Freida Berrigan: 90 Seconds to Midnight – The Doomsday Clock and Me

Yves here. Perhaps I am showing too much of my usual crankiness, but I find the post below on the Doomsday Clock and its assessment of the danger of a nuclear-war-created end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it truly odd.

First it starts with Tik-Tok, as if young people’s feelings are what matter. Given the general disempowerment of US voter, particularly on US foreign policy and matters military, it would seem that what matters more is the lack of concern among what passes of our leaders as to the dangers….and then messaging consistent with that translating into popular attitudes, including among youth.

Next is a weird lack of agency as to how we got here. On the on hand, Berrigan has chops that are hard to argue with. She’s the daughter of Philip Berrigan and niece of Reverend Daniel Berrigan, among other things convicted for breaking a General Electric facility and smashing two nuclear nose cones. Berrigan fille is an antiwar activist and one of the co-founders of Witnesses Against Torture. So she may regard blame assignment as unproductive. On the other, the US has a great deal to answer for, particularly for keeping hostilities on a boil all over the world.

By Freida Berrigan. Originally published at TomDispatch

When it comes to TikTok content providers, I wouldn’t normally think of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. It’s a deeply serious organization founded in 1945 by physicists in the wake of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The clock was invented two years later by landscape artist Martyl Langsdorf as a way of graphically illustrating the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. In its 76 years of existence, its hands have been moved 25 times, but never more ominously than in January of this year!

And no need to look further than TikTok to see what happened. Amid all the tweens trying to jumpstart the next viral craze, a 30-second video features five representatives of the Bulletin‘s science and security board frozen in place as a voice intones: “We move the clock forward, the closest it has ever been to midnight.” Then two of them pull a cloth off it and add, “It is now 90 seconds to midnight.”

On TikTok, versions of this video got hundreds of thousands of “likes” and thousands of comments. Mind you, that’s a blip compared to the videos of even minor celebrities. Still, I found myself scrolling through the comments, many of them versions of “Does this mean I don’t have to pay my mortgage/bills/ taxes?” Others had lines like “Someone call the Avengers” or asked if it had anything to do with Taylor Swift’s Midnights album. This being the Internet, there was all too much cursing and all too many oblique emojis, as well as people poking fun at the awkward staging and long stretch of silence in the video.

Mixed with such inanity were expressions of genuine fear, confusion, and distress over the possible immanence of nuclear war. That is, of course, what the clock, as a salient piece of public art, is supposed to do: generate conversation, spark inquiry, and lead to action. As artist Sam Heydt observes, the Doomsday Clock should remind us that “the edge is closer than we think. In a time marked by mass extinction, diminishing resources, global pandemic, and climate change, the future isn’t what it used to be.”

Tick, Tock Indeed!

One hallmark of TikTok is reaction videos where creators split the screen to show their response. In one, a young white woman reacts this way: “Are we supposed to be scared? My generation is never going to have retirement, never going to own a home. I’m living in a van.” I get it: there’s so much that seems more immediate in our world: school shootings, police violence, bank collapses, and inflation, to name just a few. Who even has time to notice now that the future isn’t what it used to be?

But embedded somewhere in any of those in-your-face issues, whether we know it or not, are nuclear weapons, threatening the end to it all. Certainly, the Pentagon knows it, since (whether you’ve noticed or not), it continues to invest your tax dollars in nuclear weapons, big time. Between 2019 and 2028, the United States is on track to spend at least $494 billion on its nuclear forces, or about $50 billion a year, according to a Congressional Budget Office assessment. Analysts actually estimate that Pentagon plans to “modernize” — yes, that’s the term — its nuclear arsenal could cost you as much as $1.5 to $2 trillion in the coming decades.

The clock has never been so close to midnight and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is using every tool at its disposal to keep clanging the alarm bell. It even has a Doomsday Clock playlist on Spotify, while its 90-second clock announcement was briefly front-page news at the Washington Post (the front of their Science section, anyway) and the New York Times. Still, we live in such an atomized (excuse me for that!) and polarized media environment that it’s increasingly hard to penetrate the noise cloud.

