cheap energy and the productivity leading to wealth generation that creates, but the current (expensive) 'renewables' are a step backwards.

              I disagree that they are a step backwards. They may be just a small step forward (or sideways), but the alternatives are just not there (except for nuclear - fission - with its concomitant problems).

              Also, when it comes to the environment, have you seen how destructive neodymium is to extract? ...

              Like coal/oil/gas/fissionable materials - extracted on vast scales - are not?!?

  22. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Meh

    The problem with a 70 year old DOOMsday clock is that most people look at it and eventually it begins to look a lot like a bearded hippie in white frock holding a sign that reads "The end is nigh" on the corner of 46th and 7th.

  23. Kaltern

    El Reg comments pro-Trump, and somehow see him as the Messiah.

    Science suddenly ousted as unimportant, by the same man you are all rabidly supporting.

    The Doomsday Clock, which has been viewed as a method of caution for decades, suddenly described as a Meme.

    You lot are fucked up.

    1. JLV Silver badge

      >you are all rabidly supporting.

      Take a biiiig chill pill. Stridency is not just a problem on the right, my dear.

      Many comments do diss Trump. And your comment is hardly on the way to winning the hearts and minds of the voters who exercised their democratic prerogative to vote for him.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Luke Crywalker?

      > El Reg comments pro-Trump

      > rabidly supporting

      This message brought to you from the Obamaverse, where liberal souls go to die once they have left their earthly husks after Trump Coronation Day.

      I'm off reading some Pat Buchanan paleoconservatism goodness. He's currently writing about Trump's Wall.

  24. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Cheer up, Its not the end of the world.

    ..

    bugger.

    ..

    I was actually hoping for a zombie apocalypse, but I guess a Trump presidency is close enough.

    and the year is yet young.

    I mean, when has a populist demagogue riding to power on a wave of disaffection with entrenched corruption EVER ended badly ?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cheer up, Its not the end of the world.

      Zombie apocalypse would be boring. This year is legendary! Times are good!

      On Wednesday, Madeleine Albright, former Clinton Secretary of State, tweeted that she would register herself a Muslim as an act of defiance against President Donald Trump’s immigration plans: I was raised Catholic, became Episcopalian & found out later my family was Jewish. I stand ready to register as Muslim in #solidarity.

      So she has cycled through all of the Abrahamic Gods while killing several hundred thousand because "worth it". What a time to be alive.

  25. RealityisntReal

    So a liberal group who say they can tell how close we are to nuclear Armageddon (can they tell me the next lottery numbers?) say that they don't like Trump and we are closer to nuclear war. We should care about what they say why? As was pointed out they sounded the call of doom when Reagan was president - what happened? Nothing. A bunch of liberal alarmists with no clue as to what is actually going on.

  26. DocJD

    Past their expiration date

    These guys have been irrelevant since the end of the cold war. They are just looking for an excuse to keep themselves in the news.

  27. SeanC4S

    Oh, let's all go live in South America. Argentina? Saint Kitts and Nevis if you have some dough.

    1. peter_dtm

      and all the people in fear of Trump can go to Venezuela ?

  28. Lou 2
    Mushroom

    Apparently the Putin factor has no influence.

    Had a look at the Doomsday clock and it seems the increased power of Putin and the ratcheting up of tension in his little playground does not influence the clock? He is going to be ticked off!

    The Arab spring - ditto. Syria? ISIS?

    China extending its island in the South China sea ... nothing?

    But

    Global Warming

    Trump - one week after his inauguration - BOOM!

    Really?

  29. Andy Tunnah

    "Ta Trump" fits better

  30. Al Black

    The Doomsday Clock

    "The Doomsday Clock, maintained for the last 70 years by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists" has no basis in actual science at all: it is merely the gut-feel of a bunch of Atomic Scientists who have no guts. It has less scientific justification than the IPCC temperature predictions, which are at least generated by amateurish computer models: this prediction is more political than scientific.

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