'Doomsday Clock' Set to Five Minutes to Midnight
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: "The risk of civilization-threatening technological catastrophe remains high."
"The risk of civilization-threatening technological catastrophe remains high."
Every year since 1945 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists makes the decision of what time its Doomsday Clock shall read. The minute hand of the clock may move closer or further to midnight based on existential threats to humanity. This year the Doomsday Clock stays in place at five minutes to midnight.
In an open letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and members of the UN Security Council, the group of scientists - which includes 18 Nobel laureates - argue that in 2013, "the world made limited strides" (such as an interim deal with Iran) toward reducing the threat posed by nuclear weapons, but overall, "the international community dealt with the continuing, potentially civilization-ending threat of nuclear weapons in a business-as-usual manner, meaning that outsized nuclear arsenals remain in the United States and Russia, and the nuclear arsenals of some countries—notably India, Pakistan, and China—appear to be growing."
The nuclear threat is certainly not the only threat the scientists considered. The group concluded that "worldwide efforts to limit the carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change have largely stalled."
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Long hidden under trees, it's utterly massive
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Christmas has many pagan and secular traditions that early Christians incorporated into this new holiday.
- Christmas was heavily influenced by the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
- The historical Jesus was not born on December 25th as many contemporary Christians believe.
- Many staple Christmas traditions predated the festival and were tied into ancient pagan worship of the sun and related directly to the winter solstice.
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