Nuclear weapons, once a top-of-the-line issue for so many Americans, have faded into, at best, a background hum. So, I wonder, what happens after the Doomsday Clock reaches midnight? What’s next for that metaphor? Or as the seconds are shaved away amid a war in Ukraine that could always go nuclear, is it time for an entirely new metaphor, something (excuse me again!) more explosive?

Then, of course, there’s that other great danger to us all, climate change, which, it seems, doesn’t even need a metaphor. The alarm of raging wildfires, unbelievable floods, megadroughts, fiercer storms, fast-melting glaciers, and disappearing rivers leaves the very idea of metaphors in the dust. Climate scientists are blunt to the point of bruising on this. What part of “there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all” don’t you understand? That, of course, is what the recently released report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asserted with “high confidence.” Tick, tock, indeed!

Come to think of it, maybe nuclear weapons don’t need a new metaphor either. After all, we already have the mushroom cloud, the haunted eyes of that child in Hiroshima, the shadow of a dead person left on that rock, and the unnatural silence that followed the wall of sound and flame incinerating thousands of human beings in an instant. That’s no exaggeration. That was Hiroshima in 1945.

In 2023, when we consume news and images in almost real-time, it’s hard to imagine that the now-iconic images from Hiroshima and Nagasaki were censored and treated as contraband by our government at the time. It wasn’t until 1952 that the searing images of photographer Yoshito Matsushige were finally published, first in the Japanese magazine Asahi Gurafu and then in Life magazine. And there’s so much that none of us will ever see. After all, Matsushige spent 10 hours walking through his devastated city of Hiroshima but took only seven pictures. “It was such a cruel site,” he said later, “that I couldn’t bring myself to press the shutter.”

It’s Three Minutes to Midnight and You Want to Do What?

I recently met a group of college students from all over the country. To my shock, none of them seemed to have heard of nuclear weapons before I mentioned them. I couldn’t relate. I’m no Martyl Langsdorf, but thanks to my family, I’ve grown up with the Doomsday Clock in a way few other people have. I don’t remember a day of my life that I haven’t thought about nukes and this country’s ability to literally obliterate humanity.

Some dads say things like “money doesn’t grow on trees” when their kids ask for permission to see a film. My dad was Phil Berrigan, a nuclear abolitionist and peace activist. So, he would say: “It’s three minutes to nuclear midnight and you want to go to the movies?” Imagine living as if your personal choices made a difference when it came to nuclear war. That’s certainly how my parents and their friends in the Catholic Left lived and how a small subculture continues to live today.

My mom and dad, Elizabeth McAlister and Philip Berrigan, a former nun and a priest, refused to pay “war taxes,” trespassed onto military installations to protest our world-ending ways, held vigils at weapons manufacturing plants, and protested during the stockholder meetings of giant weapons-making corporations, while taking care of the victims of skewed U.S. policies by organizing soup lines and opening their doors to the unhoused.

By reminding me of where the hands on the Doomsday Clock stood at any moment, my dad helped me integrate concerns about nuclear weapons into my daily life. He helped me measure out the energy I had for any worry. I mean, why fork over $8 (now $28?) at a movie box office to get scared by a horror story on the celluloid screen when the real world is scary enough for free?

76 Years of the Doomsday Clock in 25 Moves

So, nuclear timekeeping started in 1947 at seven minutes to midnight.

By 1949, as the Cold War heated up and the Soviet Union got the bomb, the hands on that clock were moved to three minutes to midnight, code for distinctly too close! As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists wrote after Russia exploded its first nuclear device, “We think that Americans have reason to be deeply alarmed and prepare for grave decisions.” The nuclear arms race was off and running. 

In 1953, after the U.S. and the Soviets developed and tested massive hydrogen bombs, those hands were moved to two minutes.

