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blakzarathustra
17 January 2007 @ 14:08
Climate resets 'Doomsday Clock'
By Molly Bentley (BBC NEWS)



Experts have added climate change as a great threat


Stephen Hawking
Experts assessing the dangers posed to civilisation have added climate change to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to humankind.

As a result, the group has moved the minute hand on its famous "Doomsday Clock" two minutes closer to midnight.

The concept timepiece, devised by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, now stands at five minutes to the hour.

The clock was first featured by the magazine 60 years ago, shortly after the US dropped its A-bombs on Japan.

Not since the darkest days of the Cold War has the Bulletin, which covers global security issues, felt the need to place the minute hand so close to midnight.


'Perilous choices'

The decision to move it came after BAS directors and affiliated scientists held discussions to reassess the idea of doomsday and what posed the most grievous threats to civilisation.

Growing global nuclear instability has led humanity to the brink of a "Second Nuclear Age," the group concluded, and the threat posed by climate change is second only to that posed by nuclear weapons.

CHICAGO CLOCK OF DOOM

Symbolic Doomsday Clock first established in 1947
Chicago BAS offices keep a representation of the timepiece
First positioned at 7 mins to the hour; 18 changes since then
Originally reflected concern about nuclear annihilation
Bulletin now considers other threats to global security also
"When we think about what technologies besides nuclear weapons could produce such devastation to the planet, we quickly came to carbon-emitting technologies," said Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Chicago-based BAS.

The announcement was made at simultaneous events held by the magazine in London and in Washington DC that included remarks from the English Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, and physicist Stephen Hawking.

"Humankind's collective impacts on the biosphere, climate and oceans are unprecedented," said Sir Martin.

"These environmentally driven threats - 'threats without enemies' - should loom as large in the political perspective as did the East/West political divide during the Cold War era."

A number of alarming nuclear trends led to a statement by the Bulletin that "the world has not faced such perilous choices" since the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The worries include Iran's nuclear ambitions, North Korea's detonation of an atomic bomb, the presence of 26,000 launch-ready weapons by America and Russia, and the inability to secure and halt the international trafficking of nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium.

Ice evidence

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, founded by former Manhattan Project physicists, has campaigned for nuclear disarmament since 1947.

Its board periodically reviews issues of global security and challenges to humanity, not solely those posed by nuclear technology, although most have had a technological component.


Nuclear war would itself bring about climate changes


Climate 'would reel from A-bombs'
This is the first time it has included climate change as an explicit threat to the future of civilisation.

A less immediate threat, but included in the assessment, is the one posed by emerging life science technologies, such as synthetic biology and genetic modification.

While the harm done to the planet by carbon-emitting manufacturing technologies and automobiles was more gradual than a nuclear explosion, nonetheless, it could also be catastrophic to life as we know it and "irremediable", the board said.

It cited in support the conclusions of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its broad assessment is that the warming over the last few decades is attributable to human activities, and that its consequences are observable in such events as the melting of Arctic ice.

In the years ahead, rising sea levels, heat waves, desertification, along with new disease outbreaks and wars over arable land and water, would mean climate change could bring widespread destruction, the board said.

It also warned against the use of nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels.

'Optimistic' view

While the technology had the potential to alleviate the climate warming effects of burning coal, its development raised the spectre that nuclear materials would be available for nefarious ends as well, the board argued.

Some scientists - even climate scientists - may not support the comparison of global warming to the catastrophe that would follow a nuclear engagement.

"Whether it's a threat of the same magnitude or slightly less or greater is beside the point," said Michael Oppenheimer, a geoscientist from Princeton University, US.

"The important point is that this organisation, which for 60 years has been monitoring and warning us about the nuclear threat, now recognises climate change as a threat that deserves the same level of attention," he said.

Both the nuclear menace and a runaway greenhouse effect were the result of technology whose control had slipped from humans' grasp, the BAS directors said. But it was also within our power to pull them back under control, they added.

"We haven't figured out how to do that yet, but the potential is within our institutions and our imaginations," said Dr Benedict.

