Written by Skip Kaltenhauser via DownWithTyranny.com,

ICT Tac. Good people at Atomic Scientists Bulletinhave come back to pull up their Doomsday clock. Last Thursday at the National Press Club, a group of renowned speakers, including former California governor Jerry Brown, and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, pointed out the warning of the organization according to which we had established our residence in "the new abnormal". Watch the press conference and support videos here.

The clock of the day cursed was set last year to two minutes until midnight (midnight being the end of the match), and it remains so. There is little comfort in what astrophysicist Robert Rosner of the University of Chicago has described as a precipice that would be quickly turned back. The President and CEO of the Bulletin, Rachel Bronson, pointed out that the clock was still in place, the closer to the global catastrophe is not stability, but "a stern warning to leaders and citizens around the world".

William Perry said that the organization considered our current situation as precarious as in 1953, in the darkness of the Cold War while the Korean War was still raging. Jerry Brown said: "The blindness and stupidity of politicians and their consultants are really shocking in the face of the nuclear disaster and the danger … the matter of daily politics blind people at risk, we play Russian roulette with humanity ", with the danger of an incident that will kill millions of people if not trigger a conflict that will kill billions of people .

Brown told reporters that they would like the Trump tweets and the news of the day, "the tracks that generate the most clicks", the last click being a nuclear accident, an error. "It is difficult to feel or feel the danger and the danger in which we find ourselves, but these scientists know what they are talking about, and I can say that, depending on my understanding of the political process, politicians do not." Referring to Congress inaction on related issues, Brown called it "sleep asleep." He pledged to spend the next few years doing everything possible to "ring the alarm." and put us back on the path of dialogue, collaboration and arms control. "

the Atomic Scientists Bulletin and Doomsday Clock are creations of a group of scientists who participated in the Manhattan project. The current position of the clock has been determined by a group of scholars and scientists including fifteen Nobel laureates. They are serious people. It is comforting to see their party avoid political discussion points or biased partisans in favor of Joe Friday's focus on "just the facts, ma'am". Just the scary facts that let the fleas fall where they can. About thirty-three minutes after the start of the conference, Jerry Brown gave the floor to a Dutch uncle with Democrats who maintain the mode of attack against Putin on all points without leaving open the option of nuclear dialogue. This was reminiscent of Washington's bipartisan war party discussions sparked by William Atkin's recent criticism of NBC and MSNBC.

The bulletin has been criticized for overstepping the original nuclear field by encompassing a number of other perils. But it seems that if we learn something from studies of polar climate and ice and extreme weather events, it is that seemingly unrelated factors overlap, overlap, interact and accelerate in a that we did not understand. There is no doubt that more surprises will come. It is certain that the effects of climate change on food and water supplies, on ocean health and on migration will weigh on political systems as well as on future tensions and conflicts. It may be too far, but one could consider including the prospects of financial meltdown on the part of bankers who behave badly. Economic calamities have lit a lot of locks throughout history.

Stanford's cyber-expert, Herb Lin, has focused on the ongoing degradation of institutions that hold leaders accountable. While nuclear risks and climate change are at the center of attention, the fact that incorrect information on steroids is made possible through the Internet. According to Lin, "the events of 2018 have helped us to better understand persistent and intentional corruption of the information environment." Our leaders complain about false information and invoke alternative facts when the reality is awkward. They are totally inconsistent. "

So we have an information war combined with information overload that compromises the public's ability to absorb and analyze critical issues. Among other things, the information war de-legitimizes the values ​​and truths embodied in science, causing weakening and mistrust of all information, opening up a box of Pandora distortions that allows the public and politicians to avoid struggling with the serious problems that lie ahead.

It suits me if the experiences of recent years inoculate the public with a healthy cynicism, offering some protection against gatling guns who spit out topics for discussion. But if the public rejects the legitimacy of scientific thought and evidence, not so good.