In 1960, sustained international cooperation and the successful negotiation of arms control treaties between the superpower rivals compelled the scientists to move the clock hands back to seven minutes to midnight.

In 1963, in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis and the terror of near-nuclear war, the U.S. and USSR signed new agreements, ending atmospheric nuclear tests. The world sighed with relief as the clock was moved back to 12 minutes.

But in 1968, as the Vietnam War fanned global tensions, the Soviets expanded their nuclear arsenal, and France and China both developed nuclear weapons, it was at seven minutes again.

1969 brought another sigh of relief as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) was signed and the nations with such weaponry committed to future nuclear disarmament talks. The clock inched back to 10 minutes.

In 1972, when the U.S. and Soviet Union signed the disarmament agreement that came to be known as the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, or SALT, the clock made it to 12 minutes.

My Life and the Doomsday Clock

In 1974, however, India tested a nuclear device painfully code-named “Smiling Buddha” and that minute hand was moved to nine again. I was born just a few weeks before that Indian test, which spurred neighbor and rival Pakistan to launch its own nuclear program. By the following summer, my parents would carry my infant brother and me as they marched with friends, hauling full-sized replicas of the nuclear weapons that had destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki through the streets of Washington, every day for almost a week to mark the 30th anniversary of the atomic bombings.

In 1981, as the Soviets continued their war in Afghanistan and Americans elected Ronald Reagan as president, the clock ominously moved to four minutes. I was seven and my brother six when our father was sentenced to 10 years in jail (later reduced) for his part in a 1980 action. A group that called itself the Plowshares Eight had walked into the General Electric Space Technology Center in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, with the early morning rush of workers. There, they symbolically disarmed some model nuclear weapons. Their trial was later made into a movie starring Martin Sheen (with my dad playing himself).

In 1984, the clock was moved to three minutes to midnight as President Reagan pumped money into Star Wars technology as a way to win a future nuclear war. Just a month after I turned 10, my mom went on trial for her Plowshares action a year earlier at Griffiss Air Force base in upstate New York. That summer, my family and their friends also tried to maintain a round-the-clock presence at the Pentagon concourse. 

In 1988, the Bulletin‘s scientists reset the Doomsday Clock at six minutes to midnight as the work of a growing global antinuclear movement started to deliver dividends in agreements to cut back the number of deployed long-range nuclear weapons. That summer, when I was 14, we built a rough, shed-like house and brought it to the Pentagon Parade Ground to call for “homes, not bombs.” We stayed all night and watched the rats take over the Pentagon grounds as it grew dark.

By 1990, in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the clock was readjusted to 10 minutes to midnight, the furthest from disaster since 1968.

In 1991, in the wake of the Cold War, the U.S. and Russia signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and began to cut back their nuclear arsenals as the Soviet Union faded into history. Appropriately enough, the Bulletin moved the clock to a breathtaking 17 minutes to midnight, writing: “the illusion that tens of thousands of nuclear weapons are a guarantor of national security has been stripped away.”

In 1995, a close call and human error led the scientists to nudge the clock to 14 minutes and, in 1998, nine minutes, while calling on the United States, Russia, and other nuclear states to “fully commit” to “control the spread of nuclear weapons.”

In 2002, in response to the 9/11 terror attacks and growing concerns about loose nuclear materials, the science and security board adjusted the clock to seven minutes. My father died that December, after a lifetime of anti-war activism. He spent the last year of his life trying to jumpstart a “national strike” for nuclear disarmament.  

In 2007, after North Korea tested its first nuclear device, the Bulletin moved the clock ominously to five minutes to midnight and the science and security board added human-made climate change to the doomsday formula. In that announcement, they wrote, “As we stand at the brink of a second nuclear age and at the onset of an era of unprecedented climate change, our way of thinking about the uses and control of technologies must change… The clock is ticking.”

In 2010, the Bulletin inched the minute hand back up to six, thanks to the Copenhagen accord on climate change and new negotiations between the U.S. and Russia on arms reductions.

