~e; tick-tock goes the doomsday clock

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Thu, 28 Feb 2002 09:39:36 -0600

  [believe this was mentioned a few weeks ago as a possibility,
  that the nuclear holocaust clock at the U of Chicago, where the
  first nuclear pile was made by Fermi and others, if memory is
  correct. this time, 12-midnight is 'nuclear bombs going off' any-
  where in the world, so i wonder what happens to the clock when
  more than one goes off, does the clock become a cuckoo-clock
  and start spinning and doing amazing things, as one might expect
  in a doomsday scenario. maybe there needs to be a 'seconds' hand.]

Doomsday clock moved closer

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By F.N. D'Alessio

Feb. 27, 2002  |  CHICAGO (AP) --

The hands of the Doomsday Clock, for 55 years a symbol of nuclear 
danger, were moved two minutes closer to midnight Wednesday, 
reflecting the possibility of terrorism, relations between India and 
Pakistan, and other threats.

The symbolic clock, kept by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 
had been set at 11:51 since 1998. It was moved to 11:53 p.m.

George A. Lopez, the publication's chairman of the board, said it has 
never been moved in response to a single event.

Still, he said, the attacks of Sept. 11 combined with evidence that 
terrorists were attempting to obtain the materials for a crude 
nuclear weapon should have served as a wake-up call to the world. He 
said the world has focused on short-term security rather than solving 
long-term problems.

"The international community simply hit the snooze button rather than 
raising the general alarm," Lopez said.

He said such factors as the concern about the security of nuclear 
weapons materials stockpiled around the world and the crisis between 
nuclear powers India and Pakistan figured into the decision.

It was the 17th time the clock has been reset since it debuted in 
1947 at the same position it was set to Wednesday, 11:53.

Stephen Schwartz, publisher of the Bulletin, said that originally the 
board defined "midnight" as nuclear war. In recent years, however, it 
has been redefined as the use of nuclear weapons anywhere on earth, 
he said.

The clock is a 1 1/2-foot-square wooden mock-up in the magazine's 
office at the University of Chicago. It was started two years after 
the bulletin began as a newsletter among scientists of the Manhattan 
Project -- the top-secret U.S. effort during World War II to develop 
an atomic bomb.

It came closest to midnight -- just two minutes away -- in 1953, 
after the United States successfully tested the hydrogen bomb. It has 
been as far away as 17 minutes, set there in 1991 in a wave of post- 
Cold-War optimism.

Associated Press

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