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Doomsday Clock Remains at Closest Point to Midnight




(The Hill) – Like the sands of the hourglass, the world is slipping toward self-destruction one second at a time, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists concluded Thursday, once again setting the hands of the famed Doomsday clock at 100 seconds to midnight. 

For the third year in a row, the clock was set in seconds, not minutes, to show urgency behind the metaphor of how close the Earth is to annihilation. 

“Steady is not good news. In fact, it reflects the judgment of the board that we are stuck in a perilous moment, one that brings neither stability nor security,” Sharon Squassoni, co-chair of the Science and Security Board for the Bulletin and a professor at the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University, said at a press conference.

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The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists created the clock in 1947 to represent how close the planet was to annihilation by nuclear weapons. In more recent years, the journal has also weighed the effects of climate change and other emerging threats in setting the clock. 

On the seventy-fifth anniversary of the clock, the bulletin’s experts outlined a host of threats facing the world, from disinformation stoking division, an increase in global tensions fueling a nuclear arms race, a pandemic highlighting the nation’s inability to battle increasingly frequent outbreaks, and climate change exacerbating natural disasters and global instability. 

The group noted that power struggles continue to exacerbate the world’s risk of destruction, with the extension of the New START nuclear treaty offset by nuclear ambitions in Iran, North Korea, India and Pakistan, while competition between the U.S., China and Russia only adds to instability on a security front.   

“The Doomsday Clock is not set by good intentions, but rather by evidence of action, or in this case inaction,” Scott D. Sagan, a Stanford University professor, told reporters. “Signs of nuclear arms races are clear.” 

Disinformation also played a particularly notable role in keeping the clock at the closest point to midnight in history, with experts noting its impact on democracy, climate change, and the pandemic, with an increasing number of people falsely believing in widespread voter fraud, skeptical of vaccination, and disinterested in curbing behavior that warms the planet.  

“The resulting factors mean a world in which different and antagonistic political tribes each live in their own factual universes. This is not a world governed by reason or reality and is itself an existential threat to modern civilization as we have come to know it,” said Herb Lin, a senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation. 

Rachel Bronson, president of the Bulletin, noted that global challenges had changed little since 2021, when the clock stayed at 100 seconds to midnight in a reflection of optimism over the election of President Biden and pronouncements to address the threat of nuclear weapons, through the New START missile treaty with Russia and an intention to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.   

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“We continue to believe that human beings can manage the dangers posed by modern technology even in times of crisis. But if humanity is to avoid an existential catastrophe, one that would dwarf anything it has yet seen, national leaders must do a far better job of countering disinformation, heeding science and cooperating to diminish global risks,” she said. 

“The COVID 19 pandemic serves as a historic wake up call, a vivid illustration, that national governments and international organizations are unprepared to manage complex and dangerous challenges like those of nuclear weapons and climate change, which currently puts existential threat to humanity, or other dangers including more virulent pandemics [or] next generation warfare that could threaten civilization in the near future.” 

2020 marked the first time the doomsday clock moved to 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it’s ever been to the endpoint for destruction and the first time it was measured in seconds rather than minutes, reflecting the urgency of the moment. 

The announcement reflected an increase in tensions between the U.S. and Iran that came in January of that year with the U.S.’ targeted killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, and the growing dangers of failing to address climate change. 

The 2020 announcement, made in January, occurred ahead of the World Health Organization declaring the quickly circulating coronavirus a global pandemic. 



I-30 Construction Seeing Lane Closures Begin Tuesday in LR and North Little Rock




LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Commuters will see new lane closures in Little Rock and North Little Rock that will begin Tuesday.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation says that during the Memorial Day holiday there are no short-term closures scheduled until Tuesday.

 Daytime closures (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

I-30 frontage roads (single-lane closures) between 6th and 10th streets in Little Rock (6:30 a.m. start time)Broadway Street eastbound (single-lane closure) between the frontage roads in North Little Rock2nd Street westbound (single-lane closure) between Cumberland and Scott streets in Little Rock3rd Street eastbound at Rock Street (corners of intersection closed) in Little Rock

Overnight closures (8 p.m. – 5 a.m.)

I-30 (single- and double-lane closures) between Roosevelt Road in Little Rock and Bishop Lindsey Avenue in North Little RockI-30/I-40 ramps and lanes (single-lane closures) at the north terminal in North Little RockI-630 eastbound ramp to I-30 eastbound (full closure) in Little Rock; ramp detour signed to exit to the northbound frontage roadI-30 frontage road (single-lane closure) between 6th and 10th streets in Little RockBroadway Street (full closure) between the frontage roads in North Little Rock; detours will be signed to use Bishop Lindsey and Riverfront Drive; Thursday night, June 2 onlyBroadway Street eastbound (single-lane closure) between the frontage roads in North Little Rock

24-hour closures

President Clinton Avenue (full closure) between Mahlon Martin and Sherman streets in Little Rock; detour signed to use 3rd StreetMahlon Martin (full closure) between President Clinton Avenue and 3rd Street in Little Rock; detours signed6th Street bridge (full closure) for reconstruction in Little Rock; detours signed to use the 9th Street bridge or 3rd Street

ARDOT also says that Double-lane closures on interstate lanes will generally be limited from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

ARDOT officials are asking that drivers use caution as they approach and drive through all work zones.

For more details on the I-30 construction project, check out the Connecting Arkansas Program online.

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New Study Finds Public Health Messaging Could Benefit From an ‘autonomy-supportive’ Approach




Novel research led by psychologists from Durham University, UK and Illinois Institute of Technology, U.S., along with the collaborative network of researchers around the world (under the consortium name “Psychological Science Accelerator Self-Determination Theory Collaboration”) have discovered that public health communication is highly effective when an “autonomy-supportive” approach is undertaken compared to controlling message approach.

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COVID-19 in Arkansas: Active Cases Continue Slight Uptick




LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Active cases due to COVID-19 in Arkansas are continuing to see a slight uptick on Friday.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 3,763 active cases of the virus, an increase of 136 from the previous day. There were 391 new cases reported in the latest data, raising the total cases for the state during the pandemic to 842,439.

The ADH data showed patients hospitalized with the virus remained at 70. There were 3 patients on ventilators, one more than the previous day, and 13 in ICU care, up three from Thursday.

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There were three additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 Friday, pushing the Arkansas total to 11,471 since the pandemic began.

In the last 24 hours, 1,607 new COVID-19 vaccine doses were given out in Arkansas. Currently, 1,595,415 Arkansans are fully vaccinated, with another 376,410 residents being partially vaccinated.


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