Between six minutes and five minutes to nuclear midnight, I got married, pledging to work for the abolition of such weaponry with my husband, who grew up in southeastern Connecticut, protesting at submarine christenings and launches at a U.S. naval base on the Thames River.  

Thanks to new North Korea aggressiveness and general global intransigence on climate-change commitments, 2012 saw a modest drop to five minutes. That was a “time” that took on a new kind of urgency for me after the Sandy Hook school shootings that killed six teachers and 20 kids about the same age as my dear stepdaughter in nearby Newtown, Connecticut. Her school beefed up security in response, checking IDs and barring parents from the building. Every day, when I carried my newborn son to pick up his sister, I had to go through an elaborate process at dismissal time in a state of near panic, flinching at any loud noise and feeling both the fragility of my kindergartener’s life and the threat to all life from nuclear weapons. After all, the Sandy Hook killer had but a small arsenal compared to what the United States threatened the world with every day.   

By 2015, Russia and the U.S. had both announced new spending to “modernize” their nuclear arsenals and, in climate terms, it was the hottest year on record. The Bulletin ominously moved the hands of the clock to three minutes to midnight for the first time since the Cold War year of 1984.

By then, I was the mother of two toddlers, born in 2012 and 2014, and my stepdaughter was 9. Those three wonders helped me stay focused on the beauty of each day and the extraordinary web of life that the growing nuclear arsenals on this planet eternally hold hostage. I recommitted myself then to taking the nuclear threat seriously, but without hectoring my kids about the Doomsday Clock the way my dad had done with me.

In 2017, the Bulletin moved those clock hands 30 seconds closer to midnight, its first half-minute move ever in response to President Donald Trump’s inflammatory nuclear rhetoric, soaring Pentagon budgets, and new threats to the global climate.

A year later, in 2018, we lost another 30 seconds and the clock hit two minutes to midnight, as the Bulletin pointed out that international diplomacy had been “reduced to name-calling, U.S.-Russia relations featured more conflict than cooperation, the Iran deal was imperiled, and greenhouse gas emissions rose anew.”

Though no longer a kid, I still found myself watching a parent being hauled off to jail. This time, it was my mother, then 79, arrested for trespassing with six friends at the Kings Bay Naval Base in Georgia in a move to symbolically disarm the Trident nuclear submarines there.

In 2020, the Bulletin’s clock moved to 100 seconds to midnight, while citing the two existential dangers of climate change and nuclear weapons in its press statement.

Over the next two years, the magazine did something new. It didn’t change the hands on the clock but issued press releases about why they remained at 100 seconds. Meanwhile, in 2021, the kids and I helped make 68 signs thanking each of the nations that had adopted the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. My kids poured their hearts into those works of art, adorning them with silver paint and sparkles. That treaty celebration day in New London where we live was cold and windy and the two little ones were almost hidden behind their signs, while they asked me lots of questions about Honduras and the island of Nauru which I gamely tried to answer without resorting to Wikipedia. An adage attributed to Mark Twain came to my mind then: “War is how Americans learn geography.” I smiled, thinking that my kids were learning geography through protest and peacemaking.

And then, this January, the Bulletin‘s science and security board again shaved the time by seconds, announcing that it was now 90 seconds to midnight.

What’s Next (Or Do I Mean Last)?

In the 76 years since its creation, the minute and second hands of the Doomsday Clock have moved 25 times, back and forth — tick, tock, tick, tock — from 17 minutes to midnight at its furthest from imminent danger to the present 90 seconds to midnight. What lies on the other side of midnight?

On a normal clock, 12:01 would simply begin a new day, a new chance to learn from the past and adjust your path to the future. The question now is whether such a 12:01, a future without the Doomsday Clock, without the existential threats of nuclear weapons and climate change is even imaginable.