Dr Oppenheimer agrees that people should not despair. After all, he said, for a long time the world took the nuclear threat seriously and reduced the numbers of weapons.

"I'm optimistic that we can address climate change," he said. "We've dealt with such problems before, and we can do it again."

Over the past 60 years, the Doomsday clock has now moved backwards and forwards 18 times. It advanced to two minutes before midnight - its closest proximity to doom - in 1953 after the United States and the Soviet Union detonated hydrogen bombs.

Its keepers last moved the clock's hand in 2002 after the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and amid alarm about the acquisition of nuclear weapons and materials by terrorists.
 
 
I am: Work
Feeling: amusedamused
Current Muse/Music: Testament - Return to Serenity
 
 
blakzarathustra
23 December 2006 @ 03:21
I'm lucky. Really lucky.

I was coming home from a friend's place tonight to make the final ascent up a hill to my place. Stopped at a red light, waited for it to go green, made my turn and *BOOM!* an SUV hit my car going pretty fast and totalled the whole front end of my '02 Pontiac Sunfire. My airbags went off and I got out of the car. I was okay suprisingly. Just a bit of a bruise and a cut on my forehead. The other two people in the SUV however hit a pole after they hit me and were pretty fucked up.

Blood all over the place and they were incoherent. A lot of cars stopped to try and help out where they could. Someone called 911 for me. Firefighters and police officers took my number and got a tow truck for my car and one of the cops offered to drive me home after. It took me a few minutes to realize where I was again. Looks like I have no car for the holidays :(.

Let's hope ICBC gives me a buyout on this because i think my car is fudged.
 
 
Feeling: shockedshocked
Current Muse/Music: David Bowie - I'm Deranged
 
 
blakzarathustra
Well,

Tommorrow night (wednesday) I'm meeting up with an uncle I haven't seen in awhile and I don't think I've ever really connected with for an awesome show he invited me to join him with. FRANK ZAPPA! (although frankie's dead so his son Dweezil is taking over)... Steve Vai, Boizio... It's gonna be great.

So to celebrate I'm gonna list some Zappa quotes:

You can't always write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say, so sometimes you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream.
-- Frank Zappa, promotional postcard from Rykodisc

People make a lot of fuss about my kids having such supposedly 'strange names', but the fact is that no matter what first names I might have given them, it is the last name that is going to get them in trouble.
-- Frank Zappa, from The Real Frank Zappa Book

It's fucking great to be alive, ladies and gentlemen, and if you do not believe it is fucking great to be alive, you better go now, because this show will bring you down so much.
-- Frank Zappa, from Just Another Band From LA

Get smart and I'll fuck you over -- sayeth The Lord.
-- Frank Zappa, regarding Christianity's apparent preference for perpetuation of ignorance as a way of life

There is no hell. There is only France.
-- Frank Zappa, You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore

Beware of the fish people, they are the true enemy.
-- Frank Zappa, speech to a pro-choice rally in Los Angeles around 1989-90
 
 
Feeling: chipperchipper
Current Muse/Music: Frank Zappa (& Steve Vai) - Fuck Yourself
 
 
blakzarathustra
13 December 2006 @ 19:57


 
 
Feeling: excitedexcited
 
 
blakzarathustra
03 December 2006 @ 01:30
Busy weekend so far. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to get a solid night's rest to recover from most of the week and the weekend thus far. After getting off work yesterday I met up with Lisa for the first time who turned out to be a really cool person. Her, another friend of mine and I went off to see 'The Faint' at Richards on Richards on Friday night and they were really great live. The place was full, I think they had to turn some people away at the door. At any rate it was good, regardless of me feeling a little uneasy with my ex being there with a supposed 'friend' of hers. I felt better later when I found out he barely spoke english and was kind of 'queerish'. Less threatening to me I guess.

