Best Of The Web
“Nothing says “end of the world” like a big fake clock.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists gave its annual Doomsday Clock presentation on Thursday and announced that it’s still two minutes to midnight. Last year, the group of 15 scholars and scientists moved the phony minute hand of fate 30 seconds closer to Armageddon, from two-and-a-half minutes to midnight to its present setting, 11:58 pm sharp. By the Bulletin’s logic, we’re as close to the end as we’ve ever been. The whole thing is adorably retro.
The Doomsday Clock debuted in 1947 and was set at seven minutes to midnight. You could say that one Doomsday Minute is roughly equal to ten years, except the Doomsdayers move the Clock forward and backward depending on what’s going on in the world. So the whole time-running-out thing is symbolically incoherent. And it’s not been the best predictor of emergencies either: In 1960, a year after the Cuban Revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power, the clock added five minutes to the survival time of the human race. Two years later, we had the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The last time the clock was two minutes to midnight was in 1953, at the peak of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race. What’s so scary this time around? “Humanity faces two dire and simultaneous existential threats: nuclear weapons and climate change,” said former California Governor Jerry Brown, executive chair of the Bulletin.
The Doomsday Clock has been suffering from mission creep for years now. Since the end of the Cold War, the people behind the Bulletin have been put in the position of alarmists looking for a fire. And climate change has been working its way to the fore of the Bulletin’s concerns.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."
"What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change."
"...the pendulum of history never stops moving. Indeed, one of the few constants of history is unceasing change. While we seem to be heading in one direction, we must remember that there will surely be pauses, turns, and reversals."
""Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé," premiered early Wednesday and it was the fulfillment of all the ancestors' hopes and dreams. Beyoncé also dropped "Homecoming: The Live Album.""
"Seven in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 received financial support from their parents in the last year, including more than half of those in their early 30s. Almost three in five millennials said they couldn’t afford their lifestyles without the support."
"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."
"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."
"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."
"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."
"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."
"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."
"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."