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  1. El Slobbo

    Even during my teen years in the 1970s, my question was “what exactly does a minute measure on this so-called clock?”, And my conclusion was that the clock is an indication of how nervous we are supposed to be, according to The Serious People.
    I imagine some point in the future when they get embarrassingly close to the one second point, they’ll have to move to scaring us with milliseconds. Yawn.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      Yep. It makes me wonder whether they plan in advance for such contingencies. Otherwise they risk putting themselves in a corner.

  2. skippy

    If you can’t see or have no inkling of the clock does it matter – ????? – or might watching it draw you too the cliff …

  3. Paul Harvey 0swald

    It creeps, this. It’s always been around me. I’ll be 60 this year. Nuclear annihilation has always been on one burner or another. But after this much time what creeps in is, well, it hasn’t happened yet, so maybe it won’t? And after 76 years we’re [fill in the blank] of minuscule amount of time to… oh, look at this shiny thing! Yes, it’s a possibility, but annihilation by global warming is the certainty.

    1. davejustdave

      It depends on what “annihilation” means, but I regard the potential outcome of global warming depicted in Oreskes and Conway’s book The Collapse of Western Civilization: A view from the future as likely in broad outline, and as fortunate an outcome as one might reasonably hope for. Getting there will be a bumpy ride, to put it extremely mildly. But in this scenario humankind, and even civilization – somewhat differently configured – will persist. › Naomi Oreskes-The-Collapse-of- Western-Civilization-2014.pdf

  4. Brian Beijer

    Being 50+ years old, I’m sure that at some point I must have considered the Doomsday Clock something to be taken seriously. I can’t quite remember when I stopped caring. Was it when Bush declared a global war on terror? When the Gulf of Mexico was on fire due to the BP oilspill? When both poles started melting “faster than expected”? During one of the hundreds of California wildfires? Was it hearing the eternal march of capitalism chanting “More!”, “War!”, “More War!”. I honestly couldn’t say that it was any one event, but perhaps the daily/ yearly accumulation of tragedies that’s left me feeling numb to it all. The one thing I know is that I was born into a system I did not choose and now lack the willpower/ energy to try to to change it, The trucker protests, the BLM protests, and the ongoing French protests show how little our “democratic” systems are influenced by their people. How many cities would we have to burn down before our “representatives” in government start listening to us? My guess is that we’d have to burn it all down. Do I need a clock to tell me that the people who do control this system are psychopaths determined to kill us all? No, I’ve figured that out already.

  5. Aurelien

    I’ve never understood the logic behind the Doomsday Clock, and I’ve never understood why nuclear scientists are supposed to have some kind of special insight into the future. The biggest error, though, is to giving agency to “the arms race” or to nuclear weapons in general. Nuclear weapons are not an “existential threat” and it’s silly to treat them in the same context as global warming, which is an existential threat. Nuclear weapons are weapons belonging to states, whose use, if it ever came to that, would be decided by actual politicians in an actual crisis where (presumably) the survival of their country was at stake. They have nothing to do with school shootings: indeed, the whole article seems to be a mini-autobiography rather than serious analysis.

      1. Aurelien

        No, I didn’t. But nuclear weapons (a) aren’t comparable to guns and (b) don’t have a mind of their own. At least I’ve never met a nuclear weapon that wanted to start a war.

        1. mrsyk

          Hmm, just checking. (BTW, I’m a big fan of your blog.)
          Isn’t agency (to the arms race/nuclear weapons created by policy, say “nuclear deterrence”. I would argue that the doomsday clock, despite the theater, is, or was initially, a public observation by the “above politics” scientific community as to how real the worst case scenarios of such policy could play out.

          1. Aurelien

            Yes, agency is something only human beings have, and this is why I have always objected to the idea that a nuclear war could just “break out.” It would require an extraordinary chain of circumstances, but it would be possible if a number of human beings in different countries did really stupid things one after the other. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in writing and speculating about such possibilities: my only thought was that I don’t see the nuclear scientists have any special insights here.
            Thanks for the kind words, by the way.