Here are some excerpts from The bulletin statement on the Doomsday Clock:

Humanity is now confronted with two simultaneous existential threats, which would cause extreme concern and immediate attention. These major threats – nuclear weapons and climate change – were exacerbated last year by the increased use of the information war to undermine democracy around the world, magnifying the risks of these threats and threats. Other threats and putting the future of civilization in extraordinary jeopardy.

In the nuclear field, the United States has abandoned the Iran nuclear deal and announced that it will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, an important step in the complete dismantling of the global nuclear process. arms control. Although the United States and North Korea have moved away from the bellicose rhetoric of 2017, the urgent nuclear dilemma for North Korea has still not been resolved. At the same time, the world's nuclear nations have launched "nuclear modernization" programs that are virtually indistinguishable from a global arms race. The military doctrines of Russia and the United States have gradually eroded the long-standing taboo against the use of nuclear weapons.

On the climate change front, global emissions of carbon dioxide – which seemed to have plateaued at the beginning of the decade – have resumed their rise in 2017 and 2018. To end the harmful effects of climate change, the countries of the world must reduce their net global carbon dioxide emissions to zero well before the end of the century. By such a measure, the world community failed miserably last year. At the same time, the main global agreement on the fight against climate change – the Paris Agreement of 2015 – is increasingly besieged. The United States announced that it would withdraw from this pact and, at the December climate summit in Poland, the United States itself with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait ( all major oil producing countries) to undermine an expert report on the impacts of climate change commissioned by the Paris Climate Conference.

Among these deplorable nuclear and climate developments, the intentional corruption of the information ecosystem, on which modern civilization depends, has increased over the past year. In many forums, including social media, nationalist leaders and their substitutes lied shamelessly, insisting that their lies were the truth and that the truth was "false information." These intentional attempts to distort reality exaggerate social divisions, undermine trust in science and diminish trust. in elections and democratic institutions. Because these distortions attack the rational discourse required to solve the complex problems facing humanity, cyber warfare worsens other major dangers in the world, including nuclear weapons and climate change, because it undermines civilization in general.

First clock, 1947

Disturbing nuclear tendencies continue.

The global nuclear order has been deteriorating for many years and 2018 was no exception to this trend. Relations between the United States and Russia and China have grown further. The architecture of nuclear arms control that has been in place for half a century continues to deteriorate, while the negotiation process for the reduction of nuclear weapons and fissile material stocks is moribund. Nuclear-weapon States remain committed to their arsenals, determined to modernize their capabilities and have increasingly adhered to doctrines that envisage the use of nuclear power. Reckless leaders, intense diplomatic conflicts and regional instabilities combine to create an international context in which nuclear dangers are real.

A number of negative developments have colored the nuclear history in 2018.

First, the United States has abandoned the Common Global Action Plan, the multilateral agreement that imposed unprecedented constraints on Iran's nuclear program and allowed for an unprecedented verification of Iran's nuclear facilities and activities. On May 8, President Trump announced that the United States would cease to abide by the agreement and instead launch a "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. Until now, Iran and the other parties have continued to respect the agreement, despite the lack of US participation. It's unclear whether they will keep the deal alive, but one thing is certain: the Trump government has attacked one of the biggest successes of nuclear non-proliferation in recent years and has done so in a way that increases the risk of conflict with Iran and further increases tensions with the allies in the long run.

Second, in October, the Trump administration announced its intention to withdraw from the INF treaty, which prohibits intermediate range missiles. Although upset by reciprocal complaints about compliance, the INF agreement has been in force for more than 30 years and has contributed to stability in Europe. His potential death foreshadows a new competition to deploy long banned weapons. Unfortunately, while the treaties are being eliminated, no process in place will create a new regime of negotiated constraints on nuclear behavior. For the first time since the 1980s, it seems that the world is moving towards an unregulated nuclear environment – a result that could replicate the intense arms race that was the hallmark of the first unregulated decades of the nuclear era.

