After being moved to 11:56 two years ago, the Doomsday Clock is now back to ticking down and has gone to 11:55, a mere 5 minutes until armageddon, metaphorically at least. Admittedly, the Doomsday Clock isn't a conventional clock in any sense of the word. Instead, it's a meter by which scientists, specifically the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, can contextualize the intensity of their ever-present feeling that the world is ending. Right now, they're feeling pretty pessimistic.Read More
This past Saturday, the U.S. temporarily lost control of 50 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, or 1/9 of our domestic nuclear stockpile, due to an engineering failure. According to a military officer who The Atlantic spoke to, this incident represented an unprecedented loss of control: "'We've never had something as big as this happen' ... Occasionally, one or two might blink out, the officer said, and several warheads are routinely out of service for maintenance. At an extreme, '[w]e can deal with maybe 5, 6, or 7 at a time, but we've never lost complete command and control and functionality of 50 ICBMs.'" All told, according to Danger Room, for about 45 minutes, "launch control officers at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming couldn’t reliably communicate or monitor the status of 50 Minuteman III nuclear missiles."Read More
Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project's "Trinity" test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan's nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea's two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).
Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing"the fear and folly of nuclear weapons." It starts really slow -- if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so -- but the buildup becomes overwhelming. Video below:Read More