            1. Hickory

              Clearly the clock is a vehicle for people who understand the consequences of nuclear war (nuke weapons scientists) to make a public statement about it and encourage public support for policy change to reduce risk. Seems reasonable to me.

  6. Cassandra

    Yves, what you see as inanity or flippancy is just despair cloaked in millennial black humor. People have been dying deaths of despair at an accelerating rate for years. Now we have multiple generations where the majority see that the future is not only “not what it used to be,” it is probably nonexistent. Bad enough that they have no access to a fulfilling job or decent housing or dentistry, for God’s sake; they are constantly bombarded with images of the gilt-encrusted lives of the elite. They have also seen images of environmental destruction and weather catastrophe, and they know about beautiful wildlife facing extinction. They also feel that they have no way to alter the trajectory, from their personal situation to the global environment. Their best efforts are not good enough.

    In response, a natural response is rage: “Fine! I will die in a nuclear apocalypse, but so will you bastards with your mansions filled with giant freezers of designer gelato!”

    But after a while the rage burns out and what is left is numbness, nihilism, and ashes. Why delay gratification when there is no future?

    There is a joke in the medical field about categories of prognoses, ranging from “don’t buy a 3-year CD” to “don’t buy green bananas.” We have a whole society looking for the yellowest bananas.

  7. CanCyn

    “I recently met a group of college students from all over the country. To my shock, none of them seemed to have heard of nuclear weapons before I mentioned them.” This scares me more than the doomsday clock. I find myself wondering what they’re teaching the kids these days on a fairly regular basis.
    Otherwise, as a 61 year old, I have to agree with most of the folks who have already commented. The threat of nuclear destruction seems secondary to the greed and lack of empathy for others in today’s world. Climate change is a bigger threat IMO. When I think about how much we could fix and know that there are many actively thwarting or ignoring such possibilities, well, I just pretty much want to just give up.

    1. Cassandra

      > I find myself wondering what they’re teaching the kids these days

      For one thing, there has been a concerted effort by the authoritarian elite in the US to suppress teaching critical thinking. Add in the carrot-and-stick emphasis on teaching to the multiple choice test. There is also a heaping dose of bread and circuses to pacify the masses, except they figured out that digital circuses are much cheaper than bread and opiates suppress hunger.

      I owe my own political awakening a half century ago to my high school history teacher who was passionate about his subject. He also taught the mandatory civics class, with the American constitution as the text and a heavy emphasis on landmark Supreme Court cases. Every single one of his tests offered extra credit for an essay on a current events question.

      This was around the time of the fall of Saigon, and there was a distressing amount of “nuke the g**ks until they glow” talk around. Sort of the precursor to “bomb bomb bomb Iran.” One day we came to class and the projector was set up. Hurray, movie day! My teacher announced, “Children, if you are going to talk about nuclear weapons, you should know what you are talking about.” We watched 50 minutes of newsreel footage from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Before lunch.

      Doc Dixon, wherever you are, blessings on your head.

    2. GC54

      The most effective film was by a Japanese Dr and assistant immediately after the attack. The film was taken to the US by an Army reporter and only recently has been released. I used it in my classes along with captain Kirk’s narrated Trinity and Beyond available on YouTube to sober up freshmen.

  8. DGL

    “I recently met a group of college students from all over the country. To my shock, none of them seemed to have heard of nuclear weapons before I mentioned them.”

    Over the past few weeks I re-watched and re-read “On the Beach” and “Fail Safe”. “Dr. Strangelove” is the black humor movie inspired by the book “Fail Safe.”

    Even my peers found my interest macabre; I found the return to my youth illuminating. The arguments Lambert presents against AI are present in both books. The stoic acceptance of death in “On the Beach” is a wonderful cultural counterpoint the the worship of superheros saving the world we now have today. The distrust of Russians and the desire to attack, now come to life in Ukraine, is clearly articulated in “Fail Safe”.