… even as arms control efforts diminish, the modernization of nuclear forces around the world continues apace. In his presidential address to the Federal Assembly on March 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin described a vast nuclear modernization program, justified as a response to US missile defense efforts. The Trump administration has added to the extremely expensive nuclear modernization program it has inherited from the Obama administration.

Andrew Wheeler by Nancy Ohanian

Negative trends in climate change.

The existential threat of global warming caused by humans is disturbing and worsening. Every year, human activities continue to add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which irreversibly increases the future level of human suffering and ecosystem destruction that will be caused by global climate disruption. The main measure of improvement on the climate front is the extent of progress made in reducing global net carbon dioxide emissions to zero. On this measure, the countries of the world failed miserably.

Global rates of carbon dioxide emissions had increased exponentially until 2012, but had stopped growing from 2013 to 2016. Even if this plateau had been maintained, it would not have stopped the growth of warming. Net emissions must ultimately be reduced to zero to achieve this, given the persistence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for thousands of years. The bad news of 2017 and 2018 is that global emissions seem to have picked up again.

Even countries that have strongly supported the need for decarbonization are not doing enough. Preliminary estimates show that almost all countries contributed to the rise in emissions. Some countries, including the United States and some members of the EU, have increased their emissions after years of reduction.

The United States has also relinquished its responsibilities to lead the global decarbonization effort. The United States has more resources than the poorest countries; its inability to reduce emissions in an ambitious manner is a serious act of negligence. The United States remained alone while the other G20 countries subscribed to part of a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to fighting climate change. Then, in 2018, at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Poland, the United States joined forces with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – all major oil producers – to undermine a report on the impacts of climate change.

Freedom of the press, money and the media by Nancy Ohanian

The threat of the war of information and other disruptive technologies.

Nuclear war and climate change threaten the physical infrastructure that provides food, energy and other necessities necessary for human life. But to thrive, thrive and progress, people also need reliable information about their world – factual information, in abundance.

Today, however, Chaos reigns in much of the information ecosystem upon which modern civilization rests. In many forums for political and societal discourse, we now see national leaders shouting about misinformation, which means they do not like the news. These same leaders lie shamelessly, calling their lies the truth. Acting beyond national boundaries, these leaders and their substitutes exacerbate existing divisions, creating anger and increasing mistrust of public and private institutions. Using anecdotes and baseless rhetoric, Holocaust deniers raise fears and doubts about well-established scientific data on climate change and other pressing issues. Established government institutions, journalism and education – institutions that have traditionally provided stability – are under attack precisely because they have provided stability.

In this environment, communication ignites passions rather than informing reason.

Many countries have long used propaganda and lies – otherwise known as the war of information – to defend their interests. But a quantitative change of sufficient magnitude can be qualified as a qualitative change. In the era of the Internet, the volume and speed of information have increased by an order of magnitude. Modern information technologies and social media enable users to have easy connectivity and a high degree of anonymity between countries. This widespread and inexpensive access to global audiences has enabled information warfare practitioners to spread low-cost, fake, and manipulative messages to large populations while tailoring political messages to narrow interest groups.

By manipulating the natural cognitive predispositions of human beings, information warriors can exacerbate prejudices, prejudices, and ideological differences. They can invoke "alternative facts" to advance political positions on the basis of absolute falsehoods. Rather than a cyberarmageddon that causes a financial crisis or power outages nationwide, it is the more insidious use of cyber tools to target and exploit human insecurities and vulnerabilities, eroding trust and confidence. cohesion on which civilized societies rest.

The Enlightenment sought to establish reason as a fundamental pillar of civilized discourse. In this design, the logical argument is important and the veracity of a statement is tested by examining values, assumptions and facts, not by the number of people who the believe. The cyber-based war of information threatens to replace these pillars of logic and truth with fancy and rage. If left unchecked, these distortions will undermine the world's ability to recognize and counter the urgent threats posed by nuclear weapons and climate change and increase the end-of-civilization potential as we know it. The international community should engage in multilateral discussions aimed at discouraging the cyberspace-based information war and at strengthening the institutions of rational, evidence-based discourse and governance.