At any rate, managed to get Lisa back to the greyhound terminal on time (hopefully, yet to confirm that) this morning (Sat) and got some groceries. My parents friends, who happen to be the parents of one of my friends (our parents went to high school together) had their 25th anniversary tonight and invited me along. Was interesting to see their old band get together and jam with some of us younger types. Was pretty fun actually. I get along better with all of them now, then I ever did when I was younger.

And now, it's early early Sunday morning. I'm told to stay awake to meet with some friends who 'apparently' last minute invited themselves to my place for some Vodka drinking (which I think I'll pass on). Hopefully they'll be able to carry a conversation and get out of here by 4 or 5am so I can sleep till at least noon or so tommorrow.

Ah yes, my busy life.
 
 
Feeling: contemplativecontemplative
Current Muse/Music: Muse - Hoodoo
 
 
 
blakzarathustra
16 November 2006 @ 16:41
Did you know?:

- The Resevoir's in and around the Lower Mainland of BC are considered unsafe to drink from currently thanks to our recent storm. Boil all water for at least an hour before drinking. Or Buy Bottled Water.

- Nikola Tesla, the serbian-american inventor, who was the inventor of the radio, AC current, the Tesla Coil and other wonderous inventions was so far ahead of his time that only now are we starting to use some of his unfunded projects.
(1) Wireless Electricity - He invented a way of lighting city lights and other sources in need of electricity by running power from large erected electricity towers that would travel across certain frequencies to the devices requiring them. Scientests are only now considering using a similar idea for laptops and tvs to avoid cable mishap. TESLA INVENTED THIS IDEA IN 1893!
(2) THE DEATH RAY - Tesla wanted to create a weapon that was so frightening it would literally stop war. He toyed with the idea of controlling nature's Lightning (as he was an electrical engineer) and he actually suceeded in making a series of copper coils produce artificial lightning with distances that travelled up to 300 meters. He also was the first to see the effects of radiation on the human body. Right before world war 2 broke out and shortly after world war 1 finished he had plans for creating a mechanism (what we now called a particle beam weapon) that would shoot fragments of electrically powered particles of mercury and other elements into the sky which he claimed would 'bring down 10,000 warplanes in one volley'. The UK government was interested but never funded the project thanks to the world war 2 build up. The US later sided with Einstein and other scientests idea's on nuclear energy.

- and lastly a truly horrifying fact, K-Fed (Britney Spears' now ex-husband) wants to release a 4 hour sex tape of the two of them shortly after they got married. Prepare for a rise in the rates of blindness across the world.

** This hour's freaky facts were sponsored by 'INSANITY'. Melts in your mind not in your hands. **


 
 
Feeling: calmcalm
Current Muse/Music: The Faint - Posed to Death
 
 
blakzarathustra
08 November 2006 @ 21:58
Did you know?:

- That a Praying Mantis can eat a mouse. (Gross but true)
- The edible fish population may be diminished by 2038.
- The world is heating up and we as seniors are going to suffer the brunt of our parents generations oil burning glory days.
- In Vancouver, the summers are going to be warm and fire-filled and the winters are going to be rainy but warm? We are quite possibly going to become a tropical area.
- That my migraines are getting worse and I'm probably going to have to get it looked at.

** This hour's freaky facts were sponsored by 'SLEEP'. You know you want it. **
 
 
Feeling: listlesslistless
Current Muse/Music: Lycia - Fate
 
 
blakzarathustra
03 November 2006 @ 17:05
Wha Wha Whee Wha Wha,

I love spontaneity. That's why I took two days off of work (vacation time) and went down to Seattle for what was very well one of the best concerts I've ever been too. Katatonia, Moonspell, Daylight Dies, and two seattle-based local bands... It was well, very refreshing. The heavy rain and stormy weather kind of created a nice atmosphere for me the whole trip down.

Normally with that kind of music and that mood, one, alone, would be rather depressed by it, but I can't say I've ever had more fun of a spontaneous trip south ever.

Somethings, you have to do yourself to do them.

Anyway, it was a 2-day trip that will forever be cemented in my mind.
 
 
Feeling: cheerfulcheerful
Current Muse/Music: Katatonia - Sulphur