    The world in the shadow of WWII responded culturally, politically and philosophically. Our world today is responding culturally. The zombie and superhero movies are a response to the awareness we live in dire times. Our young are aware all is not well but the causes are amorphous in out staccato society.

    The forces moving the world are shadows to me. The movement away from the USA is lead by people who articulate rational arguments to distant themselves from the western bloc. We live in the age of Thanatos – Freud’s death drive. We are waiting for Godot.

  9. The Rev Kev

    Decades ago the the Doomsday Clock was more relevant and people actually paid attention to it. This was in the era of the mass ‘Ban The Bomb’ protests around the world which continued through to the 1980s Greenham Common protests. This was also the era where such mass protests could not be ignored by governments but had to be taken into account. But what I think happened is that after the 90s governments learned how to ignore protests as shown by the anti Iraq invasion protests – which did diddly squat. Now you can have wars everywhere and there is no anti-war protests or movements worth mentioning. This being the case, the Doomsday Clock became an anachronism. (1:49 mins)

      1. Brian Beijer

        Lol. As a watch geek, I would say that an A. Lange & Söhne Doomsday Clock would DEFINITELY capture my attention. Rolex or Patek, not so much.

  10. Chet G

    At 75, I’ve read many Philip Dick stories of a post nuclear world, and so the concept of a Doomsday Clock and that we are all so close to instant (at best) death I find truly depressing. And if I remember correctly, at the Doomsday Clock site, the move to 90 seconds was blamed on Russia. Sure. Another group with a political ax to grind.

    The fact that the US leaders are so disinterested in the possibility of a nuclear end of everything, I feel, leads to the mass media and people likewise being disinterested. The scenario is too unreal . . . except that it is real, and I wish someone responsible would do something intelligent about the situation.

  11. Alex Cox

    The Bulletin was once a great publication, popularly written and available on newsstands. In the early 21st century its political stance shifted. Its focus on opposing nuclear weapons faded. Articles about the hero bombers of Nagasaki appeared.
    Then the Bulletin went digital, and most of it disappeared behind a paywall. Never mind the Clock – the dumbing down and relative uselessness of the current Bulletin are the real shame.

  12. paxmark1

    I was in a skit once with Frida’s brother, I was Dante and he was Virgil. The end was tying it into madeline allbright’s spot in the 10th circle of hell. Frida, not Frieda.

    Some of us we spend years of civil disobedience going up to a very demonstrative action with risk of death and we pause. I did. The group she was in (in Cuba) getting detained (the military detains, civilian authorities arrest) by usOfa Marines at Guantanamo is possibly one of the most trenchant acts of civil disobedience in the west in the previous decade.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m glad to learn that Freida is doing some things that could be effective. It must be hard to be so dedicated to a critically important cause and (objectively) not effect much change.

  13. paxmark1

    And straying over to the Bulletin. Sam (Samuel Jr,) Day was once upon a time editor of the Bulletin. He moved over to The Progressive ( those open source Los Alamo sources that the us supreme ct had to rule on). Also Nukewatch. Sam was a lot of fun to get arrested with (Karl Kabat and he always dressed up as clowns). Sam lost his eyesight due to poor medical care in usOfa prison system. Nihil illegitimati corborundum.

    80’s 90’s early 2000’s I read it at Concordia or Moorhead State, Des Moine public, Luther library, Winnipeg library, but then it ceased appearing in at least 4 of those venues. It went to shit and nothing has taken it’s place.

  14. Kilgore Trout

    The “Bulletin” is a shell of its former self, IMO. Its editors accept the “Russia, Russia” Putin = Evil formula, and seem deaf to any contradictory/counterfactual information. Hence, the clock’s movement is a reaction to Russia’s invasion, and what the US and Ukraine have done since 2014 is ignored. I’ve tried posting comments to two recent pieces in the mag, and neither saw the light of day. Which I can only conclude was because they didn’t fit “the narrative”.

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