Especially with regard to the 2016 elections, Russia and the false information have become inseparable for many.

My persistent vision remains the one The impact of the Internet harms caused by the Russians in the elections was a direct result of the decades-old rot that was largely financed by black money and largely due to the lack of integrity of the Americans. old. On the other hand, I do not have a cell phone, I am not connected to the cable and I have never been to Facebook. So maybe I do not know how easily people are influenced by a limited amount of billions of bits of information. them, even those pieces that people happily slip into personal echo chambers. But it seems that people who are born and those do not need to depend on distant stupidity to find easily available nonsense and down the escalator of a hotel. POV Dark Money's American film perfectly highlights the field of carefully calculated electoral misinformation emanating from incognito sources. It shows how the black money, generated by Citizens United, skewed the election in Montana, targeting both Democrats and Republicans who had not bowed enough against big money. Not to Putin's critics, but to the big pennies, the polluters, the Koch brothers' allies, the objectives of the ALEC, and so on. But I keep away from the subject because it is the beauty of a blog post.

Back to the bombs.

According to the Federation of American Scientists, nine countries have about 15,000 nuclear bombs, the highest of which is the one used in Japan, of which 1,800 are owned by the United States and Russia. Join Major Kong here and sing with Vera Lynn here on "We'll meet again" as humanity leaves the scene. Here is a version of some of the 331 atmospheric tests conducted by the United States from 1945 to 1962. Discover the comfort of the biggest bomb exploded, the tsar Bomba, aka Ivan, or Vanya, here. If you want to explore the impacts of a single megaton bomb (eighty-eight-bit larger than the Hiroshima bomb but tiny compared to some modern bombs), as well as the overall impact of an exchange of 100 bombs from the Hiroshima size, maybe a conflict between Pakistan and India, that's it. Maybe you pass them on to George W. Bush so he has a better idea of ​​how to search for ADM, perhaps at a dinner party with the correspondents.

By the way, do you think children in the 50's might have had some problems later?

Trump's actions and statements play an important role in advancing the clock in 2017, two and a half minutes before midnight. New President Trump, at the time, made alarming statements about nuclear proliferation, the prospect of using nuclear weapons and his opposition to the US commitments on climate change. And in 2018, he helped the stopwatch to move forward thirty seconds with actions such as the withdrawal of the agreement with Iran. By the way, this idiocy is greased by the Israeli nuclear, Sheldon Adelson and their neo-American henchmen, like John Bolton. To invade Iraq was not horrible enough.

Trump also announced its intention to abolish the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which for decades was a key pillar of global arms control.

I wish good luck to Trump for a good follow up with North Korea who could relax a little bit the minute hand. The world needs a victory.

Trump has recently reincarnated the illusion of a global defense system. Joe Cirincione, president of the Plowshares Fund, criticizes his essay. Donald Trump's impossible mission: to make his unrealistic missile plan work, is here.

This man behind the curtain has nothing on Trump. We now have news of Trump's latest mistake, Venezuela. In 1975, I traveled by land to South America. Two impressions of Venezuela persist, the surprising transition in a few hours from the snow in the Andes to the tropics streaming below, and the surreal sensation of water skiing between the oil derricks of Lake Maracaibo. Like oil slicks, oil money was ubiquitous, a pleasant lifestyle for many privileged young people wandering in cabriolets filled with cheap gasoline. I can not capture the changes since. Whatever the way out of the miseries of a failed state, it is difficult to imagine that it would be beneficial to light the fire for a civil war. Perhaps Venezuelans will come knocking on their door to ask for asylum, citing Trump's description of their fate, not to mention American pressure. In any case, Venezuela should give us a break at the speed at which things can change.

ICT Tac.